Last week, our first group of MEDLIFE volunteers for the winter season helped to host a Chocolatada at the community of Secsencalla, located in the district of Andahuaylillas outside of Cusco. Before the event, the volunteers had been leading a Healthy Homes project in the community to improve 4 homes of families with children at risk of malnutrition.
A Chocolatada is a traditional Christmas celebration in Peru but dates all the way back to the Spanish conquests of the Americas when the conquistadors spread their method of preparing hot chocolate throughout their expansion. Hot Chocolate later became a staple at Christmas time, and thus a tradition was born.
The modern Chocolatada celebration has its roots in charity however – as Christmas approaches, private businesses, organizations, or even individual groups of friends will use their resources to organize a Chocolatada event to benefit rural, impoverished communities. Children from all corners of the community descend upon the Chocolatada, eager to receive the typical cup of hot chocolate, traditional Peruvian panettone (sweet) bread, and a small present.
Last week, 91 children also received a present donated by the mobile clinic volunteers and from the travel agency Good Life Expeditions, who also sponsored the celebration. It was an amazing evening where children were able to break 3 piñatas, share a delicious meal with the volunteers, and also meet Santa Claus!
This is the second year we are able to hold a Chocolatada in Peru and we hope to continue doing it in the following years!
When I moved to Lima, I thought I was going to have to sacrifice my love for craft beer and the ambiance of a good pub. However, to my delight, I found out upon my arrival that Lima actually has a thriving chela (the word for beer in limeño) scene with fantastically cheap pints and homey bars galore! Whether you are planning a proper pub crawl, or just want to drop in for a pint or two, take a look at my list of favorite breweries, or cervecerias, around Lima!
After a trip to Machu Picchu, I realized that I had unfortunately left my passport on a tour bus I had booked off the street. After criss-crossing Cusco and battling all day with the tour company my passport was still never found. With a planned flight for Lima the next morning I was worried I wouldn’t be able to return without a passport and was left wondering what to do. I spent hours online researching, waiting in unnecessary lines and wasting time.
When living in Lima, Peru, you may have heard some things about the district of Callao. It has a reputation and definitely not the best one, but after reading this article you might change your mind. Monumental Callao is space that has been revolutionized into a small pocket of vibrant culture created by a collaborative artist community. Read here to see how this neighborhood which was once full of crime and violence has been transformed through art and culture. If you’re looking to learn more about the local art scene in Lima, Monumental Callao is the place to be!
If you tell a someone you are moving to Lima, Peru, they will most likely mention the world-renowned gastronomy. Your first encounter with a local Peruvian will likely include a question about which Peruvian dish is your favorite. And if you ask any expat, “What is the best part of living in Lima?,” nine out of ten times they will respond, “the food.”