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Kerry in Peru

Kerry (CPA Canada)
Helping Overcome Obstacles Peru, Peru

Arriving in Arequipa and HOOP

I have received a wonderful welcome to Arequipa and the HOOP family.  What an amazing group of caring people.
My first week at “work” has been most enjoyable and fun (yes, I am doing accounting!).  I am working with some very bright local people who are appreciative and eager to learn.
I have had the opportunity to learn more about the work HOOP are doing, and am amazed at the extent of the positive impact they are having improving the lives of disadvantaged children and their families in the Flora Tristan community on the outskirts of Arequipa.  In addition to running the school for local children, they also provide free English lessons after school for anyone who is interested, and have a social worker to assist the mothers with challenges such as parenting, and supporting each other within the community.  They are attempting to engage with the fathers also, building community with activities such as football (soccer) games.  I am really looking forward to visiting next week, and will definitely share more then.
My opportunities for exploration have been somewhat limited so far.  However, getting lost on the way to the plaza to get coffee in the morning resulted in some spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and volcanoes.

When I did accidentally encounter the plaza trying to find my way back to the office there were amazing views over the city and a reasonable cup of coffee.  This has become my morning routine.

Arequipa is at an elevation of 2328 metres, fortunately, other than waking a few times the first night to take some deep breaths, I have not been impacted by altitude.  As a comparison, Whistler mountain is only 670 metres high.  Hopefully this will bode well for my future travels to Cusco and Machu Picchu.
One of the things I love most about travelling is walking around a different place and absorbing the smells and sounds and feeling a part of the surroundings.  Arequipa does not feel like the large city it is.  There is a lot of noisy, smelly traffic, however, the people on the streets do not appear to be in a rush.  Perhaps just as well, navigating the sidewalks is a task in itself! The buildings are made from sillar and some are painted bright colours.  There are many  rooftop gardens, that appear to be an oasis from the traffic, and provide some shade and greenery in a very dry desert landscape.  Our rooftop at the Soul Guest House is a peaceful place to watch the sunset.

I am very much looking forward to sightseeing this weekend, and will post up some pictures next week.

Adios :)

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