Month: May 2019

Solidarity with Shipibo Women from the Amazon


A woman from the Amazon explains the meaning of their beautiful design to Paul  Chaiken. 

On the Tuesday of May 26, 2019  the  WGC group visited members of the Shipibo tribe who  had emigrated from the Amazon region to Lima.  For a few years Sister Katty Huanuco, the Director of the Incarnate Word Sisters Oficina de Justicia, Paz y Tierra  has encouraged the community.  When we arrived, Sister Katty sat us down on plastic lawn chairs arranged in a circle. We then went around the circle introducing ourselves. About thirty women, men, and children welcomed us.


As  we were talking, we learned that their main source of income was selling their ancestral crafts on the streets of Lima. Their designs were passed on from generation to generation with each person having their own unique designs within the general style.


Even though they have moved to Lima, they have retained their native language, the Shipibo, and they have kept practicing their own herbal medicine on minor illnesses. A big reason why they moved to Lima is that there are no universities in the Amazon; they  are restricted to primary and secondary school.


Most of their crafts were fabrics  with intricate, maze-like designs stitched on. Other times the tapestries had paintings on them that depicted the daily life in their culture like carrying water back to the village or smoking San Pedro cactus to see across space and time.


Sister Martha Ann bought a cloth with intricate designs that seemed to not mean much. But after talking to the woman that made the cloth, it depicted a birds eye view of a village (in the circle) surrounded by walkways, rivers, and forests (outside of the circle).


[According to the Shamanic Education Project   The Shipibo people  “are a shamanically based people, deeply influenced by the power of the plants, animals and natural elements. A unique aspect of the Shipibo culture is their woven song tradition. The Shipibo record their icaros or healing songs in elaborate geometrical designs that function like a musical score and correlate and interact with the natural world. They see the patterns in the natural world and are able to reproduce them for protection, healing, abundance, harmony and a variety of other purposes.”]

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After buying some of their beautiful fabrics, beads, and crafts, Sr. Katty led us praying  together and took group pictures. We left the Shipibo people amicably, but there were still mysteries in how they lived.

Contributed by Paul B. Chaiken

Women’s Global Connection with the assistance of Sister Katty is learning more of the 250 Shipibo families who are seeking education  for their children in Lima, yet they want to preserve their language and culture.  Perhaps we can form a partnership with them.


Protecting the Amazon region and respecting the people of the Amazon is important.  The rain forest is the “lungs” of our planet. It holds thousands of species. Sister Katty is active in religious organizations trying to protect the Amazon.  Powerful corporations have been taking advantage of the native peoples of the Amazon. With global climate change the Shipibo people along the Ucayali River have experienced floods and droughts. Also there has been deforestation.  

 “Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.” UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 2


Shipibo women are probably best known for their pottery decorated with maze like patterns. Some of these are in the Smithsonian collections.




One of our travelers, Evelyn Garcia, happily displays a blouse she got from them.



Another of the travelers, Meghan Mueller, enjoyed her Shipibo dress on her first day in Cuzco.

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Learning About Ancient Peru to Current Challenges

Five taxis drove us down the Pan-American Highway en route to explore the city of Trujillo. The landscape started to change but before your eyes could get used to the change of scenery, acres and acres of green vegetation would grace the side of the road. As the taxi drivers weaved in and out of cars, we passed by smaller towns. You could not help but think if communities like Cambio Puente have lack of access to water and challenges with waste management, how many other towns are in similar situations? What unique or common challenges do they experience?

Las Huacas del Sol Y De La Luna

The view from the taxi on our way to our first visit, The Huacas Del Sol Y De La Luna (The Temple of the Sun and of the Moon). The landscape would change from desert dunes, to hills, to agriculture.

The huaca (temple) is composed of five temples, each one built inside the other. Named after other temples (like the ones found in Teotihuacan in Mexico City), our tour guide used the example of boxes inside of boxes to understand the structure. Discovered in 1991, the outer layer has since been destroyed by grave robbers and climate. Brick making was an important aspect of the Mochica culture. The main and only colors used to paint the carvings were white, black, red, yellow, and blue. While the Mochica culture did not have a writing system, their form of communication was through paintings.

