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What happens next.

When we started this project, we had three goals

  1. To develop relationships with each other and with the community we seek to accompany in Cerritos that are based on truth and maturity.
  2. To build a well for access to potable water for Cerritos de la Virgen
  3. To enable the community to access real education for the 140 children who live there

We are still working on goal one.

I have been told by other project managers that you can compromise many things but you cannot compromise on the basis of your dream when you go into something like this.  So we have had to go back to square one, to develop an international team of  people who understand that the main focus of this project is not vacation time or party time or international romance, but helping people.

That takes more than two hours a day. That also entails sharing the same vision.

We are currently accepting applications for nine month to one year commitments. If you want to be a voluntourista or the point of your journey to Peru is to soak up the surf culture and travel, I wish you all the best, but don’t apply to our community. We are here to do something that no one thinks can be done. If you are willing to walk through the process of change and growth and to really care more about this group of mothers and kids than you do your own comfort zone, then write to me.

I believe in the right of all children to have clean running water and an education. I don’t think that is an easy goal, but i think its attainable with hard work and commitment and relationships with the community we serve.

If you think you can do this, if you have a heart for people and you can take direction and leadership, work hard at language development and be humble with your co-workers, then I want to hear from you.

Viva Peru. Gana Peru!


Sarita Brown

Director, LaCasaCorazon


We seem to have lost our link.. so lets try this one!

Apologies to those who have had trouble with the old one!


Connie’s volunteer journal

I just completely my third week of volunteering, this has been my
experience so far:

Very simply, the kids at Cerritos need help with homework.   They are
intelligent, fun, happy kids that are struggling in school and have
very little resources to obtain additional help.  The lack of
understanding basic math, reading and writings skills has created a
compounding confusion that carries over from year to year.  For
example, this week a seven year old girl came to us with a completely
blank worksheet, come to find out, she can’t read one word on the
page.   So many questions come to our minds in situations such as

How is she supposed to complete her math homework if she can’t read
the directions?  Do we just tell her the answers so she can at least
turn something in?  But what good does that do if she continues to get
by without really learning?  What is this doing to her self-esteem?  I
could go on and on, these situations arise all the time.

Still, we come everyday, and do whatever we can to help.  The
relationships and conversations that are taking place outside of the
classroom are proving to be just as important as the homework help.
It seems to me that consistently coming and showing interest in the
kids’ lives has given them something to look forward to, and beyond on
that, we can only hope that they slowly begin to realize that they are
smart, fun interesting kids worth peoples’ time.

They are more than capable of learning and bettering their lives
through education,  but they are not given the chance.

I feel lucky to be here, and I can’t express how much I am enjoying my
time in Cerritos.  Some days are harder than others, it’s never easy,
but I can feel small changes happening.  We are starting to learn more
names, and are starting to gain the kids’, and the community’s trust.
We still have a lot to learning to do, but we have an amazing team.

Thanks for reading!!!!!

We have talked about the long term goal of getting water to Cerrito.  Its a big project and its going to take some time, money and an organisation that specialises in delivering fresh water to third world communities.

We are already looking for the solutions, but we have been talking every day after the team comes home from homework helping and playing and thinking about the community we are growing to love more each day.. How do we help NOW?

We are so grateful to Bruno and his family for providing a water truck to the pueblito today.  10,000 liters of water was distributed to all the houses. Its not a fix and its not enough to change their living conditions permanently, but its so much more than just a gesture.

We want the community to know that we are serious about helping. That we care about their day to day lives. That we will walk with them each step and help where we can.

here are some images from today. It was  a great day.

WAter truck!!

The truck came up the road and man it was big!

filling containers for washing clothes, drinking, cooking..

plenty for all .. as it should be always.

job done. for now.

We want to make sure that every family can wash their clothes, bathe their children, cook their food with safe, plentiful, clean water.

If you would like to help us make this vision real and soon, please come with your hearts, connections, ideas, donations.


Sarita, Bruno, Charlotte, Connie, Katie, Julio and the rest of the team at LaCasaCorazon

This is the reason we came here and these are the people we love:

One of our beautiful mamitas and her baby girl

The kids are really having a blast with Joan Louis doing some Art Projects!

ART is a universal language!

Tutoring ….

connie and charlotte with their tutoring class!

The kids often don’t understand what is going on in class.. tutoring allows them to keep up. Middle class parents can afford to hire tutors, but these kids can go through all of school and never really learn to read or write..

Maths are hard! We are really glad that Bruno and Julio are with us to help out in this department!!

Bruno! Math whizz!!!

Here are some of our favourite moments from the last week.. see you next week!

Kids and Bruno do the math.

Katie and the girls

beauty in the eye of the beholder is ..Beauty!

Good times, good friends, good work.

The real reason this works.

The Water Project

Every morning, Stefany wakes up at 6 a.m. and gets ready for school. She is in second grade and is studying hard. She lives in a small pueblito 20 minutes walking distance from one of Peru’s major surfing touristic communities, but it might as well be 30 miles. Stefany has no running water in her simple house, no water to bathe, wash clothes, wash her self. Its a 40 minute walk to school, by which time she will be hot and sweaty, dusty and hungry and tired. Its hard to concentrate when you are thirsty, when the other kids make fun of your dirty clothes and your dusty feet…

Cerrito de la Virgen is an amazing community.

