Peru 2010 --- The Final Frontier?

After travelling to Peru in 2006 and 2008 I was a bit concerned about what financial support I would receive from the Lodges in Dunbartonshire, I should never had doubted their generosity it was by far the largest amount I had raised, over £2000 including a generous donation from PGL , in the past I have been out of pocket on my trips but this time almost all may costs were covered by donations from Freemasons, when you consider all Lodges have been supporting other charities, including The PGM’s appeal, then their acts of benevolence are astounding.

On the 4th of July 2010 a group of 20 volunteers flew from Glasgow to London, London to Madrid, Madrid to Lima, from Lima we had a 13 hr bus journey across the Andes to the Junín Provence in the Amazon. A very weary group arrived at a new children’s home.

The last mile of the journey was completed on foot after crossing a river in a hand pulled cage. The home was basic, no running water, no electricity and very little contact with the outside world, which was a little worrying as the area we were in was the last strong hold of the Shining Path Maoist terrorist group.

Our first job was to install a clean water supply; the only source of water was a small stream which ran into a lake next to the camp. We walked for 30 mins. through the jungle to a large waterfall from where the stream began. We blocked off the outlet to the stream and over 3 days dug a trench along its course then laid plastic piping which we then covered up, very tough going and more than once I questioned my sanity, wishing I was sitting safely at home in Campsie. We also demolished the old huts to build new ones on their foundations; all this was done in Temperatures around 36 deg C with 90% humidity.

The only way to cool off was to walk to the waterfall or take your chances with the Piranhas in the Lake. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately no-one told us the about the fish till someone who was sitting with their feet in the water was bitten on the foot (I was in the middle of the water swimming at the time).

After 12 days in the Jungle there were only 6 of us fit for work, heat exhaustion and insect bites had taken their toll. From Kimo in the jungle we then travelled by bus back up into the mountains to Cusco 12500 ft up in the Andes, then along the Urubamba valley to spend 5 days at the boy’s home there.

By this time none of us were really fit enough to work so we spent most of the time playing with and entertaining the kids. The change from jungle conditions to high altitude was just a bit too much for us, though because I had been there before I adapted better than most and managed to visit the Inca castle, Sacsayhuman 15000 ft up in the mountains, it was extremely impressive.

This year was really hard going and while I was there my favorite prayer was let me get home in one piece , I decided that I wouldn’t be back especially after it took 55 hrs travelling to get home, is this my final frontier? Probably, possibly, my wife says I wouldn’t get any support from the Lodges as they must be fed up giving me donations, I would never again doubt their generosity, I have already been asked to help with a work party in 2012. Will I do it? My head says no, my replacement knee says no, but my heart says maybe

If any of the many Lodges who supported me want to see my slide show and either convince me not to or to go back, give a call and I will arrange a visit

Yours Fraternally
Brian Marshall PM 195, PGL Steward

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