Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Follow up on Peru

As many of you know, when I was completing my degree at Utah State, I worked at an intern in Peru. I lived in a little town of Puylucana outside of Cajamarca, Peru. I worked with other girls in the elementary in this small town. We taught computer and English classes to the students. After school all the kids came over and we would provide them with food and tutoring. We organized field trips and provided them with information on specific careers and educational opportunities. This included trips to the Military Base, a Hospital, and near by colleges and technical institutions. These were all kids from poor families who had a hard time to even provide enough food to feed their children.

I can't even begin to describe all of the amazing acts of service I witnessed while I was there. For instance, the man in this picture with us, Ivan, used to buy barrels of fruit and chicken and drop them by to give the children a better balanced diet. He also donated money for cakes, candy, toys, decorations and everything we needed so that we could throw the children a birthday party. Something each one of them absolutely loved and cherished. And something none of them ever had. These acts of kindness completely melted my heart and I really learned to appreciate all that I have, and all that people do for me.

One of the girls that came with her family to the "after-school program" so to speak was named Alida. I think that for me, she was one of the most inspiring people I met while I was in Peru. At the time, Alida was 15 and raising her 5 younger siblings while her mother worked to try to earn money for the family. Alida came from a rough childhood and did her best to give her siblings everything they deserved. She was also working at a local restaurant after schools to try to save some money to go to college. She was so hard working and never complained about a thing. I remember one night we visited her home and found out they all shared a wood bed, off the ground to keep away from the bugs, with nothing else for comfort. We went to town later and purchases blankets and donated mattresses to the family. Alida also had had eye surgery several years back to remove a mass forming in her eye. With no money, she was never able to follow up, get glasses, or receive proper treatment for her vision. We were finally able to get money from donors to get her to a doctor and to buy her a pair of glasses. This girl was so hard working, beautiful and inspiring. She was the definition of perseverance, dedication and love.
Well, this past week as I was reading about the inters in Peru now, and the work they are doing, I came across this post about Alida. I was in tears and so incredibly excited as I read about her and the great things she is accomplishing. At 17 now, Alida has started taking prep classes to be able to attend the University in Cajamarca. She will be the youngest girl there, and plans to obtain a degree in Civil Engineering. I am so thrilled with this girl. She deserves the world, and an education is a start.

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