Recently arrived in Cusco this morning – THE tourist spot of Peru. What a change coming from Pisco.
2 weeks, 2 days in Pisco, Peru, volunteering for such an impressive organization. 100% volunteer funded and run… no idea how it is possible. Well I do know how – the volunteers that come to PSF are AMAZING. It’s no lie that people come for a few days or a week and end up staying for months. Pisco has become a home to so many. Not only are there bonds between the volunteers (up to as many as 75 while I was there) but also with the community of Pisco. We were moving volunteer houses during my time there so the community projects were fewer, but I did manage to get out to a few sites. I only wish I could have stayed longer. Maybe I will make it back somehow long this crazy route.
When the earthquake hit Pisco in 2007, 80% of the homes were destroyed. 80%. While much of the center of town has been reconstructed, there are entire shack communities, living in houses with walls only madeup of reeds, dirt floors, others in nothing but tents. Sanitation is what you would expect in a disaster zone, but the people of Pisco are managing to rebuild their lives. In such a poor community and country, the reconstruction wouldn’t be happening without PSF. The pile of projects that need to be completed, miracle fund projects waiting to be funded… the stories, the faces, it really draws you into Pisco, makes you want to stay as long as possible.
Some projects I worked on – building and painting tables and stools for Tupac Amaru school (used a power saw!), sorting and moving free timber donated by neighboring companies to use for our building projects, mixing cement to lay bricks on a families house, cleaning up the rubble inside and outside of their house, sanding and repainting the old volunteer houses, teaching english for free to local adults and children, and playing with kids at a daycare center. Also took down a sign using a jackhammer!!! Very exciting to use tools that elsewhere I would definitely not be allowed to use. haha. But that’s another aspect that’s great about PSF. You don’t need to be an expect tradesman… luckily there are a number of them that find their way to Pisco, but you will be taught, and every volunteer is willing to learn and lend a hand in any way they can. Personally rewarding in that respect.
There was a small tremor one night while we were staying there which is a reminder of how easily an earthquake can return to Pisco. Reminded me of the complexities of disaster relief. These people need shelter. They need cement floors and plumbing for sanitation, walls for security… but so many things done are quick fixes. When another earthquake comes, everything will crumble again. But what’s more beneficial? More time to help fewer people have more sustainable structures or help more families sooner? Other projects that people are working on include playgrounds, schools, and community bathrooms. I ended up putting about $130 dollars towards a community bathroom project that my good friend Thays will be organizing. I respect and envy the people like her and others who have been at PSF for so long, and will be staying for so much longer, and can find these needed projects and see them through completion.
Anyways, that’s PSF. People from all over the world saving the world of Pisco.
Donate if you can – Any amount makes a difference and they also have a wishlist of supplies if you can send anything!