Be the Cause

Una Familia. Un Mundo.

We´re well into our first week of the Service Vacation to Peru and Ecuador and one thing is very clear – it is a small world after all. Yes, people can speak different languages, and communicate in many different ways, and will always have their cultural and regional differences. But serving others, especially with love – in a different continent far away from home is the single greatest gift we can give each other to bridge any and all differences…

The care and detail provided by Pastor Wilfred of Camino De Vida in Cusco, Peru, in ensuring a meaningul stay here in Cusco has been truly amazing. The Peruvian people have been very warm and friendly – especially in those instances where we lost our way, with no cell phones or guidemaps on hand.

Sonali telling me before I left – ¨We hope you guys come back home soon, don´t stay there and start another Seva Cafe!¨…as we are walking through the streets of Cusco, a young American girl stopping us and informing us of a cafe where everyone is a volunteer, and the proceeds are used to sustain the local community…

Yanapay House
Yes, Sonali, we wil be back soon.  While not quite the same, a ¨Seva Cafe¨ already exists here!
The Seva Continues…but right now it´s off to Macchu Picchu!!

Aguas Calientes

We arrived tired but thrilled after a four hour train ride through the high plains.  The people are so very poor, living the same as they have for hundreds of years.  We passed miles and miles of subsistance farms – no running water, electricity or even doors or windows in the adobe huts.  There are literally hundreds of dogs running in packs and pigs, goats, cows, and sheep living in the yards and the empty rooms of the homes.  We heard from Alan that many people do not even use money or have money in these areas; they simply barter or grow what they need.  We spent a fantastic afternoon yesterday with Alan and his wife Maria in their organic farm/hacienda about 2 hours outside of Cusco.  They provide a loving home for 29 street children who have been abandoned and abused (Canyon Acres kids) only these kids have been legally adopted by the couple and will never have to move again.  Both Alan and Maria are from the states; they started this project in honor of their 3 day old son Chandler who died.  The Red Hot Chile Peppers and Woodie Harrelson are among many celebrities who endorse and fund them.  The hacienda must be seen to be believed – all the walls have been painted in brilliant murals by guest artists who come to visit and volunteer.  They grow all of their food organically in a permaculture environment and the most fantastic thing about it is that neither one of them knew a darn thing about farming before acquiring the land some four years ago.  (It just brings home the truth that one can do anything if you really have passion and a dream.)  What my Canyon Acres friends will find fascinating is that raising these kids on clean grown organic food has literally changed them from the inside out.  Not only are they healthier overall but their attention span and ability to learn and retain information have increased dramatically.  It was such a blessing to sit with kids who were wolfing down swiss chard and beets and i´ll tell you I was right there with them – it was one of the best meals I´ve ever eaten.  You could taste the goodness in the food.

On another note – Mike and Jason and Angela and I all just had a deep tissue massage of all things!  One hour twenty dollars, way up here in the Andes.  I have to keep reminding myself that this is a service vacation, not just due to the fact that I feel so spoiled but mostly because all of the folks we´ve served so far have given back so much more. Tears keep flowing from my eyes when I feel the love and gratitude that pours from these people.  Not even speaking your language or having any acquaintance with your culture, they put their arms around you and embrace you, kiss you on the cheek and whisper mucho gracias in your ear.  I can´t even write it without soaking up again.  As I was told many many times by those that had gone on one of these before – this trip will change you in so many ways.  I know now how profoundly true that is.

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