29 Jun Peru: An Adventure Begins…
Welcome to the Peru Amazon Adventure blog!
After numerous trips to the airport, all 12 members of the Amazon Adventure team are safely here in Lima. Arriving late at night, the group got right into the swing of things with an introductory game of Samurai, began learning each other´s names and about the Operation Groundswell style.
This morning, the group had the privilege to meet with Canadian Ambassador to Peru, Richard LeCoq, and two representatives from the Embassy. Incredibly informative, the talk highlighted the major issues facing the newly elected Peruvian president, outlined Peru´s colonial past and showcased Canada´s role in helping to support the social and economic development of the country. One of Canada´s ¨priority 20¨countries, Peru currently receives Canadian funding to support intercultural bilingual education initiatives. With the 2nd lowest basic education level in the Americas (barely ahead of Haiti), one of the greatest problems facing the education system is a Spanish-centric curriculum. In a country with a large Indigenous population, this obviously causes problems. Working with UNICEF, our government is working to support teachers in rural areas through peer mentoring and an Indigenous education program pioneered in reserves in Canada.
Another contentious issue in Peru is mining and resource extraction. Similar to Canada, Peru is incredibly rich in natural resources but unlike Canada, where the quality of life is quite high because of the trickle-down economics of resource wealth, average Peruvian citizens have not seen much benefit from mining. The most evident case right now is the recent expulsion of Bear Creek, a Canadian mining exploration company, from the Santa Ana region. Learning about the many complex layers of colonialism, exploitation, local narco-traffickers, illegal local mining vs. international corporations that all play into this decion, the embassy officials really showed us that nothing is black and white and that´s essentially why we´re here: to explore, educate and engage.
For more information about Bear Creek, please click these links:
Needless to say, its always an interesting time to be here in Peru!
Tomorrow the group will visit Pachacutec, a slum suburb of Lima where Laura taught last year at an elementary school. Incredibly basic, the experience should be shocking to some but enlightening to all in terms of the reality of poverty here in Peru. The next day, we´ll be taking a bike tour around Central Lima to learn about the history of the city before we head off on a 28-hour bus north to the jungle on Saturday.
We´ll try to update again before we leave but if we don´t, just assume we´re having fun! If you would like to contact us, please call: (51) 971860029.
The Amazon Adventurers