I have spent the past few weeks at the Casa Girasoles Kusi site, which is located 9 hours by bus from Lima, near the small town of Yungay. Of the six Casa Girasoles sites around Peru, Kusi is the last one I will visit this summer. Kusi is the Quechua word (the other national language in Peru) for joy, and it is quite abundantly found here.
Like all of the other Casa Girasoles, Kusi has it’s own unique features that are only found there. Situated near the base of the tallest mountain in Peru, Huascarán (at just under 22,000ft), Kusi is not just going to be a Casa Girasoles home for abandoned boys, but rather a little town. Plans are made for the little town of Kusi to include a main square, a hotel for backpackers and people wanting to climb Huascarán, a bakery and shoe shop, a school, church and municipal building. Unlike the other sites, in a few years, Kusi will become a little city – all with things that will directly benefit the abandoned boys program.
Days are spent on the work site making hundreds of adobe bricks that are used to create the buildings. Most of the buildings in this region are simply made of adobe bricks (which consist of nothing more than some straw, clay/dirt and water mixed together). It takes thousands of bricks to make a small one room building, and only about 100 bricks are made an afternoon. Needless to say, each brick is very important and it takes a while to construct a building.
As I said earlier, joy is frequently found in Kusi. There are 27 boys living in the Casa Girasoles here and it has been a great joy to spend the past two weeks with them and the house parents, Angel and Rosa. Each night after dinner we spend some time sharing stories, singing and of course dancing – which is by far my favorite thing to do. Today is the last day for a team from Scotland, and this afternoon we will have the traditional Pachamanca (where delicious food is cooked in the ground for one hour) and the Peru vs. Scotland soccer game…
I still have another week in Kusi before returning to Lima for the next adventure.