Because of You!
Casa Chapi Kids Are Healthier

In March, after their summer break, nearly 70% of the kids at Casa Chapi were anemic. Their treatment began by dealing with the root cause of anemia: intestinal parasites. Following treatment for parasites, students received iron supplements to elevate their iron levels, and they continue their progress by taking multivitamins regularly.
Anemia graph web

Anemia affects nearly half of students in Peru. It robs them of their abilities to learn and can cause their IQ to be 10 points lower than their non-anemic peers. It also causes fatigue and affects school attendance and performance.

When students are healthier, they can achieve their fullest potential. Studies have shown that their aspirations for the future increase in direct proportion to their health becoming better. Thanks to your generosity, students at Casa Chapi receive regular health check-ups along with parasite and anemia treatment.

Healthy students will become healthy adults who can influence their communities and

It takes many people with a variety of skills to make Quechua Benefit’s programs in Peru successful. We greatly appreciate our volunteers who use their skills and expertise to help us fulfill our mission of Breaking the Cycle of Poverty among the Quechua people.

Debra Parcheta, the founder and CEO of Blue Marble Enterprises in Aurora, Colorado, is someone who gives of herself and her skills in a way that makes a lasting impact. She recently volunteered in Peru with our anemia campaign in Picotani.

Debra designed the database that Quechua Benefit uses to collect and store data for our anemia prevention campaigns. In the last two years we have collected 160,000 data points on more than 15,000 people. This information will help us make lasting changes with our preventative medicine campaigns.

In Debra’s words: “I learned a lot about the complexity of the serious anemia problem while in Peru and the database will be modified to assist the Quechua team with recording treatments and also recording the delivery of education to the populations being served.  Education is a critical component for the high country communities. This database . . . could begin to produce some compelling reports about the disease and its treatment in Peru.”

Debra didn’t spend all her time with data on her trip. She enjoyed meeting kids and parents, and they loved getting to know her and see her technology. Debra stands 6’1” tall, and the kids thought she was a giant standing in the room with a 6’5” ceiling!

Thank you, Debra for your efforts to help the Quechua people thrive.

Just like Debra, you can use your skills and expertise to make a lasting impact with Quechua Benefit.

Click here to see opportunities for volunteering.





In January 2019, the Wall Street Journal published Bill Gates’ article, “The Best Investment I’ve Ever Made.” Gates believes that certain types of nonprofits are the best investments in all the world. He and Melinda have invested $10 billion into such charities. These charities are not sexy, and even though few people have heard of them, the return on their investment is the highest value play you can make. Especially when you compare it to stocks and bonds. Quechua Benefit is a mini version of the nonprofits Bill describes. Here is Bill’s case in his own words:

  • I’ve always assumed that 10% of my technology investments will succeed—and succeed wildly.
  • Change Discovering a new vaccine, I figured, would be just as hard as discovering the next tech unicorn. (Vaccines are much harder, it turns out.)
  • One type of investment has surprised me. . . . It’s what people in the global-health business call “financing and delivery.” Decades ago, these investments weren’t sure bets, but today, they almost always pay off in a big way.

Bill describes exactly what Quechua Benefit’s anemia prevention campaigns do day in and day out. We organize mass distribution of iron deficiency anemia therapy to the remote highlands of Peru.

Gates continues, “When Melinda and I began investing in these funds back in 2000, our goal was to save lives and stop suffering, and by that measure these institutions have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. But they’ve also been successful in the way that investments traditionally are: They’ve created a lot of wealth, because when people aren’t sick in bed, they can go to work or school.”

Quechua Benefit has a unique strength. We efficiently manage mass delivery of essential services over a vast geographic area to remote communities. The indigenous population in our service area is 1,308,665.

Anemia is the world’s second leading cause of disability, behind only malaria. Anemia has a proven, simple and cost-effective cure. The first step is to treat its primary root cause in Peru: intestinal parasites that devour 25% of the nutrition consumed by their host, cause internal bleeding, fatigue, anemia, and malnutrition. The second step is to administer an inexpensive iron deficiency therapy.

Here’s what the experts say:

Between birth and 5 years of age an anemic child’s brain only develops in size to 75% of its potential.

The typical IQ of a child afflicted by anemia is 10 points less than his unafflicted peer.

In 2016, Quechua Benefit’s first anemia prevention campaign treated 1,000 children for parasites and cured 60% of the anemic children.

