Woke up to a lovely group message from Mayra Bazan (a member of the SIA team since 2009 and a lover of everything Peru).

“Hey something about Peru!

Well as this group is called “Team Perú”, i decided to put a little bit of Perú in here. I’m not sure if you heard about “El señor de los Milagros”(Lord of Miracles) or “Cristo Moreno” (Black Christ) (.. sounds weird to call him on english). He is very important for peruvians all around the world, people here is very devoted to him. This paint is call “Black Christ”, cause it was painted by an african slave. All the slaves were gather by the spaniols to learn about Jesus, but this image was always someone who wasn’t even close to look like them. So one of the slaves painted an adobe wall, very simply, a black Jesus someone they could be identify with. This wall after very strong earthquakes didn’t fall, and authorities in the past tryed to removed, but they couldn’t, cause every time someone got close, the colors would come alive. The are uncountable miracles this Christ have done for peruvians so the image was moved to Lima down town. This entire month people go on processions walking and praying beside him, he gives us a lot of strength!”

black crist

Also, we peruvians never forget about food, so as part of an African-Peruvian culture, black people create this amazing dessert to represent the wall!… this is a magical kind of hard cake with honey and tons of caramel!! we also get this the entire month… well i do! and wear purple clothing to represent our devotion as well!


Keep sharing the beauty of your country with us Mayra ! Viva el Peru!

-Mansi Parasher

We Want Peace

“The worst people on earth are not only those who commit evil, but those who stand by and turn a blind eye.” – Emmanuel Jal.

Friday night, I got to listen to Emmanuel Jal speak at the Laurier Waterloo campus. His message was simple; let there be peace. He spoke about his experience as a war child. He shared his stories from the lowest times of his life. “I looked at my friend thinking….I am going to eat you tomorrow.” Imagine being in a state where hunger takes over any moral thoughts in your mind? When he got rescued from his life, someone offered to give him the gift of education. Till this day, he shows great love for that person. After being educated, he sought a life in music. As a musician he spreads his word of love and peace, also directing many campaigns and causes that allow children in Africa to have opportunities like he was able to have.

I couldn’t recap his story even if I wanted to, I believe his book “War child” explains it all. But there were great thoughts going around that day. It was really inspiring to see his positivity. Sometimes we like hearing horrible stories from others just to appreciate our own story. Weird how that works, right?

He asked the audience one simple question. “What is our biggest struggle in life?

After a few answers, which he mentioned were all right, but were not 110%…..someone said EDUCATION. The purpose of his being right now is so try and educate as many people as possible. As Alex carson interpreted it, “He basically meant, go get educated first, so that you can do whatever you do, that much better.” There is a reason people say, education is power. He said it is a struggle because a LOT of people don’t get the same opportunities. Everyone SHOULD have a right to learn….

A lot of people go through hardships, some worse than others. But at the moment, sadness or negativity takes over our lives. It is important to see the tomorrow, and plan on how you can make it better. Emmanuel never gave up. You can easily stick to a certain mood and feel sorry for yourself. But you really have to think about benefits…will that benefit you? No.

Life is too short to behave like a person you wouldn’t want to be remembered as.

Thank you Emmanuel Jal, for emphasizing positivity in this world. His music may also speak to some of you. 

(Left to right), Me, Emmanuel, Steve, Alex and Dammee
(Left to right), Me, Emmanuel, Steve, Alex and Dammee

Check this out:

-Mansi Parasher

Unimportant blog?

“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.”

When someone refuses to associate with a “type” of person, simply because they are different. They are different because we don’t know anything about them. They are different because we refuse to learn about them. They are different because they look different. Doesn’t it all sound so silly? THAT to me, is a high form of ignorance.

Growing up in India, there have been a lot of things emphasized in my life, that I now find….utterly unimportant.

Unimportant thing number 1: Class system.

“You have to act like a certain class, and associate with people who are of the same level.” Of course anyone with a heart reading this knows how unreasonable that sounds. If we spend so much time judging people, how will be have time to love them? I do understand that there is a huge gap between certain people. Financial status does not define your success. I understand, in reality, you do need some kind of financial stability to help someone less fortunate. But you CAN NOT help someone until you respect them first, treat them as an equal and allow yourself to grow WITH them.

Unimportant thing number 2:You have to be the best.

You DON’T have to be the best. You should be great at what you do, you should be humble in what you do and the only competition that should worry you… is your former self. Be better than yesterday, but don’t compare yourself to someone else. For if a fish was to be tested on it’s abilities to climb a tree, it would spend it’s entire life believing it’s a failure. (I forget who said that quote but its a good one)

Unimportant thing number 3: “What are other’s going to think?”

One of the biggest things i’ve learnt while “travelling” (I still have a whole lot of the world to see) is that, at the end of the day, you HAVE to do things for yourself. You can kid yourself and live up to an “image” that others believe in, but it will eventually catch up to you. There is nothing better than doing something that makes YOU happy. As positive as i’d like to be about the world, there are a LOT of people who will talk about your failures constantly but never recognize your achievements. So you have to wake up one day and decide….what matters more? Listening to your heart or listening to another’s?

