Invitation to mission, Peru 2018

8th April 2018 - by Nathalie Marytsch

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Mishel, from Ireland, tells us what the invitation to mission group, spending ten days in Lima, Peru did yesterday. Watch this space for more missionary experiences.

Next door to Mission centre on Columban land is the Manuel Duato Special Needs School.

This school caters for babies, children and young adults with a wide range and spectrum of learning, physical and social, challenges such as Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and deafness.
The school offers physiotherapy, a general education and life skills that will enable some young people to eventually support themselves within the family.

Here, all family members of young children are encouraged to be involved, even aunts, uncles and cousins on a daily,hands on, class room basis so as to share the skills required to create a stimulating environment in school and home.

This family participation is essential not only during the school day and within each family but as a support system for each other. Let us not overlook for one moment that these families survive on treacherously low incomes and by supporting each other and sharing the ‘load’, as the children grow the ‘one to one’, can become ‘one to five’ parent to child ratio thus enabling them to work and earn.

I saw children’s faces that held a expressions of happy achievement , I saw dedicated families and professionals working as one, sharing energy, enthusiasm in a caring and loving environment.

The happy songs sung were genuine and contagious and the whole atmosphere was welcoming and nurturing.

Following another delicious lunch made by the shy friendly kitchen women in the Mission centre ( I give thanks) we travelled by car through the mass humanity of Lima. Thrusting through the fumes and dust, along the honking, beeping and engine revving highways and by -ways. Complicated turns and bonnet to bumper driving, tangled pathways to countless destinations, along the streets that are a constant mass of movement, colour and smells- we witness the sprawl of homes on the not too distant mountain sides. Huts and chalets reaching higher and wider into the depths and confines of poverty- Lima seems to have no end!

Up along the streets with tight corners and steep inclines all of a sudden we enter an oasis- instantly the atmosphere feels different , the smell but not the sound of the city cease and a rich aroma of organic matter enters our being. We had arrived at The Happy Worm in San Juan de Lurigancho.

In 1991 this small patch of planet was a dumping ground and Cholera was killing people who had no alternative but to live there. From this starting point a group of people decided that the 780 tonnes of daily rubbish could and would be turned into nutrient rich Humus. Now the Happy Worm creates occupation, education, income, a creative space and with the help of the common earth worm life giving soil. In this desert city- a simple process with an amazing social and environmental impact- a literal breath of fresh air!

Local people are encouraged to participate and bring their compostable waste to feed the process of making ‘ humus’, as a result taking care of their environment and enhancing their lives with green growth whilst getting involved in making soil. Everyone is encouraged to plant a tree and given everything they need to do so.

The Happy Worm brought work into the locality as it needs the wastes kind from a garlic factory and the factory needs garlic peelers!

Local children and university students alike come to the Happy Worm to learn and study and will bring this skill forward !
They ingeniously craft old papers, inventively into stylish beautiful hand bags and baskets! Bringing more opportunity of income to local families!

It’s use of kitchen waste saves the council thousands of dollars and reduces polluting waste disposal methods!
Mary, who hosted our visit brought us step by step through the method of making the finest compost I’ve seen,smelt and touched!

To hold a handful of this rich brown humus whilst standing on the dry dust, meters away from the city street debris was truly astonishing. I have visited many Permaculture centres and organic gardens in the UK and Ireland and this is one Awe inspiring taste of Eden!

Let us all recognise our Humility and be Humbled before we become food for worms!!