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MARCH 8th - MARCH 17th


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We firmly plant our roots in the belief that “Everyone has wings to fly, some just need a little help.” This principle fuels our annual Do Good Program; supporting people and places needing a little more help. Through our partnership with HELP International, Art of Visuals, and our Proof customers, we set out on our 8th Do Good project March 7 – 17th to Peru. 6.9 million Peruvians currently live in poverty, 44% of whom are in rural Peru. According to Peru’s National Statistics Institute (INEI),

the country’s poverty rate rose in 2017 to its highest numbers in 16 years. 375,000 more people became impoverished in 2017. Based on these numbers, 1 in every 5 Peruvians (21.7%) were below the poverty line. Rates of extreme poverty–defined as those living less than 183 soles ($56) per month – are at 3% in the entire country and a staggering 12% in rural areas. Just like our glasses, our Do Good projects are not one-sizefits-all, our efforts are specifically

TRAVEL JOURNAL - [ INTRO ]

catered to the needs of individuals and communities in Peru. We dedicated ourselves to creating sustainable change related to economic development, environmental conservation, education, and visual health. Working together with the people of Peru, the projects were designed to help to co-create change and empower the people of Peru to continue to fight poverty.


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TRAVEL JOURNAL - [ DAY 1 - MARCH 9, 2019 ]


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28 volunteers started their journey a couple of days before with the initial location of Lima, Peru, to quickly depart on the next flight, of many, to the first location of Cajamarca, Peru. We touched down in the early morning and quickly made our way to the community of Pullyucana to drop our belongings where we would be staying and headed out on foot to our first project. In smaller communities outside of the main city, some families don’t readily have access to modern conveniences, including electric stoves. Their food is grown, farmed, and prepared outside of their home, however, the cost of materials makes it hard for each home have a working stove for them to cook their meals. Through our donations of bricks, cement, tools, and time we were able to provide 3 homes with working


brick stoves and an additional stove was funded for their local community center. Additionally, 9 sets of bedding were donated to the Eagle Condor for families in need. We worked into the night, constructing the last stove by the flashlights on our phones, and once completed we hiked back and rested up for an early morning departure.

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With each Do Good project, health and vision are always two main focuses in our give back initiatives, our first health screening center was set up in Porcรณn for a group of artisan by the name of Las Estrellitas. An organized group of businesses specializing in woven textiles. Sheep are raised to provide the wool that is then hand spun, dyed with organic plants, and woven into textiles. This is a vital financial support for their community. Our eye screenings not only provided these communities with access to doctors and resources, but it also gives them the ability to continue to work, continue to take care of their families and continue to see their world. During our time we were able to screen 75 people for vision, distributing over 30 frames for the visually impaired. 70 people received dental classes, hygiene classes, fluoride treatments. Before hiking back to our bus, we were able to spend time with the community artisans purchasing their beautifully crafted products and playing an intense and fun game of soccer with the local children, they definitely put up a good fight!

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Half of the group greeted the sun at 5:00 am for a 3-hour journey towards the hills above Cajamarca to play a vital part in planting trees and digging wells for the village of Sivingan Alto Chota. The group was first met with the Mayor, who expressed excitement and gratitude for what this project would provide for their community. This village is home to about 4,000 people, who are only connected to the

main town by just one road. By planting trees alongside the main road we will be helping to prevent erosion, which will allow people to travel on this road in any conditions. These trees will eventually provide shade over the grass, which will help it grow faster and longer for the cows eat. One day these trees will also provide firewood to the local homes to help heat homes and cook food. During the time we were there,

we were able to plant 200 trees, with an additional 300 trees donated to the village. Additionally, 1 well was dug with a total of 3 funded which will impact over 20 families.

(PG 30-31)

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The second half of the group headed to an empty gymnasium in Los BaĂąos del Inca centralized in the main city of Cajamarca to perform health and vision screenings. We were met with lines of people patient-

ly waiting for their turn to go through the screening process. Our local partners shared with us that vision and dental care are not easily accessible for the elderly community, and the sentiment they express is that they feel forgotten or not important enough to have these basic needs. We partner with local optometrists and dentists to create a space for eye screenings and dental work. Local communities travel by any means they can to attend and have an opportunity to receive resources they aren’t regularly afforded. For the second year we have been joined by Eric Ballou, a dentist from Boise, who works in tandem with volunteers to perform cavity fills, extractions, and fluoride treatments. We were able to screen 313 for vision and dental needs, distribute 102 glasses, perform 200 fluoride treatments and 76 extractions, and distribute dental products. (PG 22-29)

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Our final day in Cajamarca we headed to JesĂşs with half the group heading to an empty colosseum set up for health and vision screenings, and the rest of the group headed to two local schools to provide building improvements. Again, we were met with a large group of people patiently waiting to be seen, we immediately set up and hit the ground running with eye screenings and dental work. The second group piled into the back of a smaller truck headed to two local schools and upon arrival, we were instantly surrounded by smiling faces from children ranging from 5 - 10 years of age. The yellow paint that once served as the backdrop for their alphabet letters, numbers, and artwork would now be transformed into a bright and vibrant green. Some of the volunteers gathered the children into a circle outside to talk about hygiene and the importance of washing hands, the group eagerly shared their knowledge and sang the ABCs as we all demonstrated how to wash our hands in the air. Their hard work was finally met with fun when the learning circle now


turned into a big game of duck, duck, goose – a game that is well loved in all countries. Another full day resulted in 204 individuals screened with 191 glasses distributed, over 100 fluoride treatments, 51 extractions, 215 toothbrushes and paste handed out, and two schools with fresh coats of paint. This would wrap up our time in Cajamarca, tomorrow we would all travel back to the airport to head back to Lima, and immediately fly out to Cusco, Peru for another round of communities to go help.

