Friends of Chimbote
January 2nd - January 10th, 2015
Friends of Chimbote
Friends of Chimbote is a faith-based organization dedicated to supporting programs that improve and transform the lives of the poor of Chimbote, Peru. The needs of the residents of Chimbote are basic: food to eat, shelter from the elements, care when they’re sick, jobs to provide for their families, and access to education so their children can build a better future. To respond to these needs, Los Amigos provides the following programs:
- Social programs: Soup kitchens, battered women's shelter, legal advocacy, wellness program, emergency assistance program
- Infrastructure: Home building and repair, garden maintenance
- Health care: Medical, nursing, and dental appointments, medical support services, hospice, hospital partnerships, tuberculosis program
- Economic development: "Dollars for Scholars", micro-lending, Chimbote Computer Services
- Education: Learning support/tutoring program, libraries, kindergartens and daycare, adult learning program
Formerly a thriving resort town and lucrative fishing port, Chimbote was once the most important fishing port in Peru. Known in the 1950s as the "Honeymoon Capital of Peru," Chimbote has been ravaged by decades of economic calamities and dramatic population surges, creating desperate conditions for the city's residents. Today, the city includes a modern center, with paved streets, shops, and a few restaurants and hotels, surrounded by tens of thousands of windowless, woven-reed shacks built in the sand by impoverished residents who have nowhere else to live.
Chimbote today is one of Peru's poorest and most contaminated cities, with outdated fishmeal factories pumping toxins into the air, soil and water.
Today, the overburdened city holds more than 400,000 residents, many of whom live on land on the outskirts of town that is not their own. They struggle through abject poverty and lack access to even the most basic necessities, such as sewer, water or electricity.
With employment that rises and falls on the fortunes of the city's beleaguered fishmeal factories, jobs are exceptionally scarce. In areas where Friends of Chimbote operates, the unemployment or underemployment rate is believed to be as high as 87 percent.
Chimbote's poor have become so accustomed to disease and death that preventive medicine is virtually unknown. Simple daily survival so preoccupies parents that they unintentionally neglect basic health-care practices for infant sons and daughters. The Worldwatch Institute reports that life expectancy in Chimbote is 10 years lower than Peru's national average.
Despite the city's harsh circumstances, Chimbote's story remains one of hope, courage and transformation. The optimism and determination of Chimbote's people stand in stark contrast to the dire conditions in which they live.
Kids in Chimbote eagerly awaiting visitors
What to Expect:
- Cost: Each ABE trip costs $350. International trips have the added cost of flights. In the past flights to Peru have cost $1,522 (2011/2012) and $1,066.14 (2012/2013).
- Travel: The group will fly from Minneapoolis to Lima. They will stay in Lima for one night. Then, the group will take a bus to Chimbote.
- Lodging: Participants will stay at the parish in the dormitory style rooms there.
- Food: Participants will eat food prepared by workers in the Parish.
- Work: The work will be varied, based on what the site needs are at the time. In the past, participants have worked in soup kitchens, volunteered at the prevention centers with the children, worked with children with disabilities and taken them to the beach with their families, gone on house visits with the Social Workers, and volunteered in the Clinic.
- Extra Fun: In the past participants have climbed the mountain to the chapel and/cross at the top and taken the children with disabilities and their families to the beach.
- Focus: Learning, solidarity, poverty, cross-cultural awareness
More info: Volunteer Handbook
Please note: $100 due with acceptance of a position!
Any questions about this trip can be directed to Alternative Break Experiences at email@example.com
Special Points of Interest:
- Spanish Immersion
- Soup Kitchens
- Home building
From Past Participants:
" The people of Chimbote have so little, but their hearts are so big and they are so happy. I was honored to be welcomed into such a beautiful community."
"A week in Chimbote will change your life. We went in looking to touch the lives of others, but we were the ones who left with our lives changed forever. I will never forget the kindness, generosity, and gratitude of the amazing people in Chimbote."
Read a reflection from the 2012 trip!