In the gift shop near the Temple of the Moon in Trujillo where human sacrifice had been practiced, Sister Martha Ann saw a book called Sacrificios Humanos en America, Cronica de una Patraña Europa  grappling with the complexity of the meaning of sacrifice in European Christian culture and in these ancient cultures in Peru.  By the book was this crucifix. Good art raises more questions than it gives answers.  The vertical bar of the cross is a “tumi” with a black blade, that is the instrument that the indigenous people used to kill the human victims. Why is the artist using this to form this cross? Is the cross bar the knife of the people or is it an instrument of the Spanish?  Is the figure on the cross meant to be Jesus sacrificed for the sins of world?  Is it a Peruvian peasant (in the typical hat) who has been sacrificed by the Spanish oppressors? Do the gods need sacrifices to appease them? To keep away the danger and death of terrible weather? Does the Christian God need human sacrifice?

Are each of us called to sacrifices of loving care and service for others? Rather than sacrificing the other? Sister Martha Ann is taking home the cross to invite conversations.

 Lunch in Huanchaco

Some of the travelers enjoying lunch by the beach in Huanchaco. Edith Flores (bottom right) from the Pushaq Warmi group was with us for this day trip.


Evelyn Jasso Garcia wrote, “We watched the beautiful waves of the Pacific Ocean and walked the beach. The Oceanside here is better maintained than the one in Chimbote.”

Chan Chan, A World Heritage Site

Our next visit took us to visit the Chan Chan Archeological Zone, a World Heritage Site. These temples were built by the Moche people between 200 and 850 CE. This area was the capital of the Moche culture.

According to UNESCO:

The Chimu Kingdom, with Chan Chan as its capital, reached its apogee in the 15th century, not long before falling to the Incas. The planning of this huge city, the largest in pre-Colombian America, reflects a strict political and social strategy, marked by the city’s division into nine ‘citadels’ or ‘palaces’ forming autonomous units. Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

For more information about this World Heritage Site, visit

Learning from International Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Committee

Our day finished with a special visit and presentation to continue learning about Peru’s challenges and ongoing struggles. Victor Mendoza is a member of the Incarnate Word Sisters International Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Committee and contributes so much.

Violence against women represents violence against human rights, and is an obstacle against an egalitarian and equal society.

Victor spoke to the group about three major areas: political violence, violence against women, and the Amazonia. The events that took place between 1980 and 2000 is a dark period in Peruvian history with the loss of over 60,000 people. During that time of internal political turmoil, the indigenous and people living in rural areas were the ones most affected. He mentioned an intriguing form of political violence: the act of forgetting. Forgetting in the sense that people tend to forget the harm people in power have caused. The past 5 presidents of Peru have been involved in some form of corruption. He urges people to never forget.

Violence against women is another ongoing challenge in Peruvian society. Femicides continue to rise, up to 180 cases last year compared to 2017 with 131 reported. The majority of these victims are housewives and the main cause is jealousy followed by revenge. One student mentioned the term machismo, and Victor agreed that this type of mentality amongst males contributes to violence against women.

Lastly, the Amazonian people are also facing many ecological and human rights violations. Deforestation has caused foreign companies to invade the Amazon, impacting the people and the environment. Petroleum companies extract oil through pipes that are not maintained and burst.

Janie Benavides wrote,

I felt such hope while listening to this man. To hear the passion in his voice- even though I didn’t understand the words- gave me the realization that there are still men of honor.