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When you are traveling with over 25 people on two separate flights in a different country, you should expect that there might be a few speed bumps. The first group’s flight had been delayed for over 2 hours but with luck on their side, they successfully made their narrow connection time. The second group was

not so lucky and were derailed by an uninformed travel agent and shuttled back to the ticket counter to rebook for a later flight and take on an unexpected 5-hour layover in Lima. The first group toured through the streets of Cusco, absorbing the beautiful sights and dodging the rain pour in their newly acquired multi-colored rain ponchos. The second

group was able to reunite in Cusco for some last minute exploration right as the sun was setting. The full team piled onto a bus with their new finds of the day and set out for their next location for some rest.

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Whenever we enter into new locations we approach the locals with careful consideration and allow them to take us into their community at their comfort level. As we approached Ocutuan, a rural community nestled 45 minutes outside of Chinchero, we were welcomed by a parade of music filled with drums, horns, and flutes. An overwhelming warm welcome of hellos,

dancing, and huge smiles set the tone for this project. Ocutuan is an Incan historical community filled with the descendants of Incan tribes, they pride themselves on creating artisan goods out of natural resources that are used to sell in the main city to support their families. They reside on historical Incan land and because of time and weather conditions, erosion has washed away some of their roads within the neighboring mountains. In order to

build back the infrastructure, an established road must be cleared. Equipped with picks and shovels we hiked above the community on the old road to work alongside the people of Ocutuan to clear 2 km of roots, boulders, and soil. Through our donations, we also funded 600 gallons of fuel that allowed machinery to clear 4 km of road and finish the work. This road construction will support the 60 families and the 260 community members of Ocutuan.


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It would be impossible to think you could go to Cusco and not make time to see the world wonder that is Machu Picchu, during our projects we also like to incorporate a small part of cultural experience to explore the rich heritage that built the communities we help. Most of the team opted for the bus drive through switchbacks up the vertical destination, however, some of the younger adventurers on the team took on the steep hike to the base of Machu Picchu. After you go through the entrance and hike the initials steps up to the hillside that embodies the blended greenery and stone, you will be hit with the surreal views that will take your breath away. The four hours we were allotted initially seemed a little excessive in the beginning, but you quick-

ly get lost in the architecture, the slow-moving clouds that dance among the peaks, and visiting with llamas that you find yourself trying to quickly move through the end so you don’t miss your bus back down. As we collected our belongings and returned to the train to make our way back to our bus, we were all hit

with the thought that tonight is our last night in Peru, and we would all be heading back home tomorrow.

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The last morning was bittersweet, we were all excited to see our new friends of Chinchero, but the talks of when people needed to be at the airport also blended the conversation, the sad feelings were quickly squashed when we were once again met with music, smiles, and hellos from the people of Ocutuan. With a new set of projects, the group once again divided into 2 separate teams to

tackle two projects, the construction of a greenhouse, and clearing an additional road. The greenhouse team hiked to the basic framework of the greenhouse. Equipped with picks and shovels we began to turn over the soil while others began to place clear tarps to create walls that would trap the warmth and moisture needed for the plants to grow. Once the soil was loose, rows of water tubing was placed and vegetables planted. As the second project of road clearing continued, the first group headed back to the base of the mountain to demonstrate a hygiene and dental lesson for the children of the com-

munity. The rain and wind began to set in as we prepared for our goodbyes, it’s like it knew how we were feeling. The people of Ocutuan lined up so that each of us could share in hugs and handshakes for the time we spent with these beautiful people. The bus departed for the last time, headed towards the airport. Over 10 days, a group of 28 volunteers took over 12 flights to help co-create sustainable change alongside the communities of Peru. This $20k project was funded by Proof Eyewear through a percentage of sales made by our customers and in total we:


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TRAVEL JOURNAL - [ PROJECT REVIEW ]


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Tanner Dame / Brooks Dame / Taylor Dame / Darlene Dame / Nixon Dame / Jennifer Bernhardt / Jesse Goodwin / Isaac Garrett

Natalie Peterson / Jen Itri / Grey Maxson / Alonso Tello / Pedro Reategui / Sandra PeĂąa

Vierra Reid

Dusty Kleiner / Lindsay Stevens

Rich Brown / Lyndsey Bull / Jake Henstrom / Shanon Born / Tate Born / Tiffany Ahlbach / Bassem Girgis / Eric Ballou / Nicole Ballou / Eva Ballou / Charlie Ballou / Leann Vaterlaus

Shaylyn Berntson

TRAVEL JOURNAL - [ CREDITS ]


Profile for Proof Eyewear

The Peru Project Journal // March 2019  

We firmly plant our roots in the belief that “Everyone has wings to fly, some just need a little help.” This principle fuels our annual Do G...

The Peru Project Journal // March 2019  

We firmly plant our roots in the belief that “Everyone has wings to fly, some just need a little help.” This principle fuels our annual Do G...

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