The Road to Peru

27 June 2006
8:23 PM

Normally when I write here, I am happy just to have visiting readers. This time I need your help.

In September, the rest of the Chile associates and I are planning a trip to visit the Congregation of Holy Cross in Lima, Peru for a few reasons. Currently, there isn’t an associate program like ours in Peru; our trip would be part of the on-going discussion about the possibility of starting one. Seeing Lima would also be a valuable opportunity for us as social workers to see another aspect of Latin America’s many realities. While there is undeniably poverty here in Chile, there is a distinct demarcation of degree in Peru: of the eight million people in Lima, thousands are children living alone on the streets. We are planning our trip as a retreat experience, which practically means it will be a chance for us to reflect on our work here in Chile while we learn about Peru.

For the seven of us to travel to Peru, and for food and lodging there with the Congregation, it will cost at least $2,000. Depending on how much we are able to raise, this may include a no-frills, 50-hour bus ride from Santiago to Lima. While $280 a person isn’t particularly expensive for such a trip, $2,000 isn’t a trivial sum either. To reach it, we are contributing from our personal savings, we are taking from our house budgets, and we are doing work for a local university professor translating documents.

Even with these combined measures, we need additional support. That’s where I hope you come in. Since I began working with Holy Cross Associates last August and writing about my experiences here, traffic to this site has increased every month; in the last 10 months the average number of monthly visitors has tripled. Maybe even some of them are reading and enjoying it. If you are one of those people, I’m asking that you consider a donation.

Donation, fine, you say, but the problem always comes in the size, doesn’t it? Maybe so, but in addition to fundraising, this blog campaign offers the chance to prove a point: I’m asking that no one give more than $20 based on the idea that small contributions from people committed to a goal go a long way. By my most conservative calculations, if a quarter of monthly visitors donate $10, we’ll be more than halfway to our goal. As an added incentive, if you donate $15, I’ll send you a post card from Peru.

If you’re sold so far, actually donating is the easy part. You can use your credit card right here to contribute anywhere from $5 to $20. Shortly after your donation has been received, you’ll see it as part of the progress bar on my blog’s front page. Your financial information will be processed entirely by PayPal, the eBay subsidiary, so you needn’t worry about security.

With your help, in September I’ll write to share our stories from Peru.