Cotopaxi Friends and Supporters,
I recently returned from a trip to Peru and Bolivia, and I wanted to share a few of my experiences with you.
First, I’m happy to report that after more than 13 years, I found Edgar, the boy who inspired Cotopaxi! When I set out to find him, I wasn’t sure what I’d encounter. I’m happy to report that Edgar is doing well. More on this experience soon.
Inspired by Edgar, we decided that our Cusco pack will now support Qosqo Maki—nicknamed “La Chocita”—the shelter in Peru where Edgar stayed when he was young. I arrived at La Chocita in the evening, in time to greet the children as they arrived. All the children at the shelter are street vendors. Their stories share a common thread of abandonment and parental abuse. La Chocita gives children a safe place to sleep, a warm meal, and some accountability. Youth are required to make their beds and help with the general upkeep of the shelter. The shelter holds carpentry workshops, and some of the older children run a small bakery. The children range in age from 8–18, but there are times when children as young as 4 use the home.
I was surprised by the level of energy at La Chochita. The kids entered the shelter running and joking. An ultra-competitive foosball game started almost immediately.
Children curiously followed me around as I got the VIP tour of the bedrooms, dining hall, and bathrooms. Some glaring problems included decades-old foam mattresses and a poorly functioning kitchen stove. The staff and volunteers told me that the children often suffer from athlete’s foot and other funguses and from headaches and toothaches. Almost none of the children attend school; many barely know how to read.
As difficult as the situation sounds, the facilitators at La Chocita do a wonderful job with the resources they’ve been provided. I feel confident we can make a difference here.
Cause: Qosqo Maki “La Chocita”
Location: Cusco, Peru
Elevation: 11,299 ft. (3,444 m.)
GPS Coordinates: –13.516762, –71.985886