It's Monday morning and the Team Peru trip is into the final days of the project. A group of volunteers will spend today working on a home improvement in the community of Alto Cayma while another team will help with activities in the programs of Father Alex.
Saturday was a full day of outreach and we were all exhausted. We spent the day pouring a foundation for a home improvement in a settlement community called Mujeres de Esperanza (Women of Hope). The community is a part of Father Alex's parish and includes some 30,000 people. Many of the people living in Mujeres de Esperanza are building new lives for themselves. They are working and saving - they are steadily putting the pieces together for a more solid future.
Some of the people living in Mujeres de Esperanza are stuck in extreme poverty. For these people - Father Alex has started a Solidarity Project. It is a program that is facilitated by a social worker and helps to find resources (including money) to support people with their most critical needs. It is a "bridge program" that serves people by filling a gap or addressing a challenge - so they can move into a new place in their lives.
Many of the people who are receiving support are single mothers who are struggling to find the resources to care for their families. One such person was the woman who's home we built an extra room. She is a single mother and has little resources. The extra room (she will soon have a two room house) will provide needed space for her children to sleep and play.
In addition to the home improvement project, the team participated in community "house visits" with the social worker from Father Alex's parish. In groups of 5, they visited homes and talked with people about their needs and ways the Solidarity Project can help. The home visits are for many volunteers the highlight of their time in Arequipa.
There are a few days left in the Team Peru trip - but the experiences the volunteers have in their time with HBI will surely stay with them for the remainder of their lives.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.