Healthy habits presented to artisans by Peruvian Non-Profit MERAKI (Emilime team)
On the first weekend of October, we decided to visit some of our artisan partners who live and work in Puente Piedra, one of Lima’s 43 districts. For this edition of our Community Partnership Program, the Emilime team was accompanied by Fabrizio Crudo, co-founder of local non-profit Meraki.
Taking its name from the Greek word that implies the importance of doing whatever you do with soul and meaning, Meraki is comprised of medical professionals who aim to mitigate the effect of natural disasters on impoverished communities in Peru. Fabrizio is also studying for his Masters in Nutrition, and in light of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, we decided to invite him to speak with some of our artisan partners about making smarter choices to build healthy habits.
In just their first year in operation as an official NGO, Fabrizio and his three partners have certainly had a busy 2017. Just a few months into the new year, northern Peru experienced some of the worst floods in the Andean nation’s history. As news of destruction and casualties continued for weeks, many of us in Peru’s capital city participated in donation drives to gather food and clothes for our fellow countrymen up north. Fabrizio and his team went above and beyond, however, by actually making the trip to the site of the natural disasters and lending a helping hand.
“Those first few days of loss and fear brings everyone together, both in the community directly affected as well as those outside the area who begin to collect donations and send relief. What we saw, however, is that the worst part is actually after the initial post-disaster days have passed,” Fabrizio noted, as we sat through typical early morning traffic en route to the artisans. “After two or three weeks have passed, you see that everyone begins to take care of themselves and their own again, worrying about getting food and clothes for their own family. And then the story begins to drop off from the media and help doesn’t arrive. But there are so many diseases that follow events like the floodings, including dengue and dermatological diseases…it’s not a problem quickly solved.”
We couldn’t help but find ourselves reflecting upon the current distress experienced by US territories and Caribbean countries after this season’s string of hurricanes.
A group of artisans (and young family members) who partner with Emilime enjoy a moment together shortly before the presentation.
The presentation turned into an open discussion as Emilime artisan partners became animated about how they can make healthier choices
And while impeding natural disasters are out of our immediate control, there are simple steps towards improving our day-to-day lives.
Peru may be celebrated as one of the hottest culinary destinations in the world as of late, however Fabrizio notes that many of the eating habits enjoyed by the greater population of the country (that is, those who don’t regularly dine at restaurants belonging to Gaston Acurio or Virgilio Martinez) pose health risks.
“There are just way too many calories being consumed that come from carbohydrates. You’ll see that about 60-70% of plates at mealtime in Peru are taken up by processed carbs: rice, pasta…hundreds of years ago, we simply didn’t eat like that as mankind…you didn’t see the diseases and obesity rates that we have today.”
Our artisan partners were completely engaged with Fabrizio’s presentation and the questions and laughter stretched our visit well beyond our scheduled finishing time. He shared his knowledge about proper portioning during meals, getting enough rest, and making the time to incorporate exercise into their daily schedule. Like a true gentleman, Fabrizio made sure to answer every last question, and we hope that the women that day will take even the smallest of steps towards a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their families.
At the end of the October, members of Meraki will visit Casa Hogar Kusi Wasi, an orphanage in Cusco. You can stay up to date and support the Meraki team to make other medical visits here.