Peru 4.0 – A Legacy of Hope

Quick note about these pics. We visited The Refuge of Hope – the school for handicapped kids where we put a clean water system in last year. Much of the place is pretty dark, so some photos leave a little to be desired in terms of clarity and focus. But I’ve included them anyway since they all help paint a picture of the incredible work that goes on there.

Unfortunately, the kids were all still out on summer break (apart from one, strangely!)… but it was such a privilege to catch up with Victor and watch him tell his story to a new batch of eager listeners…


 

Meet Victor. As a child, he suffered from polio, which paralyzed him from the neck down. In those days, many people couldn’t handle the shame that came from having a disabled child, so he should’ve either been abandoned in the jungle or kept hidden in the home as the family refused to publicly acknowledge his existence. But his mum didn’t do either of those; rather, she tried everything people suggested that gave her a slither of hope that Victor would be healed. To cut a long story short, God healed Victor as a young boy. It took him several years of learning how to walk and do things we take for granted… and although he still walks with a distinct limp, he has a vibrancy and joy about him that’s totally contagious!
Over 25 years ago, together with his wife, Ana, he founded The Refuge of Hope – a school for kids with disabilities, their siblings, at-risk children and abandoned children. They started with 6 kids and no money, and now they serve hundreds of families and they’re partially funded by the Peruvian government (so they still have no money!!). Such an incredible story.

He laughs a lot. No, really… a lot!
Victor had us all laughing… and crying… as he told us his life story.

It was hot – we were trying to stay under cover!

If you ever see a request on social media from Peet asking for people to donate feet, this is the guy who needs them!! I wish I could remember his name… ugh! This miracle worker is responsible for building things like prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, and the like… all from his own wheelchair. His workshop has to be seen to be believed (one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right?)… but it was way too dark for me to get anything on film.
This is the physical therapy room… and believe it or not, it’s been updated and painted since our last visit!
The school’s physical therapist. Yep – “the” physical therapist. Singular. There aren’t enough hours in the day to give the handicapped kids the amount of time and attention they need. The school is always looking for PT residents and interns to come down and dedicate several months of their residency programs to help relieve the pressure… so let us know if you’re interested!!
There’s always someone who wants to play with visiting gringos.
The school was the recipient of our second clean water system in October 2016, and here’s the evidence that it’s being well-used! Peet told me off for drinking the water from here, but what’s good enough for the kids is good enough for this Brit!

This is a mural that someone did that depicts the origin of the Refuge of Hope… complete with the mango tree that still exists and still bears fruit! Victor and Ana are on the left of the mural, and their first 6 students are under the mango tree. The rainbow represents hope.
Robyn had the challenge of doing some follow-up training on health and hygiene with some of the staff and faculty. It wasn’t the most conducive of environments, but she did great… as usual.

Every time we’re in Pucallpa, either Tom or William indulges our requests to take us shopping to buy hammocks. Tom pretends to be really impatient… but as you can see, he secretly enjoys every minute of it!
And this is our trusty hammock seller!
I loved this guy with his makeshift watch-fixing workshop. A lot of the little stores in Pucallpa are just a front for money laundering or drug deals… but this guy clearly has nothing to hide.
We spent the evening at the South American Mission (SAM) Academy – a school for missionary kids. Gorgeous property.
There’s Ash, the Pied Piper, with her regular handful of kids at her side!
One of the few pics of our friend, Bill… and Glenn in the background…

… and one of the few pics of our friend, Susan.

I love how these glasses make Jenny’s eyes pop.
A little blurry, but I love this one of John and Robyn, so I had to include it.

The reason we were there was because they’d invited Chris to speak at their weekly prayer meeting. Chris did great, obviously… but I don’t think they were used to his style of delivery. Fortunately, the post-prayer-meeting ice cream made everyone feel right at home again!

 

Peru 4.0 – So good to be back!

“Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.” Marcus Tillius Cicero So, you may think we’ve been slacking on our blog duties… but no… according to the above quote, we’ve simply been putting in some overtime on practicing our conversation skills!! Actually, life has been insanely busy (yes – since last April!)… but we’ve also been extremely undisciplined when it… Read more →

Peru 2.0 (Day 3)

We want to share our recent trip to Peru with you… but since we felt like we might have bored the living breath out of some of you with stories from our previous adventure(!!), the next few posts on our blog will be photos from this latest trip with minimal commentary. We hope you enjoy the journey… [For more context… Read more →

Peru 2.0 (Day 2)

We want to share our recent trip to Peru with you… but since we felt like we might have bored the living breath out of some of you with stories from our previous adventure(!!), the next few posts on our blog will be photos from this latest trip with minimal commentary. We hope you enjoy the journey… [For more context… Read more →

Peru 2.0 (Day 1)

After our first trip to Pucallpa, Peru last October, we came back to Memphis with two potential candidates for a clean water system. Refuge of Hope – the school for handicapped, at risk and family-less children and their siblings – was high on the list due to the number of people who would benefit from the clean water on a daily,… Read more →

Saved, not enslaved.

Sometimes we have to go beyond our preconceptions and look at the broader context in order to find the truth. This is a picture of the entrance to El Centro Nativo in Pucallpa, Peru. At face value, it looks like these people are kept behind bars, in a state of poverty and misery. But this is the loading dock. An open… Read more →

Peru: The Shipibos

The largest tribe of indigenous people in the Peruvian Basin is the Shipibo tribe. I tried to find out online how big a population they are, but there doesn’t seem to be any concrete data. One source says over 20,000 while another says approximately 35,000. But there’s no question that, although the Shipibo people are having to live with one… Read more →

Peru: Block 1A

Block 1A in Pucallpa, Peru. It’s located across the street from where the city began. Back in the day, there were only a bunch of Indian huts, but as the road (singular!!) was built back in the 1940s, the city grew and grew to its current population of over 500,000. In those early days, the Indians (the natives from villages… Read more →