Lima The highlight of our first day of assembling the staff from Peru, Canada, the United Labor Unions, Mexico, and Honduras was taking the collectivo (bus) to see the great progress that Orfa Camacho, ACORN Peru’s head organizer, had been reporting was being won in the asentamiento humanos (the people living on the mountain sides) areas in the more recently inhabited parts of the megaslum. Orfa may have understated the story. In the two years since I had visited there were now paved roads almost everywhere, electric wires catacombing between the houses, and even potable water with visible tanks on the mountain tops.
There were two areas that had been dirt fields where now a park stood on one and a soccer field on another.
Of all of the things that the local leaders reported, and we saw ourselves, one of the most amazing was the new stairways that had been built up the hillsides replacing the pig trails that had passed for paths for families moving up and down to their houses.
We were a long way from heaven as the outhouses and rough shacks and sheds vividly reminded, but real victories were being won. We were awed and humbled to be a part of it!