Task force members reach out to Peruvian children during New Horizons mission
By Tech. Sgt. Kerry Jackson , Task Force New Horizons Public Affairs
/ Published June 24, 2008
HUAMANGA, Peru -- Servicemembers here participating in New Horizons - Peru 2008 have found extra ways to reach out to the community - by sharing meals with more than 180 Peruvian orphans and school children.
The regular visits and food donations to the Juan Andres Vivanco Amorin Orphanage and the I.E. Inicial CRL. Miguel Peñarrieta Elementary School are additional community efforts task force members have sought out beyond the construction and medical projects scheduled for New Horizons.
"This is something we enjoy doing," said Tech. Sgt. Alfredo Perez, the non-commissioned officer in charge of services for Task Force New Horizons. "We get to share our time with Peruvian children who are always happy to see us. Now that's something to look forward to."
Once a week, task force members visit the orphanage, which is the home to children who have been abandoned by their parents, neglected or raped, to bring surplus food that is not eaten or opened by the task force.
Sister Amanda Delgado, who is the head of the orphanage, and four other Catholic nuns, formed the community 23 years ago with the support of the Catholic Convent of Peru. The nuns, who have dedicated their lives to God and to the upbringing of children in need of love and a place to call home, receive the donations with open arms and great praise for the United States.
"The United States is our friend," said Sister Delagado. "I trust the United States and appreciate their donation to our community."
In addition to regular orphanage visits, task force members have also shared some time and lunch with the children at the I.E. Inicial CRL. Miguel Peñarrieta Elementary School at Los Cabitos, where servicemembers are stationed during New Horizons.
"We were having a lot of leftover snacks, fruit, and drinks, and Staff Sgt. Romero and I decided to put it to good use and feed the kids," said Staff Sgt. Edward Tacub, the lodging manager for the task force.
Sergeant Tacub and Staff Sgt. Javier Romero, the task force morale, welfare and recreation manager, visit the school almost daily, bringing with them pudding, fruit, cake, and also, joy.
"The teachers were happy that we were doing this and are able to put smiles on the kids' faces. The kids are happy every single time we visit them," said Sergeant Tacub. "When I see them with smiles on their faces, it makes me feel complete."
"The children are happy that (the servicemembers) come over to visit," said Melba Montoya Altamirano, the principal of the school. "But when they leave, the children will miss them."
New Horizons - Peru 2008 is a U.S. and Peruvian humanitarian mission focused on improving the quality of life for underprivileged Peruvians. The task force is scheduled to construct two schools, three clinics, two wells, and perform nine medical missions through Aug. 31.
For more information about New Horizons-Peru 2008, visit http://www.12af.acc.af.mil/library/newhorizons.asp.