Corinna – villager turned community leader in Ica, Peru

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Children in nursery school near Inca, Peru
Children in nursery school near Inca, Peru

On May 04, 2010 we traveled with Karla Schaefer, one of the Directors of Tierra y Ser, a non-profit in Peru, to a preschool built by Tierra y Ser on the outskirts of the town of Ica, which is a few hours south of Lima.  The school is for children ages 6 months to 5 years and it’s a wonderful place.

The school had smooth cement floors, nicely decorated walls, tables and chairs, toys and educational materials, and served good food to the children for breakfast and lunch.  We sat on the floor with the kids and sung songs. They were learning their numbers and seemed very happy and enthusiastic.

The “village”poor housing made of woven grass in a village near Ica, Peru

Then we left the school to walk around the village.  I say “village” because I don’t really know what else to call the area where the children live with their parents.  It was literally a sand dune that was covered with grass, wood or brick shacks.  Many of the shacks had once been homes of better construction, but the earthquake in August 2007 destroyed most of them.  Now a large number of the homes are built from 5′ by 7′ sheets of woven grass.  The roofs are made of tarps with woven grass on top. Karla explained that many families have lived there for generations and don’t know any other way of living.  There may be opportunities to live a better life, but if you don’t see an opportunity, or if you don’t know how to take advantage of it, then to you, it does not really exist.  I know that people’s perceptions are their reality, but this is the first time I have seen such dramatic effects of that first hand.

housing in a poor village near Ica, Peru

Tierra y Ser is working with the residents to try to teach a better way of living and show that there are opportunities to live better.  Most residents lack confidence that they are capable of doing new things.  Karla pointed out the neat row of white rocks forming a rectangle outside of most of the homes and the small tree that each family has planted.  She explained that they encouraged those tinges as small steps toward making people want and appreciate an orderly life.

Meeting Corinna

Woman (Corinna) shows of her home in a poor village near Ica, Peru

Karla led us up a hill of loose, very hot sand, which we climbed with some difficulty to the home of Corinna, who greeted Karla with much excitement and warmth.  Karla explained that Corinna was a model citizen of the community and had the best garden.  She was even helping others to care for their gardens.  Corinna beamed at this praise and proudly showed us her little plants and told us about each one.

Corinna talked about her garden and told us how much more delicious the food is when you grow it yourself.  She likes helping others because it makes her feel more confident about the future of the community and her own future.  She hopes to have a larger garden next year and to to help even more of her neighbors.

We are working to provide some resources for people in communities like Corinna’s to help themselves.  Please see Community Kitchen project in Ica, Peru.

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Posted on: June 15, 2010 | Categories: People We Have Met, Peru, Poverty, Tierra y Ser

 


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