Inspired Words

These are the experiences of our volunteers in Peru.

Lima, Peru: Our arrival and introduction to the school and project

Posted in Peru on March 20, 2012

Team Cedar, checking in!  Here we are in Lima, a 13 member group of Cedar Dental Centre employees along with family, friends, and significant others.  It's been a couple days now since the bulk of us left Kamloops for our South American destination.  After about 14 hours of flights, shuttles and airport lines, we finally arrived in Lima.  One night to regain the sleep we lost in transit, a whirlwind tour of the city most of us have never seen before, and another slumber brought us to this morning.  

Today was the beginning of our hands-on volunteer excursion with Developing World Connections, and what an amazing experience it has been already!  At 8am or so we boarded our bus, which carried us to our orientation with host partner IFEJANT.  From there, we rode on beyond the limits of pavement to dirt roads rising to the hills of San José Obrero, the destination of our whole reason for being here in Peru. Upon arriving we were guided through the local school, a budding hub of education built partially with the assistance of past groups like our own, and one that we are here to further improve upon. We spent the remainder of the morning getting introduced to teachers, parents, and the vibrant smiling children that filled each classroom.

After introductions were finished, the work began.  Our assigned project was to construct a set of concrete steps from the main school building to the dining hall on the hill behind it, a path currently rendered more or less inaccessible by the muddy slopes in winter months.  We approached our mission with enthusiasm, cooperating with local workers and parents of the school children to pack the wooden frame of the stairwell with rocks, and then mix cement to be carried bucket by bucket and poured on top.  Between loads we had time to interact with some of the kids, a great pleasure to us all.  We learned that high-fives and certain clapping rhymes are truly universal.

By the end of the afternoon we had nearly every step filled with concrete and leveled off.  We wiped our sweaty dirt-covered brows with exhaustion, a feeling neutralized by the sense of satisfaction we felt in being part of an effort to assist in a community that we had already grown to adore and feel welcome in.  An end of day question from one of the locals about our cerveza preference was answered with a unanimous "Cold!", prompting laughter all around from us and our new companions.  We left the school with waves and grins, already looking forward to our next day on site.

Cory Stumpf
DWC Participant  

Lima, Peru March 2012

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