Path of the Heart is immensely grateful to have received a grant from the G. Johanneson Family Foundation to be used for providing Jackets, Pants, Boots, Socks, Gloves, and Hats to 160 children (Boys and Girls) in the communities of Marcani – Fusa and Ttio, which is located in the District of Calca, Cusco in the Sacred Valley - Peru. These communities are at an altitude of 12,000 to 15,000 feet in the Andes. Our initial number of children to serve was 130 with Jackets, Boots, Socks, Gloves, and Hats. We are happy to report that this project has superseded that goal and made a huge difference in the communities.
The children in these communities walk for 1, 2 or 3 hours each way to their school. You can see the children walking early in the morning and arriving home in the late afternoon from the school and their estancias or lomas (homes). Because they live high in the Andean mountains, it is impossible for all the families to live close together as they have to raise their animals such as llamas, sheep and alpacas in enough space for them to eat grass and Icchu (Straw). These children all speak Runa Simi, the language of our ancestors the Incas and the pre-Incas. We are able to communicate with them because we speak this amazing Language. With these clothes, the children will be warmer and make it through the year and have opportunities in their future, walking warmly in the snow paths with their boots. They will also be warm as they study in their classes, do homework and interact with their families in the evenings and mornings.
The photos show all the different clothing that we distributed for 160 girls and boys. To distribute the clothing, we had to travel at 4:00 AM from Cusco to these communities; because they are very far away and we have to use a big truck. It was very cold even if the sun was in the fields at that time of the day. The grass, plants, and water were frozen in the Andes. It is impossible to touch the water or to be outside in the afternoon because of the cold. On the way we passed lots of communities with children that also need our support – there are many thousands of kids of all ages that are living in these extreme conditions in these valleys all over the Andes.
The government does not arrive regularly to many of these communities because there are no roads and the community has to open a path for us and that way we can be able to arrive at the communities by foot and mules. The kids, Teacher and Community children’s mothers helped us to carry all these amazing items for the children. This clothing will make it possible for these children to resist the cruel weather this year and more to come. As you can see in the photos, these children’s faces are burned by the harsh cold weather all year. As I delivered the clothing, I could think about ways to help them and make this world a better place for all of them and the world.
We extend our sincere thanks to members of the Foundation. We are truly grateful for your support and your grant which has made a real difference in these children and thousands of lives in Peru and its communities.
With love and gratitude always,
Washington Gibaja Tapia.