Archive for January, 2011

Our new Projects Begin!!

We are so excited to announce the beginning of three projects in February: Continue reading


thought for the day

As one individual changes, the system changes. ~Ram Dass

When you see with your heart, the whole world looks different.

Helping with Balance

When we had our weekly team meeting last week, we were privileged to have Miguel’s cousin Omar,a child psychologist sitting in.

We talked a lot about kids need for education and improving literacy as well as the need for proper nutrition and medical care, but Omar was very a strong advocate for the social. mental health side of supporting kids who are struggling with poverty. He lives and works in Cajamarca, with people who live in areas where there is no trash collection, no fresh water, very small houses with dirt floors and twelve people at a time living in them.  In this environment, he said, the issue of social behaviour, self esteem, access to funds for education become fulcrums that keep kids off balance even if they want further education.

Omar stressed that if the social problems are not addressed at the same time that tutoring and health needs are, there will still be a wall to overcome that will keep kids from succeeding.

We are surounded with communities just like this one, and here in Huanchaco, there are three in particular that have our hearts. we will be telling you more about each one in the near future.

We can have classes and we can bring activities, we can bring tutors and we can write books….  but kids need to be heard, to be journeyed with, to have an opportunity to see their lives in the light of new posibilities without removing their cultural beauties. Pride in their families, their culture, themselves is what will help them as they create a successful future.

We begin Puedo Leer on the first week of February. Twenty children, their own twenty stories, twenty actual finished books they can hold in their hands, illustrated by their twenty amazing imaginations.

These books will be printed here and distributed in sets to each child and also published on in order to share our twenty book bi- lingual collection with children everywhere and to raise funds to do it all again.  We are very happy.

Come write books with us as a volunteer or donate towards the printing. Its beginning to look a lot like something we can wrap our hands around and smile.


When you start a project or an organisation or a community, you sometimes get tricked into rushing.

There are so many needs and so urgent a case to be made for haste. But most projects fail or falter because they have not established secure roots, have not listened to the vision that arises from the need around them.  In our hurry to help, we often create beautiful illusions that have all the right parts, but are not really all that empowering.

It is our desire to build something lasting here in Huanchaco. For this reason, we are moving one step at a time, building foundations, gathering a committed, experienced, caring team of volunteers and community members.  We deeply desire the act of empowerment, reaching out to those neighbors here who long for a better life and a deeper life, a life beyond simple survival.

We will begin active work with communities by the middle of February. Right now we are growing strong, asking questions, gathering resources, brainstorming ideas.


Here are some of our future plans.

  • Homework and school support for kids from poorer backgrounds.
  • classes for parents about child development and nutrition, playing with children, developing some routines that give them security and safetry
  • A medical free clinic in one of our pueblitos nearby, staffed with volunteer doctors, nurses and chemists.
  • Puedo Leer, a children´s stories publishing project.
  • developing a permanent trust fund for university scholarships, administered by a separate board. IF you are interested in joining this board, plesase contact Sarita here.
  • Mentoring programs for girls and young women to encourgage them to delay pregnancy, develop their gifts and attend college or vocational school.

All of these projects are important and can save the lives of children who can then give back to their communities later on, but they will take seed time, watering time, growing time and nurture. Time.  We have it and you can help us by either coming to LaCasaCorazon as a volunteer for 6 months or one year ( that intern position is still open!) or by donating to provide the small amount of money we need to simply recruit and train volunteers and keep our low maintenance headquarters open.

We have a paypal accout to which you can donate. please contact us at ( we are trying to open our LaCasaCorazon gmail account but they keep telling me they can’t verify it via my cell phone in peru!  we are getting there..:)  )

Tao Te Ching: #64

What is rooted is easy to nourish.

What is recent is easy to correct

What is brittle is easy to break.

What is small is Easy to scatter.


Prevent trouble before it arises.

Put things in order before they exist.

The giant pine tree grows from a tiny spout.

The journey of a thousand miles

starts from beneath your feet.


Rushing into action, you fail.

trying to grasp things, you lose them.

Forcing a project to completion,

you ruin what was almost ripe.


Therefore the Master takes action

by letting things take their course.

