The University of Texas, Pacific Insurance (Peru) and the Yantaló Peru Foundation have donated 50 bicycles, safety hats and jackets to the children of Yantaló that walk 30 minutes or more, round trip, on their commute to school.

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A retired cardiologist and member of the Rotary Club of Gurnee, Illinois, USA, C. Luis Vasquez was taken aback by what he saw in Yantaló when he first visited in 2005.

A farming town with a population of 4,000, Yantaló sits in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon, about 5 miles from Moyobamba, the capital of the northern state of San Martín. It is the town where Vasquez’s mother, Adelina Soplin, was born in 1905.

Vasquez remembered the stories his mother had told him about the poor living conditions, the lack of medical care, and the subpar schools. Nothing had changed.

Within months, Vasquez, with his wife, Mary, and their three sons, had set up the Yantaló Peru Foundation.

Click here to read the full article published in Rotary magazine February 2013. 

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Gary Schindele was recently featured in The Daily Commercial for his volunteer work with the Yantalo Peru Foundation.

Roxanne Brown writes: “In an area with no first responders, no medical facilities, and virtually everyone cooking over open flame pits inside their homes, Gary Schindele, the Clermont Fire Department’s Public Fire Safety Education Assistant and Community Relations Coordinator, saw a need to show residents how to help protect people and save lives.

This experience was very rewarding,’ he said. ‘Since there is so much lacking in that part of the world, I hope the information shared will allow assistance in the years ahead.'”

For the full article, click here.

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Volunteering is the easy part. Preparing for the unknown living conditions, on the other hand, can be stressful.

In attempt to make your lives easier, here are five important tips to consider before you travel with the Yantalo Foundation.

Consider Your Cash:  Before you leave the bank with a wad of cash to covert to soles, you’ll want to make sure the bills are in mint condition. This means no tears, pen marks or ink stains. Private exchange businesses—which are cheaper than those at the airport—will not accept less than perfect cash.

Bring Wet Wipes and Antibacterial: Resources aren’t as abundant in Yantalo as they are in other parts of the world. To keep healthy and stay clear of unwanted bacteria, it’s important to disinfect your hands throughout the day and before meals. You’ll also want to be equipped with wet wipes for various bathroom situations.

Earplugs Recommended: Yes, you’ll be living in the jungle. No, you won’t see tigers. But there will be cicadas, roosters and stray dogs. These animals come to life at night and in the early morning. If you want to sleep in silence, earplugs are recommended.

Don’t Forget Your Outdoor Gear: It rains a lot in the jungle. Sandals won’t cut it. Especially with all the walking, you’ll want some reliable sneakers or hiking boots. And don’t forget a light, waterproof jacket. The weather tends to fluctuate throughout the day. You can also expect many bugs. Plan accordingly. (Hint: Bounce dryer sheets are great for deterring mosquitos. Seriously.)

Great Attitude Required: Smile. This is going to be a journey you’ll never forget!

For more traveling tips and things to know before you go, CLICK HERE. 

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