Memories of San José Obrero

The collection of entries below is supplementary to my previous blog post, A Stairway from Kamloops to Lima.

Lima, Peru: Our arrival and introduction to the school and project
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Team Cedar, checking in!  Here we are in Lima, a 13 member group of Cedar Dental Centre employees along with family, friends, and significant others.  It’s been a couple days now since the bulk of us left Kamloops for our South American destination.  After about 14 hours of flights, shuttles and airport lines, we finally arrived in Lima.  One night to regain the sleep we lost in transit, a whirlwind tour of the city most of us have never seen before, and another slumber brought us to this morning.

Today was the beginning of our hands-on volunteer excursion with Developing World Connections, and what an amazing experience it has been already!  At 8am or so we boarded our bus, which carried us to our orientation with host partner IFEJANT.  From there, we rode on beyond the limits of pavement to dirt roads rising to the hills of San José Obrero, the destination of our whole reason for being here in Peru. Upon arriving we were guided through the local school, a budding hub of education built partially with the assistance of past groups like our own, and one that we are here to further improve upon. We spent the remainder of the morning getting introduced to teachers, parents, and the vibrant smiling children that filled each classroom. Continue reading

A Stairway from Kamloops to Lima

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The following was written in the Spring of 2012.

It was inevitable that longtime Cedar Dental Centre hygienist Rhonda Hendry found herself in the poor and dusty outskirts of Lima, happily hauling bucket after bucket of hand-mixed cement up a growing set of steps in the persistent sunlight.  Above and below she was joined by several other hardworking contributors, some fellow Kamloops visitors and the rest local Peruvians, all of their efforts brought together amid encouraging shouts of “Mas cemento!”  Now and then she would pause to kneel for a smiling face to face exchange with one of the many children running and playing about the work area.

“The whole thing was just magical,” says Rhonda, reflecting upon her time volunteering this past March at a school for working children in the community of San José Obrero. Continue reading

A Naughty Little New Year’s

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Photo courtesy of Aly Figenshaw.

How best to end a year?  Each cycle of the earth around the sun is an occasion worthy of its own celebration.  After an eventful 2013, I felt like doing something particularly special to commemorate the past 12 months.

In the final hours leading up to 2014 my wife, some friends and I headed out to Vancouver’s Rio Theatre for “Patrick Maliha’s Naughty Little New Year’s”.  Together we claimed a whole row of seats at the venue, and with fresh ales and wine filling our cup holders we awaited the performances to come. Continue reading