From 2016–­2018 Quechua Benefit has treated 15,439 women and children.

When you generously invest your hard-earned money in Quechua Benefit, we can change the world for thousands, even millions of people. Will you join us to wipe out anemia among the Quechua people? With your support, we will.

Peru is the South American country that suffers most from the world’s second most debilitating disease: anemia. With your support, Quechua Benefit has undertaken a major campaign to treat all 38 communities in the Colca Valley for parasites two times a year and cure 60-70% of all pregnant mothers and children through the 12th grade diagnosed with anemia. Our goal is to reduce the overall level of anemia in the community to below 19%.

Anemia is primarily a women’s and children’s issue.

It is present in 54.7% of pregnant highland women, and
49%of children under 6 years of age

Iron deficiency anemia can causes fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath with exertion, headaches, confusion, and even loss of appetite (especially in children). The silent consequence of anemia in children is the lack of cognitive development–it can actually cause their brain to be up to 25% smaller than an unafflicted peer!

Simple, cost-effective treatment can change the future for the women and children who receive it. For $80.00 you can provide treatment for 10 children for a year. Click here to join our campaign against anemia.


March 25-29              San Antonio de Chuca

April 1-10                    Callilli

April 23-27                 Cabanaconde

April 29-30                Picotani

May 6-14                    Caylloma

May 20-29                 Chivay

Our Healthy Communities campaign provides all children in the communities with fluoride treatments and eye exams.

Their high carbohydrate diets, even for the youngest children, often result in severe periodontal disease.

We have a solution.

Through the generosity of long-time supporters of Quechua Benefit, Don and Julie Skinner, the Snowmass Community Health Center in Chivay will expand its operations to provide year-round dental care and eye exams for Colca Valley children, as well as prenatal care and ultrasounds for expectant mothers.

Our new partner, Vitamin Angels, will provide prenatal vitamins, free of charge, for thousands of women annually.

By strengthening and expanding services at the clinic, our medical staff will not only offer routine preventative care, but also have the skills to identify and guide patients who have critical healthcare needs.

Quechua Benefit’s first medical mission, involving primarily physicians, began when Dr. Dwight Bailey and his wife, and registered nurse, Deborah approached Mario Pedroza at the 2009 Futurity Show and Sale. The Baileys are veterans of multiple missions to Africa, India, and South America. The proposed a similar mission to Peru. The charity quickly agreed to help organize and support the trip. A team of 15 volunteers was assembled with lightening speed and all of them arrive in Lima on three different flights around midnight on November 6, 2009. It may sound simple, but coordinating two teams, working at 6 different clinic locations, speaking 3 different languages, at 12,000 to 16,000 feet above sea level is anything but.

Dr. Bailey, who is to be ordained as a Christian Minister when he returns from Peru to the United States, takes charge of clearing the thirty bags of medicine through Peruvian Customs in Lima. It takes two hours and Dr. Bailey’s signature and fingerprints pressed in blue ink on countless documents before we emerge from customs into the misty morning air. Each person carefully shepherds two bags full of medicine, which have been donated to or purchased by Quechua Benefit—$250,000 worth.

The team loads the medicine into a bus and heads to the Hotel Melodia, Peru’s version of a Motel 6. After a quick shower they return to the airport for a 5:55 am flight to Juliaca. With no sleep, the group is quiet as they board the plane.

Dr. Bailey and wife Deborah head up the mission team, which meets eleven more local participants, led by Dr. Willy, Quechua Benefit’s full-time dentist, in the airport parking lot. The Peruvian group is made up of interpreters, drivers, and more mission volunteers from Arequipa. The baggage, medicine, and team members are quickly divided and ushered onto two buses. One heads for the Michell farm, Mulkini, and the other to Pacomarco, owned by Grupo Inca. The team has been up for more than twenty-four hours when they reach their destinations at 2:00 pm on Saturday afternoon. We will be reunited four days and four towns later for a trip to Macusani. After fourteen years of dental missions to Peru, this was Quechua Benefit’s first medical mission and their largest to date—twenty-six members. The Mulkini team is made up of doctors Mary Beth and Jim Anderson, Dwanda Emmons, Lindy and Mirian Huber, and Ursula Munro. Dwight, Debbie, Jessica Sullivan, Sean Hommel, Rhonda Deschner, Marilyn Nishitani, and Dr. Willy head for Pacomarca. All have paid their own way to Peru.

