Environmental Solidarity Mission Trip to Peru – May 15-31, 2013

Rationale and objective

Every year “Creatio Missions” organizes trips for college students during the summer, winter and spring breaks. These mission trips not only provide environmental and material aid to the impoverished communities of Peru, but also help the missionaries experience a profound encounter with themselves and the need for service. Hence, it is an excellent project for helping the environment, the poorest of the poor and for the self-improvement of college students.

Throughout these years, we have been amazed by the positive impact these trips have had on young people. They generally come back to the U.S. with a deeper knowledge of themselves, a renewed spiritual awareness, with a more generous disposition towards others, a broadened view of the world, and with the energy to make a positive impact on their cultures of origin.

The premise of Creatio Missions environmental trips is reconciliation, where by helping the environment we help people, and helping people helps the environment. There is therefore a strong component of solidarity along with experiences in nature.

Application Summary (5 steps)

  1. Application form. Applicants must be in college, between 18-26 years old. Click here to access the application form and submit it electronically.
  2. Interview: You will be contacted for an interview with a Creatio trip leader.

Only after the interview and notification of acceptance

3.  Signed liability waiver and consent formClick here to download the liability waiver and consent form, print, sign and please send it to: 3290 West Milan Avenue, Sheridan, CO 8011

4. Pay 1st deposit: Send a $550 check, made out to Creatio.

 The deadline for all the above steps is March 15th, 2013.

5. Pay 2nd deposit: Send a $1000 check, made out to Creatio. Please send it to: 3290 West Milan Avenue, Sheridan, CO 80110.

The deadline for the 2nd deposit is May 1st, 2013. 

What happens on a mission trip?

1- Environmental improvement: Every day, volunteers engage with local villagers on a project to improve some aspect of the environment. Most of our projects include environmental work in areas of extreme poverty and need, and involve physical labor. Some examples of projects we have done in the past include the building of storage deposits for grain, irrigation ditches, ecological latrines and reforestation.

2- Solidarity work: In every trip we seek to help the locals in their human and material needs. For that reason, we offer community service activities such as reforestation, construction of houses, reparation of chapels and other similar services. In addition to this, we teach children instructional games and sports.

3- Community building: After a day of hard work, we create a positive atmosphere for prayer and sharing in order to foster friendly relationships among the volunteers. We reflect on the work done and our personal experiences.

4- Personal time and self-reflection: We always reserve some time for self-reflection, discussions, meditation and journaling so that the missionaries can increase their knowledge of themselves and each other.

5- Cultural and adventure experiences: During the trip we dedicate some time to visit museums, colonial churches as well as Incan ruins (such as Machu Picchu). These activities provide the volunteers with an enriching cultural experience. Further, at the end of the trip we leave a couple of days to rest, practice sports, experience the local food, and do some shopping.

Schedule

Below we provide a provisional schedule. This will be more detailed a month before the trip starts.

May 15- Arrival in Lima.

May 16- Visit Lima main square, colonial building, churches, taste typical Peruvian food and receive a presentation on Peruvian culture.

May 17- In the morning we will visit solidarity projects in the outskirts of Lima and become acquainted with Peruvian reality. Visit museums to learn the basics of Peruvian history. Optional Sunday Mass in the evening at Lima’s Cathedral.

May 18- 26 Environmental mission work in Pamplona Alta shanty town south of Lima. (Specifics to be determined a few months before departure).

May 27- We will travel to Cuzco, visit some colonial churches and historic Inca places.

May 28- Day tour of the Incan Sacred Valley and night in Aguas Calientes.

May 29- Day reserved for a visit to Machu Picchu (takes a whole day)

May 30- Morning flight to Lima. Visit Inca Market to buy souvenirs or Peruvian handicrafts. At night, we fly back to USA.

May 31 – Arrive USA.

How do I apply?

1. Applicants must be 18- 26 years old. Creatio Missions promotes mission trips among college students only.

2. Fill Creatio Missions application form. Click here to access the application form and submit it electronically. You can also print it, and once properly filled and signed, please send it to: 3290 West Milan Ave, Sheridan, CO 80110, USA, Attn: Ricardo Simmonds. The deadline is March 15th, 2013.

