Nick & Kysha Lima Peru
Community Kitchens in Lima, Peru
Lima, the capital of Peru, butts up against the Pacific Ocean and extends like splayed fingers between the foothills of the Andes mountains. Most of population of nearly ten million people reside in these ‘fingers’ in houses like in the image above or in even simpler homes. The complete lack of rain obviates the need to be watertight. Since the pandemic first hit Peru in March 2020, the people living in these densely populated ‘fingers’ have been the hardest Most immediately, being unable to work for the first months of strict lockdown meant pooling resources. So many ‘ollas comunes’ (‘community pots’, or ‘community kitchens’) sprang up where people could pay about AU$0.50c for food for lunch, which is the main meal of the day. Some are purely local efforts, some are run by local councils, others by local churches.it. The overwhelming majority live on what they earn day to day from their informal employment.
Women play the predominant role in these kitchens with households taking turns to do an eight-hour stint from before sun rise to prepare and serve the food, to manage the accounts, and to go shopping. The money paid goes back into buying bulk supplies (refrigeration is rare in these communities). Everyone’s names are recorded as well how many are in their household to ensure everyone gets a fair share, as well as to keep track of accounts.
The primary presence of the Anglican Church of Peru is among these same communities. From early in the pandemic, Pastors and lay people from the handful of parishes in Lima looked to support three of these community kitchens on top of their own efforts to distribute food. Not only do they help financially, but also with transport and other resources. They are careful with the money they give, deciding the move their support from one kitchen when it was found that the organisers’ family was benefiting financially from the effort.
Demand upon the community kitchens decreased as the first covid wave ended, though was never absent as the economic downturn resulted in large scale unemployment. Demand increased again when second began in January 2021. As of August 2021, Peru is at the end of the second wave and working hard to vaccinate as many as possible. Everyone is aware of the warnings of a third wave as the Delta variant starts to make itself known. In the links below are to several short videos about various community kitchens to help give a better sense of what they’re like. This first has English subtitles and is about a community kitchen in another city, Cusco:
This is from earlier this month and is the bishop of the Anglican Church of Peru visiting the three community kitchens it supports in Lima. It only has music:
Thank you for your generosity in supporting these community kitchens. They make a very real difference in the lives of those with the most need. It is a wonderful blessing to be able to meet the very practical needs of many people. We shall be in touch with more details once the money has been passed on.
In Christ Nick and Kysha