We had another fulfilling and productive trip this year. I was especially fortunate to have so many family members! We were able to do some special projects for schools, including desks and benches for 2 schools, 100 cups for the noon meal for one school, and kitchen equipment for the special needs school. I am very pleased that we were also able to support the Andean Alliance with their important sustainable work in building greenhouses. (see attached report). Also, we will purchase a lamb for each woman in our weaver's cooperative so they can make their own yarn and will have a constant supply for the future. Thank you to Deedric for writing this year's report.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. I pondered this Winston Churchill quote on my trip back from two weeks in Peru with The Becky Fund. It’s not, however, the physical items we give that really matter; in the long run it is what we give of ourselves that really makes a difference in the world. The Becky Fund provided me and 12 other volunteers with a wonderful opportunity to give something of ourselves to help work towards providing a better future for the children of Peru’s Sacred Valley.
This year, The Becky Fund volunteers hailed from seven different states and at 13, was the largest volunteer group to date. Along with our invaluable Peruvian drivers, we were also joined by members of the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development (Aaron Ebner and Ruben Huaman Quispe).
This year marked the tenth visit by The Becky Fund to the Sacred Valley and environs. As in years past, we distributed notebooks pencils, toothpaste, toothbrushes, some toys, and clothing to about 4,000 students. In addition we distributed over 200 supply bags to teachers containing, among other things, paper, pens, markers, scissors, and soccer balls. Perhaps the most important item that was given was advice on the importance of education and staying in school!
Even after only a few days had passed, I was asked, “what has been your favorite memory thus far?” It was hard to answer that question because each day brought a new memories that would compete for the title of “favorite.”
Having stated that, the source of my favorite memories of my trip to with the Becky Fund was the day-to-day, intimate contact we were afforded with people of Peru – people whose lives were not dedicated to tourism. Memories that come quickly to mind:
- The smiles of children as they received their new notebook and pencil.
- Reuben introducing the children & teenagers in our group – he also asked students to guess their ages, which generated much laughter. Thank you, Avery, Marley, Anna, and Tom for being such good sports!
- The hospitality of strangers in rHugo (one of our Peruvian drivers and co-conspirators) calling out, “Mama Deeana, Mama Diana” to get Dinny’s attention.
- Students singing or reciting poetry for us…and at one school the students asked us to sing something to them!
- The fantastic performance by the high school dancers from Calca – and the conga line that Kent Penã formed during the “free-form” dancing after the presentation.The Mother’s Day dance performance to which we were treated at the special needs school in Calca.
- The look of bewilderment on the teacher’s faces when a group of sweaty Caucasians stumbled out of the high jungle in the remote village of Juy Huay bearing notebooks & pencils for the students and supplies for the teachers.
The Becky Fund also help support groups other than students.
This led to a wonderful experience in the village of Choquecancha where the weaver’s co-op provided us with a special dinner, including songs, to thank the fund for their support. This year, The Becky Fund has committed to supplying members of the co-op with their own wool-lambs to allow them increased independence and control over their costs.
From either our headquarters in Calca or our temporary quarters in Laras, a typical day (if one existed) consisted of a quick breakfast and then an accounting of what would be needed for that day’s distribution. In Calca, we formed a “bucket brigade” to a transfer supplies from from the courtyard to the street for loading onto the top of the driver’s “combi” (essentially a minivan).
After a few hours of driving, through some of the most scenic views I have ever encountered, we would arrive at a school – and the fun would begin! A multicolored mass of children would tumble our way – in some cases they were aware that we were coming because it was announced on the local radio station. Lines of giggling children would form and the distribution would begin (on some occasions, it was more of a scrum).
Then a quickly as we appeared, we packed up and left with a lighter load on the van, and many more memories (and photographs).
My trip to Peru with The Becky Fund has created memories that will last for the rest of my life. Most of all I was so pleased to have the opportunity to have given something of myself to such a worthy cause.