3. Interview. All applicants must complete a personal interview through Skype or in person. If your application is approved, you will be contacted by one of our trip leaders to confirm your participation, schedule the interview, and provide you with all the details of the mission trip.

IF THE APPLICATION IS APPROVED,

4. Valid passport and Visa. Before you buy your ticket, it is your responsibility to investigate if Peru requires you to obtain a tourist visa. Also, you must make sure that you have a valid passport because it is required to enter and depart Peru. Tourists must also provide evidence of return or onward travel. Peru does not require any immunizations for entry, although it recommends a vaccination against Yellow Fever. You must also check that your passport doesn’t expire while you are in Peru.

5. Proof of travel insurance or medical coverage in Peru. No one can participate in the mission trip without medical insurance valid in Peruvian territory. It should cover emergencies and evacuations in cases of severe medical conditions. The deadline for sending your proof on insurance is March 15th, 2013. 

6. Signed liability waiver and consent form. Click here to download the liability waiver and consent form, print  and sign it.Please send it to: 3290 West Milan Avenue, Sheridan, CO 80110, USA, Attn. Ricardo Simmonds. The deadline for sending the liability waiver and consent form is March 15th, 2013.

No one can participate on the trip without the liability waiver and consent form.

All electronic information should be sent to creatiomissions@gmail.com  and all written communications should be mailed to:

Creatio Missions

3290 West Milan Avenue, Sheridan, CO 80110

Attn. Ricardo Simmonds

What makes a good candidate for a mission trip?

Candidates must demonstrate accountability, discipline, psychological maturity and a strong work ethic. Moreover, they must be willing and capable of undergoing difficult conditions, including high altitude (12,000 ft +), cold weather, simple food.  This also includes the ability to do heavy physical labor and live with no electricity, running water or beds.

Finally, candidates must know that missionary work in the remote Andes often means things do not happen as expected. Flexibility, openness to the unexpected, high tolerance for adversity, and the ability to maintain composure and focus on the mission’s goal are a few of the necessary characteristics for a good candidate.

We also look for candidates with expertise, which can be valuable for the trip, such as experience in construction, manual labor, outdoor activities or special skills, such as fluency in Spanish, survival training, first response training, drawing, and music, among others.

Cost and payment deadlines

The total cost of the trip, not including international airfare, is $1550. This includes all transportation, meals and lodging during your stay in Peru.

It does not include: airport taxes, personal expenses (i.e. snacks, gifts), travel visa, medical insurance, and international air travel.

Payments can be done through transfers or checks.

Payment deadlines:

• March 15th   – 1st Deposit: $550 (non refundable)

• May 1st   – 2nd Deposit: $1000

Checks should be made to the Christian Life Movement and mailed to:

3290 West Milan Avenue, Sheridan, CO 80110

For international wire transfers please contact Brian Shannon at: creatiomissions@gmail.com  and he will give you instructions for making the payment.

International Travel Details

You are expected to arrange for your own international flights. You must arrive at Lima International Airport (“Jorge Chavez” International Airport) on May 15th at night, 2012, and leave Lima International Airport on May 30th, 2012 at night. Other travel arrangements can be made with the trip leader, but extra costs will be charged for airport pickup and lodging.

You should buy your ticket only after receiving a confirmation from a Creatio Missions trip leader confirming that your application process has been approved.

Participant Care and Safety

Accommodation

In Lima, we stay at  Santa Maria Retreat House, a clean, comfortable, inexpensive accommodation located in the district of Santiago de Surco in Lima, Peru.  It is only a short drive away from many of the places we visit. There are supermarkets and internet cafes ten minutes’ walking distance from the retreat house, allowing missionaries easy access to most things you may want or need.  Also, the retreat house has a chapel with the Blessed Sacrament, and various rooms for group meetings along with a large dining room that can accommodate a large group. Food is carefully prepared three times a day, and special food concerns are catered to, such as vegetarians, food allergies, or other special needs.  Bottled water is always available. The compound is completely enclosed and safe at all entrances and exits, ensuring the security of the missionaries.

