“Life is about work, if you don`t work then there is nothing.”

On Sunday, following the community church service, Javier and I made our way up the Pacifico de Villa hill to meet with the new president, Hernan Caceres of Pacifico de Villa. As we passed the soccer field we noticed that crowds had surrounded the field to watch a soccer game. On Sunday, during the warmer months, the community organizes their campeonato, or soccer league. Men from each of the sectors in Pacifico play against one another in hopes of winning the Pacifico de Villa cup. The crowds must have amounted to upwards of 100 people. We watched briefly. The game was intense and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Following a brief stop, we made our way towards one of the highest points in Pacifico. On our way we came across the new president, unable to speak with us at the time, Javier and I decided to continue to make our way up the hill, to the home of Jose Ramirez. As we approached the home we could hear the sound of hammers banging and constant chatter. We approached Jose’s home to find Jose and Florentino leaning on a wooden beam, while banging in another. Jose Ramirez)has been assisting us with our groups since 2011. Florentino Pizarro, is the leader of one of the sectors in Pacifico de Villa, and the president of the Local Educativo (“Education Centre”). Florentino was the first person Javier met when he arrived to Pacifico de Villa in 2011. Jose and Florentino are very good friends.

It was a Sunday and Florentino had come to help Jose with building an extension to his home. The wooden beam that they were both leaning on was one of the support beams for the new wall and roof. Although a simple extension, it is impressive all the same, as it will double the square footage of Jose’s home.  Florentino and Jose were engrossed in conversation discussing how they would finish up the final beam, and discussing the next step. They both showed no interest in the excitement taking place at the community soccer fields. Jose and Florentino were focussed on one thing, making improvements to Jose’s home, taking one more step towards a better future for his family. The picture provided a stark contrast to the soccer game taking place at the bottom of the community.

We spent some time speaking with Jose and Florentino. Now well past midday, we knew that we would not be able to stay long. Florentino would have to head home shortly; he would have to be at work by 6pm. Florentino works the night shift as a security guard in Chorrillos. Jose would have to finish up early and get some rest in order to wake up in time for work. Jose works by the airport it is 2.5h hours away from his home by transit. On Mondays, he wakes up at 4:00am to get to work at 7pm. Due to the distance Jose does not return home during the week, leaving his wife to look after his three young children.

We had time to share a delicious Peruvian dish (Cebiche/ Ceviche), freshly ccooked by Jose’s wife. Once we had finished our meal we made our way back down the hill.

As we made our way down the hill, I remembered a phrase that, Jose Carlos, my first taxi driver of this trip, shared with me in passing:

“Life is about work, if you don’t work then there is nothing.”

Jose and Florentino used their Sunday to work, unconcerned by the soccer game taking place lower down in Pacifico, the two were focussed on improving their lives.

On our way down the hill we had a nice surprise as we ran into Isabel (an integral member of the Youth in Action program and one of the members who shared her testimony with our 2012 August group) and Stefanie, a young girl who we have seen grown since 2011 and Thalia (Thalia has charmed a number of her groups with her wonderful Marinera dancing).

Thalia has been taking dance classes and she was the inspiration to the creation of the Thalia Fund. I promised Thalia that I would visit her at the dancing studio on Tuesday evening!

L Shuttleworth

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Me, Jose Ramirez and Florentino sit in the future entrance hall of Jose’s home, enjoying the freshly cooked ceviche dish.

 

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Getting ready for 2013

Dear SIA community,

As we look at our number of blog views we are continually reminded of the interest that is shown by the SIA community regarding our attempt to motivate and empower through our international development work. As I head to South America for a number of months, we have been given an opportunity to share with you all the developments that take place and the many lessons that the SIA Peru team, the SIA leaders and our wonderful volunteers will learn. It is my hope that over the next few months we will be able to provide you with an accurate depiction of our work through Developing Together. We hope to provide you with stories written both by and about our local SIA team, Canadian volunteers, the local residents, and the many other highlights that we experience. We hope that this forum will provide you with the insight outlining this enriching and worthwhile experience that we are fortunate to embark on every day.

We look forward to sharing the next few months with you and we hope that we will see you in South America one of these days!

We have had trouble with the internet at the retreat house the past few days, and so I leave you with a well-known photo from 2012.

L Shuttleworth

–          Building a community of inspired and motivated individuals… Developing Together

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Eric poses with Ruth (far right) and her friends during the SIA program in May 2012.

An update in photos: The community of Ascencion del Senor, Guayaquil Ecuador

A few thoughts from Pico Abel, following a visit to the community in Mount Sinai on Sunday February 24.

Pico is the SIA driver and an integral member of the SIA team in Ecuador. Pico describes the community’s desire to continue to improve.

“The community continues to make use of the centre, meeting on a weekly basis.”

“Having completed the first floor of the community centre, the community is raising money through raffles and bingo events to fund the construction of a second floor.”

