This is a reprint of an email Kathy had sent in December 2009 to a few close friends. We visit this orphanage everytime we come to Cusco. After our visit this time, I thought that sharing this short email would be appropriate. Sister Rosa and these children touched our hearts.....again. Enjoy...
From: Kathy Houk
Date: December 21, 2009 7:28:40 AM CST
Subject: A Glimpse of Heaven
We had discovered an orphanage for young children run by Sister Rosa, a member of an Italian order. We decided to visit, bringing suckers and hoping we could partner and help in the future. MAN O MAN, I was not prepared. I expected I would have to turn my head to hide my tears for these orphaned toddlers, but instead I found that a most unexpected glimpse of heaven can be found in the most unexpected places.
Sometimes the best moments come when we least expect them. The shopping for food and presents for the children of several Cusco orphanages was exhausting and chaotic, but of course, very rewarding. Actually, every day for a week was rewarding, providing 750 pairs of shoes for needy indigenous people in the Sacred Valley, organizing the spring dental mission with Dentists Without Borders ( OSF), financially assisting Sister Rosa with her Choclotada in the highlands, etc. Then one day we decided to visit Antonio Seca Seca and his brother, Illario, and his sister, Pillar. We had first met this family of twelve brothers and sisters, several nieces and nephews and a single, alcoholic mother residing in a one room house without plumbing, heating or electricity in Huancauro, one of Cusco's poorest barrios several years ago while working with a Peruvian NGO. Our hearts broke when we realized how desperate they were for blankets, food and medical attention. Over the years we have happily provided bags of groceries, shoes and coats, and have taken several of the children for doctor and dental visits.
Two months ago I was saying see you soon to Leander, as I left to volunteer in Trujillo. Now that two months is up. Here I am again back in the beautiful town of Ollantaytambo. My original reason for coming here was to help Leander with the Christmas Chocolatadas she had planned to organize for over 3000 people, in the villages near (and far) from Ollantaytambo. However, when I arrived the week before the start of the Chocolatadas we had another pretty huge project to complete. Mysmallhelp had received a donation of 72 boxes of shoes from America by Desana inc. on behalf of Buckner international. A big thank you goes out to everyone involved especially to Sonia and all of the volunteers at Living Heart that helped by receiving the delivery of the shoes and the movement of them from the Living Heart store room in Ollantaytambo to the Paskay volunteer house on Patacalle.
Desana volunteers had a busy time in Peru the weeks before Christmas. For the last two years, Desana has partnered with Buckner International in putting on two Christmas Parties. Buen Pastor is an all girl orphanage that has enjoyed the fun and fellowship from Buckner and Desana volunteers. Again this year, Desana provided gifts, sweet bread, and hot chocolate for these children. The boy's orphanage is Jesus Mi Luz. Desana provided gifts, sweet bread, and hot chocolate for these children as well.
For several years, Desana has been helping the family of Antonio, Illardio, and Pilar by providing food, hygiene supplies, medical treatment and clothing. This year we set out to deliver food that had been donated by good friends Kathi and Brian Gillian of Nashville TN ..... when we go to their home, we discovered that they had moved. Our taxi driver decided we would not stop until we found them. For the next 1 1/2 hours we drove from place to place trying to locate their home. The neighborhoods are amoung the poorest in Cusco. We finally found two boys that knew Illardio ..... EVERYONE was so happy. We delivered the food and gifts to this shanty home on the muddy hillside. (view pictures) The boys were there but we found out that Pilar was no longer living here ....
Desana was happy to again provide funding for Sister Rosa (Transitorio de Ninos) to use for hot chocolate and Christmas sweet bread for the children of the highlands surrounding Cusco.
Our good friend Vladi Oblitas Cuba (Dental Missions) asked Desana to help with his Chocolata..... of course we were happy to help. (view photos)