Posted in Peru on November 8, 2023
Saturday November 4
Like, zoinks, man! So, like, we were walkin’ with Antoine along these cliffs in Barranco, and we saw all these high school and middle school graduation ceremonies. The kids were all rockin’ white outfits to show they were graduatin’. We even took a dip in the Pacific Ocean, dude, and kept strolling on the beach. Then, we ended up at this park where the Indian Embassy to Peru had this groovy performance and talk about food security stuff.
Antoine and I threw the frisbee around in the park while waiting for lunch. We chowed down on some seafood at Anco and sipped on coffee at… well, I’m not sure where, man.
Now, on November 4th, part two of our day, Melissa and I were just chillin’ in the house when we heard horns and drums in the street. I had to check it out, and it turned out to be a religious ceremony for San Martin right there on the street. I watched respectfully, of course.
Part three of our day on November 4th, we went for dinner and drinks at the Barranco Beer Company, this cool local brewery. The atmosphere was awesome, with a live soccer game and foosball. Then we came back and hung out in the global commons of our Airbnb. Good times, man!
Sunday, November 5, 2023
Buenos días, my friends! Today, the rest of the team touched down, and Liam, along with Uli, Arjun, and Rachel, hit the beach for a swim. Lucky for us, no sharks in sight. After that, Jim and Donna gave us the lowdown on our mission this week.
While some of the group went off to explore the area, Antoine was on a mission to figure out our dinner options. Around 1 pm, we all hopped on the “ruta b” bus to downtown Lima. There, we met our guide, Herman, who was really excited about testing his microphone – “hola, hola, hola, uno, dos, tres!” He also checked out some food options for Ramesh and Aditi.
Rachel had a preference for the upstairs shower, like “100 times better.” Tee was capturing the sights with an actual camera, even though they told us, “You cannot take pictures.” But that didn’t stop Jessica, hahaha!
Dinner was at Alfresco, with a few vegetarian options, or not really. David and Rachel got into a bit of trouble for some insolence, and Liam got in trouble later for asking for pictures. Can you believe it?
And then, a funny thing happened. The locals mistook Liam, the gringo, for the movie star, Shaggy from Scooby Doo! They kept asking for pictures with him because of his height and shaggy-like appearance. What a neat experience, showing the power of language, culture, and connections in the developing world!
Monday, November 6, 2023
In the remote, uncharted wilds of Peru, our expedition has uncovered 15 human settlements shrouded in mystery, with populations elusive and diverse. In one of these settlements, where 500 resilient souls dwell, our attempts at census-taking were thwarted by the untimely pandemic. The land is untamed, the terrain unforgiving, and our intrepid team comprises dedicated individuals:
– Karen, our linguistic bridge as the translator.
– Katia, the program director steering our course.
– Miguel, the construction maestro carving paths.
– Elvira, the fearless leader of the NGO established by the venerable 88-year-old priest, Alex.
– Viviana and Vanessa, the culinary maestros nourishing the expedition.
Within this land of enigmatic settlements, an unusual gender distribution among the children emerges, with more girls than boys, particularly in schools where classes often comprise 18 girls out of 25. Parents are the lifeblood of the community, maintaining schools due to government absence. Men seek employment far from home in construction, while women primarily engage in cleaning and childcare. The pandemic hit them hard, with meager daily wages of 20-80 sol for women and 300-400 sol per week for men.
The women find hope in a pastry workshop and bakery project, offering them certificates in baking and pastry-making. Every task, from plastering to bricklaying, contributes to the empowerment of women and children.
Water is a precious commodity, with an absent sewer system and hefty cistern costs. Rainfall inundates the streets, threatening penalties for dumping dirty water. A water truck replenishes cisterns, providing a lifeline to the community. Electricity was a recent addition to homes, transforming their lives.
Waste disposal is a pervasive problem, with a lack of systematic collection. Children wear uniforms, a financial burden on parents, and teacher turnover is frequent. The DWC supports transportation, meals, and after-school activities, contributing to construction and stairways.
The Little House of Culture is a hub for children’s self-empowerment and engagement with other NGOs and ministries. An international youth forum stands as a platform against corruption, instilling the belief that responsibility lies with the government, not the children or their parents.
After seven years of perseverance, the children now have a space of their own to organize and empower themselves. Prominence, their program, nurtures children from ages 5 to 17, offering workshops, meetings, and activities.
