CFCA asks project coordinators in the countries that Walk2gether visits to complete questionnaires about their experience with the walk. The questions are intended to identify the walk’s highlights and challenges in their country. Here are some comments from Henry Perez, project coordinator in Lima, Peru. (Walk2gether is now in Bolivia.)
What are the most memorable moments during the walk?
The Walk2gether camper had to leave the walk so that its country circulation permits could be renewed in Peru. We drove the camper back to the border to renew the permits.
During this trip, the camper suffered several mechanical problems, causing a delay in catching up with the walk.
Walk2gether in the desert in Peru.
The camper was away from Walk2gether about five days. Most of Bob’s equipment and gear is inside. It’s the only place where he has time to rest and relax during the walk.
In spite of this, Bob showed his strength and will to continue and spent these days in a minivan to rest and keep the little gear he had. We were able to spend more time with him and see a different side of his humanity.
The second most memorable moment was walking on the road from Arequipa to Juliaca. The narrow, steep roads took us from 2,800 meters (about 1.7 miles) above sea level to 4,528 meters (about 2.8 miles) in the same day.
The curves were very dangerous and the visibility was poor. A very strong rainstorm occurred, and we suffered extreme cold that numbed our body. Then a hailstorm hit as we were going up the road.
Despite these extreme weather and road conditions, Bob did not stop and motivated all of us to continue with our mission.
What are some challenges Walk2gether encountered?
CFCA-Lima has three full-time staff members and serves about 1,600 sponsored members. At the same time, the walk in Peru was going to be very long, almost four months, because Peru is a big country ó almost twice the size of Texas. During much of the walk no sponsored members or their families were nearby to accompany it.
All three of us agreed to take on this challenge, and we did it!
What are some things that went well?
We had company and protection from the national police and the ability to consolidate our team’s duties by multitasking.
Walk2gether’s portable bathroom.
We had a police escort 98 percent of the way in Peru. Some policemen even joined the core group of the walk (“Grupo Corazon”) and walked long distances, offering protection.
Did you have a funny moment during the walk?
Many! One was at a rest stop when one of the drivers went to use the portable bathroom.
Nobody knew he was in there and the truck driver pulling the portable bathroom took off.
The man inside the bathroom did not know what to do. He opened the door and realized it was moving, but he could not close the door again and stayed and greeted the people in the buses that were passing by.
We remembered this moment along the rest of the walk!
Did anything go wrong?
The spare tire of one of the vehicles and the power generator we carry were stolen in the city of Chiclayo.
How many sponsored members and their families participated?
Thirty-five sponsored members walked out of Lima. We had about 600 sponsored members and their families in our main event at the center of Lima.
Anything else you would like to add?
The walk symbolizes the daily burdens that our sponsored members and their families face in their pursuit to survive in a world that still turns its back on them.
Just as Bob does not stop in spite of weather conditions, sand storms, dangerous roads and crazy drivers, the CFCA staff in Peru won’t stop our efforts to create a CFCA closer to our sponsored members and their families amid the problems we face.