Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Week With Some Canadians in Cai Cay

I just got back from Cusco, where I spent a week with a group of Canadian students involved in Global Youth Network (, which coordinates month-long trips to countries as diverse as Peru, Kenya and Burkina Faso for students who want to experience the reality of those countries from the perspective of the people who live there. They typically participate in lots of discussions and volunteer work In this case, I arranged for their participation in the construction of a community workshop at an Una Familia project in Cai Cay, a small town (population 1,000) about an hour from Cusco. We spent most of the week hauling adobe bricks by wheelbarrow from the field they were being produced up to the location where the workshop is being built. We managed to haul 850 of the 4,000 that were being produced, and the group generously donated $400 which should cover hauling the rest of the bricks and erecting the second story of the workshop.

I had lots of photos to share, but my backpack was stolen in the bus terminal as I was leaving Cusco, and I lost my camera, passport, and some other things. So it may be awhile before I post any more photos.

Monday, May 15, 2006

A Week in England With My Daughter

I spent the first week of May visiting my daughter Marta, who´s spending a semester abroad at the University of Sussex. We spent most of the weekend traveling around the southern part of England.
This is Westminster Abbey, probably the most beautiful building I've seen in all of my travels.

This is the changing of guard at Buckingham Palace.
This is a building in Brighton built by one of the kings.

For me the highlight of the trip was a visit to the Eden Project, the largest plant conservatory in the world.

We also walked around the moors one day and visited a fourteenth century church that we found on top of a hill.

This is my daughter. She´s completely mastered dressing like a Brit, but still has some work to do on the accent.

Another Adventure in Latin America

I´m taking one more step toward figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, spending about eight months in Peru working on various social development projects. The non-profit organization that I started four years ago, Una Familia, has been supporting three projects here, near Lima, Cusco and Trujillo. They are all very different, involving health, education and security, but what they all have in common is empowerment of people to create a better life for themselves and their children.

As many of you know, I´ve been trying for the last several years to make a transition from doing what I´m good at (software engineering) to doing what I love to do (international development). I happened to bring along a book of poems by Robert Frost, and these lines from the end of ¨Two Tramps In Mud Time¨ seem to describe what I´m trying to accomplish in my personal life.

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future´s sakes.