Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Reporting from Brazil (a few days before the race)

Day 0: Wednesday May 27th – Prior to the trip

My flight is late on Wednesday (actually it is early on Thursday but with the previous hours I end up going out of my house on Wednesday night) after a long day at the office and several coordinations.

On my way to the airport I pick up Walter, reporter from Terra, media that has decided to cover the campaign in Brazil as well as the whole peruvian group. Last minute borrowed wetsuit pick-up and arrival at the airport (the wetsuit I’ve been using is a surfing wetsuit and not specifically for swimming; besides it’s a little loose since I have lost some weight during this last few months and I end up feeling cold and dragging water).

Day 1: Thursday May 28th – Arrival at Floripa

Airport, counter, airport tax, passport control, etc. Finally, Lan’s flight and we wake up in Sao Paulo. Car rental and off to Florianopolis. It’s about an 8 to 10 hour drive. Exiting Sao Paulo is endless but once on the highway it gets much better except for a short part where the highway yields into a one-lane road. The road is pretty heavily loaded with trucks but we manage to drive by other cars going to Floripa and you can tell by looking at the bikes on the roofs or racks.

The driving is very long but we finally arrive at night. Posada Maria’s is the hostel where almost all the peruvian athletes are staying. It is at Canasvieiras beach and I strongly recommend it.

Pizza, pasta and good night.

Cold weather and occasional raining.

Day 2: Friday May 29th – Training and family arrival

Early awakening, breakfast and bike mounting (it travels dismounted in a box). It is cold but we head to the Ironman Expo (you can find all sorts of souvenirs as well as specialized articles for sports; this is also the place where you receive all the initial race kit) with our wetsuits ready for an early swimming. The beach is Jurere and is where we will be swimming the day of the race so we are introducing ourselves to it.

The ocean is as calm as a pool. Ideal temperature despite the sun is not shining yet. 6 peruvians get into the water. The idea is to swim about 1,500 meters but I get disoriented and lose my path, aided by a slight current, ending up in some other buoy. As I was alone, I got bored (to be honest I also got tired and was afraid of burning the strength I was surely going to need the day of the competition) and got back before everyone else. In the end, about 25 minutes and 900mt. The good thing is the new wetsuit is working very well although it feels rather tight. I have just decided I’ll use this one on Sunday.

Kit reception and rules review. The kit includes: control chip (must be attached to your ankle at all times), wrist identification and a few colored bags that you must hand in to the organization prior to the beginning of the race. Each bag is used to identify a leg of the race and what you don’t put in there is off the race. My number: 1125.

Lunch at a nearby beach called Ingleses and back to the hostel. In the afternoon we did about 40 minutes of cycling to test the tuning besides using it as a photo session and one last ride with some friends.

This night was Pasta Dinner for all the athletes and my family arrived (they did the same endless car trip from Sao Paulo to Florianopolis). Rebe, my mom, sister with boyfriend, my mother in law and my uncle Manuel Ricardo and aunt Pilar. I have the rooting assured for the day of the race.

The food was good, a pretty samba show and the feeling the race was very close. We all peruvian athletes went with our Ironman Team Peru shirt (donation thanks to Johann, other peruvian athlete) and one argentinian athlete liked it so we made the first, and classic, t-shirt exchange. This is part of the friendship that you can sense in this sport. Rather than being a competition against each other, it is a race with your own self.

Hostel and good night; on Saturday was planned an early cycling.

Day 3: Saturday May 30th – Check-In

Just one day away from the race and the day breaks with rain and cold weather so I decline from going out with my bike. A few of us stay at the hostel and when everyone else returned we decided to go for a short, 45 minute, run to activate our legs. Later I took my family to the Expo to check out the cool stuff besides getting acquainted with the finish line I’ll be crossing the very next day.

