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Carolyn's Story: Health & Wellness for All

by Carolyn Canouse

Recently I had the pleasure of spending 12 days in San Juan de Lurigancho, Peru. One of the highlights was spending time at the site of our wellness center being built in the community San Antonio de Padua. The land was gifted to us by the community and we spend more than a year clearing it, and cutting into a giant rock mountain (pictured above). Once the clearing was complete it took less than a month to build the entire first floor.

Getting this building up in lightening speed required a lot of teamwork. One example is the roof, which was completed while I was there and in only one day. Approximately 50 volunteers, including many of our scholarship students and their parents, gathered together to mix, lay and smooth concrete for the roof. They worked almost 12 hours, well into the night, to accomplish this. I can't thank them enough for their dedication to making our dream of bringing wellness to the hills of San Juan de Lurigancho a reality.

The day after the roof was finished we held a traditional Peruvian ceremony called a Techada. We hung champagne with fresh flowers from the two entrances and hit them to "baptize" the building. Many of the community members and children came out to witness this. Jack and I spoke as well as several community leaders. The best part was throwing candy to all the children from the roof! It was pretty epic. I love learning about the Peruvian traditions and continuing them as we work in their country.

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