A “hunger hero”

Posted on April 8, 2008 by ELCA World Hunger

dsc_7871-766048 Kathryn Sime and I had the privilege of traveling in Peru with Pedro Veliz. I count myself as one of his many admirers and I was blessed to have met him. Pedro Veliz is one of my “hunger heroes.” Who are yours?

Below, find excerpts of an LWR press release about Pedro. Find pictures of our Peru travels at www.imageevent.com/elcahunger/peru Blessings, Sue

Picture: Pedro is modeling the Peruvian hat knit for him and stands next to the textile artist who knit it.

LWR Honors Longest-Serving Staff Member
Baltimore, April 8, 2008 – Lutheran World Relief last week celebratedthe 25-year anniversary of its longest-serving staff member, Pedro Véliz, regional representative for the Andean region. Véliz, who is based in Lima, Peru, joined LWR in 1982.

Véliz joined LWR in 1982 as a project coordinator for the AndeanRegional Office in Lima. He has been regional representative, overseeingprogramming in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia, since 1993.
In introducing Véliz, Whisenant recalled his own experience of workingwith and learning from him while serving as LWR’s director for LatinAmerica programs from 1993 to 2000. “To travel to the field with donPedro and to watch him engage with communities is to understand hisprofound appreciation for the innate dignity of others,” Whisenantsaid. “I’ve seen him engage with impossibly old people to learn fromtheir experience and wisdom. And I’ve seen him play with children ofthree years old, to help them imagine themselves far into the future.”

Véliz addressed the gathering of global colleagues, recalling severalstories from his career with LWR.

“Mr. Garcia was a small farmer who lost much his land when it wascovered by rocks and mud during an earthquake,” he said. “He asked me, ‘now what can I do, Engineer?’ I asked him, ‘what do YOU thinkyou can do?’ and he described the greatest plan I had ever heard forrecovering land after such a disaster. The farmer knew what he had todo, but because I was an engineer, he felt the need to validate hisideas. Often, we think that professionals must have all the answers. Butevery day, we learn something new.”

“My deepest and most sincere gratitude to Lutheran World Relief, thisextended arm of the Lutheran church, for having given me the opportunityto learn and to serve,” he said.

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