NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Members of Iona Preparatory School’s Mission Peru team recently returned to New Rochelle from their annual Christian service trip to the South American country, all carrying far more with them than they had upon their departure 10 days earlier.
They say they arrived home with crystal-clear perspective, deeper commitment to helping those less fortunate and a greater appreciation for their Iona Prep brothers.
“At Iona, we talk a lot about the poor – this many people live without water, this many people live under $2 a day,” said James Sloat, a junior from Yorktown Heights. “But, really, when you see it firsthand, it changes everything. It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to live on under $2 a day, but when you do, it becomes real and a lot more understandable.”
Added Griffin Regan, a senior from Cortlandt Manor: “It was shocking to see just how different their lives are from ours.”
The 15-member team of 12 students and three chaperones, spent much of their time in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Lima, Peru’s capital, where the Christian Brothers operate a school.
“One of the places we worked, there’s a mountain, and you buy different plots of land, and you have to carve out your flat land from the mountain,” Regan said. “One of the projects one day was to help dig out an area and make the flat surface. It was very difficult work – the dust was in your eyes – but it struck me how (the people) were going through so much work just to build their home.”
The students also got a close-up look at life without conveniences most Americans take for granted – drinkable water, abundant food, indoor plumbing, paved roads and electronic devices, to name a few.
The trip concluded with a visit to Machu Picchu, where the group took in the lush land amid the mountain ruins of the Incas.
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