Saturday, November 11, 2006

Radio Story and Slideshow

Listen to a series of radio interviews with Dinny on Las Cruces station KRWG and watch a slideshow of 21 pictures from the work of The Becky Fund.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Desks for Students

In July Ethan and Aaron Ebner went to Peru to build desks for students (they are the sons of Dinny's cousin Genie). They wanted to participate in the project during their summer break from college and did a great job that will be greatly appreciated by many children, teachers, and parents.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Becky Fund in Sudbury Town Crier

The Sudbury Town Crier and the Lincoln Journal both printed the following story on the most recent trip of The Becky Fund.
Grads Bring Supplies to Peru

By Carole Lamond/Staff Writer
Thursday June 29, 2006

It was something of a culture shock to arrive in Calca, a town high in the hills of the Sacred Valley of Peru, where his small group from Sudbury were the only gringos in town, but for Matt Moore that was part of the adventure.
It was also the beginning of a two-week trip that touched the lives of hundreds of schoolchildren in villages so poor that a pencil and notebook are treasured items.
Moore and fellow 2004 Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School graduates, Marie Smith and Dan Kamen, volunteered to deliver school supplies for The Becky Fund, a small charity named in honor ofBecky Prichard died just north of Cuzco in an automobile accident in 2003 at the age of 27 [30] and her mother, Dinny Bomberg, established the fund in Becky’s memory.

Smith’s mother, Ann, and Bomberg are friends who have worked together on Habitat for Humanity projects, and the Smiths accompanied Bomberg on a trip to Peru to deliver school supplies in 2005. When Smith told Moore and Kamen about her plans to for a second trip to Peru with The Becky Fund, and asked, "Anyone, want to go?" her two friends decided to spend their spring college break on the charity trip.
"I kind of blindly went into it, but it sounded like a good cause, it sounded like an adventure and it sounded like fun," said Moore. "It definitely proved to be all three."
Many of the Indian children in the remote mountain villages attend windowless schools with no heat or electricity where pencils and paper are luxuries. Many of the teachers buy school supplies from their meager salaries of $100 per month.
This year the fund delivered gift bags to 3,250 children in 78 schools and gift boxes to 70 teachers. The volunteer also bought cooking pots, plastic cups and food for several schools and contracted with a local carpenter to build tables and chairs for a preschool. They also supplied yarn and musical instruments which are used to teach the children to knit and play music in their cultural traditions.
The volunteers, who all pay their own expenses, are assisted by the family of Becky’s fiancé, Mendel Wilson Muniz, who provide lodging and a place to store supplies while the volunteers go out each day to different schools which the family has contacted in advance.
"We leave early in the morning and go to the market to buy bread. We give each child a few pieces of bread which they would share with their siblings and parents," said Smith, 19, a student at Massachusetts School of Art in Boston. "We would give them the bread and their school supplies. Some of the kids still had their little plastic bag from the year before. It’s sad, but also really exciting to see how thrilled they are by getting a pencil or a balloon."
The group drove their van as far into the hills as the roads would take them and traveled the rest of the way on foot to a meeting spot. Some of their destinations were 14,000 feet up in the mountains. Once there they would shout for a resident of the village to get the local teacher.

It was amazing that they knew which day we were coming and they were ready for us. We would call out and after a little while the teacher and children would come walking down the mountain," said Moore. "The teacher would usually know Spanish and the kids would know a little, so communication was very basic. I learned some Quecha, the Indian language they speak."

Each child receives a plastic bag with notebooks, pencils, erasers and sharpeners. The teacher receives a box of 30 to 40 items including story books, puzzles, scissors, glue, masking tape, paper, markers and other craft supplies.

"That they got to own their very own pencils was huge for them. They would even save the boxes the pencils came in to play with," said Moore. "Kids literally won’t go to school if their parents can’t afford to buy a pencil and a notebook, so the children don’t get an education."
They also gave the children volley and soccer balls.
"Their eyes lit up when they saw we brought them a ball," said Moore, 20, a student at Northeastern University in Boston. "They were playing with a bunch of rags tied together, that was their ball. We blew up balloons for them to play with and that was a big novelty for them."
The children were dressed beautifully in colorful hats and clothing woven in the Indian patterns. The youngest children were often shy with the American students who looked and dressed so differently, but families were generous with the visitors, sharing gifts of corn or potatoes, or playing music and dancing for them.
"The whole country is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and the culture there is so rich," said Smith. "You see people singing and playing instruments that they made."
The Becky Fund is researching ways to bring better nutrition to the people in the remote mountain villages and is experimenting with a grain/milk combination to supplement the children’s diet. Their diet consists mostly of corn or potatoes.
The Sacred Valley of Peru was the heart of the Inca civilization during the 14th to 15 centuries. Many of the villagers live very much the way they did prior to the Spanish Conquest of the country in 1532.
"You can read about the conditions, but you really have to be there, it’s really an amazing experience," said Smith. "It’s easy to feel you can’t help much, but it’s really important work, and it definitely makes me want to go back and do more things for the project. I hope that other people will want to help too."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

March 2006 Trip a Success

Dear Friends of the Becky Fund,

Please excuse my delay in getting the 2006 trip report out to you. I was hopingthat the 3 college students, who we were fortunate enough to have accompany us this year, would be able to participate in the writing, but their busy schedules haven't allowed that to happen.

