Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069

6th January 2011

Rachel Taylor: Initial report

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As I make final preparations for my trip but the whole thing doesnt feel altogether real. Flights are booked, I have got my vaccinations and it is almost time to begin packing but I still cant believe I am about to leave for six months in Peru.

I am going to spend six months volunteering in education and community capacity building with Sandra and Edwar, who have been working in Lima for the past 25 years with a local church. My work will primarily be based in Pachacutec, a shanty town an hour from Lima. This area is built on coastal sand dunes where the government encourages new arrivals in Lima to settle. At present about 50,000 people are living there in basic houses of one simple room without running water.

I will be assisting the childrens work in a church in Pachacutec. At present there are around 70 kids and 20 teenagers coming to meetings held at the church three times a week. Additionally there is a club for the 6 to 11 year old girls on Saturdays, teaching crafts, cookery etc. In addition to helping out with weekly church activities in Pachacutec, I have also been asked to carry out a feasibility assessment of work projects which could be created for mothers in this area. Most of the mothers are single or abandoned. If they find work outside Pachacutec they usually have to leave home around 6am and do not get home until 10pm or later, therefore leaving their children unattended for a large part of the day. Local employment for these women would therefore benefit the children and the mothers, as well as the wider community.

I will also be working in two schools in the capital. At the Jean Calvin De Franc School I will be helping with admin to try to solve management issues they have been having after recent changes in staff and policy. The school, which caters for children aged between 3 and 17 has been running for 18 years and has around 300 pupils. Additionally I will assist with conversational English workshops with the Primary 1 and 2 pupils. Secondly, at The San Andres School, I will be helping with their Economy Programme. Through this programme pupils raise funds to purchase wooden homes for more needy families in Pachacutec.

I am very excited about the experiences that I will have while working in Lima, however also nervous about the fast approaching departure. My biggest fear at present is overcoming the Spanish-English language barrier. I studied Spanish for periods both at Secondary School and University, but after a break of a few years Im feeling a little rusty.

I am very excited for what I will learn over the next six months. I am very thankful for this opportunity to experience a completely new culture and build relationships with those who live in Pachacutec and attend or work at the Jean Calvin De Franc or San Andres School. I hope that through the experiences I have of work, study and travel I can make a tangible difference to their lives.

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