Land of the Incas
Peru is the third largest country in South America, covering nearly 496,225 square miles along the Pacific Ocean. Peru lies on the west coast of South America and has three geographic regions divided by the Andes Mountains: to the west the coastline, much of it arid, extends 50-100 miles inland; the mountain area, with peaks reaching over 20,000 feet, plateaus, and deep valleys, lies centrally in Peru; and beyond the mountains to the east lies the tropical rain forest leading to the Amazonian planes.
The key to life that represents Peruvians is family. Often, several generations live under one roof. Most Peruvian families in the cities live in high-rise apartment buildings. Peruvian cities are typically surrounded by shantytowns, where people arriving from rural areas build dwellings. There are not many people in Peru who have the luxury of owning a house: homeowners are considered very wealthy. Both parents usually work outside the home, while grandparents assist with raising the children. Extended families are extremely important in indigenous communities. Some of these communities are based on an extended family unit, (ayllu), an ancient tradition that dates back to the Inca. All members of an ayllu help one another with work that needs to be done such as building homes, sowing, plowing and gathering food.
Peru fosters a land of richness in animal and plant life. The soaring mountain tops of the Andes, dramatic volcanoes, lush forests and grand desserts offers such a vast variety of climates and the way people live. Today, Peru has a proud Inca heritage, strong indigenous communities and families committed to each other.
Some projects our HELP teams in Peru have accomplished recently include:
- Medical Camps in underserved areas
- Classroom assistance in rural schools
- After school tutoring in orphanages
- English teaching courses
- Business and marketing consulting to small business owners
- Public health campaigns on topics related to dengue, cholera, hepatitis A, and diarrheal infections
- Working with children with disabilities
- Assisting in medical posts