Gladys Tejeda, No Solo Sabe Correr

Por Germán Vargas, Director de Comunicaciones Paz y Esperanza

El sábado pasado, Gladys Tejeda, la sencilla chica de Junín que hoy casi todos conocen y alaban, obtuvo la medalla de oro en los Juegos Panamericanos Toronto 2015 rompiendo el récord en maratón femenino, y regalándonos la alegría de un campeonato.

Desde entonces, mucho se ha escrito y dicho sobre Gladys. Hemos conocido su humilde procedencia, el amor por su tierra, su impresionante esfuerzo y  perseverancia para llegar a hacer una atleta de elite, y la bendición de tener una madre que le alienta y acompaña.

Lo que no se ha dicho, sin embargo, es que nuestra campeona no solo sabe correr. Hace algunos años ofreció una lección mucho más importante que el mayor de los logros deportivos que pudiera obtener. Me refiero al valor de defender su dignidad.

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Temporary Gates

By Cara Ward, an intern at the Casa del Buen Trato Hovde, a shelter for survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Huanuco Cara Ward

Since I have come to Peru, my vocabulary has been significantly depleted due to my limited knowledge of the Spanish language. One word, however, that frequents my English vocabulary much more often than it used to is “experience.” Time is often measured “before,” “after,” and “during my experience here.” I have had the experience of eating alpaca. I have the experience of being woken up by an overly enthusiastic rooster outside my door at 6 AM every morning. I get to experience the amusing system of public transportation here in Huánuco. My exhaustive use of the word has me wondering if I value life in a sequential set of happenings.

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Chasing Away “Discapacidad”

By Riana Hardin, volunteer with the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program for children with disabilities in San Martín, Peru

A visit to one of the students who requires more one on one rehabilitation services
A visit to one of the students who requires more one on one rehabilitation services

If there is one thing that I have come to struggle with since coming to Peru and working with Paz y Esperanza is the word discapacidad. Indeed, I realize that the word cannot help but be what it is, but I cringe at the contamination that a person is somehow lesser of a human because of a difference that they had no control over. After having spent a large chunk of last semester, monitoring disability issues in India, I am well aware of the second class status “disability” carries in most of the world. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to cry out an ocean of tears for the careless discard of untapped potential and ability to contribute and participate in the human experience.

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Forever Changed

By Kelley Spotnik, Journey Church Team 2013-2014

Tia and Kelley    

My first serving opportunity at the Casa del Buen Trato Hovde in Huánuco, Peru was in August, 2013. I co-lead a team of 10 from Journey Church in Charlotte, North Carolina; we had the privilege of building a roof over the laundry area and painting the bedrooms. We also participated in art class and enjoyed some dancing and volleyball with our new friends at the Hovde House. Each day our team and the residents had lunch together and engaged in some wonderful conversations as we worked on improving their home. The staff and residents are such a joy to be around. Continue reading “Forever Changed”

More than a New Profile Pic

By Ryan Juskus, volunteer in San Martín in 2004

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There is a joke about a short-term humanitarian volunteer who visited an East African country to spend time serving kids in an orphanage.  While there, he took lots of selfies with some of the orphans.  When he returned home, he described the experience as “transformative,” so much so that he used one of those photos as his facebook profile picture for a whole two weeks!

The joke, of course, is that if such an encounter were so transformative, then it would have led to a lifestyle and vocational commitment to identify and combat the root causes of human suffering and injustice in our world today.  And such a commitment would cause him to ask the hard questions about his own country, privilege, and complicity in unjust systems that create or maintain broken relationships.  In other words, transformation would have included more than a transformed facebook profile.  It would have included a transformed lifestyle and spiritual life.

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Reflections from a Short-Term Mission Trip

By Sashá Nícole García, Judson University, 2014

Sasha with an adolescent motherI was so nervous for this mission trip. The day before I had just graduated, and I had so many emotions going through my mind. I didn’t know if I was ready for the eight hour flight, but, looking back, I am glad I came on this trip. Being part of this trip has changed my view of God’s love tremendously. At times, being at the shelter was heart-wrenching as we heard about what some of the girls have gone through, but it was also so rewarding to be there and see the girls smile and have a positive outlook for their futures. Continue reading “Reflections from a Short-Term Mission Trip”

Hope in Hard Places

By Andrew Moment, Judson University Team, 2014

AndrewJudsonI went to Paz Y Esperanza in Huánuco with a team of 20 volunteers from the Chicago area.  From the minute I stepped inside the shelter, I felt welcomed and loved by all the women and girls in the shelter. I had honestly not expected that because of the history of many of the women and children. Soon enough, I was trying to communicate in pretty broken Spanish. I am pretty sure the girls were laughing at us, but they appreciated the attempt and seemed to enjoy our less than perfect Spanish.

Looking back at my time in the shelter, I realized I left with much more than I came with. I left seeing a shelter that is staffed by absolutely wonderful people who care about these women. I left with the memory of smiles that were so big and filled with so much hope, so that I could not help but smile back. As a team, we all left seeing the progress that Paz is making using their holistic approach. They are not only pursuing healing for the women, but they also seek justice. The biggest takeaway for our entire team is that no circumstances are too bad to still have hope. Jesus Christ meets everyone where they are at. The women at the shelter have had horrific things happen to them, but Paz is sharing the love of Jesus and letting them know that they are loved and cared about. Our whole team was incredibly challenged, and we admire the hard work that that each Paz y Esperanza worker is doing.