In Cuzco-Peru, the Dominican Sisters Retreat House has an ideal location for easy access to the main square in Cuzco.  It is comfortable and clean with good security and is reasonably priced.  Breakfast is provided every morning, and most cultural destinations in the city are within a short walk from the house.

Medical facilities and medical information

Local tap water in Peru is not considered potable. We only use bottled or treated (disinfected) water throughout the trip. We eat canned, packaged or cooked food. The meals in the retreat houses are safe, and when we go out to eat, we only do so in places with high standards of hygiene.

With regards to medical facilities in Lima, medical care is generally good. There are four respected hospitals (Clínica San Borja, Clinica Tessa, Clínica San Felipe, Clínica Javier Prado) at a 10-15 minute drive from the place we will be staying at. All of these hospitals can treat serious medical conditions or acute illnesses.

In Cuzco, urban private health care facilities are often better staffed and equipped than public or rural ones. Some private hospital facilities in these cities may be able to treat acute medical problems, yet they are equipped as the ones found in Lima. Therefore, in cases of severe medical illnesses or conditions, we may consider taking the missionary back to Lima for further care as soon as is medically feasible. In case someone needs to be taken to Lima for further medical care, the airport is at a 15-minute drive from where we are staying, and there are about 6 flights to Lima, between 5:30am-7:00pm (the flight is an hour long).

In Cuzco, the best hospital is at a 15-minute drive from where we are staying, and in case someone needs to be taken to Lima for further medical care, the airport is at a 15-minute drive from the place we are staying. There are approximately 8 flights to Lima, between 6:30am-3:30pm.

Aviation Safety

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed Peru’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Peru’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Security

Creatio Missions trip leaders have years of experience leading trips to Peru. Most of them have lived in Peru, are fluent in Spanish, and are knowledgeable about Peruvian geography, history, culture, and safe travel procedures.

During our trip, we will not visit areas that have been categorized as dangerous. Peru is a developing country that may go through periods of political and economic instability. Labor-related strikes occur with certain frequency in urban or rural areas, and generally cause serious disruptions to road, air and rail transportation. Demonstrations are often announced, yet not always. In past mission trips, we have had to make some modifications to our schedule due to marches or strikes. Participants must be open to unexpected changes.

As it is common in large cities around the world, Lima, Arequipa, Cuzco and Puno suffer from crime. Like many urban centers, they require care while travelling, but are generally safe places. We advice you to keep credit cards, cash and identification documents in your front pockets. Likewise, we recommend not carrying original passports unless you travel by train, bus or plane. If the police request your identification, a copy of the passport is acceptable (we strongly recommend a notarized copy). It is better to avoid handbags or things that hang freely, because those are easy targets for pickpockets. We also urge you to be watchful of your belongings, because if left behind, they will probably not see them again.

In Lima we will go to shanty towns to visit some solidarity projects run by Solidaridad en Marcha, an established local non-profits that will provide logistical support for our work in Peru. To ensure our safety, we will be accompanied at all times by staff members of Solidaridad en Marcha and leader from the local community. Likewise, during our stay in Lima, we will be accompanied by CLM members who are knowledgeable in matters of safety while traveling around Lima.

You can also contact the embassy of your country in Lima for current security information.

Communications, Emergency Contacts and Other Important Information

Creatio Missions trip leaders will have cell phones on them at all times, and can be reached there for any emergency. These cell phone numbers will be given to all participants a few weeks prior to the trip. As soon as you receive them, you should save them on a device and/or print them out in order to carry them at all times during the trip.

Click here to download an emergency contact information sheet. You should print it out and carry it with you at all times during the trip.

Communications

Lima: You will have access to internet, cell phones and land lines at all times.

Cuzco: You will have access to internet (slow), land lines and cell phones, yet reception may fail in some areas of town.