We spent a lot of days these past two weeks in the greenhouse. We were taking cucumber plants down, planting radishes and lettuces, putting strings up that the tomatoes could follow when growing, and beginning to prepare lots of banks that are outside the greenhouse. The tomato strings actually took a surprising amount of time as they were quite fiddly but we powered through and managed to get the job done in a final session on Saturday morning. The banks outside are now ready to be planted on and we have all became quite good at working in the greenhouse.
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On Monday 6th February we visited the mayor of El Refugio, a municipality in Ahuachapán. We learnt from him what policies the council has in regards to women’s rights and how he is helping the local bakery, La Esperanza, which is run by women who live close by in the community. We even managed to get the mayor to give a computer to the bakery so that they can have more accurate finances and plan their marketing strategy. Whilst it might seem like something small, it was one of the women’s priorities for the future when we first came into contact with them.
Every morning, we jump into our moto taxi and are met by our friendly driver Ignacio, but we call him Nacho for short! He takes us to the parish of Acomayo where our partner organisation, Casas de la Salud, is based. It is a small oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of the streets of Ica and is filled with inspirational and extremely hardworking people.
Following an earthquake (of a 6.3 magnitude originating from nearby Ica) and even more recent tremor, some of the community in Villa El Salvador were a little shaken. The Palomino family we are living with told us about the dangers of many of the self-built houses around the area, which may not withstand a strong earthquake should one occur.
Despite their underlying concerns, the locals have kept their spirits high and continue to welcome us into their organisations and provide us with as much as experience as we hope to gain through helping them.
After a slightly disorganised start, our “Fútbol y Fiesta” event quickly kicked off with more than 40 children attending from the various organisations we are working with. Our community event involved youths from MANTHOC, Casas de la Juventud and Vida y Esperanza coming together for a fun afternoon of music, games and cultural exchange. Watch our video of the event:
The children we teach around Villa El Salvador (in Peru) come from a range of backgrounds; some are working children who attend MANTHOC’s open-to-all organisation (read more about MANTHOC in our previous blog), some attend classes at Casa de la Juventud and Vida y Esperanza. Others come and go throughout what is currently their summer holidays.
ICS volunteer Monju Meah reflects on some of the challenges of international development:
Around 60 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created poverty still exists, people are still hungry and are dying from preventable diseases.
Cindy Klose is a former Progressio development worker in Peru who has been working and living in the country for over 7 years. Acting as guest speaker at our Peru volunteer orientation she explained how she has previously worked on environmental issues and climate change.
This week we have been focusing on preparations for our community based children’s centre that we aim to have functioning by the end of our time in Mzimba.
We have noticed that there are a lot of children and youths with nothing to do in the afternoons. The children are finished school by 1pm and many of the youths have completed school but are unable to find employment.
The aim of the children’s centre is to provide children with a safe place to play and learn whilst giving the youths an opportunity to learn new skills by volunteering at the CBCC.
In an article published in the Sunday Telegraph on 12 February 2012, "Gap year holidays that reveal the madness of overseas aid", the writer Andrew Gilligan quoted from the personal blog of Monju Meah, an ICS Progressio volunteer in Peru.