In 2008 two families, the McKinzies and the Smiths, arrived in Arequipa with the mission of planting churches supported by several people and churches. They also wanted to work in development. Meanwhile, I was in Arequipa working in development as Coordinator of the Peace Corps. As a man of faith I do not believe in coincidences, I believe that God prepares us for what his work should be. That is why everything in my personal and working life worked together to stay in Arequipa and together we started to work to form what CUDA is today.
The Christian Urban Development Association works for justice, joy, and wellbeing in the city of Arequipa. Urban poverty is a different type of poverty. We want to break the cycles of poverty that don’t allow kids to have a chance. We’re training teachers to improve reading comprehension strategies so that the kids they teach will know how to read, and who knows, maybe they’ll grow up to be teachers that already know how to read and can teach reading—and many will experience wellbeing because of it.
It all started with a small community library in the “Señor de Huanca” area. There Megan McKinzie, founder of Living Libraries, elementary science teacher and curriculum specialist, designed Living Libraries’ work model until 2011. Then the experience matured, and in 2012 the project took a new direction, becoming an educational intervention a school’s reading plan. Our pilot program: the boys’ school Gerardo Iquira Pizarro in Miralfores. I joined Megan’s team and together we adjust the curriculum for this new experience and so began the project of Living Libraries with the stamp of approval of the Regional Ministry of Education who certified the teachers who graduated our program.
This year has brought a lot of new changes for us but along with that many blessings. We started the year with the birth of our son, Kinney, on January 3 and Adileen has been a big sister in love with her little brother ever since. In February we began our new work with Harding University Latin America (HULA) study abroad program welcoming 29 students to South America