Project Peru: Student Reflection
Project Peru is an expedition carried out annually by 30 Sixth Form students and staff from St John's School, Bishop Auckland and which began in 2009. Each year we work in partnership with the local community to carry out a building project and to date we have built classrooms, food kitchens, a bakery for training young people as well as facilities for people with disabilities. Having been fortunate to take part in this project I can sincerely say how vital and integral such a trip has been both to my own faith as well as that of my peers, and is something that has had a profound impact on my life. Seeing the hunger, poverty and injustice in Iquitos raised challenging questions regarding the fairness of the distribution of the world’s wealth and made us question ways in which we could put our faith into action in order to build communities of justice. Furthermore, seeing the joy, love and - in my opinion - God in the faces of the children who stayed at the oasis of happiness that is the children centre we visited on a daily basis was incredible and it was clear to all that something special was happening there.
The children have enriched my life in ways unmatched; their loving, accepting nature is one I believe should be adopted by the rest of the world. Seeing just how eager the local people were to learn from us as well as teach us their own ways and seeing how grateful they were for our help was simply overwhelming, these people were struggling and without a lot of what we have in the West, however their lives were so enriched by the values of family and God that they didn’t seem fazed. Everyone who is given the chance to meet these amazing people is truly, truly blessed. Project Peru is not about charity. It is about solidarity, justice, partnership, generosity and education. In taking small steps we aim to contribute towards greater change and something which we aim to build on throughout the rest of our lives.