Our guest speaker for Jan 24th was Matthew Witt.  He is a retired firefighter with the City of Surrey.  He talked to us about his experience as part of a Rotary Project to assist rural communities in the Pisac area of the Peruvian Andes.  In the past year, Matthew was in Pisac to continue working with DESEA on a variety of projects. Matthew received a thank you certificate from club member Michele Partridge. 

Our Rotary member – Deputy White Rock Fire Chief Norm MacLeod introduced our guest speaker Matthew Witt. After 17 years service with the Surrey Fire Department Matthew moved to Peru where he works with a local organization that helps poor people who live high in the Andes Mountains in an area southwest of Lima known as the Secret Valley. With the help of a $6,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Coquitlam Matthew said his organization – Desea Peru works to provide health, safe water and community development.
Funds from the Coquitlam Rotary club are used to supply 4-wheel drive Land Rovers to bring medical aid and sometimes act as ambulances to take people to medical care. Roads in the mountainous areas are treacherous, serving small communities of 50 to 150 people in the high Andes. Matthew says there is power in some areas but telephone communication is hit and miss. He said some children walk half an hour or more to go to school.
Matthew described the Peruvian people as resilient, humble and are ‘easy to laugh.’ He said, “I like the people and the country. It is rewarding for me.”
Matthew was thanked by Michelle Partridge.