For more information and to read of their issues and some of his contributions, visit

By Yesenia Caloca

Contributions by Sister Martha Ann Kirk

Empowering Families One Drop at a Time

93CDEC37-6AC8-489E-AC53-B1B072CAE4E4Panel of presenters for the Water Filter Workshop. L to R: Paul Chaiken, Steffyn Nowak, Janey Benavides, Savannah Sandoval, Alexandra Saldivar and Evelyn Garcia. Not pictured is Chris Hernandez who was preparing the buckets for the demonstration. Everyone gave their best in presenting their topic. I love them all. Gracias. Con mucho cariño.  -Evelyn Jasso Garcia

Water in the United States is a commodity. In places like Cambio Puente and Union del Sur, clean water is not easily accessible. More than 2,000 children under the age of five die daily from complications like dehydration because of fluid and or electrolyte loss in diarrhea. By educating parents on the importance of clean water and providing them water filters, their families will be less susceptible to encountering bacteria in unclean water. The first workshop, was held in Cambio Puente and began by providing the attendees a flyer on how to properly wash their hands. It is known that by simply washing ones hands, the risk of getting diarrhea or typhoid fever is lowered by fifty percent. Consequently, the children and parents sang “Lava Tus Manos” (“The Hand Washing Song”) to the rhythm of the cucaracha. Steffyn Nowak, a pre-med student, noted that washing ones hands is actually an investment because it saves you numerous visits to the doctor. Strict measures must be taken to ensure that children remain healthy. Evelyn J. García, a nurse, noted that children under 5 may have serious complications from fluid and electrolyte loss when having diarrhea because they have a higher metabolic rate and may die within 2 days or less if they are not treated. Next, a presentation on ways to replenish electrolytes especially potassium was provided. The workshop also included a “how to” on the use of the water filter provided by Chris and Frank. The people were very grateful and engaged in answering questions on the presentation.

IMG_1555.JPGSavannah Sandoval, a pre-optometry student, showing the mothers how to assemble the water filter.

62AAED01-A42F-44A9-AA00-3EA517879DCF.JPGOur group picture with all of the mothers who attended the workshop along with the volunteers who put the workshop together.

4E830261-FB8D-43FF-B7D3-8E6661EE384B.JPGEvelyn Garcia, a nurse and co-leader of the workshop, along with the children of the community.

B7972BB3-C2E1-4881-B3FA-FEAE52292038.JPGPaul Chaiken, co-leader and pre med student and Meghan Mueller assembling water filters while conversing with the children.

2E0BA487-C402-4E83-AC69-5747DEA4BEBC.JPGChris Hernandez (with cap) assembles the buckets with the water filter supplies outside of the classroom with the help of WGC Peru travelers. He later demonstrates to the mothers how to assemble the filters.

BFAE9B6B-5C75-4D69-B8F4-FD02F35926F8.JPGA picture of the mothers in attendance of the water filter workshop.


The second water filter workshop was held in Union del Sur. Similarly, the audience provided examples of foods that contain the electrolyte potassium and found in things such as bananas, tomatoes, and orange juice. The community was profoundly grateful.


Paul Chaiken, a recent UIW graduate, presenting on the relationship between electrolytes and muscle contraction.


Evelyn J. Garcia presenting on when and how to wash your hands.

Pope Francis in the letter to the world,  Laudato Si on the earth, “our common home,” calls us to unite and care for water, earth, air, and all creatures.  The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor are one.  May we open our hearts and listen.  May we unite hands in circles of compassion and solidarity around the globe.

By Savannah Sandoval and Alexandra Saldivar, UIW students.


Supporting Cambio Puente in Ecology

For the last workshop the students from UIW and César Vallejo University helped Mujeres Emprendedoras in a trash clean-up day.  They spent all morning cleaning the plaza and its surroundings along with the main entrance of the community, in hopes of setting an example. We believe that by working together as one, we can create a more sustainable and overall cleaner home.

20190526_121431The Mayor of Cambio Puente, Eden Saul Miranda Marcello (center in a blue shirt), came to thank the students and Mujeres Emprendedoras who were assigning in the clean-up.They planned on carrying forward the desire of  Mujeres of Chimbote to have more recycling and sustainability. 

Local women and students were putting what they learned in the previous workshop into practice. This workshop went over the 5 R’s which were reduce, reuse, recycle, rot and refuse.


Some of the members of Mujeres Emprendedoras even brought their children to help and learn! Luanna Cortez was excited to be part of group.

