ICDU Update: Kitchens, Libraries, and Nicknames

If frequency of mention in newsletters is an indication of importance, then you should be understanding how important to our work Alfredo has been and will continue to be. April has been a huge month for ICDU (www.icduperu.org) and most of the progress has been made thanks to Alfredo’s knowledge and expertise. For those who may not know, we have contracted Alfredo to help us launch our first development project. In reality he is doing much more than that. He is teaching us gringos how to enter into poor communities and communicate effectively and serve humbly. All of us are convinced that Alfredo is a true God-send and we hope you are praying for him and his work here with ICDU just as much as you pray for us. With that said, let me fill you in on what has been happening. 

Our goal for the month of April was to have met with the presidents of the comedores populares (communal kitchens) with the purposes of gauging interest and possibly pinpointing locations and helpers for the first two libraries. We presented (group style) our ideas to the presidents of all of the kitchens in two areas of Alto Selva Alegre: Pampas de Polanco and Independencia. We were very well received, and the presidents all agreed that our plan was worth pursuing. At the end of the meeting with Pampas de Polanco a location was decided and two ladies stepped up to be “in charge” of the books that will be loaned to them from the government. A meeting has been set for early May with Independencia to discuss their location. Once their location has been set we can begin to prepare the library area for the books. They’ll need shelves, a table and chairs, and whatever else is needed to secure the area. We have to wait for the books because there is an application and approval process with Promolibro, the government group loaning the books, that will take at least a month (see the Word of the Month below!). 

Along with our library project we are also beginning to plan for our ‘second’ project that will coincide with the libraries. We envision aiding the communities supporting the libraries by starting urban gardens that can help provide some of the food served in these communal kitchens or even go straight to the homes of those that need it. Alfredo suggested that we think about this project as a way to compensate the ones that will be dedicating their time to the libraries. Interestingly, we have been thinking about this for years, so we find ourselves in the planning stages. Gardening techniques have advanced to the point where even a small amount of land can produce a lot of food. In a city like Arequipa, where you can have three harvests a year, this is something worth doing. Be thinking and praying about this project. We’ve added it to our Give page on ICDU’s website and there you can learn more about it and follow progress as it unfolds. We hope you will continue to check in at ICDU for updates on the projects. As things progress we’ll be adding pictures and testimonies from those working in and being helped at the libraries and gardens. 

One new thing we got to do is a Peruvian icebreaker game at our presentation meetings. Alfredo had suggested that we play this game where you introduce yourself by saying your first name and in place of your last name you say your favorite dish. Because I’m sure you’d like to know, here are our Peruvian icebreaker names: 

  • Greg Carne Asada
  • Megan Rollitos de Esparragos
  • Kyle Tomatada de Carne
  • Larissa Sopa de Tomate
  • Alfredo Chuleta Frita