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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

Touchdown in Piura

It’s an easy flight, only about an hour and a half and we are greeted at the airport in Piura by members of Norandino, our host co-operative who have come to drive us to the hotel. They are warm and very friendly but language is a bit of a barrier. Phillipa’s Spanish is amazing and she graciously translates the conversation for the rest of us. There seems to be lots of action and night-life in Piura. There are vendors along the streets selling snacks and drinks. There are also people with squeegees and even a man juggling fire in hopes of earning some tips. Busses are bursting with people and there are Peru-style tuk-tuks everywhere which look kind of like mopeds attached to a rickshaw but covered and decorated. Local people seem to hop in and out of them at every corner. The driving is very different. Those in the group who have travelled to South America before are not as surprised as I am by the speed, the volume of traffic, the constant honking and the passing inside or outside of any lane at any opportunity.

After dinner John and I venture quickly out into the street to buy some bottled water for the group. Within a few short blocks we find an older lady who has set up a street-side shop selling newspapers and snacks and other odds and ends. She reaches under the table into what seems to be a large bucket of ice and happily loads 10 bottles of cold water into a plastic bag for us. An adorable little girl who is maybe 2 or 3 smiles up at us from under the ladies feet but shies away when I ask her for her name in Spanish. I can’t imagine being out that late at night on such a busy street with my son, and certainly not without a play station or LeapPad to keep him occupied, but this is a different way of life and to be honest, that little girl looked totally occupied and totally content. It makes me wonder why I worry so much about my little man.

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