Lima Peru Dairy Cow Project
Within six weeks of Rotary International’s release of funds for a dairy cow project in Peru’s desert, the 500+ children of the tiny village Nueva Esperanza (New Hope) already are reaping the health benefits of fresh milk. In mid-January, months ahead of the anticipated completion, a village Fiesta celebrated the arrival of four pregnant cows and the completion of the stables and corral which were dubbed Establo Al Stehli, in recognition of Davis Noon Rotarian Al Stehli’s work in securing the funds for the project.
A huge “muchas gracias” goes to Julio Delgado from the Rotary Club of Ica who worked quickly and tirelessly to coordinate villagers, Rotarians and other community members to construct a stable and corral, purchase the cows and food in record time.
Already the herd has increased with the birth of Julia (named after Delgado) who arrived just 4 days after the stables were dedicated, and another calf is expected on March 19. Additional benefits are accruing, too, such as the donation of a pick-up truck to haul the nutritious fern-like asparagus tops which the Peruvians use to feed their cattle. Although the endless miles of sand dunes appear inhospitable to vegetation, the Peruvian spirit dominates the conditions with farmers growing hundreds of acres of lush asparagus, with most of the plant being utilized. Also, as the herd and milk production increase, villagers experienced with making cheese and yogurt will add those healthy foods to the community’s diet.
The project took wing in spring 2008 after Al Stehli and his wife, Bev, spent twelve days constructing tiny homes for earthquake survivors and traveling the Machu Picchu region with nine members of the Rotary Club of Folsom. Al, a Davis Noon Rotarian for 40 years, was inspired by the resilience and determination of the people to build a better life for themselves and their families despite almost insurmountable conditions emanating from poverty and the harsh desert climate. He saw an opportunity to honor his own dairy heritage, plus like many other Rotarians, he wanted to give a hand-up with a project that provided long-term sustainability.
In August 2008, Stehli solicited and won the support of four Rotary Clubs: Davis Noon, Davis Sunrise, Folsom, and Ica, Peru plus Rotary Districts 5160 and 5180. The three Clubs in Davis and Folsom contributed funds that are matched by the two Districts. In early October, after 13 months of planning and grant writing, the $10,000 grant was approved by RI. The Rotary Club of Folsom serves as the sponsor while the Rotary Club of Ica through the leadership of Delgado provides ongoing supervision and assistance as needed.