A Trip to Peru

The Vine Trust is a registered charity based in Boíness, founded in 1984 to help save abandoned children in Ethiopia. Since then they have built homes in countries in Eastern Europe, but for the last 4 years have been rescuing abandoned kids in Peru. 3 years ago I watched a fund raising event for the Vine Trust and what appealed to me about it, was that when you got there you actual worked and helped look after the kids. It wasnít a tour, you lived and

ate with the children you were helping. When I first mentioned to my wife that I would like to go, she replied that I struggled to look after my own kids so what was the point of going to Peru to look after someone elseís kids. She finally agreed that I could go and with the help of the Brethren of Lodges in Dunbartonshire who donated over £400.00, I raised £2310 for the charity. So in June 2006 after an 18 hour flight then 9 hours on a bus I arrived in Kusi in Peru.

I spent 10 days building homes for abandoned kids in a place called the Yungay valley (altitude 9500ft) in the Andes Mountains. For the first 2 days I suffered from altitude sickness. The locals cured this by drinking coca tea. I never realised it was made from the leaves of the cocaine plant. I drank 5 cups of it and thought I was a bumble bee. During the day we would work on the building site and at night we would entertain the kids. Almost

every one in the group was Scottish, I wore my kilt and Glengarry hat and we taught them how to do the Highland Fling, The Gay Gordons and other Scottish dances.

We then travelled to a city called Iquitos in the Amazon jungle. Itís a city about the size of Glasgow (pop. 650,000); very poor; the kids lived in the rubbish dump. We were warned that the Peruvians didnít like Gringos (Americans).Its ironic that Americans are one of the biggest supporters of the charity I was with yet no-one seems to like them! We were told to be as inconspicuous as possible, which is quite difficult if you are over 6ft tall with a Glengarry bonnet and wearing a MacDonald tartan kilt! I was hidden at the back but some of the locals were spitting at the people in the front and calling them Gringos, but the same people who were doing the spitting wanted to shake my hand; so I was put to the front of the group and everyone was all smiles and cried out Escocia, Escocia . The Children we looked after were based about an hour up river by banana boat. They were in a terrible state, most had been badly abused, but we had brought Scottish shortbread, fudge, tablet and Edinburgh Rock, which they loved. The man who ran the orphanage was from North Carolina and he said that never in his life did he expect to see a Scotsman in a kilt in the middle of the Amazon Jungle!

It was pretty tough going in Peru but my eldest son Jamie and I are going back in June 2008. We will not be going to the jungle but we will be going again to the Yungay valley next to Mount Huscaran (22,500 ft) and then near to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, where we will help rebuild the area that was devastated by an earthquake in 2007. We will of course wear our Kilts.

So far the Brethren of Dunbartonshire have donated almost £900 towards the minimum of £3000 needed for the trip and my son, Brother Jamie Marshall and I thank you for your support.

Brian Marshall IPM 195
PGL Steward

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