“[The community feels] great appreciation for the work [of Solidarity in Action], expressing warm appreciation and affection for [all Canadians]”

L Shuttleworth

An update in photos: SIA’s work in Pacifico de Villa (Lima, Peru)

PARQUE JOVENES EN ACCION (YOUTH IN ACTION PARK)

In December, the Rotary Club of Lima Sunrise joined the Central Executive from Pacifico de Villa and SIA to install a new playground toy. The park was initially developed with the support of SIA volunteers and children and youth, who participated in a leadership program during August (Youth in Action).
In December, the Rotary Club of Lima Sunrise joined the Central Executive from Pacifico de Villa and SIA to install a new jungle gym. The park was initially developed with the support of SIA volunteers and children and youth, who participated in a leadership program during August 2012 (Youth in Action).
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Members of the Rotary Club of Lima Sunrise and community residents make final adjustments to the new jungle gym. (Pacifico de Villa – December 2012)

NAVIDAD EN PACIFICO DE VILLA 2012 (CHRISTMAS IN PACIFICO DE VILLA)

“De esta forma se concluyó de manera satisfactoria la navidad en pacifico de villa, donde se puede rescatar que el esfuerzo mancomunado entre gente que quiere ayudar y solidarizarse con su prójimo llega a ser un éxito por la alegría de los niños y la satisfacción de los adultos por ayudar y establecer vínculos de solidaridad que el propósito de SIA PERU.” – Javier Bazan (SIA Regional Manager-Peru)

“Christmas in Pacifico de Villa reinforced the strength between people that want to help to build solidarity with their fellow man; helping to create joy and satisfaction for the children and helping to establish links of solidarity, for the adults, which is the proposition of Solidarity in Action in Peru.” – Javier Bazan (SIA Regional Manager-Peru)

Volunteers from a local Rotaract Club, students from Cristo Rey School, and the SIA Peru volunteers, celebrate Christmas alongside the residents in Pacifio de Villa. An estimated 230 children participated in the celebration.
Volunteers from a local Rotaract Club, students from Cristo Rey School, and the SIA Peru volunteers, celebrate Christmas alongside the residents in Pacifio de Villa. An estimated 230 children participated in the celebration.

PROYECTO JÓVENES EN ACCION (YOUTH IN ACTION)

The Youth in Action program was developed to provide an environment that allowed children from Pacifico de Villa to interact with children their own age, and to explore their skills. The program took place on Saturday and Sunday from September to December. The children participated in activities in theatre, singing and other workshops.

The Youth in Action program was developed based on the need to provide an environment, which allowed the children to share with other children their own age, and to explore their skills. The program took place on Saturday and Sunday from September to December, and children engaged in theatre, singing and other workshops. The project concluded with the children performing a song, during the Christmas celebration.
The participants performed songs during the Christmas celebration in Pacifico de Villa.

PROYECTO GRUPO DE TEJIDO (THE SEWING INITIATIVE)

The Sewing Initiative began in July 2012, when one woman from Pacifico de Villa, began teaching other women from the community how to sew. The group has grown and consists of women from different backgrounds. The women meet every week to practice sewing.

The sewing and weaving initiative began in July 2012, when one woman from Pacifico de Villa, wanted to teach the other women how to sew. The group has since grown and it now consists of women from different backgrounds, who built friendships. The program helps relieve the daily rigours of life.
The program helps relieve the daily rigours of life and helps the ladies to build relationships.
Having established a strong and united group, the women are looking to progress to the next stage; to make the workshop a avenue that will allow the women to generate income and to introduce their product to the market.
Having established a strong and united group, the women are looking to generate income and to introduce their product to the market.
One of the ladies stands proudly with her newly completed work.
One of the ladies stands proudly with her newly completed sweater.

For more information stay in touch.

Twitter:@VolunteerSIA
Facebook:Solidarity in Action Inc
LinkedIn:Solidarity in Action Inc

Programs to engage participants and instigate sustainable change: SIA Programs 2013

This summer, SIA witnessed determined volunteers, who brought their skills, passion and care to the SIA program in Peru and Ecuador. Our volunteers engaged with the community and with the development of our volunteers, our leaders, and the progress of SIA Peru, we have received an increase in support from individual community members. We have more people who are involved in the SIA program in Peru, Ecuador and in Canada. This year we will build on the success, by developing sustainable programs, which continue to use the initiative of the community members and of our talented North American volunteers.

During the summer, 90 volunteers and their leaders were allowed to contribute their skills to our international projects. The volunteers helped with infrastructure, health, education, social projects and many more. The volunteers were empowered by the experience, whether it was leading a community needs assessment, helping to design a bathroom, speaking with the women from the community or developing a youth day program.

On September 4th, we launched the 2013 SIA program schedule. This year’s programs will include the continuation of the youth programming in Pacifico de Villa. We will develop English programs that help improve the speaking skills of students in public schools and in the communities, both Pacifico de Villa and Monte Sinai. SIA will also continue to improve the access to health within Lima, through the Pacifico de Villa health promoters and in Guayaquil, through the support of the Mariana de Jesus Foundation’s Jose Obrero Clinic. In Peru, SIA is looking to improve the access to clean water in Pacifico de Villa.

During the summer, our volunteers shared with us their desire to be even better prepared for SIA programs, as they felt that they could have contributed even more to the program! This year we would like to help each of our participants feel prepared to contribute to the program, prior to and during their program.

The current, future, and past SIA participants are all invited to become involved with the SIA program prior to traveling to South America. Participants will be able to meet with their program leaders, other participants and with South American staff members, to help prepare for their experience, to allow them to better contribute their knowledge and skills during the program.

The programs rely on well prepared volunteers, who are willing to contribute their skills, whether it be skills learned through a university, or as a result of skills learned through job experience.

With many wonderful opportunities available, we invite all interested volunteers to connect with us and to determine the ways in which they can become part of this solidarity experience.

Let us know how you want to become involved!