Paddington Bear Returns to Peru

After my trip to Peru in July 2006, I stated that I wouldn’t go back as I was too old and unfit for the work. My son Brother Jamie Marshall decided he would like to go and my wife told me I was going to look after him! As it turned out he looked after me.

We set out on the 29th June for a 3 week sojourn. The journey was a bit easier this time as after our 18 hr flight we were put up overnight in a hotel in Lima, before the 9 hour bus journey up into the mountains.

This time the journey was completed in daylight so it gave us a chance to see the varying landscape, from desert coastline on the Pacific Ocean to the rugged Andes Mountain range further inland. We arrived in the town of Yungay (8000 ft) and had an hour walk up hill to the children’s home in Kusi (9500 ft). I could see quite a difference in the building work from 2006, and there were almost 70 kids living and being looked after there. Our main job was digging the foundations and carry adobe bricks for the medical centre, which we were building. I managed to put a Lodge Kilsyth St John No.39 penny, which was given to me by P.M. Steve Waugh, in the N.E. corner of the building. The centre is badly needed as quite a number of kids had venereal diseases from living on the streets As with my last visit we worked from 9 to 4.30 then at night entertained the kids, some of the kids were understandably wary of adults, but I felt humbled by their willingness to forgive, Jamie and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the school where we both wore our kilts, and presented the teacher with flags, maps of Scotland and Glengarry bonnets given to us by P.M. Andrew Findlay of Lodge Ellangowan No.716.

After 6 days in Kusi we travelled back to Lima then flew out to Cusco (12500 ft) the ancient Inca Capital. We were meant to travel along the sacred Inca valley to Urambamba but unfortunately we got caught up in protests and riots and had to stay in the hotel for 3 days, the fact that I wore a Kilt saved us from serious problems (it’s a long story ask me about it sometime). We finally got to the kids home and spent 4 days working which was really hard going as we were over 12000 ft up. While we were in Cusco we took the opportunity to visit Macchu Picchu the lost Inca city. We arrived early in the morning and the cloud cover hadn’t burned off, Jamie and I had been “dreepying” down the terraces but we came to a bit were we couldn’t see the bottom for the cloud, Jamie said it would be daft to jump down when we couldn’t see the ground we would land on, as we might twist an ankle. This turned out to be a wise decision as the guide took us back to the same spot when the sun came out and it was a 6000ft drop! Apparently there is an average of 5 tourists are killed each year. The home in Urambamba was newly built and there was only 20 kids living there but by the time they have finished building they hope to house over 100 street kids, the boys there had absolutely nothing but we left lots of goodies including 150 bags with toothpaste and toothbrushes donated by Bro James McColl of Lodge 170. Jamie and I made sure everyone knew we were Freemasons and that it was compatible with the Christian organisation we were with.

Jamie and I pointed out that of the £3000 we raised almost half of it was donated by Freemasons, and we would like to thank Lodges No28, 39, 195, 199, 716 and 1234 for their donations, can I also thank the individual brethren of Lodge 147 who through the prompting of Bro. Seggie supported our cause.

Finally, my thanks must go to The PGL of Dunbartonshire who not only gave me their permission to approach Lodges for donations but donated £100 towards the venture. I am possibly planning to return to either Peru or Bolivia in 2010 and would hope for similar support.

Yours Fraternally
Brian Marshall IPM 195, PGL Steward

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