In the least expected spot of the Colombian Andes, a touristic place for its colonial architecture and picturesque like no other, we didn’t expect to be surprised like we eventually were. In general, the places that attract so many visitors usually show a ‘happy community’ image, without any needs, probably hiding the least attractive side to the foreigner. For what I understand, there is always a “parallel world” that lives by different timetables and paths; it requires a change in habits to be able to casually come across it, if we are open enough to face it. Continue reading
Perú was dodging us, making it very difficult to find what we were looking for. It is said that after an arduous search a big reward is achieved, this is what we were aiming at. Slowly, after many coincidences, we reached Father David, a “good” crazy guy, who is also a priest, 51 years old with over 15 living in Perú. It’s been almost a year that he has been visiting the countryside and the small settlements surrounding the Titicaca Lake, close to a little town named Chucuito, located 3,800 meters up high in the mountains. But this is only his headquarters, given the fact that he crosses the countryside many kilometres every day, whether it is cold, hot, blowing strong winds, raining or even snowing. Useless are the suggestions from local people who wouldn’t leave without their hat or coat; he only has one objective in his head and it is to reach the sick people to assist them during their last days. Continue reading
After some failed meetings in Iquique, we believed that Chile was letting us go without introducing us to another life story to tell, but Arica, the northern door to Peru, surprised us with a little corner full of generosity and immensurable faith. Again the coincidences in life guided us by the hand. Everything started when a couple of anthropologists from Iquique came happily to talk to us because they had a van similar to our Gardenia. They gave us a tip on a good mechanic in the next city, Arica. We took note without believing we were going to need it. We didn’t know that some adjustments that we had made with an Argentinean friend had left Gardenia out of base, making it crystal clear in the middle of the dessert with an insatiable thirst for gasoline. We wanted to reach Arica to meet the specialist, Eduardo, who after listening to our project, smiled and immediately suggested the Dining San Alberto Hurtado, or better known in the neighborhood as “Aunt Petita”.
We found the first heir and loyal follower of the steps of Petita, Verónica, one of her daughters, who gladly told us the story about her mother and the Dining Room. A story of unlimited generosity, a Lady with Capital Letters, simple and humble, who having 6 kids and raising the seventh one was a nonstop working machine at the service of others. Her great faith moved mountains, more than once, the cooks worried with the lack of food, Petita would say: `Turn on the stoves, something will come along` and this is how it happened, the donations would arrive just in time to the boiling water that was waiting for some rice, pasta or beans. Continue reading
We had just arrived, when we went to the Cafayate Cathedral to ask about an anonymous hero, someone who helps his/her community always at the service of others asking nothing in return. They suggested we visit Lila Domingo, just across the park, and we knocked at her door of her ancient house without knowing who we were going to meet. A lady with white hair, wearing glasses and a wide smile opened the door, looking just like any grandmother. Without hesitation, she invited us inside her house, an oasis with a colonial patio full of colorful flowers, legendary hydrangeas and two rocking chairs. We explained to her the reason for our visit and while she starts telling us her story, all doubts are dissipated; we realized again that there is Someone showing us the path and taking us directly to people who dedicate their lives to others. Continue reading
We innocently went to wash our clothes to the sole Laundry of Chos Malal; when we went inside we met Rosa and Irma, and behind them a very special group of young people, VERY special. They never stop laughing and making jokes, it was not possible to let it go. We started asking questions and they told us how this integration project started. Seventeen years ago, around 1995, a group of families whose kids assisted the Special School Nr 11, wanted to stimulate even more the progress made along the years and created a laundry called “El Globo Azul” (The Blue Balloon) providing them with a job opportunity. Rosa has been in charge of it for 17 years and Irma for 8 years, both of them used to work at the School and joined the Project. Continue reading