Rotaracters to Peru

On August 15, 2007 an earthquake measuring 8.0 struck the coast of Peru.  Pisco, a city four
hours south of Lima by bus, suffered the most damage with about 85% of its buildings destroyed, and as many as 430 residents dead.  After the earthquake, residents of Pisco fled to outlying areas, one of which is called Tupac Amaru Inca, the site of our last court project of the summer.  Tupac Amaru doubled in size after the earthquake and is struggling to find its identity.  Our typical projects are in established communities who are fairly well organized.  Tupac Amaru is neither.  This was a rebuilding effort.

The team who adopted this project was a group of Rotary, Rotaract and Interact members from the Portland area as well as two volunteers from California.  This project was a partnership between the local municipality, Pisco Sin Fronteras (a local N.G.O. who served as the contractor), two Peace Corps Volunteers, Rotary International and Courts for Kids.  The local municiaplity has been lobbying PSF to help with a court project for years, but they had been uanble to do so until these Rotaract members took the initiative to adopt the project.

The team was an amazing group, tirelessly working on the court and completing the pour by the time they left, proving the contractors wrong.  The court was bigger than our average court and will be a great space for their community to develop an identity.  Sports has the unique ability to bring together people recovering from trauma and forging strong community bonds.  Without a doubt, the court will be filled with kids and adults playing soccer and basketball for years to come and will be a vital asset as they move forward.

A huge thank you to the many Rotary clubs and individuals listed below who contributed to this project financially, funds which were matched by Rotary District 5100 and Rotary International.

Rotary Club of Milwaukie
Astoria Rotary Club
Albina Rotary Club
J. Newton and Barbara Rumble
Mary Kay Gaffney
Andy Huck
Dean Patterson
Rotaract Club of Sherwood
Interact Club of Sherwood
Sherwood Rotary Foundation
Eric and Jane Norberg
Rotary Club of Lake Oswego
Central East Portland Rotary
Donald and Ann Irving
Vancouver Sunrise Rotary
Michelle Howell
Rotary Club of McMinnville
Bruce Frederick

 

One person who really impacted my life was Goli.  Goli was a local who lived in Pisco but walked to Tupac every day to help with the court.  The PSF people said that he had been showing up to work every day for the past 3 months although he didn’t speak much English he always worked hard in his flip flops, never complaining or asking for anything.  For a person to go so far to help another community while still struggling to support their own family is truly an amazing person.  I hope I can be more like Goli and continue to serve others.

I realize now that I don’t want my life to go by with only selfish thoughts in mind.  I knew before this trip that I wanted to work with children and helping them in one way or another.  This experience with Peru and Courts for Kids has given me an even bigger drive to commit my life to helping and serving others.  Thanks everyone for an awesome experience.

I’ll never take water and a running/operating plumbing system for granted again.  I’ll also be less materialistic and give more than I take because of how fortunate I am for just being born in the USA.