valencia graduate shares words from peru

Ana De La Rosa graduated from Valencia in the spring of 2008. While at Valencia she participated in an alternative spring break program with Habitat for Humanity, served as an active member of Amnesty International and completed the Introduction to Peace Studies course.

Ana is currently in Peru with the Peace Corps and writes about recent experience to her Professor Penny Villegas …

“It has been a little while since I have written and felt like it was time to share. This last week I had the opportunity to go on one of the most amazing and rewarding trips of my life. I live in the northern coast of Peru, where it is hot and poor and most other volunteers live in the Andes and middle of Peru where it is cold and poor. The highest reported number of new HIV and AIDS cases is not only on the coast but in my actual district.

We have five high schools we work with in the area and we train young health promoters to teach their peers about the realities of HIV, AIDS, Dengue, and Malaria. The program has been running successfully on the coast for going on 6 years so the rest of the country is trying to adapt the peer to peer education model. Another volunteer and I had the opportunity to take one health promoter from each school, two teachers and a school principal to Ancash, Peru. It is two bus rides and 22 hours away from us. Before my service two volunteers had brought a group of the kids from Ancash to Tumbes and so now it was our turn to pay them a visit. The trip was covered by PEPFAR- the U.S. President’s AIDS fund-since our youth went there with teaching modules, skits and ideas for the new up and coming peer educators in the Sierra. These kids had never left home for more than a day trip to the beach- let alone seen snow. It was wonderful sharing this 7-day experience with them. They got to go to museums and stand at the base of the biggest mountain in Peru.

They did a live television interview talking about the importance of sex education and helped train the kids from Ancash. It was a great exchange of culture and knowledge and I am so lucky to have been a part of it. I have a classroom in Minnesota I am pen-pals with and I cannot wait to send them pictures from this trip. The cultural exchange possibilities go on and on!

Ana de la Rosa Valencia 2008

About the Peace Corp in Peru:  Volunteers in this South American nation work in the areas of youth and community development, environmental and agricultural conservation, health, water sanitation and hygiene promotion, and business development. Many Volunteers working on HIV/AIDS prevention and care receive support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program. Volunteers are trained and work in Quechua and Spanish.

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