Reflections from one of our volunteers returning in 2005 for a second stint at the refuge in Zapallal…

I knew I would return to Zapallal. I couldn’t keep away from the children and the people I met when I volunteered two years ago. Shaking with excitement, I knocked on the familiar gate waiting to hear the running foot steps and laughter.

The first things I noticed about the Refuge was how much it had changed and improved. There was so much more space. The fence which had once separated the land was now down. Where there was once sand and dust, there was a beautiful garden, flowers and trees. The courtyard was strewn with swings and toys to play with.

The best changes were the new faces of children who I got to know and love so effortlessly.

It was wonderful to know and to see that Project Peru is forever reaching out to help more children; and with the amazing new building plans, it will improve the children’s quality and way of life even more.

Unfortunately I only stayed for a month this time but I was fortunate enough to visit the community outside the refuge a number of times. Las Laderas made a huge impact on me. It is a district where many of the children in the refuge come from, and where their families still live. It’s a community that has created a hopeful cooperative spirit with their own hands, in such an un-hopeful place.

We were seen as messages to them, that people care and have awareness and want to help. We were also seen as messengers, to share what we saw and learnt, and to spread the hope of help, a better life and a brighter future.

As westerners, we can’t begin to truly understand or empathise with how hard life is in the city slums of Lima, but for the beautiful children in the Casa Hogar there is a hopeful future. Not only for them but for everyone that Project Peru touches.