Project Peru 2010

Another year's committed fundraising culminated in Project Peru 2010 in which a group of 25 Sixth Form students and 5 staff joined Joe Plumb to work in some of the most deprived areas of Lima's shanty towns. This year's trip focused on 3 main projects: physical work to improve the learning environment in Aichi Nagoya School where we worked last year; intercultural activities between our students and those of similar age living in the barrios; creating the foundations for a community centre on a mountainside in the parish of 'Cristo Luz del Mundo' in Carabayllo.

Although the experience was physically and emotionally demanding, all the students and staff who took part worked tirelessly to squeeze every drop of benefit from the experience. Whatever our group lacked in being able to speak Spanish, they more than made up for in being outgoing and enthusiastic. In addition to working hard, each day valuable time was spent reflecting on issues such as Justice, Solidarity, Hunger and Friendship. This really helped to deepen our understanding of the life experience of the people whose world we were sharing for a short period of time and to see the effectiveness of the Church in trying to improve their lives.

It will take a long time to reflect fully on the impact of Project Peru 2010. We were moved by the words of the Director of the school in Lima who said that the care and affection which our students had shared so openly would stay with the children for a long time, particularly as many of them had very difficult home backgrounds. For our part, we feel privileged to have had the opportunity to share the lives of our brothers and sisters living in poverty, even though it was for only 2 weeks. It has helped us realise what our priorities should be. We hope that the lessons of the trip will stay with us and influence our future life choices.

In the end, it wasn't so much what we did for the poor in Lima, or what they did for us ... the most important actions were what we did together, standing side by side in solidarity.