Chincha Baja, Peru Project
June 2008, we visited Chincha Baja and Tambo de Mora, site of the 2007, 8.0 earthquake. Prior to our visit, we met with an architect at the University of Ricardo Palma, Lima. She was referred to us by sources in the U.S. We told her we were going to interview families in the area of the quake and requested a meeting on our return to Lima. She contacted the mayor, who we met with on our arrival.
On arriving in Chincha, we were introduced to a local organization for persons with disabilities. Because of limited resources, the extent of their work had been to document the families in the area. The following four days were spent interviewing families with members of all ages, including the elderly and those with neurological and physical limitations. There were 139 persons listed but we were told by families that we interviewed that there were others not listed.
A school was available to children with neurological disorders in the bordering town of Chincha Alta. It served students from ages 6 to 22 although it proved to be inappropriate for some of the persons we visited. A number of young people simply were idle because of lack of resources. We also found that young children in need of early intervention were traveling as far as Lima (two and a half hours one way) for therapy services. The elderly and physically disabled had no local therapy available. It appeared that a clinic/resource center would serve the community well. The mayor donated the land and building began December this year. Our location is across from the soccer field and after a meeting with the group we discussed bringing Special Olympics to the area. The mayor also agreed to write the salary of a therapist into the budget for this year. This center is now fully functioning and we continue to monitor its resource needs along with providing for maintenance.