Living and Giving

I Am the Developing Person–A Journey to Peru [Part 2 of 4]

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This is the second of a four-part series entitled I Am the Developing Person. This is an unedited account of a personal journey and will be followed by stories from a few more of my international volunteer trips. Many of the experiences on these trips would become the impetus for founding UniversalGiving™.  You can see additional photos here.

“Somewhere Around There” 

There are no taxis where I went.

The taxicab driver didn’t even know the streets, and as we got outside of Lima to the barrio of Salvador, we stopped several times to ask the exact street, corner, turn, wind of road, crisscross to the next section type of address…

It was certainly a group effort!  One elderly lady selling fruit showed us up this street, down that street, look left, take a left, “somewhere around there.”  And so it goes until we had pulled over and asked 8 times! 

The model of love practiced and practical in our lives


We visited a collaborative of heartfelt women striving to learn skills, grow and develop personally, and support their families… as well as model a new future for their children.  It continually amazed me that the primary concern that one had to address, prior to job training, was “auto estima.”  Auto estima, of course, is translated to “self-esteem.”  No matter how many resources we get thrown at us, the lesson they shared with us is that we have to first…


And this belief begins primarily in ourselves. That we are worthy, capable and able to do something, to succeed, to have a better life.

We all forget sometimes, when we view homeless people in our own community… that we all need auto estima before getting a job. And to believe in ourselves, we need to have people who believe in us, almost to have the example and model of love practiced and practical in our lives. Then we recognize the Good in life – recognize the Good in ourselves – and there you have the beginnings of auto-estima.

I say that and my heart lifts! It is a bit easy…or at least beautifully accessible…for all of us to love one another a bit, right…?  And from that belief in ourselves from others, and then our belief in ourselves… we can then contribute.

The example of these women was profound: They so cherished their time together. Not just the cooking facilities or the fact of making something.  They honored the leadership.  They honored companionship, encouragement, collaboration, kindness, growth, The subtext floated throughout the room: I want to get better, help me get better, let me help you get better!

It was inspired, chills-up, making the whole trip, in that one subtext moment, special all its own, dear Peru….

This One View…in this Invisible War

At this time, after our meeting, I turned to walk down the hill from this beautifully spirited and tin-roof rusticated cooking shed. 

Here was this view.


This One View of overwhelming clouds of dust, broken shale, cement crumbling homes, a simple mass of gray air, rubble, homes cascading down the hillside with perhaps 20 feet visibility 

So from a top of a rubbled hill,

of homes upon home upon more…

admist dust arising rubble. 

Seething dirt clouds smolder from the ground

Covering miles

Wavering, wafting upwards

 As if they had a right and a home and a place and an everenduring mark

manifestation in their lives

I saw no



Which echoed backed to me from this valley canyon of dust rubble warred homes, without a visible war.

In this invisible war I looked back at the women
of course they noticed nothing

rock shamble
home craft shift

This was home

Could it have been a war zone?  Yes poverty warzone which tries to strike and marginalize and destroy devastate through its ugly poverishness

I still have that image with me.

Love Beyond the Dust

But remember dear that the women smiled on you as you left the tin hut


They smiled at you and your dust backdrop.  My auto-estima, thankfully, tells me that home is spiritual and where love exists, and that these women’s gazes reflected Love 



Cascading over and beyond and flailing dust

“We have an opportunity” say their faces and hearts.  Thank you for sharing it with us today.

Thank you for sharing it  

               Thank you for coming 

               No one comes to see our lives 

              (many of us have had someone had a parent come see us, encourage us, cheer us on…why do we take that for granted?)

Thank you to those I love.   And yes, thank you my many loves in my life whom I love dearly and they love me back… my heart misses them tremendously as I face this alone grey….. And turn again to face the brave unrelenting rubble

with a bit braver heart

Try Pamela

Don’t cry

 Don’t even keep it in

     Please don’t let them see my tears

 Please Joy come to my consciousness and show me how to give here, how to have hope

The dust does not represent the love of a group of women that simmers and grows and burns above

               a dimming, smoldering, sifted out rubble becoming dust.

Do not be deceived by the dust. 

I try my very best
My absolute concentration
My adherence to and attention to the present moment

To love now amidst whatever dust seems to swirl.  Love beyond the dust…. Love rises above the dust.

And I try not to get overwhelmed.


You can take action.

Give $150 to help a woman lift her family from poverty

Give $115 and bring light to villages

Volunteer in community development in Peru.