Association for Support of Indigenous Schools Throughout the Americas.

2003 Projects

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Proyecto Colibrí

In March 2003, ASISTA! organized a SPANISH LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION AND CULTURAL IMMERSION in Perú with the multiple purpose of studying Spanish, learning about the culture of the Incas, and finding new recipients for community service projects.

Students attended the Academia Latinoamericana de Español in Cuzco, the imperial capital of the Incas; lived with local cuzqueño families; visited Machu Pichu, the Sacred city of the Incas; and traveled through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a region where the ancient Inca culture is still alive.

In addition to the amazing places we saw, and as part of our community service purpose, we also visited several orphanages and other institutions for abandoned children, where we donated the three computers we had brought from Seattle. The institution that captured our minds and hearts was a home for street kids, close to Cuzco, called "Colibrí" (Hummingbird). We were deeply moved by the shelter. Not only is the home extremely decrepit and rundown, but the resources of the one person in charge are very sporadic (the institution does not have any public or private support, and it is funded by the occasional help of the community citizens). What was really striking for us was the fact that regardless of these primitive conditions, the sixteen children living there, from age 8 to 18, are happy and grateful to have a place they could call "home". If you imagine their prior living conditions, sleeping in the city ditches and smelling glue or gasoline to trick their minds into forgetting their hunger, this is an incredible improvement. But it needs to be supported.

Therefore, ASISTA! has decided to adopt the institution and provide funds for food and schooling for the current group of children. In addition to that, we already have 16 volunteers who will each sponsor one child to cover his/her medical and dental care, including other basic human needs.


Colibri House


A report about this visit to Colibrí was written by Robert Amrine, one member of our group:


In March of 2003, I ventured to South America for the second time in my life. Again, my eyes were opened to a different culture with different ideals and norms than that of the United States. However, I was exposed to a different scene of culture that I had not experienced as greatly.

Near the end of my trip, I traveled with a few friends and a very courteous, caring police officer to a piece of property he and few of his friends had acquired. This land supports clean water, fertile land, and even a large colonial home. More importantly, the land now supports approximately fourteen children from the ages of six to fourteen that prior to their residents on this land were living in the streets of Cuzco, Peru.

These children tried all means to live from day to day. Most would offer a quick shoeshine to passing tourists or local businessmen and women. However, their service was not always wanted or needed leaving them without money or food. In dire times, the children resorted to sniffing the fumes of the glue they used to repair shoes to produce just enough of a high to quell the pain in their empty stomachs.

Fortunately, these children no longer need to sniff glue as they have a place to live and eat. At their new home, they farm their own food, raise their own livestock of predominately pigs, rabbits, and chickens, and receive an education. But they still have problems.

Their colonial home is falling apart as heavy rains and wind are defeating the quick, economic repairs to the structure. Their chicken coup collapsed and killed all of the habitants except one unhealthy chick that now follows the boys around like a pet dog. The money raised by the police officers is only enough to secure enough grains and fruits for today let alone the future. They no longer have propane to cook with so they scour the area looking for the precious would fuel their stove, which resembles a quickly made camp stove.

Their supporting police officer friends, who truly are friends and act minimally like authoritarians, believe the future of the children's home is bleak, but my friends and I believe and hope differently. We believe, along with the police officers, that this land holds the potential to house and support many more children and with a small amount of economical support the possibility of being structurally sound.

At the time of our visit, two Spanish volunteers were spending time painting the large bedrooms and making small structural advancements making the property even more valuable. The police officers with the help of their department were finishing a greenhouse to facilitate and expedite the production of food. We were able to take some food to the home, but our efforts need to be continued. With a trivial amount of help, many young children will have a much higher quality of life.

Robert Amrine


Greenhouse (left) and compost area (right)


The Library


Our work is totally voluntary, and 100% of the funds raised go directly to our projects.
Any monetary contribution will be deposited in our bank account, under the name ASISTA!


18318 Meridian Ave. N.
Shoreline WA 98133

Updated 12/1/06
Contact: Rita Wirkala

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