20190526_10122520190526_123247The second site where we worked was on a main road with signs proclaiming “Welcome to Cambio Puente” and “Cambio Puente an Ecological City.”

Incarnate Word Sisters worked in Cambio Puente for over twenty years.  Those now retired in San Antonio will be happy to see Incarnate Word students working with local people to improve the area.

Sexual Abuse

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“Draw a self portrait. Write positive words around it.” The women were learning an activity to use with children to help them learn self-esteem and confidence.

There is no kind of support in place to help survivors of sexual abuse.  Often times the criminal will be put in jail for their crimes for only a few months, then are released with no fines. There are some events where a person who was sexually abused as a child comes out about it as an adult, and by then it is to late for anything to be done.  The statistics are very high for sexual abuse victims, many children are abused since they are easy targets.  Teaching sex education to children is uncommon and there is often a lack of communication. Some people misinterpret teaching sex education as a negative thing and feel their child should not be educated on the topic. Luckily, there are workshops in place to help children come out about being abused.

These workshops also help children build their self-esteem and are taught what is right and what is wrong.  If you give children your trust they will reciprocate their trust and be more open to telling them what is going on.  Student Meghan Mueller, orchestrated an activity to the Pushaq Warmi women they can use to help children who have been sexually abused.  The activity she put together was to have the children draw a self portrait of themselves and write positive words around their portrait.  She then had all of the Pushaq Warmi women try out her activity.

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Can each of us remember why we were born?

Children’s Workshop; Mujeres Emprendedoras de Cambio Puente

May 24, 2019

Visit to Jose Carlos Mariategui school in Cambio Puente

Reading to Fifth Grade Classes

The water filtration workshops were led today. They consisted of a total of two workshops one in Cambio Puente in the morning & the second workshop at Union del Sur (location in Nuevo Chimbote) in the evening. Being that I wasn’t presenting for this workshop I took part by reading to fifth grade children along with Ann Catherine and Gisel. The classroom had a total of 42 children, which was compromised of two fifth grade classes. The books we read were brought by a fellow traveler Evelyn Garcia, the book titles are; “A Nuestro Alrededor”, by Xelena Gonzalez & Illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia (Evelyn Garcia’s daughter), “Fiesta”, by Carolina Flores, .”El Asombroso Pez Acuarela”. by Carolyn Dee Flores & translated in Spanish by Carmen Tafolla, “El Ratoncito, La Fresa Roja y Madura Y EL GRAN OSO HAMBRIENTO”, by Don y Audrey Wood (the majority of the books read are by San Antonio, TX authors),  we also sang a song about cleaning our hands (melody was similar to La cucaracha) as per below lyrics;

First verse – Lava tus manos – Moja tus manos – Siempre usa el jabon

Second verse – Frota tus manos  Por Adelante – Por atras y los dedos

Third verse – Y los pulgares – Bajo las unas – Enjuagate las manos

Fourth verse – Cuando terminas – Cierra el agua – Has lavado tus manos

By ONU HABITAT, Por un mejor futuro urbano.

Afterwards, children were wanting to be taught English; we counted together to from one to twenty, recited the alphabet in English, and we diligently went over the first phrase of the song washing their hands in English as well. We went over the first phrase of the lyrics to the song three times in English, the children were ecstatic. There was also an additional language that the children of Jose Carlos Mariategui school in Cambio Puente were taught today, French! Yes, the children recognized that Ann Catherine has as an eloquent accent as she was reading. One of the children recognized this and he asked if she was French. Ann Catherine taught them to count in French 1 thru 10, along with some basic greeting bonjour (hello), merci (thank you), and au revoir (goodbye). The children in this classroom are intuitive and paid extra attention to every detail in the readings and more so when it pertained to learning to speak in English & French. My experience in this classroom was gratifying in the sense that the children were willing to learn and graciously appreciative of “gringos” (term used for foreigners from the United States) visiting their school.

