The Benedictine monks at Worth Abbey founded a parish in one of the most deprived areas of Lima in 1968. Hilary made the trip with Worth Abbey’s Fr Bede, Caroline Daykin (parent), Pauline Gray (Worth Abbey parishioner) and Nick Deeming (Worth School Governor).
“One of the first visits we made was to Fr Bede’s old parish, San Benito. It is a busy, happy, thriving community. Sunday Mass, and the church is filled to capacity. The parishioners become desperate to be acknowledged by Fr Bede; to be touched and blessed by him.
“A few days later, I take a 12-hour, overnight bus from Lima to Ayacucho to spend five days at the Santa Ana Orphanage – home to 143 children – where three nuns and the driver, Pancho, warmly greet me. As we drive into the grounds, suddenly children are everywhere, waving, smiling, kissing and desperate to touch us. Armed with my Spanish/English dictionary and using sign language, I was able to communicate with them relatively well.
“The children are all so beautiful. Clean, well fed and well clothed. A seamstress at the orphanage is kept busy repairing and making clothes. There is a constant need for shoes and clothing.
“The nursery nurses work 24-hour shifts and are constantly on the go. With 12 babies and toddlers to look after, feed, bathe, change, and put down to nap, by the time you finish, it is time to start again.
“The children are desperate for attention and I spend as much time as I can cuddling the children, telling them stories, singing and dancing with them. There are many reasons why the babies and children are in the orphanage. There is no healthcare system in Peru and medicine is so expensive that if a baby looks different they are simply abandoned. Little Katyuska had a slight mottling of her skin – the mother abandoned her believing she had skin cancer, but she is perfectly healthy. When it is time for me to leave the orphanage it is a huge wrench to say goodbye to all the children and nuns. Without our help, what future do these children have?”
In summing up, Hilary describes Peru as, “Such a diverse country, a real melting pot of the world: Asians, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Italians.” As well as learning about the country, its politics and its history, the trip included some breath-taking sightseeing too – such as to Cusco (four days) and the Inca site, Machu Picchu.
While Hilary spent time at the orphanage, her colleagues, Caroline and Pauline travelled to Tarma where Worth Outreach Peru has built a school and Nick spent time with the Jesuit Priests in Lima itself, who work with the homeless.
Hilary’s initial concerns that as an Anglican she may not be allowed to make the trip were quickly dispelled by Fr Bede, and seeing the needs first hand has prompted Hilary to get wide-reaching support for Outreach Peru. Hilary’s son Jonny (in Year 10) has also been actively fundraising, making over £850 (excl. Gift Aid) for the orphanage by taking part in the Haywards Heath Bike Race.
One way you can support the work in Peru is by letting Marian Tilford (firstname.lastname@example.org) have your second-hand clothes, unwanted present or anything she can sell on eBay to raise money. Instead of placing the bag of unwanted items on your doorstep, take them to Fr Bede at Worth Abbey. Everything helps.