Later on came the bag filling for the competition. I made a list of what should go in each bag so the logistics were much easier after that. White bag for general stuff (kind of a backpack for your shoes, short & short you arrive at the transition site); black bag that you hand in empty and will be used to keep all your swimming stuff after you go out (wetsuit, goggles and swimming cap); blue bag for the cycling (helmet, gloves, clothes, pulsemeter, sunglasses, replacement tubes and some food); yellow bag for the running (shoes, clothes and podometer basically); and finally the green and red bags for “special needs” used to retrieve stuff at the middle of the cycling (56 miles) or the running (13 miles). This last ones are not mandatory but you typically put on some more food, warm clothes or additional replacement tubes for example. This is what I did.

This logistics is like a ceremony for every athlete because it’s very important to be sure everything is in the bags. This might help you be a little bit more relaxed the day of the race. In this case, the tips and help from more experienced triathletes comes in handy so thanks Eduardo for the help!

In the afternoon, bike check-in and bags hand in. It is still raining so it doesn’t look good for Sunday. I even have to cover my bike with plastic bags in order to avoid the rain to wet it, completely at least.

At night, after a few coordinations for the waking up next day, off to sleep early.

Sunday is going to be a very long day but I’ll tell you all about it on my next post!

Our goal: their future



Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pre-race thoughts (written a few days before the race day)

Just a few days away from the competition I’d like to share the feelings involved and what the campaign has left me until today. I’m posting this one very late although I had it written before and I thought I could post it from Florianopolis but the previous days went by so fast, and the internet access was not available, so just today, back in Lima again, I’m able to publish it.

It’s hard to explain what the feelings are these previous days without explaining first what I’ve gone through the last few months. Only with this thoughts in mind it’s easier to try to understand all the different feelings and sensations this campaign has left me.

Looking back, it’s amazing all that has happened this last few months. In terms of training what I remember the most is the early awakenings, the strict schedules, the food (although I lost more than 8 pounds during training!), the physical effort, the cold sea at 6am, etc. Because of my work (and sometimes just for fun and vacation) I have the opportunity to travel and, considering the dates when I started to train for triathlons (Paracas Half Ironman that I’ve already told you about in a previous post), I’ve trained in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Orlando, Miami, Montevideo, Madrid, Arequipa, Piura, Tumbes, Mancora, Cusco (although it was a failed attempt I’m counting it anyway) and of course Lima. 12 different cities in 6 different countries have to pay off the day of the race!! I remember the long training hours, specially on Saturdays (getting up at 4am to be back home at 2pm in some cases) but fortunately I shared the road and training with an excellent group of friends. This way the long days are much more enjoyable. By the way, thanks to Eduardo, Kike, Alfonso, Carlos and Paolo for the company, the tips and support during the training and for being always aware of the campaign. In the same way I’d like to thank Carlos’s parents, great support to all these amateur athletes on their way of fulfilling their dream of becoming an Ironman.

About the campaign, I’d have to be honest and let you know that when me and my wife were planning this campaign, we never thought it would be as big as I think it has become. We thought it was going to be a campaign among our friends and acquaintances and laughed thinking the media might be interested in it one day. Today, the balance is: 3 TV channel appearances, 4 cable TV appearances, 2 radio stations, 2 web sites, 3 magazines, 1 newspaper and a few blogs. Quite a lot for an idea that started only from our wish to help others in need. I think I’ve already commented this but you start with a campaign like this one thinking you will help others but in the end you are the most benefited from all this because of all you receive in exchange. Looking at this from perspective, in the end it’s always a win-win situation for everyone.

The amount raised has been increasing slowly but constantly. Today we are at 60.4% (about USD 23,000) and I’m sure with these next day’s donations we’ll get to around 80% of our initial goal (about USD 30,000). In the beginning, when I thought about not reaching this fund raising goal, the Ironman goal has never been questioned in my mind, I felt a little disappointed but then I soon realized that any amount, whether it was USD 1,000, USD 2,000 or USD 30,000, which is the amount I’m intending to reach, it’s a lot of money for this community and something they do not have today so the campaign’s intention hasn’t changed at all. It’s still a simple idea and the response of the people to a community that needs all our help.

