Well, I guess it’s official! The journey to Peru has begun. The Peru Teams first meeting was December 3rd and we are off to a great start! The best way we could have started the meeting was to thank our sponsors of course, for this amazing opportunity. Giving thanks and keeping in contact are YouthLinc’s greates assets, for they keep our sponsors informed, inspired, and willing to keep on donating. We are all grateful for our sponsors, so Peru team don’t forget to send them the thank you notes!

Getting to know everyone and learning about their embarrassing moments, desired careers, and biggest fears about Peru was a little overwhelming. ( I have to say, we have quite the group of world travelers in our midst!) All the members of the team seem so unique and full of character. Something tells me that I won’t really get to know everyone until we actually arrive in Peru, but once we leave I’m sure i’ll never forget them. I know that service has the ability to bond people for life, and I truly hope we can all experience this phenomenon 🙂

Next we attended to the grocery list, if you would. We talked about passports, service hours, local service sites, and making sure to report those hours. I have spent about 2 months at my service sight already..and I can honestly say I think Youthlinc is brilliant for making this such an important aspect of the program. I volunteer at the English Language Center in Logan, Utah, where I help teach English to migrants and refugees that have recently moved here. For them, English is a matter of survival in this community, and I am so grateful I have the opportunity to help their transition into a new language and culture run a little smoother, even if it is simply explaining to them what fast food or walmart is 🙂

Fundraising, oh the dreaded word. Well, our leaders and Judy were very optimistic on this front. They encouraged us to write letters as soon as possible, as the Christmas season is upon us. There are samples in our binders and pictures of Peru service in the past on facebook you can steal, so get to work and start raising that money!

Definitely the best part of the meeting was our discussion of what will actually be taking place in Peru. Each committee was explained to us and we were asked to pick the three we wanted to be apart of the most. I was in awe in the complete array of projects we will be participating in. I love that we are focusing on so many aspects of the standards of living that the people in Palmeras face everyday. For construction we will be laying cement, helping to build a bridge, and renovating the primary school. Education-teaching English and other subjects, as well as hopefully bringing books and other supplies to the kids. We will all get to teach a lesson, and we are encouraged to do it in Spanish. How awesome is that?! I believe that a common language will automatically make it easier to touch the hearts and minds of the people we are working with. Though most of us won’t speak perfectly, I think it is so important to try. I know the mere effort of trying to communicate in Spanish with the villagers will raise their respect for us, as well as make them feel more comfortable. Community and health- developing projects and raising supplies that the village is in most need of. It is so important to cater to this communities specific health needs, as demonstrated by Smitty’s famous example of Kenyan girls and their feminine hygiene needs. Cultural- plan the fun fair at the end of the trip, as well as focus and inform the team on Peruvian culture. Microenterprise- Evaluating loans and decide who to hand them out to, as well as teach business lessons. Though these are tentative goals, they are the framework for some incredible change and optimism in the community. I can just feel it 🙂

Team bloggers, photographers, and videographers were established and the next meeting will be January 8 at 1 pm at the Youthlinc office. Keep on the fundraising and service hours. Remember that the people in Palmeras will be forever grateful. Keep them in mind this holiday season as we ask for money and gifts. I think that’s essentially what YouthLinc wants for us. To think outside ourselves, our communities, and our own country. Keep up the good work! ( por favor ) ha.


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