A significant project involves building garbage containers, and the children educate themselves about animal-borne viruses. Their transportation program reflects their ambition and dedication. The government provides for teachers and schools but not for other essentials, leaving students in need.
In this uncharted realm, a collective spirit emerges, sustaining communities, empowering women, and educating the youth about their potential and the need to hold institutions accountable. The journey continues, uncovering the hidden treasures of Peru.
Thursday, November 9th, 2023 (Thursday Night Recap)
- Arjun- no lows, all highs. Got to be a part of their lives, not just building a building, really getting into the community. When the kids were not in school on Thursday , cuz no water, the vibes and mood was totally different, even the dogs stayed away.
2. David- more emotional than last DWC trip cuz got to really be w the kids. Upset cuz is French and didn’t get selected for pastry shop.
3. Jessica- experience the sense of community that people have, that was the best part. The sense of community they had for one another and they clearly had goals beyond us and for themselves and their community.
4. Uli- found the sense of community here that is maybe missing in the developed disconnected world. They provide for each other and work for each other. Seeing the moms & kids today for breakfast was a great example. The moms were there to plan how to help. Uli loved building everything really found his calling working with Miguel
5. Miranda- came into this looking forward to working w the kids, it was for the kids. Wasn’t always great doing some of the repetitive building/moving tasks, but seeing it all come together she really felt a sense of accomplishment, it all came together. Even though didn’t speak Spanish still felt connected to the kids and families. The contrast to downtown Lima was very stark when visiting the families home. Was inspiring to hear how the mother we visited was persevering through some really tough experiences & still staying positive and engaged.
6. Antoine- really happy to be a part of the group here, we are all salesforce and all represent salesforce well. Doing the project in the school, building up the school center is really nice. Everything we did was for the future generations and their prospects. It was great that what we were doing was directly connected to the kids and families cuz it’s what they asked for. Family visit was very emotional, no words to really describe. Learned a lot from the person they visited. Leaving peru in a positive state of mind. Everything can get better in a very short amount of time, now they’re getting water, electricity, cell phones. In 5 years who knows we can maybe see even more progress.
7. Melissa- overall experience very amazing. Our group overall has gelled very well. Very impressed by how we all worked together, very cool to see people find their niche and get into their work. Struck by community aspect as well. The energy in the school she felt was amazing. Was expecting something more sad and somber but not the feeling at all at the school. In the us it can feel sad and somber and dangerous in the poorer areas but not here. Had a lot of fun doing the pastry’s with the kids and happy she came and participated. Only low would be the no water day.
8. -Aditi, 5 days ago all of us were strangers and now we all gel really well. The high was baking w the kids. Even tho I didn’t speak the language it was all still very welcoming and remembers how the kids were very proud of their work and doing exact measurements. Was nervous about the family visit, but coming away from it she felt very inspired. Noticed that the people are always trying to stay positive and always looking for ways they can improve their life. Loved playing w the kids pet turtle. The low, looking at the problem first hand- not having water and therefore no kids in school was really tough. Still processing a lot of it but overall a great experience and very thankful.
9. Rachel- not really any lows- long lines of traffic were it. Thankful she got front seat. The bathroom situation was a low as well, take it for granted in the US. The water situation really bothered her as well cuz very environmentally conscious and it’s real to see these people are on the frontlines of this water and climate crisis. But very inspiring to see them all still coming together to make it work- home visit: took away a lot and the biggest thing was the struggle to talk about social roles, mental health, acceptance of women working out of the house. Highs- baking class was amazing, they are trying to do way more than basics there, they take it and do so much. They let the kids be kids and that was great to see. Loved to see the parents letting their kids be kids.
10 Tee- came in pretty open minded, expected the worse tho. Coming from and Indigenous community they felt a sense of belonging in a way. Was able to understand a lot of the things going on here, such as lack of water. Wasn’t sure how they would do w the kids, but the kids were always trying to get to know them and talk to them and they loved that and just wished they practiced Spanish more. High was volleyball today, such a fun time. Couldn’t talk to coach on other team but had an unspoken communication. Donna tried to prepare them for the slow tempo of work, but it was great to take themselves down a couple steps and it was a challenge to do so, but today they looked around and saw the difference they made. As much as they enjoyed the activity w the kids their mentality was they are there for the construction but seeing it all today they saw that they had done good that we had done good. Loved the group we have here, the way we have been able to communicate and work together was amazing. We are a strong team, couldn’t have asked for a stronger team. Home visit, asked some tough questions, wasn’t sure how that would go. But wanted to get the truth. Thought it was important as a mental health student to ask that. Was really inspiring to talk to the kid leading the baking classes about the work they’re doing on mental health in the community it was incredible to hear how much work they are doing. Reflecting on this whole thing on the bus, things were slow at first but now we’re almost done and now doesn’t wanna leave, wanna spend more time here. First time outside of Canada 🇨🇦 couldn’t have asked for a better experience and thanks to Donna for taking them along.
