I can’t find words that fully encompass the transformative experience of moving to Cusco for 5 weeks to volunteer with Manos Unidas. Having just graduated PLNU with a degree in kinesiology, I wanted to break from the routine I’d known my entire life and do something that challenged me to move beyond my comfort zone in order to see the world with new eyes. This experience gave me exactly that.

On this trip, I was fortunate enough to get to work with a team of PTs and PT students from University of Wisconsin for two weeks, giving me a glimpse into the work I hope to do in the future. Over the course of those couple weeks, I got to learn about physical therapy in the school setting, in rural communities, and in home visits. Every day brought something unexpected, and every day was a total learning experience.

The people we met and the conversations we had were absolutely incredible. The stories of these beautifully broken people serve as a true testament of the resilience and hope people are capable of.

Looking back on this experience, I couldn’t have gained anything more valuable than the transformation of heart and mind I had in this place. There is so much to be gleaned from a journey such as this one, and I just know that so much of what I lived in this place will stick with me as I go on to become a physical therapist. I am so unbelievably thankful for everyone who I got to know and work with as a part of this project. Every person I worked with was truly incredible. Manos Unidas and Cusco will forever have a place in my heart. I cannot thank you guys enough. I can’t wait to be back someday.

—-Lisa Gonzales,

Pre Physical Therapy student, Point Loma University, San Diego, CA



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