My First Trip To Peru
In April, 2015, I joined a group of 15 other people and motorcycled around Peru. The terrain and scenery were breathtaking. (Read more about the trip in my blog posts, Pondering Peru Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.) After riding around the Andes and other parts of southern Peru, we ended our trip in the town of Moquegua and spent a day at the Hogar Belen orphanage.
This was no ordinary adventure ride. Our ride leader, Neale Bayly, was also the founder of Wellspring International Outreach, an organization he established in 2008 to bring awareness to the plight of abandoned children in Peru and South Africa.
The Mission of Wellspring International Outreach
This video, produced by my friend and fellow Peru traveler, Jim Miller, clearly articulates the mission of Wellspring International Outreach.
Why You Should Care About this Trip
But if I’ve been there once, why am I going back and why should you care?
Because of Maria. I met Maria at Hogar Belen in 2015 and for some unknown reason – and with very few common language skills – we bonded. We spent the entire day together, playing with her 3-year-old son, Joey, peeling potatoes and onions, and walking the grounds of the Hogar Belen “farm.” She showed me the “room” she shared with Joey. It was a glorified storage shed with no running water, sparsely furnished and woefully inadequate for a young mother and her growing son.
As impactful as this was, it was what I learned about Maria that touch my heart in a way that I can never forget. While I never uncovered how Maria came to Hogar Belen or the circumstances of Joey’s birth, through our Spanglish, I was able to learn that Maria was 18, the same age as my daughter. Maria loved math, as did my daughter. Maria wanted to become a civil engineer and work for the state. My daughter had similarly lofty career aspirations.
But that’s where the similarities ended. Through the accident of birth, my daughter gets to go to college, dream big and achieve her goals. That same accident of birth prevents Maria from fulfilling her potential and realizing her dreams. The unfairness of it takes my breath away. For each of our own children, blessed with all of the trappings and opportunities that our lifestyles offer, there are several Marias, with untapped potential and the inability to overcome the insurmountable odds of their lifestyles.
Come with Me (in Spirit) to Hogar Belen
So, here I am, ready to return to Peru and Hogar Belen with the dream of making the children’s lives just a little bit easier by giving them my all for a week in May. And you can help, too. I’m trying to raise $1,800 with 100 $18 donations. With this money, the facilities at Hogar Belen can be improved, needed clothing and furnishings can be purchased, and food and supplies can be more plentiful.
Please consider sending a small part of yourself with me by making an $18 donation and sharing this story with your friends and family.