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In late March, Cara, Katie and I embarked on a six-hour journey to Parobamba, a small community in the Mapacho River Valley. Our reasons for going were twofold: Katie had the monthly Q’ente meeting with the weaving association, and Cara and I had the chance to meet with one of the selected students for Mosqoy Cohort 7. It was an adventure, to say the least!

After a jarring ride in the back of Señor Martin’s fruit truck, complete with bread, a bag of chicken feet, a box of live chicks, a massive spare tire, a friendly grandmother and her grandson, and, of course, fruit, we were happy to arrive at our final destination. Despite the pungent smells, the dripping water, and the painful bumps, we knew we were lucky this time because we had found a different ride. This time, we only had to endure the fruit truck for two and a half hours instead of the usual five. And hey, the smell of raw meet mixed with fresh bread is much better than toxic exhaust, like that of Señor Chipa’s fruit truck! (Nothing against Señor Chipa.) It surely was a rough ride, yet an endearing experience, nonetheless.

Here I am, getting comfy and gearing up for the journey ahead!

We arrived on a brisk, foggy morning and quickly piled on the extra layers to stay warm as the day progressed into a frigid, stormy afternoon. Cara and I took shelter with one of our new Mosqoy students, Bercelia, and her family. This gave us the opportunity to get to know Bercelia in more depth and to discuss her vision for her future. It didn’t take long, however, for the storm to pass and we were soon slathering on the sunblock and soaking up the evening sun. We were thankful to share a meal and retire early after a long day. We then fell asleep to the sound of another rainstorm.

Just another day at the office! Beautiful views abound in Parobamba.

The following week, Cara and I travelled to Ollantaytambo to meet with the other four new students of Mosqoy Cohort 7. This was a great opportunity for me to get to know the incoming students and explore the town for the first time. After spending some time with each of them, it was clear to see that they will be a great addition to the Mosqoy family!

As we continue to grow as an organization and expand our reach to more students and communities, we also require additional funding to keep our programs running. Thus, we are thrilled to announce that we have launched our Student Sponsor Drive! Cara and I have been hard at work putting this campaign together and we are excited to be sharing it with you over the next month. Each week, via social media, we will be introducing one of our new students and sharing their stories and aspirations, allowing you to get to know them in more depth. Take a look at their profiles here. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and stay up to date with our daily posts!

Learn more about Student Sponsorship here:

In other news, this year I ran a birthday campaign to raise funds and spread awareness about the many Andean Youth Program projects I have been involved with. Instead of presents or birthday cards, I asked friends and family to donate $23 for my 23rd birthday. I challenged myself to raise $2,300. On the morning of my birthday – April 20th – I was overjoyed to see that I had reached my goal! And it didn’t stop there! Donations continued to roll in. I am thrilled to announce that I have raised $2,544 in total! It was so enjoyable to reach out to friends and family throughout this campaign and share with them what I have been up to here in Peru. I am beyond grateful for all of the love and support I received throughout this process, for the kind words, the well wishes, and generous donations!

One thousand thanks to all of my generous donors!

Until next time! Brooke Shaughnessy

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