Last week, our first group of MEDLIFE volunteers for the winter season helped to host a Chocolatada at the community of Secsencalla, located in the district of Andahuaylillas outside of Cusco. Before the event, the volunteers had been leading a Healthy Homes project in the community to improve 4 homes of families with children at risk of malnutrition.
A Chocolatada is a traditional Christmas celebration in Peru but dates all the way back to the Spanish conquests of the Americas when the conquistadors spread their method of preparing hot chocolate throughout their expansion. Hot Chocolate later became a staple at Christmas time, and thus a tradition was born.
The modern Chocolatada celebration has its roots in charity, however – as Christmas approaches, private businesses, organizations, or even individual groups of friends will use their resources to organize a Chocolatada event to benefit rural, impoverished communities. Children from all corners of the community descend upon the Chocolatada, eager to receive the typical cup of hot chocolate, traditional Peruvian panettone (sweet) bread, and a small present.
Last week, 91 children also received a present donated by the mobile clinic volunteers and from the travel agency Good Life Expeditions, who also sponsored the celebration. It was an amazing evening where children were able to break 3 piñatas, share a delicious meal with the volunteers, and also meet Santa Claus!
This is the second year we are able to hold a Chocolatada in Peru and we hope to continue doing it in the following years!
Check out the photo blog below to find out more!