I am spending this week in Lima, Peru with my friends Sarah, Heather, and Rebecca. We are visiting with my friends The Goodfellows, who run the Peru arm of Krochet Kids, an organization that provides training, employment, childcare, and mentorship for impoverished women. I’ve written about Krochet Kids before. I love their model of empowerment and I’m thrilled to be here again with some other bloggers in the hopes that we can expand the reach of Krochet Kids’ mission.
Yesterday was Sunday and we spent the day getting to know some of the women in the program. We want to get a sense of their lives outside of work. We each paired off with a woman from the program who had made some Krochet Kids items we had been sent. I was paired with Beatrize, who has a spunky 3-year-old son named Paul.
Beatrize rents a room that has been built on the roof of a large building in the Chorillos area of Lima. It is the southernmost region of Lima, an impoverished region where many people live in shanties they have constructed on squatted land. With the help of her income from Krochet KIds, Beatrize is able to afford a modest home with running water, plumbing, and electricity.
We visited with Beatrize for a bit and then took a trip to the market for lunch supplies. Very few people have refrigeration so going to the market for fresh food is a part of food prep.
We took a combi to the market, which involves about 20 people being smooshed into a public van that runs with the doors open. It was hard to snap a picture because it was so crowded. You can see that Blake got a little cozy.
The local market is full of fresh meats and produce. There are very few convenience foods – the “slow eating” whole foods eating trend is a way of life here.
After procuring the ingredients we went back to Beatrize’s house to cook. There is a communal sink on the roof – a bonus for Beatrize since it’s on the same floor as her home. The sink serves as a place for washing, food prep, and laundry.
It was really a treat to watch Beatrize and her friends cook. We help with shucking corn and peeling potatoes, but we were clearly out of our elements as they marinated the meat with herbs and spices.
It was truly delicious. We had a popular Peruvian dish called bisteck.
After eating, we chatted for quite a while about their lives. Beatrize and her friend Lesly are part of the program, and we were joined by their mentor, who acts as a social worker to the women in the program. They both recounted learning about Krochet Kids and wanting to work with them. Lesly was so determined that she walked by the headquarters almost every day until she got to know someone in the program who eventually recommended her. She said that when she told her boyfriend about the new job, he was scared that it was too good to be true and that it was going to turn out to be something insidious. But indeed, it turned out to be exactly what she had hoped, and she loves being a part of it.
Both women were in pretty desperate situations prior to working with Krochet Kids, because they both have small children. Beatrize said she prayed every day for God to reveal a job opportunity to her, but she couldn’t figure out how to manage it and raise her child. The fact that Krochet Kids offers childcare makes all the difference in the world to these women, who get to work in a supportive environment while their kids are well cared for.
Tomorrow I will write more about our visit to Beatrize and Lesly’s workplace, and about the childcare center. I will also share more about the unique empowerment model of Krochet Kids and how they are setting up the women in their program to develop their own business and their own savings plan.
photos by Joy Jeong