Past Student Humanitarian Project

Student Pictures


First Trip (Pisac and Huilloc)
In April 2002, our first year, we delivered school supplies to 500 Peruvian children in poor village schools. Many of these children had never seen colored pencils or crayons. To every teacher, we donated extra teaching supplies for the entire school session. The schools had just started for the year and there were no paper or pencils! As a result of our donations, all of the village children changed before our eyes as smiles of pure joy flashed across their faces. The faces of our US students were filled with compassion. The children of the village sang beautiful songs to all of us in their native Quechua language and we sang English songs to them in response.
We finished up our visit with snacks and a soccer game for everyone, SHP against Huilloc. When the game was finished it was a breathtaking sight to see a 6’ 3”, 180-pound football player sit down with a six-year old native boy to teach him hand games. Another part of this unique project is that our American youth are invited to work with the native Medicine people in the area who are directly related to the Inca. The students received Inca rites of passage and learned to walk in beauty and appreciate our world. We were lucky to have several Medicine people travel with us to ancient Inca sites like Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Amarumachay, Tambomachay, Killarumiyoc, Maras, Moray, Sacsayhuaman, the Sacred Valley of the Inca and Cuzco.

Second Trip (Huilloc and Pacca)
In 2003, students from the Pentucket Regional School in West Newbury MA and Cooperative Middle School in Exeter NH participated in the Vanishing Cultures Foundation, Inc. Student Humanitarian Workshop Program.
These students collected school supplies and basic personal products from their classrooms, churches, community groups and towns. The students who participated took an active role in educating their local schools, churches and communities about the severe conditions in the Cuzco area of Peru. The students ranged from 7 to 20 years old. With the cooperation of schools and teachers, the kids gave presentations to encourage interest and participation in our work. They collected school supplies, basic kitchen supplies and some personal care products such as lip balm, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, moisturizers and hair elastics.
After collecting the supplies, the group then assembled the supplies to be distributed. In April 2003, eight students, one elementary school teacher from Bagnall Elementary School and our team went to Peru and distributed the collected supplies to 500 students and teachers. Many of the Peruvian children had never owned a comb!

Third Trip (Huilloc and Pacca)
The year 2004 was a wonderfully busy and exciting year for the VCF Student Humanitarian Program. The young people involved began giving presentations and collecting supplies early in the spring. Students from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and California participated. They collected and delivered enough supplies for over 500 needy Peruvian students in the villages of Huilloc and Pacca.
Each student gave a presentation to local schools, churches and senior centers. One student even made chocolate-covered cones to raise money for additional supplies! The Bagnall School in Groveland MA raised enough money to build a much needed classroom for the secondary school in Pacca.
Our April trip with the students was full of work and fun! After delivering the supplies, the students were treated to local dances, songs and a presentation of the history of Pacca by the children of the village. They ate local foods, tasted chicha, danced and even played soccer. We also visited the sacred sites, working with the Medicine people, Don Martin and his family along with Don Francisco and Pasquale. The kids explored Machu Picchu for hours on their own, investigating every hidden cave and crevice they could find. It was a wonderful trip. The kids also all tasted guinea pig. (…Okay, under protest!)

Fourth Trip (Pacca)
The 2005 trip was a great success. After giving presentations to schools, churches, companies, clubs and friends, our US students collected enough supplies for 535 village school students. Bagnall School in Groveland MA collected another $800 toward adding an additional classroom to our Secondary School building project in Pacca!
We were greeted warmly as usual when we arrived in Pacca with song and dance and wonderful food. There was then a presentation from the Pacca students of all the products that have been made from the classes VCF provides. The US students delivered a package of school supplies to every student in the village – enough to last the entire year. After the supplies were delivered, there was the annual Pacca vs. VCF soccer match and SHP actually won the game this year despite the altitude! A few of our kids decided to stay over and sleep with one of the village families, a new experience for both.
Our SHP members also learned that although making adobe bricks looked very easy, it was actually quite difficult. Mixing hay, clay and water with just your bare hands and filling each little square form by hand was exhausting and quite messy.
After our work was done, we traveled with a powerful Medicine person, Don Martin to visit the sacred Inca sites and continued to learn about the indigenous healing traditions. We also rode Peruvian gaited ponies to a new Inca site and rode mountain bikes through the majestic Andean Mountains! It was an amazing feeling of terror and excitement!

