We were soon joined by the inimitable Pablo and his friends from the larger group (who have learning disabilities). They were keen to get stuck into card making with the Sizzix die cutting machines that we introduced them to yesterday. These brilliant machines make it super-easy for anyone to cut out paper, card and fabric with total precision, merely by turning a handle. They're perfect for people who might otherwise struggle to cut in straight line, let alone produce perfectly cut flowers, leaves, birds. etc. .... the possibilities are endless.
Life for the majority of people in Peru, like any developing country, can be very tough. We passed a man in a suit selling sweets at a dangerously busy junction, another man trying to make a living selling nothing but shoelaces ... when ordinary Peruvians are struggling to make ends meet, you can imagine how hard it is if you have any sort of disability. They are absolutely at the bottom of the pile, the poorest of the poor in their society and the least supported. Even the most basic things in life are denied them.
We discovered today for example, that Juan Jose (pictured above right) had been told 5 years ago that he needed glasses; but without the means to pay for them he never got them. He now struggles to see without lifting things to within a few centimetres of his face and his eyesight is getting worse. So, instead of training them tomorrow morning we're going to send all 5 beaders to the opticians. Craft Aid will pay for their eye tests and for their glasses too if they need them - which they were all massively excited about. (If anyone would like to make a donation to help with this, it'd be very much appreciated).
This evening walking through town we met a man in a wheelchair selling biscuits. We watched, horrified, as he defended himself from an able-bodied man trying to steal some from him. I can only imagine how many times he has to fend off such attacks, working late into the night as he does just to make a few pence to live on. I dearly hope that one day the Craft Aid project here will be big enough to offer him employment, and the many other people we saw in a similar position begging on the streets of Arequipa tonight.