O n December 19, 2016, TLA Travel travelled to the local community of Wilki to . Located in the district of Ancahuasi, about a 60 minutes’ drive from Cusco on the road to Abancay; Wilki is a small campesino (farming) community home to about 60 families.
The name that Peruvians give for an event like this around Christmas time is “a chocolatada.” It’s an event which is mainly aimed to bring a little Christmas joy to impoverished children and their families. The tradition for a chocolatada is to offer a hearty cup of hot chocolate, a vizcocho bread (a large fruity bun) and gifts for the children. In addition to this, we also wanted to offer something for the families of Wilki, so basic food parcels were also prepared.
about 200 children actually attended the event, some 50 more than we had anticipated
The community of Wilki is made up of just a few buildings, consisting of a small school, a church (in disrepair) and a municipal building. A large cancha (or field) connects the community, and this is where locals meet and their children play. Work is sparse in the area, and only faming and a small mine offer the chance to earn money. Locals farm the land by hand, producing potato and habas (broad beans). Unlike other nearby communities, due to the high altitudes and a unique micro-climate of the area, other crops like corn and quinoa fail to grow, meaning that the community is limited to producing only lower value crops.
On arrival at Wilki, helpers from the community had already started heating large pots of water ready for the hot chocolate. We were expecting around 150 children and 60 families to attend the event, but the word spread quickly that we had arrived, and several other families from neighboring communities slowly emerged. After a few hours of boiling the water, milk and mixing in some 7 kilos of chocolate and 5 kilos of oats, we were ready to start.
The children who mostly arrived with their own metal cups gladly received their hot chocolate and vizcocho bread. Later, after some 60 litres (16 gallons) of hot chocolate had been consumed, the gifts were given out along with a small chocolate bar.
In addition to the Chocolatada, food parcels consisting of 1 kilo of salt, 1 kilo of sugar, 1 kilo of rice, boxes of cooking matches, tinned milk, a bottle of cooking oil and pasta were donated to some 75 families.
Needless to say, about 200 children actually attended the event, some 50 more than we had anticipated. A list of those children that didn’t receive a gift was noted down, and the following day, another delivery of gifts left Cusco to reach those children that went without.
We know that an event like this is not possible without funding. Therefore, we would like to extend a BIG thank you to all our clients that traveled with TLA Travel in 2016. It was your money which funded this Chocolatada event. Know that each and every one of our clients helped the Wilki community this year, shinning a little light on their Christmas.
We would also like to thank community members Dora, Magda & Amilio for their assistance on the day. Also, a thank you goes to Lucho (TLA Operations Manager) who prepared the food parcels in his spare time.