Cyclists Delivering Supplies Across Peru
On November 8th, twelve cyclists will begin a unique adventure across Peru. During the first two days they will ride 50 miles from the coastal city of Lima up and over the 16,000 foot Ticlio Pass in the Andes mountains. During the next five days they will then descend 250 miles into the low jungle of the Peruvian rain forest. The road ends as a muddy trail over 300 miles from Lima. The cyclists will then return over the mountains to Lima to complete their two week 600 mile tour across Peru.
Although the physical challenges of riding over the Andes are all part of this tour, the real story are the orphans and school children this group of cyclists will help along the way. For example the first day the riders stay in the town of Chosica at the base of the mountains. Chosica is the location of the “House of Gina” Girls Home where 20 abandon or abused girls live. The conditions at the girls home are very basic and the girls live on a diet of chicken soup, rice and beans. When the cyclists come to visit they will take the girls on a shopping spree to the markets where each girls can choose a new set of clothes for about $20. During past tours during this shopping trip, it was interesting to watch the girls select their purchases. Since the girls do not usually have money to spend, some of them will hurry and buy the first dress that catches their attention. Other girls savor holding on to their money for two hours and will compare all the dresses in the market before making a decision.
Later that afternoon the cyclists and girls will gather at a nice restaurant for a real meal the girls choose from the menu. Cake and ice cream are served as dessert. The cyclists will present the director of the Girl’s Home with another $500 to buy more supplies and food for the girls in the future. Overall this is a busy day that has nothing to do with cycling, but it is a memorable day for the girls and our group.
As the tour continues over the mountains there are other schools to visit in small villages along the way. The group will carry prepackaged bundles of library books to leave with the rural schools. Since most of these schools have few supplies the cyclists will also distribute notebooks, pencils and other basic equipment for the classrooms.
At the end of the road in the jungle is the town of Puerto Occopa. Here is the location of the orphanage which is the home and boarding school to over 80 children. Some of the children are orphans and some of the children come to Puerto Occopa from deep in the jungle to live for three months at a time and go to school.
The conditions at the orphanage are more basic than the Chosica Girls Home without drinking water, sanitation or much food. The children bathe in the river each afternoon. The cost to feed 80 kids is $20 per day for rice, beans, potatoes and powdered milk. During the tour the cyclists will hire a truck to bring 3,000 pounds, (1,500 kilos) of supplies the final 50 miles from the major city of Satipo to the orphanage. Some of the children and teachers from Puerto Occopa will meet the cyclists in Satipo for a big shopping trip to fill the dump truck sized vehicle with bags of rice, toilet paper, cooking oil, beans and all kinds of supplies to outfit the children. Each child also receives a new set of clothes which they will wear 100% of the time for the next year.
The cyclists will spend the night at the orphanage and join the kids in a big party that night. Since the orphanage doesn't receive many visitors, it is a special night for them and our group. They next day the cyclists begin the 300 mile journey back over the mountains to Lima. They will see Peru differently now. The challenge of riding over a 16,000 foot mountain won’t seem as difficult as the daily challenges that the children they visited face everyday.
TAX deductible donations for these Peru Projects can be made to:
Christ Lutheran Church Peru Fund
P.O. Box 303
Sharon, Wisconsin 53585