I leave for Africa in like, oh, yesterday, and have been frantically trying to unpack my life from Peru and repack for this trip. Am I prepared to run a half marathon at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro? Why, I’m glad you asked! Sure. Absolutely. Just today I bought braces for every part of my leg (meaning two of each, one set for the left leg, one for the right), four gallons of ibuprofen, and a megaphone that I will carry with me the entire 13.1 miles through which I can shout
obscenities encouragement at the other runners.
Some of us were born to run. Others? Like me? We were born so that orthopedic surgeons can pay for their yachts.
I was clearing off my memory cards so that I have enough room for all the photos I want to take while I’m gone (if I happen to see a wild zebra or giraffe then, good Lord, I’ve got to find a Pinterest board ASAP that shows step by step how to fold them up so that they fit inside my duffle bag), and came upon a slew of shots I took at a market in Chorrillos a week ago Sunday. We were out with Rosa Barahona buying ingredients for a lunch that would be prepared at the home of Aida Torpoco, an extraordinary meal that included Papa a la Huancaína. No, that’s not Paleo, and you will not see me giving even one half-assed damn about it. I was pouring that sauce like water down my throat and trying not to burp in total satisfaction. Delicious is not a strong enough word.
That market in a part of town called San Genaro was a feast (no horrible pun intended) of color and light and texture. I had to be careful to keep the camera strap around my body and hide it when I wasn’t conspicuously taking photos of carefully packaged sauces and rice. But I couldn’t help myself. So much to see and smell and capture.
The other three women on this trip to visit KK Peru have all written beautiful accounts of our experiences there.
The women have regular empowerment meetings that deal with daily life skills, self-esteem, skill building, goal setting, and financial independence. Most of these women entered the program because they were deemed vulnerable … to domestic violence or poverty or other hardships. Krochet Kids assesses the baseline of each woman when she enters the program, and together they establish tangible goals to improve their lives. They a big on the women choosing their own goals, and not comparing their own circumstances to anyone else. They are also big on measureable goals, believing that empowerment should affect observable change, both socially, financially, and emotionally.
Beatriz has been in an on-again, off-again abusive relationship and currently is working through that situation with the help of the KK intl. mentoring program. From what I learned, most women in this socio-economic class are born and raised to have children and take care of their husband. Period. That kind of thinking can keep women bound to the home, and KK intl. is helping them to see opportunities and possibilities beyond that (important, yet restrictive) role.
Several people have asked whether a KK is a missionary organization, and I wanted to respond to that because, although the founders of Krochet Kids are indeed Christians, they are not here to impose their beliefs on others. They are Christians in the true sense of the word — people who have chosen to devote their lives to empowering those less privileged. The non-Peruvian workforce, as well as the KK interns, live in the same neighborhood as the participants, bringing people together to elevate each other and their communities so that they can move on, go back to school, start their own businesses and ultimately flourish on their own terms.
We’re still trying to sponsor the education of 50 beneficiaries at $35/month and would love your help in reaching this goal.