As I sit down to begin our final blog post of this year’s trip to Pucallpa, it’s hard to imagine the perfect closure to such an eventful week. Today, the volunteers visited a local school where some of our students are sponsored, before heading to the work site for one last afternoon, to finish what we started, helping the construction workers to install the interior walls of the house.
Although there are still finishing touches to be made by our local construction team, the Reyna family should be moving into their new home in the next week or so. The cement foundation on phase 2 of our medical dispensary in the Pure Art hub is complete and moving forward, our main objective is the completion of this educational centre.
It seems like just yesterday we were hopping on a plane to Peru, but here we are, one week later, packing our bags, with paint on our clothes, dust in our hair, mud on our boots & memories to share. My second time here in Pucallpa, I feel that this year’s trip has given me a deeper understanding of the strong potential for change in the slums of Manantay. It won’t be a quick and easy journey of course, but I think that progress begins with awareness and this is the main objective of the Hub of Hope.
By building homes within close proximity to a medical dispensary, an educational centre for health, hygiene and prevention of diseases, a community kitchen and a sewing centre, our intention is to empower a community to embrace their right to a bright future. The change will take place across generations, as children are able to go to school, growing up with a sense of pride and accomplishment and passing this down to their own children when they have their own families.
While the volunteers have been hard at work all week, I’ve been working to collect updates on all the Foundation’s initiatives. Conducting interviews with students, parents, school coordinators, pharmacists, Pure Art home owners, construction workers, and our sewing instructor, my goal has been to get a sense of how the Foundation’s projects have and will impact their community. There are so many stories to tell and I look forward to sharing them once we’re back home.
It has been such a pleasure getting to know this year’s group of volunteers, all of which so genuinely came here wanting to connect to the families of Manantay and reach out in a concrete way that could make a difference.
On behalf of the Pure Art Foundation, thank you to each and every one of you for all the energy you put into phase 2 of the medical dispensary and our 22nd home in Pucallpa. And thank you to Bob & Leslie and the people of Hudson who continue to support the CAST initiative through an annual “Bridge to Peru” event. Your dedication and compassion have deeply touched the lives of the families living in the 4 “Casa Hudson” homes in Manantay.
Speaking to Carmen Reyna, the mother who’s family will be moving in to Casa Hudson 4, she told me that she really looks forward to the space, comfort and tranquility the home will bring her family. Carmen’s husband Olier is currently unable to work due to an injury, but this new home will give her the opportunity to expand her hairstyling business. Because of the extremely limited space in her current one room shelter, functioning as a kitchen &a bedroom for 7 people, Carmen can only serve 1 to 3 clients a day, sometimes having to travel to people’s homes to cut or dye their hair.
This new house will provide the space and comfort to create an in-house salon where she thinks she will be able to welcome more than 10 clients a day.
The ability to advertise the services right outside her home will also make a great difference. Carmen showed me the sign she’s created when I visited her earlier this week.
As many of our volunteers head out this morning, some heading back to Canada and the US and others continuing on to Cuzco to visit the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, we wish you safe travels, knowing that you have touched the lives of a both a family and an entire community, whom I know have equally touched yours.
Thank you to everyone who has followed our journey this week and we look forward to sharing updates from the Hub of Hope in the weeks to come!