Peru beckons for group of Penticton students

Sunday's fundraiser at Pen High will help 27 students take part in humanitarian mission in Peru

Penticton Secondary School student Jordan Schalm helps Amaya Black try on a Peruvian hat. A group of the school’s students will be headed to Peru to help out residents of a village there.

Penticton Secondary School student Jordan Schalm helps Amaya Black try on a Peruvian hat. A group of the school’s students will be headed to Peru to help out residents of a village there.

This weekend may be the last chance for the public to help out a group of students headed off to Peru to do humanitarian work over spring break.

This Sunday will be the last fundraiser for 27 Penticton Secondary students heading to Urubamba, high in the highlands of Peru, near Cusco. It’s also located close to a number of significant ruins of the Incan Empire, including Machu Picchu.

More importantly, there are people waiting for the students to do humanitarian work, said Karen Boyd, one of the teacher organizers from Pen High.

“We will be having five projects while we are there. They haven’t let us know yet what those projects are, but they are on the lines of putting up a building, digging ditches, painting … hard labour,” said Boyd.

To help finance this trip, the group is holding a garage sale at Pen High from 8 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

“We were going to do it at a home, but with the slippery road conditions, we decided we could do it here in the multi-purpose room,” said Boyd, who has been watching donated items pile up in her classroom from parents and other community members.

“Whatever we sell, all the proceeds will go to our project,” she said. “We have everything from toilets and bathtubs to clothing and books and lots of children’s and baby’s items.”

This is the fourth fundraiser for the Peru trip and, according to Boyd, likely the final one. So far, they have held a dinner dance at the Penticton Yacht Club, sold chocolates through Purdy’s and poinsettias through Art Knapp’s.

“We want to help the kids as much as we can,” said Boyd.

“They are just amazing students who want to see what it is like on the other side of the world and help out.”

The students will be staying in the homes of the townspeople, two to a home, while in Urubamba. Between the home-stays, the humanitarian work and the experience of travel, Boyd said it is an all-round enriching experience for the students.

“They are often pretty moved by how they have been received and how little people survive with. It gives them a really nice outlook to their own life and starts them on a path,” she said.

“We are a global economy, we’re trying to see what we can do to help all portions of it.”