Ursula Munro, a registered nurse from Maine, has always wanted to volunteer for a Quechua Benefit mission. As the bus bounced along the road from Mulkini to Muani, where the first clinic will open, all Ursula can think is “what if no one shows up?” Eight straight work days, six clinics, and 2,216 patients later, Ursula is bone tired, her unwarranted fears forgotten.

The second team unloads their gear at Pacomarca, ten minutes from Llalli, a small town visited numerous times by Quechua Benefit’s dental teams. The new mayor has built a huge edifice, the municipal office, which is crowned with a glass dome standing three stories above the simple adobe buildings that make up the rest of the town. The dome glows a surreal blue in the nightscape of the highlands. But during the day, its top floor becomes an intake lobby with three exam rooms, a pharmacy, and staircases full of patients. Outside, a banner proclaims the medical clinic. The team labors from morning to night seeing 816 patients in three days.

Back at Mulkini, the volunteers tear down the Muani clinic, pack the equipment and store the medicine on the bus. The next morning they are off to Picotani, one of the largest alpaca co-ops in Peru. Their herd numbers 50,000 alpacas and they also manage 5,000 vicuñas behind miles of ten-foot-high fences. The co-op headquarters are approximately two-and-a-half hours up the side of a mountain from Mulkini. The team sees more than seventy-two co-op family members who mostly speak Quechua and live much as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. Only the occasional motorcycle or 4-wheeler betrays any modernity.

The next morning finds the Mulkini team at Mira Sol, an orphanage operated by the Michells and supported by Quechua Benefit. There is a steady stream of children from nearby schools and adults from the town across the river. That night, the two teams gather at Pacomarca. In the morning they begin the climb to Macusani where they will visit Don Julio Barreda’s estancia and conduct a three-day clinic at the town’s hospital.

The group rolls up to the front of Accoyo at 1:30 in the afternoon on Wednesday. Elena Barreda and her sister Guadalupe meet the team, saying they had never seen so many gringos on one bus and certainly not at Accoyo. The farm tour begins with the suris, then the huacaya females, and finally the Plantel males. The sight of so many exceptional alpacas can cause even the most experienced eye to dilate.

Marcus Whitman, the construction manager for Casa Chapi in Chivay, brought his shears for the occasion. The group selects a five-year-old male to shear. A betting pool soon forms, each bettor contributing one dollar and a folded piece of paper with a guess as to the weight of the fourteen-month-old fleece. Marcus hooks the shears’ cables to the truck battery. Accoyo’s cowboys crowd around as the alpaca is stretched out and held with rope handcuffs.

The fleece explodes off the shears. Someone asks if they can change their bet. “No chance,” says the crowd. Thirty minutes later, the fleece has settled down on the scale, and the metal weight comes to rest on twenty-one pounds. Daryl Gohl had guessed 21½ pounds, but Lindy Huber was closer at 21 pounds 5 ounces. She was all smiles as she folded the one-dollar bills into her fleece jacket.

The group of awe-struck alpaca breeders switches tasks to become doctors and nurses once again. They set up a pharmacy and begin to see eighteen of the Accoyo cowboys and their children. Marilyn Nishitani, who is a nurse practitioner in New Mexico, teams with Rhonda Deschner, a pediatrician from Texas. They speak softly to their patients in English, and Inti a translator from Arequipa translates the English to Spanish, Elena Barreda translates to Quechua, and so it goes in reverse. Many of these Quechua patients rarely see a doctor, and the cost puts medicine outside their reach.

Earlier in the day, the patients had been chasing down alpacas, rushing up the hill to bring another group of animals for the gringos to see. A casual observer would pronounce these farm hands fit and healthy. But under the gentle, but persistent, questions of Marilyn and Rhonda, they reveal headaches, stomach aches, leg pain, rapid heart beats, and back problems. One man had been dizzy for more than five years. The ear scope reveals fluid behind both ears and scars on his ear drums. He is given antibiotics, antihistamine, pain medicine, and a worm pill for his aching stomach. Next, a fourteen-year-old girl with worms, neck pain, and a reddened throat is examined; more medicine is prescribed and delivered.

