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CDF Study Tour - Peru

On Monday, January 16th, 2012, the Co-operative Development Foundation (CDF) will embark on a 5 day Study Tour to Peru. Along with a volunteer team made up of Canadian Co-operative and Credit Union leaders, we will be visiting co-operative projects in the regions of Piura and Montero that have supported and empowered small communities of producer farmers to work their way out of poverty towards prosperity.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


It is late at night when we arrive in Lima. I am feeling groggy but excited as we step out of the plane and into the balmy air on the runway. The airport appears and feels very modern, which according to Philippa is a fairly recent improvement. We are impressed with the efficiency as we breeze through the line-ups at customs only to spend the better part of an hour waiting for our baggage to arrive. On the arrivals side of the airport there are crowds and crowds of people waiting for their loved ones, holding up signs and balloons. I’ve never seen an airport so busy so late at night. It feels like paparazzi at the end of a red carpet and you can’t help but get choked up sensing all the love and happiness in the room. Of course, this amount of love and happiness leads to one tiny little drawback: traffic. Lots and lots of slow-moving, horn blaring traffic. We've arranged for a taxi to pick us up at the airport and we set off slowly through Lima to a little part of town called Miraflores. I’m a little stunned when the driver reaches over me to lock the car door as we drive away. Violent crime is extremely rare in Lima but unfortunately due to high poverty rates, petty crime is rampant. Philippa warns us to stick together, carry very little valuables with us when we are out, and walk with confidence as though we know where we are going.

The hotel is small but very pretty and cozy. It’s fenced in with a locking gate. The staff are very friendly despite our late hour of arrival and offer us a cold drink in the lobby while we settle ourselves. Alexandra logs on to her laptop and is able to video skype with her family back in Ottawa. Technology blows my mind.

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