By: Yesenia Garza Alcala , University of the Incarnate Word , Dreeben School of Education , International Education & Entrepreneurship

Women of Cambio Puente, Mujeres Emprendedoras, and Sustainability

Our morning began with us traveling to the community of Cambio Puente. We walked to the center of Chimbote and caught the Burra, a small bus used as public transport. We had lots of fun on the ride observing the landscape of surrounding Chimbote. We learned that the land used for crops are called Chacras.


We had fun riding on the burra into Cambio Puente.




After a twenty-minute ride we arrived in Cambio Puente.

The WGC travelers received a warm welcome from the Mujeres Emprendedoras in one of the women’s homes. After introductions, our group was eager to begin the workshop. Monica Hernandez, the facilitator, took the world-café format and modified it according to the duration, location, and objective of the workshop which was focused on sustainable development. World-café is a technique that encourages engaging and collaborative dialogue through the use of small-group discussions. The presenters not only initiated their table’s discussion but also presented techniques of sustainability to their audience, otherwise known as the five R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Rot, and Recycle. The intention behind this workshop was not only to gauge whether the women knew of and were implementing these practices within their homes in an effort to eliminate household waste but to discuss ways to educate other women in the community and the limitations of doing so.


Some of the mujeres are the same age as the students in the WGC group


Ashley enjoyed presenting why it’s important to refuse with the help of Franco, her translator.


Alejandra Escobar enjoyed teaching others about the ways to reuse materials by using them in new ways in the house. The women expressed that they already reuse many of their household items. For example, whenever they find a hole in their shirt they not only sew it back up but they add a flower or some other kind of design. Impressed with their creativity and ideas on how to give materials a second life, Alejandra mentioned that the conversations with the women were rich and very much a “give and take” situation when it came to learning.


Yesenia Caloca taught about reducing the amount of trash produced in the home. The Mujeres Emprendedoras of Cambio Puente are conscious and very much in tune with the challenges that plague this town. The conversations were dynamic and raised many more questions around the topic of reducing household waste. Some of the topics discussed ranged from technology, sustainable practices, consequences of improper trash disposal, to immigration and consumerism. The women were particularly interested in creating their own non-toxic household cleaners with vinegar and reusing spray bottles.


Gisel and Clarissa spoke to the women about the importance of recycling and how it affects our Earth.



Yesenia Alcala taught us how to compost. She provided a visual aid of an example of a compost bin in a small scale for the kitchen.

“Rot/Compost” (pudrido/compostaje)

Ladies from Cambio Puente were overall “reasonably knowledgeable” in knowing how to compost rot. The manner in which they use rot or leftover scraps of food is either by feeding them to the cuy (guinea pig – majority of Peruvians choice of healthy protein) or stray dogs, however, such items as eggshells & animal waste is being used to fertilize the plants they have around the outside of their homes. The majority of ladies commented during the session that besides the food scraps, animal waste, and bones (which some said they burn and use for abono=fertilizer) that they use any other types of organic trash in their use for gardening or aiding for development to sustain their soil.

They enjoyed hearing different ideas on what could be used in a “rot” pile and how this process of composting whether in a small or large scale can be converted into a fertilized soil for gardening vegetables, flowers, or simply used to enrich their soil. The women from Cambio  Puente & Pushaq Warmi mentioned that it would be a good idea to share with their community how using a small bin made of cardboard or plastic container, such as the one I took as an example, could be used in their kitchens to dispose of food scraps and later dumped into a larger pile for composting. They weren’t aware that paper, napkins, newspaper and cardboard were items that could be added to the pile when cut/broken down into small pieces.

The process was comprehended and their initiative to use composting is being used in different ways, however, they are appreciative to learn of additional ways of using their natural resources to better their ways of living and sharing with their community.

