Visit to Peru

Desk officer Niklas Markert visited the Kolping Families in Peru. In his travel report, he describes the challenges the families are facing. The corona pandemic, dengue fever and the tropical storm El Niño hit the country hard.

A difficult starting position – corona, dengue and El Niño

“My visit to the Kolping Families in Peru was particularly moving, as it was the first visit after turbulent times that the Andean country had to go through. The Covid-19 pandemic had Peru firmly in its grip from 2020. During my visit, the Kolping Families told me about the health and economic challenges they were facing. Due to the risk of infection, among other things, they were no longer able to meet or go to the neighbouring towns to sell their fruit and vegetables at the markets during the lockdowns. The pandemic was followed by a serious dengue epidemic, which continues to this day. Added to this are the effects of El Niño, a regularly occurring climatic phenomenon that upsets the weather, causing droughts and floods. An exhausting and dangerous phase that the Kolping Families have gone through.

The resilience of Kolping Families is remarkable



During these years, the Kolping community supported the Kolping Families as much as the uncertain situation allowed: among other things, corona masks and tests were distributed and greenhouses were built so that the harvest could succeed despite extreme weather conditions.

However, the Kolping Families themselves contributed to a great extent to overcoming these difficult times. They did not but give up. Instead they became creative to secure their income. Depending on price developments in the fluctuating economic phase, they adapted their products. They cultivated other plants or sold homemade hats, sombreros or ponchos; whatever was lucrative at the time. Listening to their stories, I am impressed by the fierce spirit in their stories: “El querer es el poder” I hear again and again, strength lies in the will. The Kolping spirit has certainly also helped in this respect. At the beginning of every visit, people pray and thank the Kolping community.



The power of water

During my visit to the Kolping Families, I am shown how fundamental water security is for the development of the Kolping Families in Peru: alfalfa sprouts are grown to feed the farm animals. The farm animals generate food, income and fertiliser, which helps to cultivate more plants. However, this chain does not work without water. A few Kolping Families already have the possibility to collect rainwater, others not yet. There is a need for improvement here, especially as climate change is exacerbating dry seasons and droughts. Since my visit, we have been in lively dialogue with our local partner about how we can provide support here.



Much joy and optimism

Despite all the mentioned challenges, I see much joy during my visit. I talk to some young Kolping members who joined Kolping during the corona pandemic. A Kolping Family consisting of young people proudly reports to me that their parents – initially not Kolping members – now want to found their own Kolping Family. My trip was a moving visit with many suggestions for the shaping of the future of Kolping Families in Peru.”