Recently, I found out that a friend was taking a trip to Peru. I was quite intrigued, much due to the fact that my sister and I took a trip to the country a year and a half ago. Quickly, I learned that this friend, Lorissa, would be travelling as a volunteer and raising money for her trip with a fundraiser party. I was excited for the trip and eager to help, but unable to attend the party (and a little short on cash). Then, I discovered that she was having an art exchange/auction at the party as part of the fundraising efforts.
That was an open door sitting directly in my path if I ever saw one!
I got in touch and put together a collection of photos from my own adventures in Peru. I sent them off a few days ago in a box sealed with much joy and hope.
While I was in Peru, I didn't know about Peruvian Hearts. I'm not sure that I had even met Lorissa. And I certainly didn't know that the photos I was taking then would serve such an awesome purpose this week. What I did know and learn while in Peru is that the world is full of contrast. Peru is an absolutely gorgeous country, but in the midst of the majestic landscapes there exists much poverty. Even in the places with more affluence, there is permanent evidence of struggle. Ancient building foundations have been covered and topped with colonial style architecture, telling visually a story of unjust conquest. A young female tour guide desires to see new places and follow her dreams, but in her country this is no simple task. Children are dressed up and sent into the streets to make money from tourists for photos. These are some of the things that settled in my memory during my trip and they are pictures that can be hard to see. However, in darkness, it only takes a little light to make a big difference. It only takes one voice to say something.
Peruvian Hearts is a non-profit organization started by a young girl who was born in Peru. Her name is Ana Dodson and she is an inspiration to me. Ana was adopted from Cusco as a baby and upon returning to Peru to visit as a child, she was moved by the poverty in her country. She started the organization to help provide health care, nutrition and education to children in schools and orphanages. While reading through the work and stories of Peruvian Hearts, I was moved to realize that the children being helped by this wonderful organization may be some of the very same children my sister and I gave away packages of markers, pencils and pens to when we visited.
I have been humbled and inspired by this recent opportunity. It is exactly the kind of story that A Candid Voice is here to tell. Because of this, I am thrilled to say that I will continue to work with Peruvian Hearts into the future, through my art, fundraisers, stories and perhaps a volunteer trip back to Peru sometime in the future, helping to make their cause known through my voice.
For more information on Lorissa's upcoming trip please visit her blog, Peru Connection.
Also, if you would like to hear more about my trip to Peru, please visit my Peru travel blog. (Just promise not to judge me for not exactly finishing it yet. :)
Inspired by the motto of Peruvian Hearts, let's be "changing the world one heart at a time."