Kutiri Kutiri Kutiri... that seems to be the word that I live and breath right now. And for good reason; Katie, Katherine, and I have started a youth center named Kutiri here in Cutervo Peru. We have been putting in 7-12 hour work days (depending on the day) and can proudly say we have a regular group of 70+ kids showing up on a daily basis to participate in games, movie nights, parties, breakfasts, and workshops of varying themes.
Here is the result of our hard work!
We have a lot of planned improvements for the new year, including membership cards and a points system to encourage attendance at the workshops and classes. The next big step is getting as much participation by community professionals as possible because up to now we have been running everything.
Unfortunately we have had a recent detrimental set back to our shot at sustainability. My amazing new site mate, Katherine, has been forced to resign by the country director because she was caught in Lima without permission. I cannot express how disappointed I am by their poor decision. Katherine was what we call a "super volunteer" because of all the hard work she put into our youth center and her own project working with disabled children. In fact, she had been in Lima to buy some materials for her sensory deprivation room for autistic children in site. Now I am not condoning her illegal vacation but it is my understanding that volunteers get at least one warning in situations like these. Whatever the reasons, the decision to let her go has severely hurt our project, a project that Katie, Katherine, and myself have poured out hearts into and seen reasonable levels of success considering the challenges we face.
Her absence is not just a personal loss for me but a significant loss for the Peruvian community of Cutervo, Cajamarca. So I am left with a sense of emptiness and frustration at progressing the Kutiri youth center without her.
I wish to thank her for getting us this far and letting her know that no one in her community (or anyone who knew her for that matter) agrees with the decision forced upon her. We would never have made it this far without you Katherine - Thank you!