Begun as a refugee community from natural disaster ten years ago, it consists of 90 families, 300 people, 170 of which are children. They have no running water.

Nancy Mendoza, community leader, has spoken of the struggle to get the municipalidad to provide it. They are within the catchment of Huanchaco and there are pipes leading to the community but so far, the authorities have not been willing to spend the money to put water in the pueblo.

Water would simply change their lives.

It will take several stages to get water.

  1. A study needs to be done to see where the water is going to be drilled. This study costs money.
  2. Then there will be a geologist and a well drilling company brought out to see how deep the well will need to be.
  3. there will need to be pipes and plumbing to the houses, so far the only water available is down in Huanchaco and a filthy cistern in the pueblo from a home drilled well of untreated water.

We are working to find an organisation to sponsor the water project, til then we have had a couple of donors offer a weekly delivery of some water but its not going to be nearly enough for all the families to get their needs met.

We are looking for water experts, for clean water charities and for money to fund the study that will start the ball rolling. If you know of anyone who can help or you want to donate, please contact us here.

We want to see the kids of Cerrito get a chance to live with clean water.

One of the things that distinguishes us from other organisations is that we accept Peruvian volunteers.

Beyond that, we NEED Peruvian Volunteers.

The kids at Cerrito are looking for people to look up to, for people who understand their culture, who speak and live a life that they can relate to in terms of success and education.

We need Math, Language and Art people to help out in our Homework Help and Support program.

Your time can make a real difference to these guys. Stop by the house if you live in Huanchaco or drop us a note here.

Peru and us together for Peru. That is the only way its going to work. Come join us.

We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have people who believe in us.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the following people:

Miguel Fernandez Torres and family,Living  room furniture, Internet access, TLC and more for Sarita, monthly financial donations.

Joppe Versweyveld, carpenter skills, financial donation, kitchen gear

Sam Owen, moral support, team feedback, tutoring the odd confused volunteer, being our language coach, travel guide.

Drew Murphy, financial donation

Matt Mangum, Sarita’s laptop, financial donation

Katie Kessler, kitchen supplies, financial donation

Dale Baker, financial donation and keeping Sarita’s heart healthy

Bruno Ojeda Loayza, cooking for our fundraiser and the crew regularly and donating time to Cerrito teaching

Nicholas Dopwell, another fine cook! donation of food to our fundraiser

Joan Louis Aponte, Artist, donation of art class to Cerrito kids

Lucas  Torres and band, music for the LaCasaCorazon fundraiser.

Malin Green, Ellen Edman, Julia Wolt and Alexandra Maliganis ( alias the SWEDISH MEATBALLS!), decoration for fundraiser, fun in general and financial donations

There are more of you. We keep adding to the list!!

and PS:

Japan, our hearts are with you.


Playing with the kids in front of the community center!


We spend time spending time, watching and talking, listening and playing, waiting for the right moments. Being present and helping with homework and life..

Frisbee? Or marbles?

What are you doing for the next year of your life? Come see what a year can bring!
Bruno came for a day and is hooked on the kids!

Julio Luis and kids!


We are really pleased to announce the arrival of three new volunteers to LaCasaCorazon.

Charlotte Schuurman
comes to us from Portugal and arrived here February 5th. Charlotte is Dutch, but grew up in Portugal where her parents made the decision to raise her and her brother speaking English.  Charlotte has great supportive skills and is excited to help us in our new tutoring project at Cerritos. She has made a 6 month commitment to the community and we are very happy to have her here.

Connie Jasiak is from Michigan and is here until September. Connie applied just a few weeks ago, with a great CV and a big heart. She is getting used to Peru and community living but already has made us feel like she has been here from the beginning.

Katie Kessler came to our fundraiser, a friend of Malin Green, and immediately asked if she could come discuss volunteering with us. She only has a few weeks but we are loving our time with her. We hope she can return for a longer commitment later, she is a great addition to the beginning team .

We also want to thank Julio Luis, who is studying medicine in Trujillo, for taking the time to help us establish our meetings with the community we are going to be working with. He will be volunteering with us and also helping us to find some additional Peruvian university students  to help with the tutoring program.

We had a good meeting with the community of moms up at Cerritos de el Virgen last week.  We have committed to going up to the community center every day to help kids with their homework in the afternoons and to make sure they are understanding what is happening in the class room. Learning to read and write Spanish is the first thing that kids need to be able to master, English classes are helpful only if built on a firm foundation.

We have much more to tell you.. we are commencing a fundraising drive to bring running water to this community that only recently has electricity. There are several stages involved but the first one is to fund a study to see where the well can be dug and how much it will cost to get water to the whole community.

Let’s work together to see to it that the life changing water comes to Cerritos by Christmas this year or at the very latest the New Year.

We begin little by little and we progress through right relationships, communication and commitment.

This is our task and our joy.

Sarita for the team at LaCasaCorazon