You can just barely see the ocean. Beautiful.
The Virgin Mary has quite the presence here.

We've made it to Lima, Peru safely. Got to our hotel late, and I nearly overslept and missed breakfast. We had an interesting drive along the coast to the Heifer Peru central office. It wasn't as scary as the driving in Uganda (there are, at least, stoplights), but there's definitely an air of competition and casualness. We're now meeting with Heifer Peru staff, who are delightful.

The Peru Country Program moved from leased office space to a
new, owned building about two years ago.

Here are some tidbits for you:

Poverty in Peru is 34.8 percent; in rural areas it's 60.3 percent. Rural women and youth are the most invisible populations. If you're a family of five and spend less than $5,569 per year, you are poor. The concentration of Heifer's work is in the rural highlands, where poverty rates are nearly 70 percent.

Center Zone Coordinator Katia Melgarejo

Climate challenges include desertification and loss of biodiversity. Peru has historically been a very biodiverse country, but that is declining at an alarming rate. Despite the biodiversity that remains, the top commodity food crops are imported (wheat at 86.3 percent, yellow corn at 59 percent and soy at 91.3–soy is for cooking oil and feeding chickens).

Rural areas are holistic with great biological and cultural diversity. There are 5,818 rural communities with some 4 million people. Most of these farmers and communities own the titles to their land. "Dirty" mining is another challenge. Formalizing their land ownership has been a major effort over the years.

Heifer has worked in Peru since 1984. They work with small farmer organizations, focusing on both values and rights, to build capacities leading to food sovereignty and self-reliance.

In a place where it never rains, roofs are quite unprepared for sudden rain. As the climate changes and it rains for a week straight, people must rethink how their roofs are built.

Families who have worked with Heifer have gone from eating guinea pig only during festivals and special occasions and eating vegetables rarely (because they didn't know how to grow them on their land) to eating vegetables daily and guinea pig every couple of weeks.

Author

Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She has a master's in social work and a bachelor's degree in psychology. She is married, a mother of two, and a wannabe urban farmer, raising her own chickens and killing most of her vegetable crops.