Today, on my way to Brazil I keep thinking about my family, the children in the community and everyone that has helped me and the campaign reach the place where we are now. It is obvious this result it’s not only mine but of all of you that made the effort of helping out spreading the campaign, with your ideas, with your encouraging, your donations, etc. All of you have been and will continue being a part of this project and I hope you feel that way. Without you this project would no be as successful as I think it has been so feel good about it!!

I feel a mix of emotion and anxiety for the race day to come and to see “in the field” if the long training has been enough or not. I want to give out the amount raised, choose a project to invest in and finally see something tangible come out of my effort and your support.

It has been truly a live changing experience to train for this and associate it to a fund raising campaign for the needy. I truly believe that if everyone of us puts in practice all the small or big ideas that we might have, we’ll be doing our share and, little by little, we will do a great deal of good to this country and this world. Do it! You’ll experience something good and the response you’ll get is bigger than you can imagine.

This has helped me in the physical side but also in the personal side. In my case, it has allowed me to get closer to my family and the people I love, besides letting me know some spectacular persons. Now I know for sure that if I decide to do something, no matter how hard or impossible it may seem, with the right amount of effort, the consistency and dedication required, there’s no obstacle I’m not able to pass. I’m also absolutely positive that helping is easy. Very easy. You just have to decide it and act.

I’ll leave you with a video that shows what means to decide to do something and succeed. A true example for all of us.

video

I’d like to finish thanking everyone that has been supporting from the beginning of the project, also those that jumped in after, those who felt part of this, those who wished me the best, those who read this blog and anyone who might feel inspired by this to do something for other in need. To all of you, thanks for everything.
Our goal: their future



Sunday, May 3, 2009

Acknowledgement to some companies

I’ll start this post commenting that, although I’d like this part to be much larger due to the number of companies that may be supporting the campaign, I am very thankful with the ones that have already committed their support.

One of the first ones in contacting us and that is very supportive to the campaign is Puma. The sports brand, which has a complete running line, has jumped in with an important economic donation so if you want to give something back to them, you think about this the next time you have to decide on a sports brand. Thanks Franco!



I’d like to thank also Kimberly-Clark that didn’t wasted any time to donate some of their products to help these children in need. Yumax, a local hydration drink, has also helped out with an economic donation plus some products for the children. Thanks Bertha and Marco!

The University of Lima (UL) is supporting us a lot. Besides communicating the campaign to their employees and making it easy for them to donate by centralizing the donations (they discount this donation from their monthly payroll so the employee does not have to make any money transferring by themselves), they have also created some posters and counters for the whole alumni to find out more about this project and also contribute to it. Thanks Dr. Ilse Wisotzki and her team of professionals!





Through my brother’s impulse, Gildemeister, a local car dealer where he works at, is communicating their employees about the campaign so they can make their donation and even offers to duplicate any donation raised by them! Thank you LuisFer!


There are also some companies that have helped out with the communication among their employees motivating them to support the campaign such as Lan, Derco or Antamina. Thanks Vero, Xime, Chalo & Carmela!

Even outside Peru, but thanks to a Peruvian, the Wharton Latin American Student Association, WHALASA, supported the campaign by hosting two events for this purpose. Thanks Pao!



And speaking about events, some editorials and book distributors have committed their support donating some coffee table books for a future bid and they could also donate some others for the children’s library. Thanks to Zeta, Planeta, La Familia and Norma! I’m sure very soon some others will also join us. I’ll keep you updated on the event’s day so you can all come along. Thank you Titi!

There are others that have been interested in the campaign but haven’t yet materialized it as well as some others that have anonymously supported us. To all of them here is our acknowledgement for their support and interest.

I’d like to finish recognizing a company that after just hearing through the telephone for a few minutes about our campaign, and knowing we needed some empty tin vases for collection purposes, they didn’t hesitate and donated all the required cans. Thanks Ricardo!

These companies are an example of interest in the societies where they operate, far beyond their commercial interests. They, as well as the people that have been supporting, do understand they have a very important role in the development of this country and they also understand these children and all the others are the foundation were our future society is going to develop.

