Everyone has probably heard about the earthquake that happened near Lima last week. Several people have asked us if this will change our plans. The short answer is not really. After I heard about it I checked the news and some other useful resources: The South American Explorers Club and Lonely Planet. I remember after the Tsunami in Thailand, the Lonely Planet's official position was something like "Go travel. In a region where tourism is a vital source of revenue, it makes things even worse for the people there if tourists cancel trips because of the disaster." I figured the same would go for Peru.
The Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree Forum
on Peru had a lot of interesting opinions and ideas. I originally browsed it just to get an idea of the situation in Lima but by the time I finished reading, I thought, "Wait a minute, we might actually be able to do something useful." There are volunteers from the US who are probably booking tickets to fly to Peru and help out right now. We already have our tickets and we don't have to worry about limited vacation time from our jobs.
I've sent an e-mail to Un Techo Para Mi Pais:
a South American organization that already builds simple houses in poor areas around South America. I think it is a student organization so I hope they don't consider us too old.
Another organization I learned about is Hands On Direct Relief.
There was a listing on the Thorn Tree. A bit of browsing on the website led me to their contact info which was a PO Box in Carlisle, Massachusetts. This I found very bizarre because Carlisle happens to be the town I grew up in which had a population of about 4000 people when I left (and never went back) in '89. HODR is also looking for volunteers so if we are too old and our Spanish is to minimal for Un Techo Para Mi Pais, maybe I can work out something with HODR.