“What did you do on your summer vacation?” That is a question that will be asked often over the next few weeks as kids head back to school. Six Star Valley youth will have wonderful stories to tell about what they did on their summer vacation.
Cheslie Clark, Devin Christiansen, Chelsie Hamilton, Raelynn Rogers, Sarah Shumway and Camille Simpson were part of a group of 23 kids from Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, California and Wisconsin that traveled to Peru from June 27 to July 13, to work on humanitarian aid projects and to get to spend some time sight-seeing in some really unique and beautiful places.
Clark, Christiansen, Hamilton, Rogers, Shumway and Simpson traveled to Peru with Eagle Condor Humanitarian, which is a private non-profit charitable organization headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Eagle Condor Humanitarian was founded in 2003, and their mission statement is, “Enriching lives, empowering people while building self-reliance.”
Eagle Condor Humanitarian works in Northern Peru in the cities of Chiclayo, Plura and Trugillo. In these areas, unemployment is high and poverty is heartbreaking, with many people living on less than $1 per person a day, and many families surviving on a budget of about $US 30.00 a month. Food, water, sewer systems and electricity are all challenges, and things that many people live without. There are few programs in this area to help develop small businesses, and to help give people the tools that they need to help themselves.
Multiple times a year Eagle Condor Humanitarian sends service expeditions to Peru, and several of these expeditions are youth expeditions. Eagle Condor Humanitarian says that the purpose of these expeditions is to, ” through Grass Root efforts provide a rich and predictable real life experience of humanitarian charity for adults, youth and families who want to be a hand of charity, feeling like they can make a difference in the lives of others.”
The six young adults from Star Valley that decided to travel to Peru on one of these expeditions spent a lot of time and energy raising the money they would need to go on the trip, and they planned and carried out several different fundraisers during the 2006-2007 school year. They held a garage sale, they planned and ran a Halloween carnival, they sold cookie dough, they cleaned a physical therapy building in Thayne twice a week for a few months, they held a “prom dress swap” where they took in and sold prom dresses and earned a commission off of each sale, and they asked local businesses for donations.
The group left Star Valley for Peru on June 27. They flew from Salt Lake City to Atlanta and then started the seven-hour flight to Lima, Peru. From Lima it was an one-hour flight to Cuzco. Their first week in Peru was spent in Cuzco, and doing humanitarian projects for the people of Salkantay, a village in the Andes Mountains above Cuzco. They stayed in a hotel in Cuzco and then stayed at a guesthouse in Salkantay.
During their time serving the people of Salkantay, they helped put in cement floors, helped build adobe houses, helped put up roofs, chopped Eucalyptus trees and carried the trees up and down large hills, carried logs to put up lean-to roofs, carried firewood, carried rock down from the mountain and helped build animals pens and fences.
While most people picture Peru as a hot place when it comes to temperature, this time of year is their winter, and that combined with the high altitude made for very cold temperatures.
“It was really cold and freezing a lot of the time,” said Sarah Shumway. “We wore lots of jackets and layers to keep warm.”
The group also got to visit a village similar to Salkantay named Matinga, which had a very nice school by Peruvian standards. The group brought and donated six computers and monitors for the school, and one of the highlights of the trip for the youths from Star Valley was playing a soccer game against the school children and then reading books with them.
“Getting to spend time with the village children and interacting with the people in Peru was the best part of the trip,” Shumway said.
On the second week of the expedition, the group got to do some sight-seeing in Peru. They traveled to Pisac, which is known as the Sacred Valley. They also visisted Saqsaywaman, Ollantaytamboo, Machu Picchu and other places, and got to see some of the famous Inca ruins. Next they got to fly to Puerto Maldonado, where they got to spend three days in the jungle. The group got to track Cayman crocodiles and saw many monkeys, tarantulas, pirrahanas, anacondas and other wildlife native to the jungles of Peru. And although they were in a South American jungle, the weather was still cold and very rainy.
On July 12 the group was back in Lima, Peru where they got to go to the Temple, do some shopping and get a tour of the famous city, and then on July 13, they flew back home to the U.S.
“It was an amazing experience,” Shumway said. “Having the opportunity to interact with the people of Peru and to serve them was really life changing and had a big impact on us.”
Although it took a lot of time and hard work to raise the money to go on the expedition, and even though the expedition itself involved a lot of hard manual labor in challenging conditions, it turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for some Star Valley youths to spend a part of their summer visiting new places, gaining new experiences and putting their time and energy into serving others.
The story behind the name ‘Eagle Condor Humanitarian”:
For thousands of years South American Holy Men have prophesized of a reunion between the long separated People of the Eagle and People of the Condor.
The prophecy relates that in the beginning all the earth’s people were one, but long ago they divided into two groups and each followed a different path of development. The people of the Eagle were highly scientific and intellectual, and the people of the Condor were highly attuned to nature and the intuitive realm.
At this current juncture in earth’s history, the Eagle people will have reached a zenith in their amassing of scientific knowledge, technology and technological tools, expression of high art, and the ability to build and construct. They will even develop tools and technologies that will expand the mind, and they will be producing technical miracles of unimagined power and breadth. The enormous accomplishments and technologies will bring tremendous material wealth to the leaders of the Eagle world.
In this same era, the people of the Condor – people of the heart, the spirit, the senses, and the deep connection with the natural world, will be highly developed in their intuitive skills, but at the same time they will be hungry and impoverished for knowledge that will enable them to be successful in the material world.
Now is the era for the two groups to rejoin and share their knowledge and wisdom. The Eagle and the Condor will fly together in the same sky, wing to wing, and the world will come into balance.
For more information, visit www.eagle-condor.org