Showing posts from 2011

Solidarity Tour 2011 to Peru: Below are posts from our last Tour

GRATITUDE The Sisters of the Good Shepherd (our PINIFE site) live and work in El Pino - in a slum area that reaches up along and over the hillside in Lima, in the District of San Luis. Our first day visiting our PINIFE site, we were 3 hours late arriving (due to low fog at the Cusco airport). We got off our bus a the base of the hill and crossed a few busy streets. Pedestrians do not have the right of way here, but our fearless young leaders from the site stopped traffic for us when needed. Once across, we looked up near the top to see white and red splashes of colour here and there. As we mounted the hill, we were greeted by streets lined with red and white balloons, dozens of posters welcoming us, and beautiful faces smiling :) and welcoming us. Even though were were THREE hours late, they were still waiting to greet us! And what a welcome it was - it was organized entirely by the community, and the sisters were just as surprised, saying they have never before seen such a

Cuzco - the capital city of the Quechua (Incas)

We have arrived in Cuzco - the capital city of the Incas - who we learned are more properly called the Quechua. This is the Cathedral of Cuzco - we had a tour of it later, but first went to Mass at the Jesuit Church of the Compania de Jesus. Sundays in Cuzco, our tour guide Denis told us, are a family day. There are parades, lots of visiting, and the shops are closed (!). There are, however, lots of vendors about. They introduce themselves to you and if you say, "no, gracias" they ask you, "maybe later? My name is Kevin, find me later." Here's Cuzco from the top view - taken on our tour of Sacsayhuaman, which means "speckled falcon" (according to Sehne's tourist book), but our tour guide let us in on the joke calling it "sexy woman" (which I later saw on t-shirts). Machu Picchu, from the top. "Old Mountain". Stunning! Next to Cuzco, the most important place for the Quechua - paths from here lead to the Amazon, Cu

Hello from Fernando, Jenny & their ducks

It's so much fun to share our technology with these little ones. Fernando also learned how to make his own video with our Flip. TOO MUCH FUN! I told him it would be put up on the internet - here it is :) This is filmed in their backyard.

Visiting Fernando and Jenny!

Today I also got to visit my family's sponsor child, Fernando, and his 'madre' Jenny. We greeted each other with Ola's and kisses - and a little uncertainty, as none of us knew exactly how to 'be' in this moment. But we soon settled in (easier to do in a culture where you begin meeting with a kiss!). A cab picked us up from the orphanage and drove us to their home - it was a full ride: 11 of us in the car! This included Fr. Duncan (who was visiting his parish's sponsor child), two interpreters (one for each of us), Jenny and Fernando, 3 other girls I who were along for the ride (and on the way back asked if I would speak French for them, parce que je viends de Canada!), a lady involved in the site (forgive me, I forget her name - so many names!) and the driver besides. It was a short ride (maybe 10 minutes? I was having too much fun to pay attention to the time), and then we were dropped off at Jenny and Fernando's house. There was a small shop


We visited our Canete site today - only one day here, but it was a full and beautiful one. We visited one of our subsites in Canete, the Orphanage of Ste Ann (for girls). It is run by the same sisters that are hosting us in Lima at the retreat centre. I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but I was surprised to see it, a beautiful haven from the poverty - which you can see right outside the window. Below is the courtyard of the orphanage. The classrooms are what you see behind the children, who are welcoming us with their homemade Canadian flags. Some of them are really cute - the maple leaves look almost like palm trees :) Behind me as I took the photo were the rooms where they sleep - there are about 8 girls to a room. We had more celebrations and time to play with the children, and dance of course! I even got to play a little game of charades with a small group who were waiting to start the art class with Holly - we really had fun! I've even learned a few

Foto? Foto!

