Peru Week with Abercrombie and Kent: Philanthropy Day
Philanthropy Day is always a highlight on any trip I’ve taken with Abercrombie and Kent. In the Masai Mara, I had the chance to talk about my life as a travel writer to the first group of women to ever attend school in the region. One of the girls who I met was continuing her education at Oxford! In Livingstone, Zambia, we visited a village, where wells were built so people didn’t have to walk five miles in the bush to get a pail of water. We also visited a health clinic and bike shop, all built thanks to Abercrombie and Kent and their generous clients. You can read it about it here. The company’s philanthropy is built into the fabric of the experience and it’s no voluntourism gimmick. On the contrary, it’s a meaningful and poignant day that often exceeds any other memory on the trip, including being on safari in Africa or seeing Machu Picchu in Peru.
Our day in Sacred Valley was no different. We started at a mountainous village some 12,000 feet in elevation, where the community is known for their exquisite weavings. They showed us their technique, cleaning the alpaca wool and using dyes, all from nature, like the beet red coloring they would find from squeezing a cactus beetle. The yarn is then used to create hats, tablecloths, purses, and dolls, and sold in the market in Cuzco. We then visited a school serving underprivileged and undernourished children in the region called Children of the Rainbow. It was started by a woman from the Netherlands who was backpacking on the Inca Trail and became enamored with the kids. She came back and adopted 18 children, all of whom went on to college, and have now unlocked the chains of poverty. She then went on to create this school, giving 170 kids ages 3 to 13 and their families hope for a better future. The children were adorable, eating lunch when we arrived. We were shown the new library and the new playground, all recently built thanks to the help of Abercrombie and Kent. Ask the 18 people in my group what their favorite day on the weeklong trip was and I guarantee the majority will say Philanthropy Day.