Iam proud to announce that on Saturday 16th of December 2023, the team and myself at TLA Travel ventured out to the community of San Antonio de Padua Munaypata to share some Christmas joy as part of our annual ‘giving back to the community promise.’ Located on the outskirts of the village of Acomayo, some three and a half hours drive from Cusco, this newly established community of around 40 families lives day to day farming the surrounding mountains producing crops such as quinoa, potato and the famed giant Andean corn.

Luis (Operations Manager) pouring the chocolate drink

Our mission was to not only to spread some Christmas joy with gifts, but to also support and bring much needed supplies to the community’s newly inaugurated ‘wawawasi’ project. Wawawasi, from the Quecha language translates roughly as a ‘baby house’, or perhaps a better translation would be kindergarten. In the case of this community, the wawawasi is a small building, where parents can safely leave their young children whilst they head off to work the land.

Lucho and Jessica sharing bizcocho

The event started with the tradition of the ‘chocolatada’ or sharing of hot chocolate. With parents and children gathered around, we shared nearly 100 liters (25 gallons) of freshly prepared chocolate drink, accompanied by Peruvian bizcocho bread (sweet bread).

Community children

After tummies were filled (some several times) we continued to the main event of offering Christmas gifts to the 129 children of the community. With ages ranging from 2 to 18 years old, Alvaro, our head guide assisted by family and friends handed out an eclectic range of gifts from teddy bears to binoculars, to volley balls to sweaters for the older children.We concluded the day’s events with a raffle of 10 food parcels consisting of essential cooking supplies, including: cooking oil, rice, pasta, salt, sugar, teas, canned products, milk, and a traditional panettone bread. For the community’s ‘wawawasi’ project, we donated a wide range of materials including educational toys, essential stationary items, paper, books, and general supplies.

Luis and Betsy gifting the food parcels

At TLA Travel we wholeheartedly believe that it is vital to support local communities. It is ingrained deep in our ethos that we should not only promote Latin America as a tourist destination, but also ensure that we give back to local communities that are in need of a helping hand. Of course, these events are only possible with the support of our clients, so from the bottom of my heart, I would like to extend a BIG thank you to everyone who has booked trips and travelled with us in 2023. Finally, I want to extend my sincere gratitude to my excellent team here at TLA Travel for their support in arranging this event, specifically, Luis, Monica, Pedro, Betsy and Alvaro.

Paul Jones
Founder of TLA Travel