Destination: Peru with Heifer International® and Garnet Hill

Libby Gaitskill, and her father Russ Gaitskill, CEO of Garnet Hill
Libby Gaitskill, and her father Russ Gaitskill, CEO of Garnet Hill


Libby’s Travel Journal

When thinking about what this summer would hold, I thought about the typical Sugar Hill summer: working almost every day, lupines, hiking, bonfires, s’mores, sitting with friends complaining about the lack of activities but never actually being too bored, fresh vegetables from the garden, moose, and eating pies made by my dad. Never did I think I would get to see and touch alpacas, work with Heifer International as they work to make the world a better place, visit the Machu Picchu ruins, and spend much more than dessert time with my dad.

It was my first weekend home from school in May when my dad asked if I would be interested in going to Peru and documenting the experience for Garnet Hill. Without hesitation I said YES! — because honestly — who would say no to such an experience?! Unsure of what this actually meant, I was intrigued to hear all about what Heifer was doing in Peru. Heifer’s mission is not to merely give “hand-outs” but to give “hand-ups.” This empowers communities to be self-reliant and hopeful. They send animals to communities of poverty and hunger. In Peru, Heifer focuses on “agroecology, animal production (alpacas), local market access, rural farmers’ rights, women’s empowerment, and gender equality.” We will visit these communities and learn more about what Heifer is doing to decrease vulnerability to climatic change and eliminate food insecurity.

I was able early in life to grasp the importance of helping others without being asked or seeking recognition because of the incredible example both my parents have set. Their love of serving others has instilled in me not only the necessity of it, but also love and passion for it. It was through this joy that I stumbled upon my major at Providence College: Public and Community Service Studies. I more recently decided that a double major was something I wanted to take on, so I decided on adding Health Policy and Management. Going on a trip to learn more about Heifer was right up my alley and I’m so grateful I get to have such a great experience.

So my dad and I are embarking on a journey that makes me both nervous and excited. My new Garnet Hill suitcase is way overstuffed with fleeces and socks, our passports are packed, and we are ready to explore, learn about Peru, pet alpacas, and bond over tea and tight quarters. So here we go! See you in 10 days, America! :)

Watch for more about Libby and Russ’s Peru trip here on Threads and at her blog:

Follow us on instagram @garnethillpics for behind-the-scenes travel pictures.

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