Here are some tips they shared during their presentation:

Avocado pit – boil the pit and use the water for upset stomach; this is gentle for small children to use mainly for diarrhea
Banana peel – the white residue that can be scraped with the nail & can be used to clean the teeth also the white residue from the peel is used to form a patty and then feed to the baby, and the peel is also used to feed their cuy (guinea pig) which is used for breeding & selling and initi
Egg shells/animal waste – being used to fertilize soil for plants & vegetable gardens
Animal bones – burned and used as fertilizer for soil
Animal carcass – buried and said to be an excellent type of enrichment for soil
The whole town was shouting down and marching all the way from Cambio Puente to Chimbote protesting that Cambio Puente should be part of the initiative to receive water capabilities for their district – that is has been 60 years and there has been no plans of having running water in their district. The march will stop at the municipality where the Mayor is set to be having a meeting with a top official and the people from Cambio Puente want to prevent the meeting to be stopped or held up so that their voice can be heard and there could be a resolution to have running water in their district. Radio station they will be on-line: Radio Exitosa
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The women’s young daughters were so excited that we were visiting them.

The women were very grateful to host us, and made a traditional Peruvian dish for us: Cuy. Cuy is guinea pig and is considered a delicacy. Even though we were hesitant to try, we were grateful for it as it is expensive and they raise them to sell. The texture of the meat was very chewy, yet tasted like chicken. It was paired with white rice and potatoes in an aji sauce. Overall, we enjoyed trying this unique dish!


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Over lunch we were also able to exchange conversation with the women. We learned a little bit more about other regional dishes, school life, and other problems faced in the community.

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Clarissa, who is usually a picky eater, had fun trying the Cuy. After all, when in Peru…

Certificates & pres 20190521_145237After lunch, Monica Hernandez presented the women with certificates of appreciation and encouraged them to educate others in the community, presented an overview of how to organize a community clean-up, and invited them to join us on Sunday in collecting trash in a couple of the community’s spaces.

The women have an awesome sewing machine that they use to create beautiful pieces. We loved their work and were happy to buy some pieces to bring back to our families. They also presented their organization plan, depicted as pictures on the wall.

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Gisel fell in love with this hat created by Florinda

As we were waiting for the bus to go back to Chimbote, we had a new experience—-shepherds on bicycles.


We had a successful morning with our workshops. Once again we rode the burra back into Chimbote.


Return to our blog page because more will be coming on the sustainability workshop soon.

Ambassadors of Goodwill—television, universities

The WGC travelers with students and faculty at Universidad San Pedro.20190523_171130Franco Encinas is long term friend of WGC and has often served as translator and guide in Chimbote.  He told one of his professors about the development work that WGC does.  She was impressed and invited local television to do a story on this and she made arrangements for our group to speak at two universities.

Yesenia Garza Alcalá reflected, “We were interviewed today by Carlos Enriquez at the hotel where we are staying in Chimbote – Hotel Vértice. The interview went well and it will be aired tonight on the local Chimbote 8 o’clock news.

Recapping and talking about our mission here in Chimbote has given me a stronger sense of our commitment to help make lives better for those that have been ignored or unheard. Our mission goals have been to conduct training sessions to raise awareness concerning tips on recycling, prevention of child sexual abuse, delivering water filtration devices with instruction on how to use them and visiting two local universities – talking about our groups academic background, what we are doing here and ways the local students can continue to contribute to their community.

Having had this opportunity to serve and introduce ways that will help the Chimbote community is a gift all for us as well, because we are as well learning from their culture”.

20190523_124836Chris Hernandez, husband of Monica Hernandez who has organized fine projects for this trip, shows the television reporter the buckets which will be used with the water filters.

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20190523_140717Those interviewed stand with Carlos Enriquez of Channel  33. His show is called “Nuestra Tierra.” He planned to post all of the content with us on Facebook: Canal 33 Chimbote  and to use segments of it on different days of the week on television.



In the afternoon Universidad San Pedro sent a bus to pick up the group.

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The Vice-Rector of Universidad San Pedro greeted us.

Monica Hernandez led the presentation.

Murals depicted the different subjects at the university.



20190523_172249Bedlam broke out!  “We want a picture with you.”

20190523_1711540Students on all levels enjoyed watching us.


Steffyn Nowak the Cardinal tweets as she dreams of being a doctor!


