In April of 2015, Rita Milligan from Bon Accord, Alberta and Mary Leah de Zwart, from Vernon, BC (sisters-in-law) volunteered to lead a four-day sewing workshop at Yurac Yacu. This was their second visit to Yurac Yacu, staying at the Lazy Dog Inn. A $3000 grant from the Canadian Home Economics Foundation helped to enable the building of a crafts room/kiosk and the purchase of sewing machines. Following are their observations about their stay:
Mary Leah: First I’d like to acknowledge the great motivation and perseverance of the women and youth of Yurac Yacu, who came to the workshops despite the heavy workloads they have in their daily lives. I found that they had a great desire to learn and that they were very quick to do so. In the four days, many participants learned how to use sewing machines for the first time; how to make patterns; measure fabric; and custom-fit liners into hats they had previously made with the knitting group. They also learned about North American and European sizing to enable them to make products for a wider market. It was a very intense and rewarding four days, and a number of local people showed leadership in helping others – I think that will be the key to achieving and maintaining quality standards of products. I also appreciated everyone’s great sense of humor and patience.
Rita: I’d also like to acknowledge the work of Diana and Wayne in setting up and keeping this project going. They are very dedicated people who are making a big difference in the Yurac Yacu Community. It was great getting to know everyone, from the six-month olds to the sixty-year olds. It was a great community effort, with everybody helping each other, holding babies so young mothers could sit down and sew, the Lazy Dog Inn providing lunch, and especially the language support from Elina and also the sewing help from Carmen and Herlinda. The women made aprons with custom-designed pockets – I remember one person making her pocket the right size for a piece of bread and her chicles (chewing gum)! The young sewers from ages 8 to 16 made mochillas (back packs) and hand puppets, and we also spent some time tracing our large North American feet and hands as guides for future sizing. There is a lot of energy and excitement in the Yurac Yacu community about this and other potential income-generating projects.
Our visit to the Lazy Dog Inn was amazing and a real eye opener for our students. We left with this feeling of having contributed to a worthy cause and made a tiny difference in this community. Although we were only able to work on the foundations of the community centre and were not lucky enough to see the whole building completed before we left, in a kind of symbolic way, we felt proud to have laid out the foundations for what is more than a building but a real long-term educational project for the Yurak Yacu people. We are looking forward to coming back with another group of keen students in 2011.
What a trip!!! Despite managing to be ill most of the time: altitude sickness first and then stomach bug, I loved every minute of it. It was my very first time in South America and even in the southern hemisphere… and being “head down” transformed my viewpoint on things! Continue reading
The Lazy Dog Inn was a great place to stay. The local people are very hospitable and work very hard. It was nice that we could go horse-riding or mountain-biking. This was a change from our usual routine of helping with the community building. Horse-riding was particularly memorable because we rode out in the open and in the Western style. This was a change from the ‘proper’ style of British riding. The food made by the ladies was good and it tasted particularly delicious after a long day’s work! I would definitely go back to The Lazy Dog Inn if I had a chance.
Peru just started off as a service project for me but as I began to mold into the culture and experience of the country it became so much more. Volunteering building the school brought me out of my comfort zone and into a realm of new faces and places. The people at the Lazy Dog Inn and in the community welcomed us warmly and made me feel comfortable in my surroundings. I will keep the experience in my heart for the rest of my life and will hopefully one day return.
Last summer July 2010, four classmates and I went to Huaraz to build a community center for the locals. It was an amazing experience not only because I was able to visit a country where I had never been, but also because I was able to do something good for someone else and maybe contribute a little bit to improving their living conditions. I felt I contributed in insuring a future to some kids.
Alia Bazarbachi (Indian student from Aiglon College, Switzerland)
The Lazy Dog Inn was an incredible place to stay in. I felt that the local people were extremely hospitable which allowed us to engage into a new culture. Apart from our daily routine of working on the building site, we went horseriding where we were swept away by the breath-taking scenery. Working with the little Peruvian Children was also extremely entertaining and heartwarming because we were able to teach the kids and actually interact with the local community. Overall, my experience at the Lazy Dog Inn was incredible and I would definitely like to return to it.
I spent about 3 weeks volunteering at the Lazy Dog in May 2010, helping with a few different projects running at that time: education programme; bird list; first thoughts for designing the community project information for the website. This was near the start of a 3 months sabbatical that I was going to enjoy in Peru.