Peru’s north coast is sunny and hot this time of year. Flocks of tourists travel here from Lima to vacation on the northern beaches. Six students from our group traveled here to volunteer their time at a local church, a center for disabled children and a relatively unknown natural area.
Grace and Hannah are living in the city of Piura and volunteering at a Mennonite Brethren Church called Iglesia Comunidad Familiar de Adoracion (Family Community Church of Worship). They teach English to community members, accompany the pastor on home visits and assist with youth and other programs.
Allison and Chelsea live an hour away in the small city of Chulucanas. They volunteer at Rehabilitacion Basada en la Comunidad (Community-Based Rehabilitation, or RBC), a faith-based center for children and adults. They have learned the basics of physical therapy and assist the staff who provide treatment for people suffering from cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities.
Abbie and Kristina are located farther north, near the Ecuador border, in the city of Tumbes. They are volunteering for Mecanismos de Desarollo Alternos (Alternative Development Mechanisms, or MDA), an organization founded with the help of MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates) of North America. MDA is contracted with the Peruvian national park system to manage Los Manglares (the Mangroves) National Sanctuary, promoting ecotourism and sustainable fishing practices. Abbie is designing a book with photos and text showcasing the mangrove sanctuary and the work of the organization while Kristina writes a marketing plan to attract international visitors.