It's nine o'clock in the morning as I wind my way though the secluded neighbourhood of Miraflores. It's mid-summer here in Lima. Flowers blossom on the trees that line the sidewalk. I'm heading towards Wong's to meet Willie at Starbucks. I pass by the big Anglican church in the corner. I recall nearly forty years ago Tony Dines, the minister of St Silas asking me to pray for him. He had been invited to consider moving to Lima to pastor a church. I remember thinking "who would want to go to Lima?” It funny, the thoughts that run through your head when you pass by buildings.
Martha on the other hand is heading in another direction, she's off to talk to some of the staff of Union Biblica about how to improve educational support for children in the homes with additional learning support needs. As for me I'm not quite comfortable meeting Willie in Starbucks especially since all the revelations about and their tax dodging schemes.
Anyway I arrive to find Willie sipping an ice cold coffee. This is a far cry from the days we used to meet in Bo'ness to work out what was left in the Vine Trust kitty. In those days the Branches shop was our biggest donor and we'd often meet up to plan the next move on the chess board. Our visit to Peru this time is part of our annual routine, checking the accounts of Union Biblica and visiting the children's homes to ensure that we as part funders can satisfy OSCR that we take our governance seriously.
Starbucks is busy, just like the city of Lima. Trading here in Peru is up for the 38 consecutive month. The roads are busy, four wheel drive cars seem be be the order of the day. It's obvious business is booming. A Coffee in Starbucks will cost you nine soles, similar to the UK. The gross domestic product decreased last October by about 1.5% and was at 6.7 percent. This is the changing face of Peru 2013. Oh and another thing, I haven't as get been accosted by children trying to sell me pictures or out of date confectionary. When I first started visiting here over ten years ago 50% of people were earning less than two dollars a day. Today it is estimated that this number has dropped to around 25% and the current President Ollanta Humala has pledged it to drop by a further 10% before the elections in 2015. The amazing economic growth of Peru has become the subject of a number of international studies. However the worlds demand for copper and gold has been among some of the reasons for Peru's extremely fast growing economy, that coupled with the fact that the country is rich in mineral wealth. All this adds up to a win win situation for this South American country and it may also eventually be a win situation for the VineTrust.
While Peru's economy grows, back in the UK our economy has flat lined. The economic outlook in Europe is less that positive. The time is rapidly approaching I believe when Peruvians will themselves be involve in international aid helping some of the more poor economies in other parts of the world. However at this moment in time our aim is to begin to find ways to connect with this growing economy in order that Peruvians can begin to support their own impoverished people.