The welcoming community at Flora Tristan

HOOP’s mission is stated as follows:
“HOOP Peru is a non profit organization enhancing the education of disadvantaged children and their families in the Flora Tristan community.” Generally speaking, Flora Tristan is a poor shantytown located on the outskirts of Arequipa. But what else is Flora Tristan?
And how do I feel about this community as a HOOP volunteer?  I will try to explain just that with this post.

My curiosity about Flora Tristan started way before I actually landed in Arequipa. When I decided to volunteer for HOOP I was interested to get to know a bit more about the community I would be working in. Therefore I tried to research about it on the internet, but to my surprise I couldn’t find much information. Every time I searched for “Flora
Tristan Arequipa” I was directed to information about HOOP or about the woman called
Flora Tristan, a socialist and feminist French writer who had Peruvian descendence. Well, I
would have to wait until I could see and experience the community myself.

So in my first day as a volunteer at HOOP I was on the bus on my way to the mysterious Flora Tristan, a place not even the internet was able to provide me with enough information about. I confess I was a bit afraid of what I would encounter, however the excitement of
finally getting there was bigger and I couldn’t wait to get off the bus and see the community and its people. This is what I saw when I first got there, it was still too little to conclude anything about the community though.

After having spent more than two weeks going to Flora Tristan every day, I can definitely say that besides being a shantytown on the outskirts of Arequipa, Flora Tristan is the home of some lovely people and families that just want a better future for their kids. Of course
the people there struggle with the lack of basic services such as clean water, however, what impresses me the most is their willingness to share whatever they have with family and friends. The people living in Flora Tristan don’t just complain about the obstacles they face, instead, they do the best they can to live a happy life, and as you can see they are achieving this.

When you come to Flora Tristan expecting to find only suffering and sadness you will find you are totally wrong. The way people are always closely interacting with each other is amazing
and it seems to me that it brings true happiness to them. It seems that even the numerous pets that are running around the streets of Flora Tristan are happy and welcoming. The pictures below show the dog Doris, one of the most playful dogs I’ve ever seen, and the funny goat that every once in a while shows up at the school’s front door.

With all the positive characteristics I mentioned about people from Flora Tristan, all I can say is that to me it is a wonderful pleasure to be able to help them receive opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have. I would like to end this post by saying that the people in Flora Tristan are lovely and welcoming, and they really appreciate what HOOP does for them. In my opinion the highlight of volunteering in Flora Tristan is that I both give and receive. I share my knowledge and help to give hope of a better future to several families, and at the same time, I receive their kindness and true smiles, which makes me believe that the world is going
to be a better place if we all contribute to it.

Written by HOOP Peru Volunteer
Cayruã Fonseca

 

 

 

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