Like them, some of you reading these lines work at companies that may be supporting the campaign too. It can be with a donation as Puma or Yumax, or with products as Kimberly-Clark. If none of the above is suitable for your company then you can help making possible the communication among the employees, proposing to raise funds internally or proposing the payroll discount option as Gildemeister does.

It’s amazing what you can obtain from other people when you reach to them with an open heart and the illusion that anything is possible. Unfortunately, I can not reach to all the persons or all the companies, even though I may try, so this is were your support becomes fundamental. As you may have seen in all these examples, there are several options for supporting, the question is whether you’re interested in doing it or not, and I certainly hope you are!

As some people say, the worst thing that can happen is to get a no for an answer. Help us communicating the project. Join in. Believe and I assure you, you’ll be surprised of the good intentions of people and companies.

Our goal: their future










Friday, April 24, 2009

Training sessions

Many people have been asking me about my training schedule, how much do I train?, how do I train?, at what time and with whom?, how am I progressing?, etc. so I decided this post will address this issue.

I’ll tell you how I train for this competition and how I’m getting prepared for the 17 continuous hours I’ll have to face on race day. I’d like to emphasize that this is how I’m preparing and I’m sure other athletes (I’m talking as if I’m one of them!) train in a different, and probably better, way.

As you already know the competition is a triathlon and consists of 3 sports one after the other so I’ll comment on each of the three stages separately and hopefully you’ll get the picture of a regular week for me.


Swim


For me, the hardest one of the three sports because it is very technical, I’m too slow and I never ever swam before. For that same reason swimming is a little boring for me and, sometimes, just a mean to assure I’ll get to the bike on race day. Don’t get me wrong, it is an excellent sport but I’m not fond of it yet!


Usually I’ll swim 2-3 times a week, two of this sessions in a pool and the third one in the ocean. The distances vary from session to session but I started with 1.1mi as an average and now I’m swimming around 1.6mi per session with a maximum of 2mi in the ocean about a couple of weeks ago (it is going to be 2.4mi in the Ironman so I’m pretty close). This sessions usually take a little more than an hour.


The swimming equipment is quite simple: a swimsuit, swimcap, goggles, hand paddles, a buoy and a wetsuit for ocean swimming (despite the use of this suit, when you enter the ocean at 06:00 in the morning you’ll still get very cold!).


With my speed in the water I should finish the swimming stage in approximately 01:40 hours but I’ll better aim at 02:00 hours and avoid the stress. The trick for me is to relax in the water, swim and hope it ends up without too much thinking on how much is left.


Bike

The second one in terms of complexity for me, and the second stage in an Ironman. There’s also lots of pedaling technique and cadence but I’ll settle with an acceptable rhythm to complete the 112mi of the race in a little less than 7 hours so I can leave some gas for the marathon. At least this stage uses intensively my legs which is what I’m used to using because of my basketball and soccer background.


On a regular week I would cycle 3 times. Two of them are a 01:30 – 02:00 hour sessions (about 25 – 40mi depending on the day) and the third one is a long session (about 90-112mi). I started the long sessions with about 55mi and this last weekend I did my first 112mi (100% of what I will do on race day) in 06:20 hours! We always go out in groups on Saturdays with a car behind us just in case we nee the protection. I take this time to thank Carlos’s parents that always go along with us on the road.

The equipment and logistics involved in this sport are a little more complex. Bike with aerobar, helmet, gloves, tools (just in case) and lots of provisions. Hydration beverages and some cereal bars to eat on the road. Yes, on the bike you have to eat since you can’t, or you won’t, on the other two sports.


The additional complexity in this stage resides in the fact that you are depending on an external element, the bike, and if it breaks down it can bring down your dream of crossing that finish line (believe me, it has happened before!). On the other hand, you have to wish you do not encounter a strong wind against you because in that case your speed, and with it your physical stamina, is going to decrease considerably.

With my current training speed, I shall mention I’m of the slowest ones in my group, I’m aiming at finishing the 112mi in almost 7 hours. I prefer to take an extra 20-30 minutes on the bike and not finish cramped rather than going faster and then not being able to run at all (believe me, it happens too!).