11. Donna- one of her goals was bringing T . She knew the experience they have is what T grew up in, the indigenous community . This trip can help bring them some other perspectives. One of their goals is to work w mental health so it was good for them to come and see that. Another thing- they were all there to help each other. Where In North A – it’s all for one, not one for all. Very self focused not community focused- seeing that community focus was great here. Overall what the takeaway is that it’s amazing to be here to help the community but also to recognize that you don’t have to fly across the globe to do this. You can do this work at home. They are not on the news and we came out of our way to come here and do this so we can absolutely do it back home and bring it back home.
12. Veronica – reminded her of how privileged she is and her upbringing . Loved the home visit and how vulnerable she was and she didn’t have to be. Was able to understand her story and why her situation is the way it is. Another special thing was enjoying what the kids enjoy doing, playing soccer w the kids, games. Third highlight – the young adults are already so invested and active in the community. One said they started day at 6- did school and then went to sell us pastry’s . They start at a young age and keep trying to make an impact and want to give back. We’re so privileged to be here and don’t forget to give back to your community’s at home.
13. Ramesh – echo everyone what they said. We A’s a group did very well. Each one of us are very passionate, saw Veronica bargain every sol to get every last value we could. Made every effort , everyone made every effort they could in their own way. Happy to be a part of the team. Anything that involves the kids was very special. Missing them was bad on the no water day. But it brought perspective to how the kids bring life to the school and community. The bar was set so low – the lunch ladies tho were phenomenal, set the bar so high- the lunch ladies stayed to serve food even tho the shoppers were late. The care was there. Nothing really low but, family visit , single dad two young kids . Nothing in the house, wasn’t sure if they should give money , instead thinking that we should have provided some work for the dad and others and felt we could have engaged the community members more to provide them w a job and more opportunities.
14. Jim- Tough to create an experience for the volunteers but also engage the community, always a balance. Biggest thing for him was coming back and saw that things were getting better(electricity, more buildings) the school and community felt better and way more positive energy from the school than ever before- a lot of the things are working, breakfast, school, community, things are improving. Doesn’t know a team that has gelled better than this one. 15 of us and not a problem. Appreciate everyone here- doing this as a volunteer for a while and can get discouraged and we have given him hope!!! Incredibly diverse group, language wise, culture wise, loved that.
A diverse group of volunteers recently engaged in a transformative experience, building a sense of community in Peru. Arjun emphasized the highs of being part of the community rather than just constructing buildings. David, emotional about connecting with kids, expressed disappointment at missing out on a pastry shop opportunity.
Jessica cherished the community spirit, observing the locals’ goals and mutual support. Uli found a missing sense of community in the developed world and highlighted the locals’ selflessness, exemplified by moms planning to help. Miranda, despite language barriers, felt connected to families and was inspired by a mother’s resilience.
Antoine, representing Salesforce, found purpose in projects directly impacting kids and families, expressing deep emotions during a family visit. Melissa praised the group’s cohesion, enjoying the positive energy in the school, except for a challenging day without water.
Aditi appreciated the bonding within the group and found joy in baking with kids. Rachel, environmentally conscious, was inspired by the community’s resilience in facing water and climate challenges. Tee, from an Indigenous community, felt a sense of belonging and appreciated the strong team dynamics.
Donna aimed to broaden perspectives, emphasizing the community-focused approach in Peru. Veronica reflected on privilege and highlighted the active engagement of young adults in the community. Ramesh praised the team’s passion, noting the positive impact of kids on the school and community.
Jim, focusing on the balance between volunteer experience and community engagement, observed positive changes in electricity and infrastructure. He commended the diverse and harmonious volunteer team, finding renewed hope in their collective efforts.
Posted in Peru on November 8, 2023