The first initiative we took after getting to Matucana was forming two separate groups with people we had never met before; our camping group and our project development group. Meeting new people in the campsite was crucial for the conference, the aim was to make a difference in the community so it was important to speak with different participants and embrace new ideas. Our second initiative consisted of cleaning 100 metres of the Rimac riverbank and from the waste collected, we were able to produce eco-bricks. As our main focus was helping the community, we also tried collecting opinions on environmental sustainability and other issues involving education, tourism, etc., from people walking the streets of the community.
The following day, the whole conference spent the morning session offering English lessons to fifth graders in a primary school near the main square. Afterwards, we continued developing our projects and every group was able to present them to the Labour Ministry which, in turn, would decide which projects to fund (we also presented projects that didn’t require any funding). One of the projects that gained funding was “adopt a waterfall” that consisted of specific schools using different waterfalls for water supply and maintenance. This project would also contribute to the tourism of Matucana, which would generate profit for the community.
During our last day, the ex-Markhamians inaugurated the classroom they built and we spent the rest of the day implementing our ideas into the community. Our main aim was to ensure these projects would continue to develop even after we were gone.
In Matucana we learned how to adapt to the community and listen to their needs in order to help them reach a sustainable environment. We also realised the impact and importance of educating and involving people in taking care of the environment. The LAHC conference was an unforgettable and life-changing journey to every person that participated.
By Lorena Melzi & Nicole Gaige (S4)