Below is a great recap from NM ’03 Alumnae, Lauren Hodde. She recently went on a mission trip, spending most her time in Chimbote, which is six hours north of Lima. We asked her to give a recap of her experience for our Alumnae Spotlight
We stayed at a parish that was on the outskirts of town, where they are just now installing roads and sidewalks. On a typical day, it’s normal to see donkey carts pulling produce. The unemployment rate is high after the fishing industry became overrun and changes in fishing due to El Nino. Many families are just trying to survive.
We partnered with an organization called Friends of Chimbote, http://friendsofchimbote.org/, which have been successful at slowly growing the economy by creating job opportunities. Partnering with this organization was extremely helpful, they are local and could tell us the biggest needs in the town. I was led by the Go Fish team, which are amazing individuals that have been going back and serving Chimbote for nearly twenty years.
One of the best parts of my trip was the first two days that we spent demolishing, then rebuilding a house for a very grateful family of 6 that was living in unthinkable conditions prior. Cockroaches and bugs overran their 10′ x 40′ home. Within a few days their housing was drastically improved, and the mother kept crying and saying how we would be in her heart forever. This is a moment that will also remain in mine. Ive attached her photo below. In total, all of the teams were able to restore and/or rebuild six homes.
The third day we spent with men and women at a prison and later visiting a hospital. The hospital serves a majority of low income families, many of which are unable to afford their medical expenses and/or prescriptions, especially since patients are required to pay up front before any surgeries or procedures. As a group, we were able to bless 14 families that were unable to pay their financial expenses. It was amazing, and a few lives were saved including a mother and her baby that needed an emergency c-section. We were also so blessed to have a priest on the trip that has a rock n roll spirit, which proved highly valuable in the prison! The inmates had an incredible time listening to him jam out and their spirits were completely different after being uplifted.
The last few days we spent time with the neighborhood children, 50 of which are disabled. We were able to bring them to the beach and feed them lunch, which was such a treat since many of them are unable to see much outside their neighborhood. They were so joyful as they played freely in the water and sand. We also held a fiesta, where we provided over 500 people with a hot meal and lots of dancing! The remainder of the food was provided to soup kitchens and will serve a meal to approximately 900-1000 people.
Again, I want to thank your encouragement and support. I have such amazing friends and family- seriously you are incredible! Be on the lookout for more photos I’ll be posting on Facebook soon!
Until my next adventure,