When you go home for the holidays it is easy to say “Turn up the heat.”
You don’t think much of that when winter comes to your to your community and you want to be comfortable in your home. In, fact it is the norm that everyone has heat is in their house.
But let me take you for a moment to someplace altogether different from the norm, rural Peru. I am speaking of regions that are on the outskirts of Cusco, where you can get as high as 14,000 feet above sea level in the mountains. In this place where people call home the air is thin and the nights are frigid and for generations people have made due.
For the thousands we serve in the area there are no thermostat’s in their home, which means no heat. Their walls are made of found materials and sticks that do little to keep the wind out. These conditions expose them and their children to hypothermia and an existence of illness.
In fact, more than 80% of the people here suffer from respiratory illnesses- it’s the biggest killer in this region. The most vulnerable of all are the children.
But, there is hope because of you. With your help today, we will provide materials and guidance to help families build new, safe, warm homes.
Better yet, these homes will be heated with a free source of power — the sun itself. By the attaching green houses to homes we can harness the warmth of the sun to grow nutritious vegetables during the day. And at night the heat retaining walls will keep the warmth and save lives. Most importantly, with a solar panel hot water is now a possibility for our families.
Most amazing of all: a wonderful home like this costs only $2,500 to build! By our American Standards, it is an incredible bargain: $700 for the solar panel, $700 for adobe and, $300 for windows and doors, $500 for the green house and $300 for the general supplies. Of course this also includes the hard work of the family that is transforming their lives with this new home to learn our techniques and build their home by hand with us.
I’m grateful to report that we already have enough funds to build 10 homes in Peru this year. But the need is bigger than just these ten homes. We set our sights on building 20 new homes. Homes with heat, light, warm water, access to vegetables and hope for our families.
Our Friends Justo and Natalie can tell you what a beautiful miracle it is. They urgently needed a better home for their two young children that were constantly becoming ill due to the exposure to the cold. We answered those issues with the materials and the blueprints needed to transform their home. Justo and Natalie answered with the volunteers to build with them and the determination to change their lives.
They lugged mud and made adobe bricks for the thicker heat retaining walls. The women compacted the dirt with their feet, and this created a bigger sense of community. Natalie even said, “When we finished our home, we actually missed coming together to work!” Justo learned more about roofing and has turned this into a trade that is supporting his family.
And now their children are not only warm but are growing tomatoes, lettuce, chili peppers, cucumbers and strawberries.
These children will live, thrive and succeed. I am so grateful that friends like you gave generously so we could help them.
But they are not the last family in Peru who need a home. There are others huddled with their children in dark of night with body warmth the only way to fight the cold. Our families on those nights are wishing things were different.
With all my heart, I want to grant that wish
This thanksgiving, I hope you will have the joy of sitting down at your families table knowing that you have given a family in Peru a home for their holidays where they can have warmth. They’ll have hope for the future because of your passion and your decision to donate today.