Huanchaco In Action – Final Update

Before Tree and I left the States nearly two years ago, we set an intention to volunteer along the way.

As I’ve said before in other posts, we wanted to volunteer for a couple of reasons:

1) To enmesh ourselves deeper into a community and really get to know the language, culture, history, hopes, dreams, and daily struggles of the people.

2) We realized that, as U.S. citizens, we were born into a world of privilege and abundance that was afforded us in part by exploiting the resources of developing countries, so we wanted to give back to some of those communities by offering our time, energy, and skills on a hands-on level.

That was our motivation when we founded an NGO called Huanchaco in Action whose principle goal is to find community solutions for community problems (ex. Dirty beach? Organize a beach clean-up).  Our first project was opening La Casita de los Ninos, a Montessori-Waldorf style community school, offered on a sliding scale, where we aim to inspire a lifetime love of learning and civic action.

The school is going great. We’ve had a few curveballs thrown at us, but we’ve consistently been able to adapt, and really, that’s what  it takes to survive.

The newest change, of course, will be my absence, but our friend Anne, who has been helping us from the beginning, has taken on some more responsibility to ease the transition.

Recently, she hosted an ‘Open House’ day so that children from the surrounding areas could come and experience the Montessori method, play, and eat a little cake.

Soon, she and Kelly will be hiring a permanent Director to run the school.  Check out Huanchaco in Action’s Facebook page to get the latest updates.

My last board meeting with the girls!  More than anything, I’m going to miss my dear friends. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work together with such dedicated ladies.   Clockwise: me, Kelly, Edurne, and Anne!

The talented Anne also happens to be the creator of Wachaque, the super cool Huanchaco magazine, and she did a cover story on La Casita de los Ninos.  That adorable little girl on the cover is our very own Catalina.

Before I left, a school in the neighborhood was closing its doors, and I was able to procure a bunch of supplies for a very good price.  Yay!

The next day was like Christmas at La Casita.


Although we’re moving on, we feel great about what we’re leaving behind and the future these young children will bring to the world.

Thanks again to all of you who contributed to La Casita de Los Ninos.  We absolutely could not have done it without you.  In fact, the most rewarding part of this experience has been doing it with you.  I’m amazed by what we can do together when we start to discuss our challenges, find ways to address them on a grassroots level, and most importantly, empower one another to take compassionate action.

I am so grateful to a part of something bigger than me, to be a part of ‘WE’.

I doubt this will be the last time that we get involved in some sort of community service.  It was too fulfilling of an experience to not do again. But now we’re going to take a little break as we lead up to the arrival of our new baby in a few short weeks!


“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle




  1. mamatuyas says:

    How WONDERFUL is the work you do . . . You two plant seeds where ever you go, helping to grow Goodness in the world. Thank you.

  2. Roma Gee says:

    Thats awesome! First time I read that you guys are doing something like that…we’ve been tossing around some ideas ourselves about how we can combine our travels and photography with doing some good in places we travel to. Hope to maybe find a good cause in Cuba next year. Let me know if you know of any organizations that might need help with photography for their PR

    • Thanks Roma! We will definitely keep you and your mad skills in mind as we travel and will report back any leads we find. I imagine there are good causes in Cuba…if not, make one up!! That would be AMAZING!! Like you, Tree and I are eager to get back someday. I imagine you spoke with Carlos about your goal? If you do go back, maybe you can get some great Santerian ceremony photos….Carlos is a priest of pretty high ranking (I forget the name, a Babaloa, or something like that).

  3. You two are incredable, I know you don’t do it for recognition. You do it to pay it forward!! I wish you 3 the most awesome life =)

    • Thanks so much Kathy! It was a new experience for us (we’ve never taken community action to that level before) but one that I’m sure we’ll do again in some shape or form in the future. I definitely want to teach our daughter that she is powerful and can make a positive difference in her world, and, by getting involved, she’ll feel a deeper sense of belonging to her community, which is something I missed growing up in a big city.

  4. You guys are truly a blessing to all The people and creatures(Mongo) you interact with.
    I feel blessed to be part of the “sum'” you refer to.
    I believe the giving freely of ones time is the most precious of all gifts.
    I also believe that listening, REALLY listing to someone to the point where that person feels as if you care and are willing to take the next step and take action on whatever it is that is needed to move toward resolving an issue or in some cases ..just listening is The essence of being Spiritual.
    I think it is that simple and The Sprinter Tribe should just keep on spreading the Spirit with open eyes, ears and hearts and touch as many souls as possible
    Love and blessings will cradle and nurture you.
    Be safe ,
    Willy .

    • Couldn’t have said it better…Listening IS the essence of being spiritual 🙂 Thank you for the beautiful comment and for being a part of what makes us whole.

  5. I love you guys! I love what you do. Keep it up.

    • Thank you Simko. We love you and what you do too. Part of what made us want to volunteer was the encouragement we received from you and Johanna to set that goal before we left. Can’t wait to see you guys (I hope) in December. xoxoxo.

    • Simko. You’re my hero. I really like you a lot. TREE

      • Whats this “I like you alot” BS. In a very manly non-threating way I professed my love for you and Stevie and I get “I like you alot”. C’mon man, I signed up with facebook for you. You OWE me love! Not only are you my hero but in fact you ARE the wind beneath my wings. ( I just made that up, pretty good huh?)

  6. Inspiring! Good on ya for digging in and making a difference. And beautiful kid photos!

  7. What am amazing thing you accomplished. Good for you for changing the lives of these children forever!

    • Thanks so much Rhonda!! I actually think the experience may have been even more rewarding for us than the kids, although they probably have more fun. After having had this experience, I wish I had taken more community action when I lived in the States. Back home, I always felt like Los Angeles was too big a city for little me to ever make a difference, but I realize now that when working with others,each of indidual isn’t so little anymore. It’s really inspiring.

      • You’ve certainly been an inspiration to us! We haven’t created anything as big as you have, here in Portland, but do spend our fair share of time volunteering at different charities, but seeing what a great thing you’ve done makes us even more eager to help those in need.

  8. Aunt Debby & Uncle Barry says:

    It is so inspiring to see your hard work come to fruition! You two are truly an inspiration. Thank you for letting us be a part of your vision.

    Love you Lots

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