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Helping hands in Peru

Posted on November 22 2007 at 1:48:27

Yvette, Ellis and Zoe

St Laurence Church, Alvechurch, has been supporting San Lucas School in Arequipa, Peru, for many years. Teenagers Yvette and Zoe Brakes were among a group from the church to visit Alejandro Mesco and his mission recently to provide some practical help.

A group of 11 travelled the 14 hours to the south of Peru. Our aim was to get special organisations such as Alejandro Mesco’s mission noticed and to help the schools in any way we could.

With us we took new ideas of how to engage the children and help to expand Alejandro’s church.

Our first port of call was Arequipa. We arrived to a warm and wonderful welcome and met some amazing people, namely Juan Carlos, Alejandro, Manuel, and Vicki, who is a volunteer from Texas. These great people were with us much of the time we were in Peru.

Our work in Arequipa consisted of helping in San Lucas School. We took games and arts and crafts with us. In the time we were there the children all completed a square to contribute to a quilt which would hang in their school reminding them of the link between San Lucas and St Laurence.

The children made the visit completely worthwhile as they welcomed us and we all became very attached.

San Lucas enables the poorer community to give their children a good education. A lot of the children who attend San Lucas live at the “Casa” children’s home which we visited. It was very moving and something we’ll never forget.

 The success of the school is down to Alejandro’s ability and drive to set it up and Manuel’s abilities to keep his good work going and expanding.

Alejandro’s work also reaches out of Arequipa to a small village called Cabanaconde. We travelled the seven-hour journey with Alejandro and his wife Doris to see what we could do to help.

Cabanaconde has a very different atmosphere to that of Arequipa. It is a much smaller community with only 1,000 people, most of them children.

The village is on the edge of the beautiful Colca Canyon; a very picturesque place but in much need of Alejandro’s amazing work.

At the moment Alejandro is working hard to expand the church and with our visit he hoped we would show the community he is not working alone but that he has a big group of people to support him.

To do this we visited each school in Cabanaconde taking the skills used in Arequipa and engaging with the children.

This experience has been a moving but inspiring one, as we have met the most beautiful people motivated by their faiths and in turn motivating us. We will never forget them as they have made a huge impact on our lives. 

We would just like to say, on behalf of the team, a huge thank you to everyone who made this experience possible and supported us with all our fundraising. 

Pictured: Yvette and Zoe Brakes flank Ellis Nicholls, wearing national dress of the Arequipa region.

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