One of the best “Yes’s” I said, was my yes to Peru. Yes, to emerging myself into the culture. Yes, to the love I gave and got in return. Yes, to beginning friendships. Yes, to “I’ll return.” and YES I will keep my arms open for any opportunities that come my way.


I’ve got some beautiful updates from Pacifico, sent to me from Diego. YES i’ll post the pictures and YES you’ll love them. (Pictures from Youth in Action and the day care.)IMG_8062 IMG_8065 IMG_8066 IMG_8069 IMG_8071 IMG_8074 IMG_8075 IMG_8077 IMG_8078 IMG_8079

-Mansi Parasher

Future Leaders

We had our very first trip leader meeting, and it was awesome to hear everything that has been going on, and what the near future holds for all of us!

Congratulations to Jamila, Roxanne, Lauren and Breanne for being trip leaders for next year! This will give us all a chance to introduce a beautiful opportunity to other people. All you ladies bring in your own unique feature into SIA and I am so looking forward to sharing ideas with all of you. 🙂

missing Rox and Jamila

I guess this will be a good time to share some advice from our past trip leaders. This might help our new trip leaders, or just people in general. To be a leader is a life skill 🙂

As much as you can prepare, remember that not everything will go according to plan. Stay confident, stay positive, smile, and know it will all work out. These moments offer us the greatest type of learning we could ask for.Julie Ingriselli 

Embrace your fears and believe in yourself. Trip leading can seem like an overwhelming responsibility at times, but can be so rewarding if you let the experience challenge you.
Be calm, be patient, and be optimistic. Tell yourself ahead of time that there will be things that you can’t control – and that’s okay. You’ll roll with the punches and everything will eventually fall into place.Avantika Mathur

It is a totally difference experience transitioning from the role of a participant to that of a Program Leader and I believe that the 2014 Program Leaders will make the transition into their new role seamlessly. They have demonstrated strong leadership skills and shown their passion for Pacifico de Villa and SIA in so many ways – I encourage them to remember that they have been selected for a reason and to use their prior experiences in the community to guide their decisions prior to and during their programs in Peru. SIA has an incredible team of talented individuals both in Canada and Peru that are excited to work alongside this group developing the upcoming programs. Natalee Freeborn

Being a program leader is about finding a balance: a balance between challenging your participants and making them feel comfortable; keeping to the schedule and being flexible; sticking to your ways and being open-minded; and of following your head and following your heart. If you can find a natural balance between each of those, you will be a successful and effective leader – Heather Law

My advice would be to always smile and have patience. Sometimes it can be challenging to meet everyones needs and that can be stressful. But just stay positive and do your best.Nabila Kanji

You can check out more information on how to apply!

-Mansi Parasher


I sat through a lecture by James Orbinski, the other night with Larry Shuttleworth and Alex Carson. He spoke about the issue of global health and equity as a principle, which is an imperfect project. Even though the lecture itself was excellently presented and pleasant to listen to, he made a lot of remarks that stood out to me.

At one point he asked “Why are humans crossing these boundaries?” He was speaking about the carelessness we show towards the value of another human beings. Why is it that things like Genocide, or even violence in general, take place? Why are thousands of people killed everyday in this world? Why are we not giving to the ones who are in need? The fact is, and unfortunately always will be, that a LOT of people go to bed hungry every night, a LOT of people suffer from illnesses and a LOT of people live in horrible conditions. We either accept it , or we try and change it.

He also mentioned, “You can’t change the world…but you can participate.” It is so true….we can’t just set out thinking we are going to change the world, because that is just going to leave us disappointed when things don’t go as planned. This does NOT mean that you cannot be a part of a change. I think it is important for all of us to realize, that once an action has been started…thats one step closer and better than what it was before. So keep going…. keep doing what you’re doing…you’ve taken off.

If you see something that is against the natural beauty of being a human being….help change it. And I am talking about things like disrespect, hate, violence, fraud, injustice, and even depression. All these things to me, are against the BEAUTY of being a human being.

It is true beauty when people take their own time to GIVE. It is true beauty when you see someone smiling for no reason. It is also true beauty when someone puts a stop to something unpleasant. All these things remind me of how beautiful people are.

Being considerate should be a practice. We should wake up each day and practice the act of being considerate to others. Just think about that one for a while. When is the last time you put yourself in someone else’s shoes …. while being angry or frustrated? It is easier to do it when you’re pleasant and happy, but being compassionate during emotional stricken situations becomes a task. Inspirational-Wallpapers-With-Quotes11

Don’t let the small worries of your life reflect on the message you want to give to the world.

“Life is lived foreword and understood in retrospect.” Ever thought of your past and all the hardships you had to face at some point? Now you understand what it did to you, why it happened, and what you learned from it.

And look at you now 🙂

-Mansi Parasher