By: Mike Safley
Quechua Benefit mission participants often leave for Peru excited about the good they are about to do for some of the poorest people on earth. Invariably, at some point in the mission, they begin to realize, almost feeling guilty, that they are the ones who may well be benefiting most from the experience. Missions are often “Chicken Soup” for the participant’s soul. Serving someone in need is powerful spiritual medicine.
This of course does not mean that everything that happens on a mission conforms to a romantic ideal. There are always a few adventures of the digestive tract and the occasional altitude sickness or cold shower to provide reality checks. The hours are long and the food often doesn’t measure up to gourmet standards. Click here to read articles about a representative number of Missions that were sponsored by Quechua Benefit. They will help you set realistic expectations.
It also pays for the mission participant to do a little homework; read the articles in this column about the culture and how to pack; visit the Peru maps section of the website to learn where you are going; and there are also some articles about the history of Quechua Benefit and Peru in the website library.
Then there are the simple practical aspects or logistics of who is expected to do what. The following information is intended to layout what the mission participant is responsible for and what Quechua Benefit provides:
Mission Participant: Each person going on a mission will need to make and pay for their own airline reservations from their point of departure to Lima, Peru. It pays to book early. Every airline that flies to Peru arrives at about midnight in Lima. This is when you will connect with the rest of your team members. The group will stay overnight in Lima and fly to Arequipa the next morning. From the moment you arrive in Lima, Quechua Benefit will make arrangements for all of your needs. The cost of this which includes in country airfares, lodging ( except Friday night in Arequipa, plan on $75 dollars including a nice meal), most meals and land transportation is included in the $750 mission fee which is payable to Quechua Benefit prior to departure.
If you want to extend your trip and sight see in Peru Quechua Benefit will be happy to arrange that for you. Many participants want to see Machu Pichu. There will be a separate charge for this. The charge will include the additional airfare, local ground transportation, hotels, guides, train tickets and park passes. These trips typically take 3 nights and 4 days. You will also have free time to shop and explore in Cusco as.
The end of the trip finds the participants back in Lima for departure to the States. All planes not only arrive Lima around midnight but they also leave around midnight. You should arrive home the next day before dinner.
Quechua Benefit: Quechua Benefit has an office in Arequipa which is staffed by Sandra Carbajal and Alejandro Tejada. They work with the Quechua Benefit BOD to arrange the following aspects of the mission: Ground transportation, hotels, in country airfare, meals, mission locations, government approvals, customs, Peruvian mission participants, security, sight seeing, equipment and anything else that is required during you mission trip. The typical mission lasts for 10 or 11 days and includes at least one day of rest with approximately 3 days of travel.
The Quechua Benefit medical mission director DR Dwight Bailey is an experienced leader with missions to several continents under his belt. He will order the medicine; assign medical teams and generally lead participants through the day to day work of the mission. Quechua Benefit board members, Rhonda Deschner MD, Ursula Munro RN, NP, and Wayne Jarvis DDS are all experienced Peruvian missionaries and will be along to assist in organizing the daily routines.
This information is designed to answer basic questions and give you an idea of who is responsible for what. We recommend that you also read the articles on Travel Tips and Cultural awareness. We also have a Q&A on Mission trips you can access by clicking here. You should also feel free to email us by clicking here or you can phone anyone of our board members. There contact information is found on the About Us page. We are very excited that you are considering joining us in Peru.