The trick for me here is to divide the 112mi into smaller parts and aim at small goals each time. If you think 112mi from the beginning you can feel overwhelmed by it so I’d rather think of 9-10mi blocks (approximately half an hour each).


Run


You might think this one is the easiest one of the three stages. After all, how hard is to run on a steady pace for some hours? Luckily for me, although it’s not easy, it’s the least complicated one on individual terms. I say in individual terms because after 2 hours swimming and 7 biking there’s not such thing as easy or less complicated!

Anyway, it relies mostly on leg exercise which should be a familiar excercise for me.
In an average week I’d run from2 to 3 times. Two of those sessions are 10mi runs and the long one, on Sundays can be as long as 20mi. Sometimes I’d run after biking jus to practice the transition because it is quite hard to run after long hours of biking.


For marathon experts, it is quite known that keep running after the 20mi mark is very complicated. Marathon finishers usually call this mark “the wall” ‘cause, apparently, you feel you have a wall in front of you, and you just feel you can’t go on. Obviously lots of people go on and finish the race and that’s exactly what I’m gonna do so I’ve asked my friends not to introduce me to “the wall”. If I ever get to know it, it better be the day of the race. I’d rather not be influenced by other people’s experience (although I respect all different points of view!).


The logistics here are quite simple again: a pair of running shoes (I wear Puma’s Complete Infinitus and I’m actually very happy with them), a running short, shirt and ready you are.

If I keep my training pace I should end up the marathon in approximately 04:30 hours but that seems quite difficult, even more considering that on that particular day I will start the marathon after 9 hours of previous “warm up”. I’d better aim at around 06:00 hours and avoid the extra pressure.

The trick for me here is to keep a steady pace. Any change in your rhythms wears you out too much so if I get passed by someone I have to stay focus and respect my own pace if I want to make it to the end. If, and only if, I feel I have some gas left on the tank I will increase my speed on the very last miles but that won’t cut more than a couple of minutes of the clock.


Others


Besides all I’m telling you I have to do some muscle support weight lifting twice a week so I end up doing like 11 sessions of training on a regular week.


You have to add up to all these hours the regular working hours plus the time I invest in the campaign, in this blog, etc. That leaves you with very little time to sleep. Resting is extremely important and this department is still pending for me ‘cause I manage to sleep only around 5 hours per day, except on Sundays when I can rest and sleep a little bit more.


There’s a fourth sport that you have to consider when getting ready for a competition like this one. You can’t leave it out ‘cause is the foundation that’ll allow you to keep up with the hard work and training plans and will allow you to get in one piece to the day of the race: nutrition. I’ve already lost around 8-9 pounds training, although I’m eating large amounts of food all day long, lot’s of pasta even on breakfast!


Just for you to get the picture, on a given Saturday (about 5-6 hours of biking and 30-60 minutes of running) I’d burn about 4,000-6,000 calories. That’s about 3 whole days of regular diet (based on a 2,000 calories daily diet) burnt in just one day so nutrition and food are fundamental. I supplement my food with vitamins, egg protein, Ovo Power, Maltodextrine before every practice and Glutamine after for proper muscle recovery.




Final comments


Do I stick to this plan 100%? Imposible! At least for me due to my other responsibilities. There’s always something else going on: working late, family reunion, unforeseen events, injuries or just plain accumulated fatigue that won’t let you train.


What I do have realized in my mind is that if I ever miss a training session that it’s not going to make a huge difference the day of the race. This means I won’t stress or try to make it up by training double sessions the next day. This last statement it’s not an excuse for not practicing enough or purposedly miss the sessions. That’d be just crazy thinking on the day of the race.


To get prepared for an Ironman it’s not just the sports part, it’s a lifestyle that you just have to assume and that implies personal habits, family environment, work environment, social environment, etc. It’s a huge sacrifice that will pay off at the finish line. In my case it’s even a larger sacrifice since I’m completely new to this sport but the reward of knowing these children will be able to have a better future is enough motivation to go on.


Whether you are competing on an Ironman or not, the motivation of being able to grant these children a second chance should be enough to drive you to support us. It’s 730 children today, and thousands in the future, if we help the community keep on the great work they’re doing now, that we can provide a future for.


