Today is Peru’s Independence Day, Fiestas Patrias. It's a big deal. In any other time, under “normal” circumstances – the entire country is a celebration. A celebration that lasts for days. Its awesome.
Today, however, the country has declared that only July 28th is a holiday. There are strong warnings to shelter-in-place and avoid travel. People are discouraged from holding parties, and the vast majority of people won’t be celebrating beyond their immediate families.
Times are tough enough without having a little celebration. That is why we had a Fiestas Patrias celebration – virtual – for the Casa Girasoles yesterday. It was a chance to celebrate the culture and passion of the boys – and allow them to connect with one another in a fun, safe manner. Through the power of Zoom (how many of us thought Zoom would be so important in our lives and work just 6-months ago?) we set up cameras at the homes in Urubamba and Ica and held friendly competitions for dance and games. We invited a few of our supporters and staff to join and had our own Fiestas Patrias – COVID-style. It was great. Check it out at: Fiestas Patrias Casa Girasoles
Finding time to celebrate and just have fun, that is so important. It is not something that seems to come easy right now. And yet – through all the struggle and strife, really important things are happening. Since we started the Tigre Program for young men aging out of residential and institutional care, in collaboration with the NGO Paths of Hope and Billy and Kate Greenman, we’ve encountered a number of stories worth celebrating – from helping a young man find stability and purpose after leaving prison to coordinating lifesaving medical care for another young person who had fallen through the cracks of societies safety-net. We’re encountering amazing stories after amazing stories. Its really humbling.
Speaking of humbling – a received a note from a staff person the other day. It really touched me. She wrote to say thank you. Thank you for the opportunities that HBI has brought to her life. Thank you for the salary she receives that helps to support her entire family – a family of five people. And thank you for the support she feels in being a part of the HBI family. In all sincerity – it is HBI that benefits so much from our affiliation with her. We are so fortunate to have amazing people committed to this work. Again, its humbling when you think about everything that everyone is doing. It makes me want to celebrate.
So, on this most important day in Perú – please join us in celebrating the country we love, honoring the people who are working so hard to make a difference, and enjoying a pisco sour (or two).
Vive rojo y blanco. Se vive una fiesta en el Perú.
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.