We had just enough time to go a long way to the Universidad Cesar Vallejo in Nuevo Chimbote, but the bus driver the university went to a wrong place to pick us up. Wilder Garcia Vasquez, who works with International Links at San Pedro, was kind enough to use his car to rush four of us to Universidad Cesar Vallejo. On the way we learned that he was friends with the Incarnate Word Missionaries who had been in Peru, Diane and Mark Tribo.

Students had been waiting 25 minutes for us.


Monica Hernandez and Yesenia  Caloca should be hired by UIW as recruiters.  They do a great job. Fortunately the other Cardinals showed up soon and helped share about university life at UIW.




As we left this big university we were happy that some  of the students plan to come and help us with the recycling project in Cambio Puente.  So  Yesenia and Ssister Martha seemed to be doing what they do all the time in the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability, get more students serving and learning.

Watch for students’ comments which will be coming soon.

A Joyful School and Opportunities to Learn of Peruvian Realities

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A girl of  Colegio Pedro Pablo Atusparia in Nuevo Chimbote gave Sister Martha Ann a heart and they captured her heart.

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Sister Hirayda Blacido Enriquez, the first Peruvian to become an Incarnate Word Sister, is the principal of a large public school called Pedro Pablo Atusparia in Nuevo Chimbote.  We visited and saw some of the 500 students.

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While this is public school, Sister has provided good leadership and the school functions like many of the private schools in Peru with good infrastructure and teachers.  The children have a great variety of activities.  Many want to learn English.

In Peru children have  6 years of primary school and 5 years of secondary. Public schools are affordable in Peru because books and supplies are provided.  Because this school has gotten a good reputation, the government will give more funding.

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The government does not help fund technology but the parents have been wonderful at fund raising and that is why each classroom has a T.V. The school doesn’t have computers but the children have their own electronic devices like phones and they are allowed to look up information on these. Even though they have limited technology they are the highest ranked school in the area.gardening 20190520_175205_resized.jpg

In the first to the fifth grades they focus on art and culture. That’s why we see so many of them dancing. All the kids are learning to be ecologically responsible. The are actively planting gardens.

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Evelyn Garcia, the mother of Adriana M. Garcia who illustrated the book Por Todo Nuestro Alrededor  presented the class a copy of it.  She explained that they were the first to get the Spanish translation of the book. All Around Us published by Cinco Puntos Press is a children’s picture book written by Xelena Gonzalez and illustrated by Adriana M Garcia. It is now out in Spanish, A Nuestro Arrededor. Background info on the book can be found at https// and mor information on Adriana M.Garcia can found at https//

20190524_091354Steffyn Nowak read the book to children in a delightful way.  It must be that practice she has had with her 6 and 7 year old’s that made her so good.  No one was bashful joining in the gestures with Sister Martha Ann.

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Healing and Learning

front n.jpgCentro Médico Santa Clara – Sistema de Salud Verbo Encarnado                                                Picture from

 The whole WGC group had an opportunity to visit and learn about the clinic that the Sisters founded about 50 years ago. Those focusing on health professions are spending time with the staff and learning both there at the clinic and in the home-based hospice program. Mari M 20190520_120606.jpgSister Maria Marquez Fuentes (on the right) explained that the clinic serves about 75 people a day and from 1400 to 1500 within a month.  The cost is kept low to help those in need.

Peru has a high rate of mental health needs and not enough professionals in that area.  The UIW Psychology majors, Aly Escobar, Meghan Mueller, and Clarissa Garza, had an opportunity to met a psychologist at the clinic and learn a little of the variety of psychological services there.


