I'm in the Sacred Valley of Cusco. I have joined a group from St. Olaf College. Students, professors and medical and dental professionals. This is the second year that HBI has been invited to act as a consultant to the St. Olaf Outreach Project. We've been invited by a U.S. based NGO, Andean Community Partners, to help act as constructive consultants to their work.
Before leaving for the Sacred Valley, I was back in Lima for a couple of days. One morning I went for a run along the coast. I've done this run many times. It took me past the area of the beach where a group of men having been living - and where we've provided some minor outreach. As I got to the area where the men are usually camping, I was greeted by a whole new experience. Instead of the makeshift shelters and roaming dogs, I was met with a big green grass field.
As I ran further I was met by one of the men we've worked with in the past. I asked him what had happened and where everyone was now living. He told me that the municipality had come through the area and moved them out. He explained that they were now living in an area not too far from their original community - but were very concerned that they were soon going to be pushed further out. He told me they (the men living on the beach and salvaging scrap metal from the ocean) were "moved by the changing tides." I asked him what he meant and he told me "everything is changing and [we] are just getting pushed along - like the sand on the beach."
Everything is changing. This is especially true for parts of Lima. There is so much development. So much middle class impact. This is good news. And, I can't help but wonder what will happen to the people living on the edges of society. The people like my friends living on the beach.
This week I am in one of the most beautiful places in the world. There are ancient ruins around every corner. The snow capped peaks dart their wonderful spires all over. I am working with an incredibly gifted and motivated group of young people. And, all I can think about is what will happen to the people of this world who may not have the power to stand up to the massive changes that are occurring all around them. What will happen to the most vulnerable and underserved? I'm not sure - but I know one thing for certain . . . HBI will be a part of assuring the marginalized are never forgotten.
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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.