Fifth Trip (Pacca)
The 2006 SHP was a small but very productive group.  This year we included adults as well as students. The ayllu and local communities joined together and collected more supplies than in any other year! 

The students and ayllu met and packed up all the supplies together, joining over pizza, soda and lots of laughter! Don Martin Pinedo who was visiting the US at the time was right in the middle packing, giving lots of orders. He was very happy to meet so many ayllu members and students who donated so much time and energy.

Our group traveled to Pacca and as honored guests were entertained by an amazing celebration of dance and song, The Pacca students showed their gratitude to VCF for all that has been accomplished in their village. We all handed out the supplies to the students and the teachers. Every person in Pacca hugged each one of us. It was an amazing, joyful celebration! We had so many supplies that we left huge amounts with the Pacca teachers to assure there would be plenty for the entire school year. The rest of the supplies were sent to our new village of Paruru, the home of Don Martin Pinedo.

At the conclusion of the celebrations and delivery of supplies, we played the official ‘VCF versus Pacca’ soccer match.  And oh yes, we lost this year once again but we were a bit out numbered. It was fun to watch.

At the end of the game, the community of Pacca presented us with an amazing dinner, including fresh vegetables, fruit, chicken and yes….guinea pig. The Pacca students were glowing with joy and our students and adults were very tired and very full!

We visited many sacred Inca sites including Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Inca, Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Chakan and all the sites in Cuzco with Don Martin and Pedro, who shared their knowledge and stories of the ancient healing ceremonies.

 Sixth Trip (Pacca) 
SHP had another great group of students participating in 2007.  We had high school and college students and even a local police officer join us!

Again the ayllu, local community and schools participated in the collection of supplies even with an order from the school department to not engage in anything that was not specified in the teachers’ contracts. But we gathered more supplies than ever. There were so many people that joined in the packing! Some just happen to be walking by our house, stopped in and helped out! There was lots of pizza, soda and laughter. 

This year our American students stayed over, sleeping at the girls’ school.  It was very different from what they are accustomed to with one big room of 60 beds - 30 sets of bunk beds - with only a small cubby to keep your belongings in.  It gave our American students a great understanding of how privileged they are to live in the United States.

They enjoyed a celebration of dance, song and acting from the Pacca students to show their appreciation to VCF. The girls sang to us about how much they love attending the school, how it was a new family for them and how it has changed their lives. They told us they were sad when they had to go home (sometimes living 2-3 hours away) for the two week interval. The girls’ school alternates the girls every two weeks because there is not enough room to house them or teach them all at the same time. They also explained how what they were learning changed their lives and the lives of their families because they were now able to contribute to the economic support of the family.

We then all lined up to pass out the supplies to every student from kindergarten to high school, making sure everyone had enough supplies for the entire school year!  The eyes of these children were filled with pure joy, even at just receiving a simple colored pencil. Everyone was hugging and smiling.

After all was done, dinner was served, beautiful fresh corn, chicken or guinea pig, avocado, bread, cheese and fruits. All very delicious too! Then it was time for our annual game of soccer! This year our US students won 1 of  the 3 games!

We had collected so many supplies this year that we sent the extra supplies to Paruru with Don Martin Pinedo. We will be going to Paururu in 2008 for the first time with the SHP.

Our group then explored all the ancient Inca sites in Cuzco, the Sacred Valley of the Inca, Ollantaytambo, Chakan, Pisac and Machu Picchu with the Medicine people of Peru, learning the ancient Inca ceremonies. We also mountain-biked….yikes……, crawled into the earth and explored deep caves seeing first hand stalactites and stalagmites, crossed the ancient Inca bridge built by agave strings called the Qeswachaka Bridge (literally grass bridge). It is the last used Inca Bridge hanging over the Apurimac River in existence.  The bridge is rebuilt by the native people every year in a great celebration by the native people.  It was a very exciting yet unnerving experience!


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