She remains as calm

at the end as at the beginning.

She has nothing,

and thus has nothing to lose.

What she desires is non-desire;

what she learns is to unlearn.

She simply reminds people

of who they have always been.

She cares about nothing but the Tao.

Thus she can care for all things.






Exciting New Developments

When we started LaCasaCorazon, we knew three things:

1. We knew we wanted to create a permanent long term volunteer organisation, a place where volunteers would come to live and work for 6 months to a year, committed to  long term  accompaniment and help with education and life skills for kids in Huanchaco.

2. We knew we wanted to work with native Peruvians and local Huanchaceros, professionals, people who know and love Huanchaco and understand how we can best work together.

3. We knew we wanted to create programs that would provide balance and motivation for kids to further their education and up lift their self esteem, creating opportunities for physical, mental and emotional advancement, along with life skills and group support.

Today our whole team ( there are five of us now!)  met with Emilio and Elfri of Break Pôint Surf School, two local members of the Huanchaco community who  will work with us in the coming months. And we with them. They provide free surf lessons for kids in Huanchaco, give role models and new opportunity.

LaCasaCorazon will be recruiting tutors to help these children with their reading and math skills, working to provide  balance and motivation so that they can further their education.

We are very pleased to also announce the planning stages of Puedo Leer, a project in conjunction with this goal, which will listen to and develop children’s stories, help them to write them, illustrate them and get them printed into real books that they can keep, collect ,share and read.

These books will also be published through, a self publishing site which will give us a chance to raise even more money for education through the publication and sales of the Puedo Leer collection.

It all is possible one step time at a time. Please consider donating to LaCasaCorazon and make these dreams a reality.

with hope and commitment,

Sarita, Miguel, Drew, Julio and Hernan


Welcome Drew!!

We are really incredibly  happy to welcome Drew Murphy to LaCasaCorazon!

I met Drew through Colby Adams, when we were living in Colorado this year. In an episode of what I can only call serendipity, Drew and Colby were in the same class at Pikes Peak College and got to talking.

Lo and behold, Drew was on his way to Peru to volunteer. In January.

We were gobsmacked. So after a lot of great conversations and a few nice parties, Drew decided to throw his hat in with us. He will be volunteering for 6 months and is staying at the volunteer house.He is going to work with Puedo Leer. our book writing project in Huanchaco.

Drew is going to be a great addition to the team. Come round and meet him!

Its going to be a great summer.

Welcome Drew!

Bruno is a native of Trujillo and an accomplished chef. His math class rocks!


It took me a while, but I finally get what is going on around here in primary schools. There are teachers. There are students. There are classrooms and there are books. But this does not mean kids are getting educated. It means someone is spending money so it will  look like they are.

Talking to my friends here, they tell me that if you don’t understand what is being taught they will move you forward anyway but you will not read. or write. If you want to learn to read and write and you are having trouble understanding, you need to hire a tutor. This is referred to as a service.

There is no way children can get to university and make Peru a better place, a more prosperous and caring place, a progressive place, if its children don´t understand how to read and write well. If they believe they are not smart enough, they won´t even try.

We started, some friends and I, talking about providing  tutoring services by Peruvian college students. For free. This is a step to ensure that when they want to go to university, they will be capable of it.

Having Peruvian young people as role models is a way to ensure that they believe it is possible for them.

Happy New Year.

Its easy to take the road most travelled.

We want to  embrace a new way of looking at how to support social projects and how to prepare ourselves to create a long term presence in Huanchaco.

We think of this process  as organic. We want to  be open to the ideas of experienced volunteers and the fresh eyes of our new team members.

Five Principles of operation for LaCasaCorazon

1. We do not know what our clients need most. They know.

2. Peruvian volunteers are crucial to developing relationships with local community and communicating cultural and linguistic particulars to volunteers from other countries.
3. We work from a philosophy of accompaniment, not direction.
4. We are committed to long term, forward moving solutions that help people overcome poverty and aquire education for the betterment of their quality of life.
5. Volunteers are part of a system of support and commit to six monts to one year of work with identified projects. Their time commitments overlap with new volunteers to ensure smooth hand-over and to preserve valuable information about participants and projects