Let's do it!


Our goal: their future


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Media reaction and campaign summary

On this post I’d like to comment on two things: a brief summary of the exposure on the media, what has been broadcasted and what’s to come, and also give you a small summary on the advance of the campaign.

It is basically an acknowledgement to the interested media, that I’d like to extend also to the persons and companies (I’ll talk more extensively about them in a future post), that are supporting the campaign and letting this project become, more than a person’s dream of helping others, a tangible reality that will assure, or at least improve, these children’s future.

What has been broadcasted

The first recognition goes to the ones that let us communicate the project for the first time in the media. The Cable TV debut was on a local channel in a show called Entre Titulares (Among Headlines as could be translated in English). This show creates a headline of each of the topics and the campaign’s was a very emotive and encouraging one. You’ll see it right below but the translation would be something like “A race for life, we have the opportunity to leave our mark on the children’s future”. Thanks a lot Eliana, Gordo, Loco & Chato!

video

The second acknowledgement goes to Radio Capital and specifically to Rosa Maria Palacios, a very well established journalist in Peru. Let me share with you this interesting interview. Thanks Rosa María and Elizabeth!


video



In the third place I’d like to say thanks to Oh Diosas, a show on a local Cable channel. Thanks to Almendra, Astrid and all the Oh Diosas team for giving us the opportunity of reaching more people through your audience!


video


What’s next

Besides the mentioned media I’d like to thank also some others that have already contacted us showing their interest on the campaign. With some of them we’ve already had some interviews and with others we’ve had some preliminary approaches.

This week should be published an interview on Terra online (http://www.terra.com.pe) on the section called Hecho en Terra (Made in Terra). Thanks to Walter and his team. Also this week an interview in El Comercio online should be published (http://www.elcomercio.com.pe; El Comercio is one of the most important newspapers in Peru). Thanks to Camila, Joaquin & Fabricio.

As for the future needs of spreading this campaign, there are a couple of additional TV shows that are also interested, as well as some other radio stations and some written media that we hope we can contact for an interview in the next weeks.

Campaign Summary

As you can see, I’ve been trying, besides the huge load of training for the competition, the long hours updating this page (and the Spanish one) to keep you informed of the campaign and the community, to spread as much as possible the word of this fund raising activity and try to reach the maximum number of persons. Now it is essential that you help me on this task and spread the project out among your contacts, friends, etc.

Let’s hope this project reaches some important figure that may endorse and support the campaign. They can reach so many people and promote a positive change on our country. To the ones I’ve already met and promised their support, I hope you can do it soon to set an example to others.

We are only 55 days away from the end of campaign y we have raised only 26% of our goal. This means approximately US$ 10,000 (PEN 30,000) considering what is on the accounts and what has been promised by some companies. It’s time for all of us to react, let us not spend more time without helping, and support the project!

Remember there are no minimum amounts or maximum either. You can help us with whatever your possibilities are. More than 700 children today will be benefited by your support and thousands tomorrow.

Help us help them,

Our goal: their future

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Statements from the Community

On this post I’ll once again stop boring you with lots of text and I’ll try to bring you closer to the community sharing two videos with the testimony of the true actors on this wonderful story called Comunidad de Niños “La Sagrada Familia” (Sacred Family Children’s Community). The first video shows Miguel Rodriguez, founder and director of the community, commenting on the origin and development of the project as well as showing some of the people that help this community; on the second video you’ll see the children commenting on their own experience inside the community as well as their future expectations.

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to caption it in English so you’ll have to improve your Spanish or just get the general idea out of them.

I’ll leave you the first one and, as Miguel says on the video “…this is a story of victory rather than defeat. A victory for all of us is making this children live, let them smile and eat tomorrow and let no one prevent us from doing this. Let no one prevent the children of saying Yes to hope…”

video

Now the second video and the true wishes of these children…

video

Let’s help giving them the “fishing pole” instead of the “fish”. With your donation we can make this project sustainable in the future and also make it possible for them to keep supporting children as the ones you just saw on the video. Their future is in our hands…

Our goal: their future

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stories from the inside (2)

As I commented on a previous post, there are lots of stories inside the community and with this post I’ll comment on a few more.

