Completed Services Projects
1. Q’ero Community, Peru | Clean Water for One of the Original Surviving Incan Tribes (May 23 – June 3, 2013)
In May 2013, International Mother Earth departed the small town of Cusco on a seven-hour van trip and 3-hour hike in the Andean Mountains to the village of Q’ero. Our mission: To provide clean water to a village in the mountains of Peru.
Our team consisted of 23 volunteers, 12 horses, 3 guides, 3 cooks, translators and local children who joined us on our way. At 15,000 feet, tired and short of breath, we reached this isolated community that is home to 18 Incan families, the only surviving Q’uero communities of the original Incan Tribes.
A local Shaman who travelled with us guided us in performing traditional Incan rituals: we blessed the land and mountains to receive our gifts, and once the sacred land accepted our presence we went to work.
For five days, we carried bags of cement and small rocks sifted from the riverbed up mountains; cut and carried wood and slowly built a small water tank to collect run-off water from the Andean Mountains. We dug pipelines, cut through rock banks, mud and ice and laid the pipes from the tank from the mountain to each home in this community. These pipes were connected to spigots providing clean running water.
We provided educational supplies, paid for or donated by students at the University of Santa Monica to support a nearby school.
We worked with local people on the project and in celebrating their culture and sharing their traditional food. We lived in their homes, sleeping on soft mattresses made of llama wool and hay. Passing herds of llama and alpaca woke us each morning, along with the sounds of the local shepherds and children.
After our building project, many of us visited one of the most sacred sites in the world: Macchu Picchu. This truly was a life-changing event.
2. Lamay, Peru | Greenhouse Construction in the Sacred Valley
(May 21 – June 1, 2014)
High in the Andes, our team worked with locals to build a 1,600-square feet greenhouse, reportedly the first of its kind in the region to grow vegetables. The greenhouse will soon be producing 250 – 500 tomato plants, each vine will provide about 8 kg of tomatoes at a market cost of 2.5 soles. With three harvests a year, the greenhouse is projected to raise about $6,000 profit in its first year alone.
The plan is for the income from the first year to fund the building of a second greenhouse, doubling the output of produce. Students from a nearby agricultural school who are working on this project will receive scholarships to further their studies from the profits of the produce.
Within the Sacred Valley, there is already an established system for marketing produce, mainly potatoes, corn and quinoa, but this initiative will introduce tomatoes and the possibility of marketing organic tomato sauce from the Sacred Valley. Our vision is that our greenhouse will expand into canning tomatoes, providing further income from sales to restaurants and hotels and the possibility of a sustainable income for the entire community.