I have been back in Peru since the beginning of June and time is flying! After finishing my CIDA-funded internship, I decided to return to Chiclayo to work for the same Peruvian NGO that hosted me last year, Centro Esperanza (Hope Centre). I received countless warm welcomes and it feels great to be back to work as part of the team again. Most of the work I am doing is part of Project Chiclayo (funded by the NGO Chalice Canada), a program that originally began as an early childhood education program and after over 10 years has expanded to offer educational programs for youth up to age 18 as well as their families, with the goal being to promote sustainable holistic human and community development. As a new funding ‘year’ is to begin in July, we have been preparing documents to renew funding; reviewing current programs; buying new materials and supplies; and reviewing goals from the Results Based Management document and planning on how to achieve them.
Coming back to Chiclayo has been a wonderfully happy time, as there is nothing like being reunited with old friends and revisiting familiar places. Obviously, living and working in another country offers constant exposure to new realities and experiences, but there is also nothing quite being in Latin America to experience the spirit of the World Cup as it happens in Latin America (even if Peru did not qualify for ‘El Mundial’ as the World Cup is known). And for me, functioning in castellano/Spanish all day long is a joy in and of itself.
However, returning to Chiclayo and the programs offered by Centro Esperanza is also a reminder that there is only so much that Centro Esperanza can accomplish. As a small NGO (and even if we were a large one) we cannot change all aspects of life for the families that participate in our programs, but we can do our best to provide a variety of quality educational programming and sound advice and support where and when needed.
We cannot decide the amount of funding the government allocates to education, health, the arts and recreation, but we can certainly try to influence their decisions (as several members of the Centro Esperanza team did very recently in a space where part of the Public Budget for the coming year was decided).
We cannot change the corruption and inefficiencies of the government, but we can help ensure that people receive the care they deserve from the public programs they do access by making sure they know their rights as Peruvian citizens and how to insist on quality and timely service.
And of course, we must constantly fight against violence against women and for more respect for the natural environment that surrounds and sustains us (we are part of it).
Perhaps the most important thing we can accomplish is to show love and support to all people in our programs, be there to listen and let them know that they are not alone in their struggle for a more dignified life and more prosperous future.
Seeing water run from one of several new taps in the village of La Ladrillera–progress made possible thanks to Canadian donations, cooperation from the local government and mediation done by Centro Esperanza.
A nutrition program began on Tuesday in La Ladrillera thanks to the presence of water…
…and began with a delicious meal of goat, rice and beans, with a salad of onions and avocado. The mothers of the children who partake in the program are responsible for buying the ingredients, deciding the menu and cooking on a rotating basis. The program has reduced the prevalence of anemia.
Oh, how wonderful to be surrounded by these little ones again.
Yesterday’s session with youth in Antonio Raymondi: I taught the group to make Japanese ‘kumihimo’ bracelets.
They didn’t think they would manage (thinking at first it was too complicated), but they did with great success.
Thanks for reading!