The last couple months have been extra busy with school activities, quick getaways and lots of travel and trainings for Billy!
Billy and Jocabeth (our Paths of Hope co-worker) traveled to the boys homes in Ica and Cusco to launch the Comunidad Girasoles program we are working on with Health Bridges. The Comunidad Girasoles program works with current residents and recent graduates of the two boys homes and provides orientation, a mentor and the opportunity to apply for a scholarship for transitional expenses or continued education. Since launching the program, a few young men have applied for the scholarship and we have had interviews with them about their goals with continuing to study.
For the past couple years Will has had his heart set on visiting Loreto and its capital city, Iquitos. Loreto is the largest Peruvian state and is located in the jungle region and home to the Amazon River. After finding inexpensive flights over school fall break, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend a few days in boats out on the rivers and seeing all the animals we could! Will was able to fish for piraña, play with monkeys at Isla de los Monos and scratch off another state from our map.
Once we returned from Iquitos, Billy hit the ground running on leading three different trainings on trauma competent caregiving. He led a 4-week training on Saturday mornings at a Christian Missionary Alliance church (which we wrote about in our last update) for 22 people from three churches who are interested in volunteering as mentors for our Caminando Juntos mentoring program.
He also was leading two separate trainings for staff at the Puericultorio Pérez Araníbar. The first training was for the caregivers who provide day-to-day care for the kids at the home. The group was split into two shifts for the training and met for four weeks to get an overview in trauma to better equip themselves. The second training was for 34 teachers and psychology interns who work at the Puericultorio. They met twice a week – in person on Wednesdays and virtually on Saturday mornings – using the Trauma Free World curriculum.
Huberth, who Billy meets with regularly, has been studying architecture and urban planning at a university in Lima. He finished his final semester earlier this month and found out that his final project was approved so he will be graduating in December. He came over after the final class to celebrate and brought the model he designed and built with him. We’re excited for him and proud of his accomplishments these past 5 years!
At the end of June we went on a road trip with dear friends to the mountains for a long weekend. Jimmy and Anna have family in a small town in Pasco (a new-to-us state) and we visited them for a few days. It always amazes me how quickly we can go from sea level to crossing over the mountains into a completely different ecosystem. If we weren’t in the car, we were outside enjoying the fresh air and peacefulness of the small town.
Billy returned to Ica and Cusco, this time for the Comunidad de Excelencia (Community of Excellence) program we are partnering on with Health Bridges. The Community of Excellence started with Phase 1 during the pandemic with weekly Zoom meetings with the staff at both homes. Since then, they have been working on developing Phase 2 and recently spent two days at each home meeting with the staff. Phase 2 focuses on self-care and how by providing for themselves, the staff can improve the care they give to the children and teens in the home.
July 28th is Peruvian Independence Day and schools spend much of the month learning about Peruvian history, culture and regions. As part of the school celebrations, Will was selected to dance a tondero Guarangito with some of his classmates in an assembly. Like in previous years, they rented dance outfits for the presentation.
Up next we have a trip to Colombia for the bi-annual UWM South America retreat. We’re going to be spending time with UWM missionaries from across South America in Armenia, Colombia. The last large retreat we were able to participate in was here in Peru in 2017 and Will was just 2 months old!
As always, we appreciate your prayers for us, our ministry and for the country and people of Peru.
– Kate, Billy & Will