Janie, director 20190520_124044.jpgNurses Janie Benavides and Eleanor Garcia and the Director of Nursing at the Clinic.Stef IMG-20190521-WA0001.jpg

Steffyn Nowak, a UIW Psychology student, originally from Guatemala, who plans to go to med school wrote, “Doing their best with what they have—that’s what the amazing team of doctors, nurses and Sisters of the Charity of the Incarnate Word are doing at the Santa Clara clinic in Chimbote. I visited their establishment and the first thing I noticed was how outdated their equipment and tools are in every room.cot WhatsApp Image 2019-05-21 at 7.58.28 PM.jpeg

After spending a day at the clinic it amazed me how they are able to provide excellent care for their patients. Not only are they are working with outdated equipment but they are also responsible for  making some of their supplies. One example I got to see and be part of was creating their own gauzes. They don’t have the luxury of getting individual packages of gauze. They get rolls which they have to cut by hand and then sterilize.

Clinic gauze 20190520_124514.jpgThis experience made me aware of little things we take for granted from having updated medical equipment to not having to cut my own gauze because they come in individually packages. It saddens my heart to know that there’s better technology out there to treat patients, but in disadvantaged areas often people cannot afford new medical advances. It was a pleasure as a pre-medial student to experience how the medical staff from the Santa Clara clinic truly care about their patients and their community.Sink WhatsApp Image 2019-05-21 at 7.35.26 PM.jpeg

Savannah Sandoval, a Biology student at UIW who seeks to go to Optometry School said, “Centro Médico Santa Clara was established in 1965 with one mission, to help the less fortunate. After 50 years of missionary work in Peru, in December of 2015, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word established the Incarnate Word Health System and the Apostle Santiago Hospice! Furthermore, when the opportunity to volunteer at the clinic was given, my friends and I could not pass it up! Volunteering at the clinic allowed us to compare the different strategies and medical equipment used in Latin American countries such as Peru. The care was very efficient and the doctors appeared to genuinely care about their patients. A patient who was suffering from a common cold noted that, although she did have insurance, no other clinic went above and beyond like the nurses and doctors at Santa Clara. It is heartwarming to know that the medical workers in Chimbote Peru care for others as if they were all a big family. Unfortunately, after supporting hundreds of families the residential hospice was closed due to insufficient funds. The homebased hospice goes on. The nurses continue to go out to the community to help those who are terminally ill. By working together as one body we are hope filled to reopen the hospice one day.  Muchas gracias a Sister Maria por la oportunidad. Es un honor poder servir!”

Ashley 20190520_123319.jpgAshley Alvarez, a UIW Accounting Major got to meet the accountants at the clinic.

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Paul Chaiken, a pre-med student who just graduated was shadowing a doctor. Alejandra Saldivar is a Pre-Physical Therapy student who brings rich background with a grandmother who helps over 500 people in her home-based health care agency. Savannah Sandoval who shared in Lima on St. Martin de Porres the healer is certainly following in his footsteps.

Paul described:  The most impactful part of the trip, as of now, was my morning working in hospice. Because the hospice building was closed down due to a dispute with the local government over its structural integrity, a nurse from the Santa Clara Clinic must go off site and provide hospice services. These services generally involve taking care of the patients hygiene. Hospice patients tend to be very sensitive and fragile from their old age and past injuries, so a nurse is needed to gently move and dress the patient.

Every patient is unique in their health issues and in the resources that are allocated to their care. The first patient was schizophrenic and nonverbal; his only means of communication was screaming when he felt pain. Furthermore, he had a crippled leg from an accident and a self inflicted wound on his lip from compulsively biting it. This meant that greater care was needed to move him and that his lip needed to be regularly disinfected. Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, caring for him was a slow and agonizing process for the care givers and the patient.

The second patient seen had more resources allocated to her care and lived with a family. She had suffered from a stroke which caused her right limbs to become immobile and set into awkward, curled positions. She could not eat or move and had to be fed through a feeding tube in the nose. She had to be bathed by sponge bath on her bed. In order to change the bedding, the sheets had to be passed beneath her. Despite not being able to talk, I could tell that she was in pain by the soft gurgling noises she made when she was moved. I am both amazed and afraid by how much a person can atrophy before death. Also, I am glad that I could witness something so raw and real.

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Yesenia Caloca looks at the photo of the first Sisters getting ready to go to Peru in 1963 right after there had been prayer for them in Chapel of the Incarnate Word.