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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!!!!!

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.


First of all, forgive us for no new updates lately! We had a bit of a technical glitch and couldn’t access the admin part of our website.

We have lots to tell you.

Last Friday, we had an amazing fundraiser BBQ, music night on the roof at the volunteer house. 75 People. Lots of new volunteer applications. New projects to get involved with. People wanting to help. We even made a little money to cover fixing the upstairs toilet! ( this is far more important than is possible to describe here!)

Lucas and his group played before going to their gig at the beach house.
Bruno cooked amazing anticuchos and Nick made potatoe empanadas with mango chutney. Camilla and Carlos ran the bar. Malin, Julia, Alexandra and Matias ( all who are visiting with us for a month, the girls are from Sweden and Matias is from Argentina) fixed up the upstairs roof garden so that it was a veritable floral paradise!!

We are getting ready to welcome two or three new volunteers in March. I will post the details when they arrive!

Welcome Matt Mangum, who arrives tonight, will be working on a sociological study of volunteer projects and wants to write us up.

Welcome to Charlotte Schuurman, who is deciding how long to be with us and has been a delightful addition to the house. We have some amazing people here.

In other news.. There is a couple who are building a real school in Ceritos de la Virgen.. we are going to be working with them.. if you would like to come do some contruction work instead of teach, I know they will be happy to accept all the help you can offer!

Thanks to the following people for a big load of support and help this month

Joppe Versweyveld
Jon Clarke
Malin Green
Miguel Angel and Felipe!!
Julia, Matias and Alexandra
Julio Luis
Camilla and Carlos
Omar, Emilio, Elfri and Walter
at Breakpoint Surf School
Ellen Edman
Frank Reategui
Jhony Alfred Santillan
Tiesar El Kouch
Nicholas Dopwell
Charlotte Schuurman
Lucas and family
Hugo the light guy
BRuno!!! ( the Chef!)
Sam Owen !! ( language coach and all around support system)

and about a dozen other people who contributed
in ways too numerous to name here.

Its a good start, my friends.

Sarita, for the team.

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.


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.