The class of 2013 has big plans; read all about it and see lists of local grads in this section.
Peru Day 3: Meeting the families
As I said Tuesday, my afternoon yesterday was spent visiting the children at a local vacation Bible school in Piura. It was definitely a fun job — together with three other volunteers, we sang songs and helped the kids color and then we went outside to play soccer and jump rope. The kids were very sweet and excited to see us, and by the time we left, it was easy to get choked up as they ran after our truck driving away.
Today, my morning started with a job that would be familiar to many volunteers in the Arlington Diocese — sorting food in the local food pantry. Here, many families receive their food from a family-to-family sponsor program, which pairs American families with families in Piura. For 25 American dollars a month, the Peruvian families receive three packages of food, including condensed milk, rice, lentils, corn, grains and flour.
After sorting food, we drove from house to house delivering the packages. Though I can't speak Spanish, it was easy to understand just how grateful the package recipients were. Again and again, they spoke about how important the packages were and how they would be praying for us and our families. Several of the families took us on tours of their houses, showing us with pride new wooden walls that had been paid for by their sponsor families or, in one case, a brand new concrete floor.
For me, this part of the trip has been very moving. When you think about giving money to charity overseas, it is hard to imagine the people who are actually benefiting from your donation. To see the people who these sponsor families are helping — to kiss their cheeks and tickle their children — really makes me understand how valuable that money is. And, of course, visiting their homes makes me realize how tremendously blessed I have been in the United States. It's a humbling lesson I hope I can carry back with me to Virginia.