What a first day in Pisco! We arrived here on Tuesday night and it was quite a shock – the town was devastated by an earthquake two years ago and you would think it was two months ago.
There are piles of rubble and ruined buildings everywhere, and very little appears to have been rebuilt. It isn´t helped by the fact that this whole area is one of the driest places in the world – the dust is everywhere. The whole area is very poor and the earthquake really has made a bad situation even worse.
But the school we have come to is amazing. Telefonica and the Red Cross have rebuilt it and yesterday we have the most incredible welcome reception. We were greeted by 450 cheering children with a band, balloons and waving English, Irish, Argentinian, Spanish and Peruvian flags. The welcome ceremony lasted about one hour and a half and the kids performed traditional dances for us.
I was overwhelmed by the welcome, and by how much it means to the people here, particularly to those from the NGO and the school staff, that people from other parts of the world have given up their holidays to come and help them. It was very humbling.
We are all excited about Saturday – the Telefonica Foundation are co-ordinating a massive volunteering event to finish the school. We expect to be working alongside 50 other volunteers from all over the province!