From Peru to Nelson with love

Peru's Yoni Huahuasoncco, who lives in a shelter provided by Nelson's Pura Vida Foundation, will soon visit the Kootenays.

Yoni Huahuasoncco will speak at the Civic Theatre next month about the work being done by the Pura Vida Foundation.

Yoni Huahuasoncco has always wanted to see other countries.

The 21-year-old Peruvian woman, who lives in a home provided by Nelson’s Pura Vida Foundation, was abandoned by her family when she was 12 years old. And now she’s eager to thank the local community for their support over the years.

“The town I grew up in is very poor. I grew up in a very unhealthy environment, with abuse and alcoholism and low economic resources. Years later my mother died of an unknown disease,” Huahuasoncco wrote in a letter to the community.

“I spent some time with my father who drank alcohol and abandoned me. When I turned 12, I travelled by myself to Cusco where I met a wealthy family. There I was exploited and abused mentally and physically for more than three years.”

That’s when she met Pura Vida founder Nathan Beninger.

“The foundation rescued me from the hell I was living every day. [Beninger’s wife] Greta and his family, welcomed me, gave me love, understanding, education, health and safety. Thanks to this foundation my life has changed.”

And now that she’s getting a chance to experience Canada firsthand, she’s struck by the gulf between first and third-world life.

“In Peru there is a lot of disorder starting with education. Those who have money can study in the best universities and the best schools, and the people who live in poverty, which is the majority of Peru, have to accept a very underfunded and broken education system with teachers who have no training or motivation.”

Pura Vida has been paying for her education. Without that support, she said her life would be quite different.

“If I had not been rescued I would have escaped and returned to my Andean community where I would have been forced to marry an alcoholic husband.

“I would probably have had given birth to three children by now, and most of the young woman my age from these types of communities are forced into this life of abuse and neglect.”

Her future’s brighter, and that’s thanks to Pura Vida and the people of Nelson. She can’t wait to show up and thank her benefactors.

“Canada is the opposite of Peru. It is safer and I like its people, it is multicultural, they have an inexplicable brightness and are always carrying a smile that when you see it makes your day. Thanks, I love this country.”

Huahuasoncco will speak at a Civic Theatre screening of multiple documentaries that explore Pura Vida’s work and impact in Peru. The event will start at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1.

Just Posted

Caribou panel hears from critical public

About 250 people turned out Wednesday evening to give feedback on the provincial government’s caribou recovery plans.

Glacier Gymnastics wins 12 medals at provincials

The club sent eight athletes to the event

DanceFusion brings dads and daughters to the stage

Thirty-one fathers and daughters participate in a dance that is goofy, sentimental, and at times very funky.

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Most Read