return 2008, part I:

re-connection with old and new friends


In May of 2008 John and Bob returned to Perú to visit sites of school projects they developed in partnership with those communities thirty eight years earlier.  

They spent the first days in Lima renewing and making new connections.  John sought and met with two colleagues and  mentors, he had worked with on his first PC tour, Alvaro Castro Revila and Diego Robles, architects.  They met with the PC country director, both to identify themselves as former PCV’s, let him know about their ideas for and get his thoughts about their trip to visit the sites of their disaster relief work in the Casma area.  They asked about records in connection with the work of the 1970 disaster relief program, especially the 1970-72 schools.

The director supplied copies of pages from a 1970 PC report that included a list of disaster relief projects, with the names of the villages first on the list.  This site information together with their personal records and their memories seemed like a good start.  They further checked for records at the US AID office but they had none for the School Partnership Program.

Upon arriving by bus in the evening in Casma, it turned out that the young man the hotel sent to the bus to assist them with their luggage was the son of Milagros Lockuan Lavado, a teacher at the school in Huanchuy.  Within an hour they were in his home talking with his mother Milagros, and soon with the director of the school, Luis Fidel Salgado.  Their return visit to the Huanchuy school was scheduled for the next morning.

The welcoming line of students and teachers.

The next morning they entered the Huanchuy school for a festive gathering, passing through two lines of students and teachers.  They were given a warm reception by the students, teachers the madres and padres de familia, villagers, followed by a speech by Luis, the director of the school, a presentation of flowers and luncheon in the school with the teachers.


After lunch, they engaged in conversation with several of the villagers, one a friend of Bob’s from the construction of 1970 and they were invited to a lunch at his home the next day.  At lunch the villagers encouraged them to for the villagers to be included directly in the work.  The villagers decided to hold a community meeting, with John and Bob in attendance, the next day.
That evening Luis and Milagros approached John and asked him about the general meeting and including the teachers.  John indicated that it was the villagers meeting, they asked that he and Bob attend and he agreed that the school should be represented at the meeting.


The next day the community meeting was held with the teachers, John and Bob along with villagers and the padres and madres de familia.  During the meeting John addressed the group and all parties committed to support future projects.  John and Bob assumed the responsibility of working to fund raise in the US to provide technical and monetary support, materials and planning for the community who in turn committed to providing the labor to execute those projects.  Minutes were taken, written up by the teachers and signed and sealed by all responsible parties present.

This was a turning point, John and Bob committed, to the technical and monetary support of projects in Huanchuy, and the other schools and villages by extension, with the villagers providing the labor.  This meant fund-raising and community development service in general, PC style.  After some discussion they decided to take the action to form a not for profit.

The idea of a not for profit came first, the name PCD came later.  John pushed for creating a not-for-profit corporate entity, which seemed like a more reasonable solution for soliciting funds to support and do community development work than simply showing up with money.  The experience gained in their previous PC service to the people of Perú in 1962-4 and 1969-72, and their joint earthquake disaster relief service, formed their conception of PCD, soon to be brought up to date by the service they were undertaking.  That the organization would be grounded in advocacy for the people, their schools and communities was both self evident and foremost in their minds.

Below: John and Bob talking with the ladies of the Madres de Familia after the meeting.

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