By the time the team leaves Accoyo and arrives in Macusani they have set up and torn down six clinics. Deborah Bailey, CEO of Family Health Care Associates serving about 25,000 people in the Appalachian Mountains, inventories the drugs and files the patient intake forms each evening. She also supervises the pharmacy crew of Dwanda Emmons, Jessica Sullivan, Lindy and Mirian Huber, and Daryl Gohl. Both Dwanda and Jessica work at the Bailey’s clinic in Southwest Virginia.

That night, before the clinic opens in Macusani, Dwight, Willy, Daryl, and I slide furniture into four separate exam rooms where Dr. Bailey, Dr. Rhonda Deschner, General practitioner Marilyn Nishitani, fourth-year medical student Sean Hommel, Dr. Willy, and Dr.’s Jim and Mary Beth Anderson will see patients. Next, we clear out the pharmacy space, unload the medicine, and set up the waiting room chairs. A tent is erected outside, where patient intake forms are filled out by an interpreter and Ursula and Jessica will record blood pressure, and weigh the patients before they see the doctors. It’s ready.

No mission trip is without an “uh… oh… moment,” and our November Mission Mas Grande has its first one as we check into the hotel El Dorado in Macusani just after dark on the sixth day of the trip. The two stars on the sign should be a clue, but the rooms themselves are proof positive. This is not the kingdom of gold from the ancient Peruvian myths. One room has no toilet but does have human feces on the floor. When the problem is pointed out to the proprietor, he argues that it is not human feces. Upon hearing this, Deborah Bailey is uncharacteristically speechless. In the rooms with toilets, they are seat less. Cold water is standard in most of the rooms with baths. The men on the trip spring into action. They locate a clean facility and move all of the women to a new hotel. As mothers often say, all’s well that ends well.

I remain at the Hotel El Dorado, where I have one of my more interesting Peruvian experiences. About 1:00 am, I awake from under seven alpaca blankets that are failing to keep me warm. As I shift to a more comfortable and hopefully warmer position, I feel something fairly heavy, of unknown origin, at the foot of my bed. It shifts in response to my movement. Not quite sure what has just transpired, I wait a few moments to become fully awake. As I roll over again, so does my anonymous companion. Trying to remain calm, I panic instead, kicking with both feet from the prone position. Splat, thud, hissing, and scratching follows; cats, rats, guinea pigs, skunk, and foxes crawl through my mind. I can’t remember the last time I had rabies shots. I resolve to remain perfectly still and not visit the banyo only ten feet away. Hours later, the morning light creeps through the window. I peek out from under the covers—the room is clear. I don’t look under the bed.

The trip, by any measure, was a significant success. The value of the teams’ services in US dollars was at least $212,200 (2,212 patients at $100 per patient), and the retail value of the medicine dispensed exceeded $250,000.

One doctor examined ninety-five patients in one day—the trip’s unofficial record. The oldest clinic visitor was ninety-three years; the longest walk to attend a clinic was five hours by a sixty-year-old man. The last patient, seen on the last day, arrived at 8:00 am and was seen as it got dark that evening.

The prize for the strangest home remedy was given to a patient who told one of the doctors that when her stomach ached, an old Quechua woman told her to drink her son’s urine. She did, and said “I vomited great white worms out of my mouth, but it still hurt”.

The Quechua women wear skirts and sweaters layered over more skirts and sweaters. This makes it difficult for the nurses to take blood pressure readings and for the Doc’s to find their way to bare skin with their stethoscopes. Mary Beth Anderson began counting the number of skirts on her patients. The record was ten; not counting the alpaca knit long johns.

The real measure of any mission is very hard to calculate. How do you put a price on hope? Is there a way to measure the good will generated by volunteers from places so distant that it is incomprehensible to the local Quechua people? A Quechua mother approached me to say thank you during a November dental clinic in Llalli several years ago she said, “My daughter told me her tooth hurt back in August, I told her, don’t worry, the gringos will be here again in November.” For parents who have to wait months before their children can be rid of an aching tooth the gringos are a welcome sight. The poverty of the people seen on these missions is sobering. Many of them are the very people who cared for our alpacas before they came to the US.

The other side of the coin is the corps of dedicated volunteers who put their lives on hold, head off to the uncertain reality of altitude sickness, dysentery, strange food, long days, and roads with potholes from hell, and respond by sharing everything they know. Why do they come home so full of love and happiness for the experience? Why has Ursula Munro, and Deborah Bailey already volunteered to return in March of 2010 for a clinic in the Colca Valley? Once you volunteer you know why.