Workshops at BUWEA

BUWEA Swahili translator, Dativa, engages workshop participants in a discussion about stress management led by WGC staff, Tamarra Mencey.

WGC Director of Sustainability, Alison Buck, demonstrates a conflict resolution scenario with recent UIW master’s graduate and WGC intern, Natalia Hernandez.


Arrival in Tanzania

The WGC Immersion team arrived safely in Dar Es Salaam late Monday 7/9. Tuesday was a recovery and layover day there. Then very early this morning (7/10) we were off again to our actual destination in Tanzania – Bukoba. We’ll share about our welcome, tours and workshops from this afternoon in the next post.

Photovoice Project

Peru travelers, Professor Alfredo Ortiz and PhD student Monica Hernandez collaborated on a series of workshops highlighting Photovoice to better understand the women of Pushaq Warmi in the hopes of increasing the sustainability of the organization. This has stemmed from a interim consultancy report on WGC and Pushaq Warmi created by doctoral students Monica Hernandez, Martha Cias, and Rekha Khulal Pant in Ortiz’s course, Entrepreneurship for Economic Development, during the Spring 2018 semester. Photovoice is a tool using images to document people’s realities while drawing attention to issues and concerns within their community.

In order to achieve this, our travelers first got to know the women through a series of interviews, encounters, and social interactions. Developing a relationship with the women was seen as an important part of knowing the mission and values of the group. Through this, WGC and PW can work towards syrengthening their partnership. During the first day-long workshop, Professor Ortiz along with his colleague, Juan Carlos Macedo, conducted a series of activities to strengthen the communication between the Pushaq Warmi members. This included a River of Life exercise in which a timeline of the organization’s significant moments was created and drawing a tree which highlighted what the women felt were the ‘fruits’ and ‘spoils’ of the group. Another exercise using the women’s own photos helped to illustrate the many different ‘hats’ the women wear in work, family, within PW, and in other capacities. All of these exercises served to better understand the commitment of the women.

Monica Hernandez then carried out a two-hour workshop introducing the women to Photovoice and showing them how it can help them better voice their concerns in their community on a number of topics pertinent to their organization. Photovoice involves a series of steps or phases in order to effectively execute beginning with training and culminating in a community exhibition. Topics of relevance of the group include: self-esteem, women’s empowerment, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. The Showed Method, an integral part of photovoice, makes for a rich discussion between the members in identifying major issues in one’s community and what project participants can actively do about them.

Finally, during a post-workshop Monica then gave the Pushaq Warmi women the task of successfully executing Photovoice as a group. She expects to be an important part of helping the women carry out this project in the months to come and also act as a liaison between WGC and Pushaq Warmi. The women of Pushaq Warmi are all strong leaders committed to the betterment of their community and reaching out to very underserved populations in and around Chimbote, Peru. This was evident when the group invited the WGC travelers to a workshop where they put on a puppet show to a classroom of small children introducing them to the dangers of sexual abuse and then having the kids step out and play while PW talked with the mothers of the children about what they could to do to help prevent such a crime. Strengthening the partnership between WGC and Pushaq Warmi is important in order for the women in Peru to further provide training to other women in their community and work towards education and empowerment.

Mural Project

Us Peru travelers came to a preschool in a local neighborhood in Chimbote called Santo Domingo. We worked all day June 4th and June 5th to complete this project. Our two mural artists were one of our very own, Elena Venezuela and a local Chimbote artist named Richard Jon Castañeda Estrada.

We came to the school and we were greeted by Promotora (Teacher), Evelyn. She was very warm and made sure we had food for every meal. We were humbled by that gesture because the school we were in was in a lower socioeconomic rated neighborhood. So even though they did not have a lot, they still felt it was important to share what they did have with us.

The night before we came by to paint, Evelyn and some of the other parents helped clear the room and gave us bowls so we can pour our paint in to. Elena and Richard started to plan out their mural as the rest of us began to repaint the walls in the classroom to make it look like a brand new room.

The water system they had shut off at 1pm every day, but they made sure to put aside water for us to wash our hands and to clean our supplies with.


One mural project turned in to two brand new murals and a freshly painted classroom. We were delighted to help out in any way we could in order to make it a warmer environment for the children and staff at this school.

Article by: Sarah Duffy

Water Filtration Workshop

On June 1st, we hosted a water filtration workshop for local pre-school teachers at the Centro Cultural Centenario, 36 women were present. The workshop started with a presentation by a Santa Clara Clinic Nurse, Vanessa Ugas. The presentation was over the importance of hand washing, she even gave demonstrations on proper hand washing. She also shared important tips on cleanliness of every day living and outdoor bathrooms.

After that, other San Antonio local missionaries named Juan, Selena and Edith gave a presentation on how to assemble the water filters WGC provided for these women.

Everyone on the trip was present at this workshop and walked around to assist the women learning about the water filtration process. After the presentations ended, Dr. Alfredo Ortiz and his associate, Juan Carlos, held a Q&A session to collect any concerns the women had about the water filters. The women at the workshop were very eager to learn about the process and had great questions/insights about this project.

