Through the border checkpoints at 4 am, where they had to ask each other if Bow was even allowed into the land of llamas! First stop, Chiclayo – not a particularly interesting place but home to a large SOS village with lots of lovely kids. Then up to the quaint mountain town of Cajamarca, beautiful kids with ruddy cheeks and big grins who have hardly seen tourists before. after the SOS village, we visited our first state welfare orphanage, where you can really see the difference between private and government funding. They all work really hard sewing and weaving to sell at the markets. Thanks to our lovely guide, Jon, who translated and organized everything and gave us a guided tour around the city. He made it such a great experience with his wealth of knowledge and interest in the arts.
Now we get to the really long bus journeys that took between 10-20 hours down to Lima, where we visited 5 SOS villages – Callao, Esperanza, Rio Honde, Pachacamac and Zarate – trying to visit them all before the Christmas break.
We made out way back into the mountains of Huancayo and Ayacucho, both villages set in the stunning backdrop of the Andes. It was good luck we stayed at each place, as it was freezing and we enjoyed lovely, home-cooked meals with the kids! Bow spent half the evening entertaining them with magic tricks and they sang carols for us.
A huge thank you to Katherine de Silva from the head office of SOS Peru, who helped us organise all our visits to the villages. Her help was invaluable.