Summer Giveback Reflection

This summer marked inti’s first giveback program, and it left both of us feeling something we hadn’t quite expected.

Puca Pampa (Red Earth)

We had coordinated with a local doctor to find a location that would benefit most from a small donation and decided on a village called Puca Pampa, a scattering of adobe houses hours away from a major city and miles from even a village. We drove into the countryside and eventually stopped to pick up a local Doctora. Reyna, a bright woman with a warm, caring smile, volunteers in Puca Pampa to administer shots, check on teen pregnancies and child malnutrition. From there we drove further out, passing yet a smaller village and then eventually arriving at a singular building. The building’s steps were filled with children, sitting, waiting.

I looked at the children, broken shoes and ragged clothes, and my heart sank with a deep feeling of, “This isn’t enough, not even close to enough. They need so much more.” My thoughts were clouded, as I questioned what we were doing and how effective we were being.

We unloaded the truck and started talking with the children only to realize they didn’t speak Spanish but Quechua, the language of the indigenous peoples of Bolivia’s Highland region. The Doctora translated and the children listened attentively. Because of the unexpected language barrier, we spoke briefly with the children, through the Doctora, about the importance of reading and staying in school. They all listened; two little girls sitting in the middle of the group, around 7 years old, leaned forward and focused on everything the Doctora translated. They looked ignited, and I felt hope that this act mattered and wasn’t a single drop of sand in the Sahara.

We passed out the school supplies: pencils, notebooks, crayons, markers, stickers. The children excitedly accepted the baggies and started walking off, down small paths and dirt roads. After months of preparation, it all ended so quickly. The Doctora agreed to take us to the single-room school house. We drove another 15 minutes, further up winding dirt roads. There were no classes in session that day because the teacher hadn’t showed up; we learned that school is a casual agreement in which most children drop out by 5th or 6th grade.

As we parted with Reyna later in the day and started our drive back, it was a time of reflection. We want to be careful not to exploit poverty for personal profit and to organize inti’s giveback program in a way that is impacting, ethical and genuine. If you wondered why we didn’t post many pictures from the giveback this summer, this is why. We have been working through the best way to show a giveback without exploiting the difficult and impoverished situation of these children. 

The Ripple Effect of Giving 

Six weeks after we left, Reyna called Josh’s parents saying that there were several families in desperate need of food. Mamina and Papa immediately organized themselves to bring the needed supplies for these families; when they were about to leave to purchase food and other supplies, a man from their community showed up with a truck full of food for the families of Puca Pampa. 

It All Matters

In reflection on inti's first giveback, I'm struck with the realization that it all matter - even the small. Your support for inti during our Kickstarter enabled us to give school supplies to the children of this remote village in Bolivia. In turn, Doctora Reyna made a connection with Josh's parents, who live over three hours away, but were able to organize food for families in desperate need of the most basic requirements for life. Through Josh's parents, others in their community got involved and donated a huge supply of food for Puca Pampa. Your thoughtful contribution impacted lives in a real way, and we want to thank you for being a part of it all.

Mandi Morris