A Beautiful Welcome to Peru

October 4, 2010

We met with our hosts to start off this Monday. So let’s start this off the right way—thank you so much to our generous and encouraging hosts, the Food for the Hungry team in Peru!

The staff seemed so grateful for our presence, and our desire to equip Elim’s adults to be a blessing and support to others. But we were all very impressed with the the vision and mission of Food for the Hungry and how the Peru team is specifically engaging that mission.

But what does Elim have to do with Food for the Hungry in Peru? That’s a fair question, and it comes back to Elim HOPE Packs.

One aspect of FH-Peru’s action plan is to address the educational opportunities for children living in poverty, including the community of Los Cipreses. Andrew Crawford, Gift-in-Kind Director for Food for the Hungry, once said that children were in a very difficult spot because poverty prevents them from affording school supplies, and in many cases they cannot get an education (not even allowed to go to school) without school supplies, and they cannot move out of the poverty cycle without an education.

When we asked a few staff how the school packs assembled by our adults really helped children in Los Cipreses, they informed us that school packs help strengthen their bond with the communities they’re serving, convince families to participate in programs, and often convince families that school is worth sending their kids to in the first place.

“In fact,” said one team member, “these school packs are often the difference between sending and not sending their kids to school.”

Following our orientation, we headed up to the community itself for a welcome ceremony. As we drove up, previous Peru visitors commented on progress since last year. There were long stairways where once there had just been steep, rocky terrain. A bumpy dirt path was replaced by a beautifully paved and marked road. And a beautiful new community center stood where before there was nothing. And all this was done in the community, not by some outside group.

In the midst of this progress, our Elim team was welcomed with dancing, singing, and a short skit put on by some youth leaders. We were blessed to see how our Elim HOPE Packs assembly could be a part of positive movement in this community.

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