Our trip started out on a sad note as my friend Toby, from Spokane, learned her mother had terminal cancer the day her tickets arrived, so she was unable to go. Two weeks before the trip my brother-in-law, Ross, from New Zealand fell off his roof and injured both ankles and legs. However, I did have incredible participants in Ann Smith, her daughter Marie, and two college friends of Marie, Matt and Dan, all from Boston.

This was our third trip and the people were waiting for us! Everyday we had teachers or parents coming to find us, on the street, at the hotel, etc. It still amazes, and humbles me that they so value the supplies that we provide. We also get such wonderful and loving support from the whole Wilson family and the many friends of Becky and Mendel. Without them it would be impossible to do this work.

Every morning we load up the van with the boxes of teacher's materials, supplies for the kids, and head to the oven to buy fresh bread (500 pieces). Next we head out and I have no idea where we are going. They tell me which schools we are going to visit that day, some as far as three hours up the mountain. Miraculously we find the schools and they seem to know we are coming. I still don't know how it all happens. In several schools the parents had gathered to thank us for our gifts. The children sing or dance, and the parents and teachers serve a soft drink, some potatoes, or crackers. Sometimes they present us with homemade presents. These people who have so little share what they have with such dignity and pride it makes my heart ache.

This year we gave a box of supplies to each teacher, instead of one to each school. We were hoping that this would eliminate any competition. Also, we recognize that they each desperately need these things, as they often have to buy supplies out of their own meager salaries. We include such items as scissors, glue, rulers, masking tape, 3 kinds of paper, magic markers, colored pencils, pens, story books, puzzles, clay, soap, towel, etc. Of course, the most popular items with the children are still the volley and soccer balls. It still is the only thing they have to play with. Each child receives a plastic bag with notebooks, pencils, erasers and sharpeners.
I still can't believe how excited they are to receive these simple things. This trip we gave to 3,250 children and gave supplies to teachers in 78 different places . In addition, we were able to buy cooking pots and plastic cups for several schools so the teachers and parents can cook something for the children with the few commodities the government provides. Often the families send a few potatoes or yucca to augment what they prepare. One of the preschools had been given a fairly nice building, but there wasn't a thing in it. We contracted with a local carpenter to build desks and chairs, painted in bright colors. We were also able to assist a nun who makes a noon meal for about 120 kids, without any government or agency support, by buying some large quantities of food.

In one remote village the teacher is working to keep the young people participating in their cultural traditions by having the girls knit and the boys play the traditional musical instruments. We were able to assist in this effort by purchasing enough yarn and instruments for the school year.
As always there were some very touching things that happened. One that moved me deeply was when a man approached me and told me that his son had chosen Becky for his godmother. They had waited for my arrival to ask if I would consent to be the godmother in her place. The young boy came to meet me, and I guess I passed as we are scheduled for the big celebration next year. A woman who we buy many supplies from in the market, and who has been very supportive of our work, also asked if I would be the godmother to her only son. When I consented, she also asked if my sister would sponsor her at church so she and the boy's father could get married. We are going to be part of in some meaningful celebrations next year!

We are happy to announce that we have been granted tax-free status, thanks to the hard work of Angela Larson. Michael Prichard is the President of our Board, Alex the Vice-President, Jessica Cannon the Secretary, and I am the Treasurer, but Frank does all the work of keeping us fiscally compliant. The real force behind this project is all of you who make it happen with your incredible generosity!!!!

There are thousands of desperately poor children and parents who thank you with humble gratitude.

Love, Dinny

PS: I want to include a few comments I received from Matt and Dan:

"The teachers we met were some of the most dedicated I have ever known"

"In nearly every political conversation I heard it was mentioned that the Quechuas were being manipulated by politicians. Promises would be made for better living conditions and more prosperity, vague assurances that are rarely followed through on. Education gains a whole new level of importance within this context"

"The gratitude of the children surprised me at each school. At one school there was no teacher, because she had a meeting. Still, the children waited for us most of the day, and when we arrived they sang for us, and a couple of them gave speeches on the school's behalf. These were words of appreciation from children who couldn't have been more that 12 years old"

"I saw poverty in these villages, but I did not see much despair"

"Dan remarked that through this experience he felt like he had gotten to know Becky, and I (Matt) felt the same way. Neither of us had known her, but after spending as little time as two weeks with people who had, I did start to get a sense of what kind of person she was. Her family and her friends had taken a tragic event and built something positive out of it. For her death to inspire others in that way gave me an impression of who she was"

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Becky Fund in

The Becky Fund was recently the feature article in, a magazine for residential real estate associates, and brokers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Upcoming Trip

The next trip to Peru is scheduled for April 11-25, 2008. To volunteer or donate contact us.