Saturday, September 13, 2008

2008 Trip Update

This year we were fortunate to have 6 new members of our group that didn’t know any of us, or exactly what they were going to be doing. They were brave and generous souls who brought diversity, enthusiasm and great energy to our work. The 2 doctors and the nurse added a new medical dimension. They traveled for 3 days with a local medical group on mattresses in the back of an ambulance to some remote villages. The first night the mattresses became their beds, laid side by side on the floor of a community building. As word spread that we had doctors people would line up outside our gate in the evenings. They patiently gave personal attention to every one who came. Unfortunately, most of the treatments requested were a bit beyond what they could take care of in our living room….like brain tumors!
I also want to thank our New Zealand donors whose contributions made up the shortfall in funds caused by the 25% drop in the value of the dollar.

Thank you again from everyone at the Becky Fund for your continued support of our project. As you probably know, I am now dedicating our work to both Becky and Michael.
Mark your calendars!
Our 2009 trip will be April 17 – May 1

With gratitude, Dinny

Thanks to loyal volunteer, Ann Smith, for putting together the 2008 letter.

Becky Fund Newsletter

April 2008

The group that gathered in Peru this year to carry out the Becky Fund work was comprised of Dinny, her sister Christina and brother-in-law Ross from New Zealand, Leonard Jimenez from Las Cruces, old friends Ann Smith (MA) and Melissa Cole (TX), and new friends Arash Babaoff and Drew Schnitt, doctors with Operation Smile, Susan Hoelle, a nurse from Cincinnati, Safari McDoulett (FL), Asha Vida (MI), and Lana Rahme (MI).

We were well supported as usual by the Wilson family in Calca. As in years past, we enjoyed a large main meal cooked each day by Señora Yolanda Wilson. Hernan Wilson accompanied us in our travels and kept records. Ligia and Carlos showed us warm hospitality in Cusco and Urabamaba and facilitated our purchase of supplies. And the entire family welcomed us with open arms and fed us and entertained us.

This year, for a new perspective on the work of the Fund, we would like to offer you some of the comments that first time members of the Escuela Squad wrote after returning home:

“I loved my experience in Peru. The family of Becky and the volunteers who were there are inspiring. It was like going to camp for adults! I still haven't come down from my camp high and I hope I never do! Coming home from this trip has rekindled my desire to seek out living a life with more meaning. Not only do they accomplish a lot for the kids, the group gave us the opportunity to glance through the eyes of others in an intimate way. It is inspiring the same way a smile creates a catchy energy in a room. I'm excited and thankful for a refreshed outlook on what is possible in the world through ordinary (and extraordinary) people. Be inspired and get involved!

Thank you to everyone who supports making this possible.
Escuela Squad Rocks!!!”
Safari McDoulett

It was great working with you and I am really impressed with what you are doing there. The Becky Fund Mission 2008 was all that a volunteer could expect and more. The beauty of the Sacred Valley is an unbelievably beautiful backdrop for the task at hand. I have traveled the world doing humanitarian work and some of the poorest living and nutritional conditions I have seen are in the Sacred Valley. The basic needs of the indigenous people there are poorly met yet the people are incredibly friendly and gracious. The children are so overjoyed to receive much needed school supplies and the teachers may be even happier. Providing health care for the fist time on a Becky Fund Mission was also quite enlightening. There are many health care needs that could be better met in these remote regions with a little more effort and the nutritional and living conditions could be vastly improved with some minimal intervention while preserving the local atmosphere and culture."
Drew Schnitt

“While my initial focus on our drives high into the Andes lining the Sacred Valley of Peru was the myriad of children that the Becky Fund was to serve, it soon changed to the entire community supporting those children. My eyes couldn't help but be riveted on the brightly clad ninos looking like a flock of red cardinals flying to meet us. They were joyful and appreciative. But trailing behind them were always parents, teachers, and others within the community with offerings of handshakes, or sometimes potatoes. Their gratitude shone as brightly as their smiles.
Dinny had brought some rubber tips for walking canes as she had discovered a large need for something more substantial than the rickety tree limbs most elderly or debilitated folks used to support themselves. We searched the city of Cuzco for the wooden dowels for the sticks themselves and then assembled the canes at night. One day after traveling more than three hours to a remote village where the children had to wade across a cold river to reach us we found an old woman who came from the field where she was working to see what the commotion was about. She was bare-footed and lived where the terrain would require a lot of steep climbing. Dinny dug into our stash of donated clothing and shoes to find a pair of flip-flops for the woman. But she seemed to not know how to keep them on her feet. So Dinny and Leonard set about creating a unique way of helping her keep them on with a dash of pizzazz and red ribbon. She beamed with the attention and the shoes. Before heading back to her field she was presented with a pair of rubber-tipped walking sticks to help her balance in the rugged, rocky mountains. I realized then that the Becky Fund not only reaches the children of Peru but the families of those children too.”
Melissa Cole
"I feel so fortunate to have happened upon the Becky Fund Mission this year. Yet it comes as no surprise to me, since I was quickly taken into the fold after being introduced to it by my friend, Melissa Cole, a veteran of this mission in past years, and my divining rod for important causes. I, in turn, had the good fortune to invite friends and loved ones to participate, and before you know it, we really had a remarkable group of people.

I don’t think that I can agree enough with Drew’s assessment of the health care needs of the children of the Sacred Valley. We had the rare opportunity to join in with the local public health care effort, being transported out to the most remote villages. Poverty and nutritional deficiencies are the norm there, and even the smallest of contributions are met with incredible gratitude and serenading. The people touch you with their kind and unassuming nature. The children of the Sacred Valley, like all children, are always ready to play with you, and their joy and enthusiasm just draws you in.

I really look forward to spreading the word about the Becky Fund. Volunteers get such a unique and intimate view of the Sacred Valley, its people, its landscape, its needs. I’m not sure that it’s possible to go on such a mission and not to think back to it or to compare it to future trips taken. It stays with me.

My hat is off to Dinny and her crew. Her incredible dedication has created a model opportunity to touch both the people of the Sacred Valley as well as the volunteers who have the good fortune and initiative to join in."
Arash Babaoff

The trip was wonderful, with all of the excitement of the children and the fun getting to know new friends. We had evenings of celebration, but also some more somber times of remembering Becky and Michael. All of us greatly admire Dinny for carrying their spirits with her to give the gift of learning to the children of the Sacred Valley.

In conclusion, the Becky Fund reached over 4500 students this year with individual and classroom supplies. Each year there is some adjustment to make sure that the supplies are going to the children who need them most. None of this would be possible without your help and support. Thank you from all of us.