They say some of your best trips are those that are spontaneous. I was talking to a friend of mine from the Salsa community in Calgary about a trip that she had just booked. She was going to be doing the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. Me and another friend both looked at her and said we wanted to join. So we booked our trip and off we went.
Peru is known as the Land of the Incas. The history of the Inca empire is extremely interesting and have left ruins all over Peru. The world-famous Machu Picchu is genuinely a wonder of the world and to think people created this place is mind blasting.
So we started our trip with a dessert oasis tour (must do) in Lima and only spent a few days there. Lima is a large city and most tourists don’t spend too much time there. We decided to fly to Cusco where most tourist go to visit the famous mountain. It doesn’t take long to get an incredible sense of the local culture of Peruvians. They are very hospitable and always carry a smile. Since the 1980s tourism to Peru has grown to over 1 million visitors annually.
Most come to visit the iconic ruins left behind from the Inca Empire. The tourism industry employs many Peruvians who work extremely long hours to make a living for their families. Their children go to school during day and many of the time, spend their evening home alone. After school homes are options for some families, but not every family can afford them. I thought to myself that is would be an amazing opportunity to check out one of the homes in Cusco. I reached out to Proyecto Peru and met Cheyenne with Proyecto Peru who got us in touch with Reynaldo.
He is a police officer that runs an after school home for families with low income. The after school home has many volunteers from across the globe who work with the kids to complete homework and keep them entertained and fed until parents are off work. When I first met Reynaldo I quickly got a sense of how passionate he was about caring for the kids. He talked about the importance of taking care of tomorrows’ generation and how valued it is to ensure kids are not left alone while their parents work around the clock to make a living. When we arrived at the shopping centre, he had a detailed list of all the things the after school home needed.
As he shopped, he made note of every penny spent and ensured it was an absolute need for the kids. Reynaldo’s dedication to public service leaves you speechless. As a police officer, he risks his life every day to ensure the public is safe and, in the evenings, runs the after school home to ensure kids are safe and entertained until their parents are off work.
We can all take a little chapter from Reynaldo’s amazing selflessness. When we arrived at the after school home, the kids rushed to help unload our ride. They carried the heavy bags up a few flights of stairs and into the home. It was amazing to see how thankful and happy there where with nothing more then essential supplies for the home. I hung around the kids for a few hours and talked to some of the volunteers. It was incredible how people from everywhere come to volunteer their time to watch and help the kids.