Giving back in the AndesPosted: 16 Feb 2011
The LATA Foundation plans to plant 1 million trees in the Peruvian Andes by 2020. After a weekend of work that involved 617 volunteers across three communities, the LATA is 20,000 trees closer to their goal. This is a truly inspiring project. In the short interview below, Paul Cripps discusses the project.
via Do Village
A few years ago I had the unique experience of visiting a small town in the Peruvian Andes called San Pedro de Casta. I was invited by my neighbors on a “volunteer vacation” to Peru where we would help build Lorena stoves. I had a lot of qualms about the whole idea of a volunteer vacation – at best it felt like it could be condescending and at worst colonial or imperialistic. However, after helping the locals build the first stove for an old woman and seeing her excitement about it, any worries I had felt far away. My time and money were providing tangible benefits that were appreciated by the locals.
The old saying, “If you continually give, you will continually have” turns out to be correct. Not only did the people in the village benefit from the stoves that my money and hard work brought, but I learned a lot about myself. Most importantly, I learned about other people and realized that we are all more alike than we trick ourselves into believing. I still think that some of the funniest people I know live in San Pedro de Casta – even though we never really had a conversation. However, when you work with people through rain and fog for hours and hours you end up connecting with them.
I have a lot of fond memories of Peru and its people. That’s why I really dig the LATA Foundation’s project.