The Origin

This great solidarity work started after a regrettable event. Miguel Rodriguez, founder of the community, suffers the loss of his third son, only four months old. This event changed his whole life perspective.

Miguel
, although he had just lost his third son, realized that around him were many other children, most of them living in the streets, that could be saved from the suffering of starvation, give them shelter and protect them from the weather. He then decided he would not allow any other kid to die like his own and directed all his energy towards helping the children in the streets.

At first he managed to combine his job as a news director with his job feeding, healing and sheltering the children of the street, but soon the latter became his sole dedication. He left his job and moved to a piece of land donated in the desert (in the location of Ventanilla, in the outskirts of Lima). He did this along with his wife, his two remaining biological kids and 50 of his “street children”.

Little by little and with a great effort he started making possible the building of the first humble rooms for the children as well as the first shops that would allow, besides teaching them an occupation, the generation of some income for the daily support of the community. The first shop created was dedicated to pastry making and birthday cakes. These days were critical and in some cases they had to work all day long to have enough cakes to sell on the streets and generate enough for the food of the day.

In 1988 they organize as a non-profit organization and name themselves as Comunidad de Niños La Sagrada Familia (trasnlated as The Sacred Family Children’s Community) and since then they have been helping thousands of children to grow up and become a positive influence on today’s peruvian society.

Overcoming adversity

She is Sonia, has 19 years old and lives in the community since she was 12. She arrived when the police brought her out of the streets after having escaped from her house in Cusco. Her father abandoned them when she was only 3 and her alcoholic mother wasn’t able to take care of her so she decided to come to Lima on her own. Today, after 7 years living in the community, she’s a university student, speaks perfect english, hopes to finish her administration career and start producing in the society. In her own words, the community has changed her live and has given her new reasons to be a better person and think in the future.

Stories like this one are possible thanks to the aid of the community, all the people volunteering and working in it and the many more that anonymously support them. Be a part of this, help the community!

The story of Alberto is another one of the many existing and it’s a good example of the goodness this community does on the children’s life. He was found on the streets with a sprained elbow supported by an improvised sling provided by his street friends. At a very short age, only 7, he was forced by his own father to go in the streets and sell candy. He sang and sold candy on buses while he improvised music with seashells. One day that he was very hungry he made the “huge mistake” of eating the daily share of candy instead of selling it so he wasn’t able to bring back home his daily share of money. This was enough to unleash his father’s fury and twist his arm until his elbow was sprained, along with some other blows and hits. After this, he decided to leave his house and preferred the streets. He was lucky enough to be found after only a few days, his wounds were taken care of and he was taken to the community. He was hosted for more than 10 years and although today he has already left the community, he’s now a young university student struggling to keep up his grades and maintain the scholarship he obtained.

Let us help children like Alberto that from a young age struggle and fight to get ahead despite the many obstacles life has placed on their path.

This young woman is 22 years old and arrived to the community when she was only 11. Her childhood was traumatic. Forced to go out and sell candy she returned home every day only to be raped by her own father since she was 8. At age 11 she was rescued by the community and since then she lives there with the “approval” of her father. She even went a few years after and rescued her sister so now they both live in the community. Luisa is about to finish her career in tourism and she is an official and registered English translator thanks to the support of the many foreign volunteers that come to help in the community.

On the words of Miguel, founder and director of the community, she’s a very smart girl and might even be the future director of the shelter, something that she’d love to do in the future.

We can also be a part of these stories. Stories filled with hope and success against adversity for thousands of other kids. Let’s make success stories like Sonia’s, Alberto’s or Luisa’s become not an exception but, hopefully, a more common one.


Despite not being able to be physically present on the community, we can all help out from home donating for them and making sure this noble deed continues and grows even larger in the years to come.



Our goal: their future











* The real names and pictures of the persons the stories talk about have been changed to preserve confidentiality