It is really fun having a camera here - almost everyone loves to have their photo taken - and then to see it on the screen :) I only recently trasitioned from my old film camera to a digital one, and it has brought so much joy to my new friends, I am so happy I did! These girls saw me taking photos of the other children and asked me to take their photo too - check out their posing! It made me laugh to see them, presenting themselves to whoever they imagined my camera's photos would reach :) Shortly after (as I'd already been taking portraits of quite a few little ones), this sweet lady on the left asked me shyly if I would take her photo too! Her friends where on the side, watching her - to see what I would say. Again, I was laughing with them, and asked them to come over - this lady on the right was brave enough to join her.

Today's Projects

Agenda for Wednesday included: - Visiting nutrition programmes, cooking alongside the mothers of our sponsored children - Dental services - Physiotherapy services - Visit to the classrooms of local schools (public and private) - Painting the houses of two sponsor families - Playing soccer with the children - Craft workshops with mothers of the children AND Art Workshops with Holly Carr ( In the morning Holly put on a workshop with the teachers, and in the afternoon a workshop for the children. As the children told her a story, she depicted it by painting on silk - and then the children painted in all the colours!

Welcome to Chalice from our sites in Chiclayo

Today was overwhelmingly joyful. When I close my eyes, I see all the faces of the children we saw today: crowding around us, reaching for a hug, smiling with such excitement in their eyes, singing, dancing... I have been filled up to the brim and then overflowing with so much love! Each time we are welcomed, there is such a spirit of gratitude in the hearts surrounding us. Here's a glimpse of the welcome we received this morning: In the afternoon it was an even bigger welcome: a colourful tents were set up, there was a band playing, families gathered around clapping their hands and inviting us to dance with them - one sponsor commented, "It was a real royal welcome!" And all of this, in the midst of poverty. The small community is made up of one-room houses, built from mud and fibres, and surrounded by a 'playground' of dirt, rocks and dust - blowing in my eyes. As we celebrated in the tents, I forgot where I w

Travel from Lima to Chiclayo

On our bus ride from the Sisters' in Lima to the airport, we passed by these homes. Maria, our tour guide (who lives 6 mos in Peru and 6 mos in Ottawa) explained that although these people are poor, they are not the poorest - outside of the city the homes are not this nice... Everyone is so welcoming here - hugging, smiling with their eyes and their hearts - and FEEDING you! Each time we eat, we wonder if it could possibly be time to eat again. Part of it may be the heat - takes away your apetite? Before we left Lima yesterday we ate at this beautiful restaurant that is run by Camelite sisters. Their work is the service they provide through their restaurant. Also, the money they earn is used to help the poor. One way they do this is through a daily ministry; every day at dinner time they serve those who come from the streets. Their food was delicious (papaya juice was my a smoothie), and their service very sweet.

First Stop: Srs of Ste Ann Retreat Ctr

Hi from Lima, Peru! We are staying with the Srs of Ste Ann - at their retreat centre. It is very hot! And humid! And they are very welcoming! "And nice!" - David Kindley, age 9, companion on Solidarity Tour :) We arrived late last night, about midnight the sisters fed us a full course meal! Soup ("with noodles shaped like faces!" -David), fruit ("I liked the one full of seeds that nobody knew what it was" -David), sausages (European weiners, I thought they were), green beans and BOTTLED water. Before we went to bed, we found out that our alarm system is made up of 2 peruvian guard dogs - so we should stay in our rooms until the security guart comes in the morning to tie them up again. Yikes! Today we are sorting out all the stuff we brought for our sponsor sites - I took a really great video, then a really great much _shorter_ video ...and they are all too large to upload here on this internet. Maybe you will see them "some day" - D

Hello from the Chalice Finance Office...

11 years ago, my high school chemistry teacher asked me what I wanted to do when I graduated. I said I wanted to work overseas. He said, "Go to university, develop your skills, and then go." 11 months ago, I started working for Chalice, a Catholic Sponsorship Programme. For the first time in my life, I am travelling overseas to do mission work. One mission. Two weeks. Three sponsor sites. Here we come!