Volunteers are coming to the aid of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Moquegua, Peru still left homeless after an 8.1 earthquake devastated the region six weeks ago.
The Chasqui Humanitarian Foundation of the Andes, a non-profit corporation based in Salt Lake City, is asking for donations of clothing, hygiene items and baby care items for an expedition of volunteers it has organized to go to Moquegua on August 9.
Peru’s Civil Defense Institute reported that over 100 people died in the earthquake on June 23, 2001, at least 1,170 were wounded, and more than 40,000 buildings were damaged. Aftershock quakes and tremors continue to plague the country.
“Right now a lot of people are very scared and anxious,” said Sara Ulloa, part-time BYU Spanish faculty from Trujillo, Peru. “Moquegua, already a poor area to start, was one of the most severely devastated. The people had very little, and now many really don’t have anything at all.”
Ulloa is working with Chasqui to collect donations in the Provo area. The foundation puts together hygiene kits and baby kits, which are given to members of The Church of Jesus Christ or children in schools.
Simple necessities such as toothbrushes, shampoo and cloth diapers are among the most needed items. Ulloa said she understands that students have a limited budget but emphasized how small contributions such as a single toothbrush or bar of soap, combine together to make a significant difference.
“It’s easy to say ‘I want to help’ and leave it at that – but if you make a commitment of helping then you can actually get something done,” Ulloa said.
The Chasqui Humanitarian Foundation shares this philosophy. Six times a year the foundation coordinates a group of 15-50 volunteers who travel to Peru or Bolivia to build, train and aid in improvements to villages. Participants travel at their own expense.
A 10-day expedition in August has been organized to aid the church members of Moquegua.
“We will be working to help fellow church members in rebuilding their homes,” said Scott Whipperman, of Sandy, Utah, co-owner of Signature Builders and member of the Chasqui Foundation.
Whipperman will be leading a team of 38 volunteers from Utah on the Moqugua expedition, ten of which are construction professionals. The team hopes to build a total of 20-24 new homes during the expedition.
“We will accept any donations to supplement building materials and tools. We greatly need hand tools, hammers, pliers, and etc. to give the stake president when we leave, so that the people can continue helping each other,” Whipperman said. “We feel it’s a labor of love, as a community of Latter-day Saints we want to help brother to brother and sister to sister.”
The Chasqui Foundation welcomes anyone interested in volunteering to visit its Web site at www.chasqui.org for more information. Expeditions are conducted continually during the year, providing numerous opportunities for service.
The following items can be donated to rooms 4050 or 2129 JKHB, or the UVSC Student Services Center: Cloth diapers and safety pins, Neosporin, soap, blankets, washcloths, socks, booties, toothpaste, brushes, clothing and shoes. Additional donations of handtools, including screwdrivers, pliers, hammers, tin ships and trowels are also appreciated.