A Project in the Peruvian Andes has been added to Global Pearls.

The Quechua families living high in the Peruvian Andes are very industrious, but poor. They live simple lives, living off the land, but they enjoy incredible beauty, independence, and strong comradery with other families in their communities. Poverty can be hard, however, even in a beautiful setting. Families need money if they want their children to receive an education, to pay for medical care, to have warmth and countless other things that we often take for granted.

A desire for such benefits, with little ability to earn cash, leaves poor families vulnerable to large companies who want to possess their land. Time and again in Latin America, oil, mining, and tourism companies have exploited such families and left them devastated. It is heartbreaking to see whole communities destroyed as families realize, too late, the terrible trade-off they have made. One young Quechua man, Juan Covarrubias Ccaihuari, is trying to keep the same fate from happening to communities along the trail to Choquequirao – the sister city to Machu Picchu – and we want to help make sure he succeeds.

As with all our other projects, we believe locals are the best at coming up with, and implementing, solutions for their problems. Juan’s mother, for example, struggled raising chickens because the chicks were often eaten by hawks. She came up with a clever idea for protecting them – making little yellow capes out of plastic grocery bags. Turns out hawks are intimidated by the little “super hero” chicks and completely leave them alone. Could a westerner have come up with such a simple and effective solution? Perhaps, but not likely.

Families along this trail are incredibly hard-working and creative – only lacking a little capital to turn dreams into possibilities. We are excited to stand by Juan and the other families along the trail to not only ensure they keep their lands, but to see them reap increasing benefits from the growing tourism along their trail.