The workshop concluded with an activity hosted by our Peru travelers, Edith and Vivian on raising awareness of how quickly germs can spread. The women formed a circle and closed their eyes. Two women were chosen and had lotion and glitter that they rubbed on their hands, they were told to not tell anyone else they had the glitter. After the women opened their eyes, they were told to go around and shake hands with three other people. When they got back in to the circle, they were asked to show their hands to see who else had glitter on their hands. After those three interactions each of the women had, 28 out of the 36 women had glitter on their hands. That represented how quickly germs can spread to a vast amount of people if you are not cautious about washing your hands.

A lot of great lessons were learned during this workshop and the women showed their gratitude with their warm smiles and thank you’s. After the workshop ended, each women took home a bucket for their water filters to have in their classroom and were given a certificate of completion for this workshop.

Photos and article by: Sarah Duffy

Clinic Tour in Chimbote

On May 31st, us Peru travelers went to go tour Centro Médico Especializado (Specialized Medical Center) Santa Clara clinic that previous Incarnate Word Sisters help start up over 50 years ago. This clinic is for smaller emergencies, consultations and psychological care. It is unique in this area because they are more emphatic towards the people of Chimbote, they care for everyone here not matter which social class there are in. The clinic’s director, Sister Maria, “We treat everyone the same here, the woman that comes in with sandals gets the same service as the woman that comes with her own vehicle.”

This clinic is different from its competition because of the certain care they give their patients. For instance, most prices for consultations for other clinics vary between 80-100 soles and this clinic charges about 20-30 soles for a consultation. Here at Santa Clara, they do not turn away customers that cannot pay for care either. Sister Maria told us that on average, 250 people can pay for the expenses and 290 cannot.

This clinic is for smaller cases, health consultations and psychological care. That means that if a patient needs more care for a greater emergency, they are advised to not come here. But if they do, they will be stabilized here and someone at the clinic will call a cab to take the patient to a hospital. Santa Clara clinic does not have any ambulances at the time, but they are saving up to have some in the future.

The community at Santa Clara is strong and very warm, they even receive outside help from neighboring towns. When they need more help, specialty doctors from towns hours away come in to volunteer their time. Santa Clara Clinic also believes in helping the people that are unable to be transported to the clinic. Every so often, they mobilize some nurses and doctors in smaller mobile medical trucks to give out free consultations all around town and surrounding neighborhoods. Overall, we enjoyed our time meeting the staff at Santa Clara Clinic and their generosity has really made a positive impact on their community as a whole by treating every patient as the same.

Sea Lion boat tour in Chimbote

Yesterday on May 30th, 2018, four of us as well as our missionary friend, Selena, embarked on a Sea Lion tour in Nuevo Chimbote. Our tour guide, Monica, was very kind and told us that we were her most recent American tour group since 2015.

The tour was held in a fisherman’s boat and the two men sailing the boat were named Freddy and Santos. Freddy told us that he has been a fisherman for 14 years and Santos has been for about 30 years now. Their lives revolve around fishing, they wake up for work and eat a big breakfast and go to fish at 6am. Their shifts do not end until 3pm and they only have time to have fruit for snacks in the small breaks they have.

The boat tour was a bit more rough than what was expected due to the waves, but nonetheless it was an adventure for all of us. We saw beautiful wildlife, like Sea Lions, that came to this part of beach on their own. That area where the Sea Lions lived was called “Los Loberas” and it was so fascinating to see Sea Lions living free in their own habitat.

Here are some additional photos taken on the boat tour:

On our way to and from the boat tour, we had noticed that the road that took us to the water was not paved and had trash on the edges of the road. Monica, our tour guide, informed us that the local government in Chimbote did not give funding to this part in Nuevo Chimbote. As she was explaining the circumstances, I expected her to get upset and curse whoever was in office, but she told us a very positive view on the trash and its purpose there. She told us two good things the trash is beneficial for: creating jobs for people to sort through and clean the trash as well as it creates habitation for animals in the area. Monica’s response was positive, we were enlightened that she chose to see the good in such a negative situation.

Photos and Article by: Sarah Duffy

Arrival in Chimbote, Peru

On May 29th, 2018, us Peru travelers left Lima on an 8 hour bus ride to Chimbote to begin their projects.

We will be working on three different missions in Chimbote, those projects include: Installing water filters in local schools while also educating the parents and children of the school about the filtering process, painting a specially designed mural in a local elementary school and several business projects for strengthening the the bonds between WGC and Peru’s Pushaq Warmi business organization. We are looking forward to the work we will do and the memories we will make with the people we meet here in Peru!

Here are some additional photos taken by Sarah Duffy, a fellow Peru traveler, on the bus ride from Lima to Chimbote:

Saying our Goodbyes for Now


Sunday, July 23 …Today the leader of BUWEA, Regina, took us to her home.  There are so many memories of being on that porch with her husband Sebastian, Sr. Dot, Patricia Lieveld, and so many other WGC volunteers.  We also had a wonderful lunch at Rachel’s home.  Her children Elizabeth and Gary joined us.  It was a great time to visit, share memories, and so many stories of empowerment in families and the community. The reality of packing and the long journey has hit us.   We must say goodbye to our collaborators and friends for now but we are always together in our hearts (and online)! Next, we look forward to Regina and her daughter Selva joining us in San Antonio for the OCTOBER 12 WGC Gala – Women in the Changing World of Work.  We hope many, many WGC friends and supporters will join us for that important event and the words these ladies will share with us.  Afterword:  Tere (San Antonio) and Faith (New York) both arrived safely home Tuesday night, July 25.  Tere will be sharing more from their trip with all of us this fall.