NEW VIDEO: Booking it along the Amazon with PACTOUR
DVD Sleeve. Click on image to read it.
Currently, this DVD is an important fundraiser and not sold as a separate item, but given as a gift for donations of $100 or more.
Donations for these Peru Projects (administered by FPC Global Outreach) are always welcome and appreciated. As you can see, they are put to good and immediate use!
To donate, contact Lon Haldeman, email@example.com ABOUT THIS TOUR | LON'S BLOG
|Delivering books to remote schools along the Amazon.
I'M JUST BACK from my second expedition in Peru with cycling legend and tireless philanthropist Lon Haldeman of PACTOUR.
The 17-day, non-stop itinerary involved several charitable projects: a shopping trip for a home for abused and homeless girls; delivering books to remote schools along the Amazon; visiting two schools that PACTOUR built near the jungle town of Iquitos; inviting street kids to an impromptu meal, and buying supplies for the Puerto Ocopa orphanage that we stumbled upon back in 2004. Lon has led this same trip almost every year for the past decade, so it's become an ongoing concern, attracting donations from many of his cycling clientele.
|Nuns look after the 45 kids at the Puerto Ocopa Orphanage where we took food and clothing for 3 months.
|16,000 feet ... ohhh, my head feels like lead ...
1. Shopping for the Chosica Girl's Home. A generous Dutch non-profit runs "The House of Gina," a girls home in the attractive town of Chosica, 35 km outside Lima. It's a safe haven for abused and homeless niñas, and our contribution was to take them all shopping to buy some treats.
|What are little girls all over the world made of? Pink diamonte shades!
|Gina was a little girl who sadly drowned. The home was named in honor of her.
|Aracely, now one of PACTOUR's local crew members - is a terrific interpreter.
|Peruvian women's cycling champ Alessandra Davila
2. Delivering books to remote schools along the Amazon
|Buying books in Lima, for the jungle schools of the Amazon
|View from the Eduardo VIII "banana boat" at 6am, somewhere along the Rio Amazon.
|12 bundles of goodies await six lucky schools.
|The regular class passengers on the deck below vied for hammock space and brought Tupperware eat meals from the kitchen.
|The teachers and kids were surprised - and delighted - at their windfall from the "extranjeros."
Escuela Esperanza: 71 kids.
These two schools, built entirely from donations collected by PACTOUR, are located at kilometer 9 and 46 outside the northern jungle town of Iquitos. The Jack Wolff School, with almost 600 kids, prepared a grand welcome of placards, dances, poetry readings and food. Then the teachers got down to business to discuss their needs for the coming 2012 school year.
|Touching messages everywhere you looked at the Jack Wolff School.
|Lon listens to teachers articulating needs and desires - sporting uniforms, a powerpoint projector, laptops ...
|The kids at the remote Joseph Pulley School. Many walk 1 hour from further inside the jungle to class each day,
|A hot 4km hot and sweaty hike in and out of the school. Douse your socks with repellent!
|As remote as it was, the Jack Pulley school cooked everyone wonderful meal of duck confit, rice, pickled onions, plantain and slices of the sweetest pineapple.
Like a "flash mob" event, we hosted two spontaneous meals at a local restaurant for kids who looked like they had nowhere to go home to. We handed out individually numbered invitations and asked them to show up at the restaurant at 6.30pm. A sign that Peru is become more affluent: some kids refused the invitation, and those who accepted looked fairly well looked after "which hasn't been the case in previous years," said Lon.
|The little boy selling snacks took time off work to attend the party.
|Not all the kids were particularly poor ... this fairly affluent girl (left) sticks by her less affluent friend.
"Peruvians are accustomed to foreigners stopping buy and doing kind things," he said.
5. The Orphanage at Puerto Ocopa
The Orphanage is at the end of a spectacular and often treacherous 300+ mile route from Lima to Satipo over the 16,000 foot Ticlo pass.
It's come a long way since we first visited in 2004, when a single nun looked after 85 kids whose parents had been killed (apparently) by guerillas. At the time, all cooking was done over wood, each child had one set of clothes, which were washed by standing and soaping themselves in the river and rain - and there was no electricity.
Thanks to non-profits from France and Spain the center now has running well water, electricity, three fridge/freezers and even a TV room.
|Gabriele Garcia, who lives year round at the Orphanage, runs the Children of Rio Tambor Foundation.
He's made the well operational so that the Orphanage now has running water.
|The orphans received clothes, shoes and personal hygiene items as well as 3 month's supply of food.
Our crew included Peruvian champion cyclists Alessandra and her younger sister Samantha. Read about their rise to fame here.
|Christian of the many beautiful and charismatic kids we met in Peru.
|Crayolacam 2.0: I used a SONY DSC-HX9V and a Canon S100 point and shoot cameras for this project.
More pictures on my Facebook page here
Read about this tour