Gerry set to fly off on Peruvian orphan mission
Gerry Campbell is one of the full-time conference team at King’s Church, Norwich, but during three weeks of his annual holiday, he becomes Tío (Uncle) Gerry to a group of orphans in Peru. Les Champion reports.
Gerry was first introduced to the youngsters via a friend of a friend. Some 18 years ago, as restaurant manager at Sprowston Manor, he worked alongside Hazel Chalk, who introduced him to Christ, and later to her friend Rosemary Dobson, who initiated the work in the Peruvian orphanage, and adopted by Kingscare (Aldershot) in 2002.
Gerry loves wielding a paintbrush and wallpapering, and when he heard of the need for decorating new premises for the orphans, it struck a chord in his heart, and he arranged to go out to the city of Huanuco, about 200 miles NNE of the Peruvian capital Lima.
This is not a journey to be undertaken lightly, because it includes a ten-hour bus journey across the Andes, with some heart-stopping moments along the way, as the bus careers along roads occasionally bounded by a sheer drop. Worse still is when two buses happen to meet at inopportune moments. On top of that, Gerry has to conquer a fear of heights.
Travel in this manner is not Gerry’s only challenge - he always has to raise the money for both his travel and his keep, as the home runs on a shoestring. God alone has been their provider.
Gerry is about to make his sixth visit, leaving on February 18, and as time passes, rather than the practical work, it is increasingly a love for the children that draws him. They have a hard time, but are greatly loved by Christian carers. Several moves have been involved as benefactors have reclaimed their property, and some of the carers have moved on.
The children have ‘adopted’ Tío Gerry, and look forward to his visits every year, knowing that he has worked hard to get there, and to bring them some personal gifts from friends in Norwich who have in turn ‘adopted’ some of them.
Jordi, one of the boys, now nearly 15, came to the group after he was badly burned trying to rescue his little sister from their burning shack. Much time and effort has raised money for Jordi to have plastic surgery, restoring his disfigured face. He’s now at an orphanage in Lima where they oversee his progress.
A further report of Gerry’s trip can be read in the Easter edition of Good News for Norwich & Norfolk.
Pictured top is Gerry at local sports area, with (L to R) - Hope (9), Rogelio (11) and Kela (10). Above are youngsters Jordi (15) whose is now in Lima for more plastic surgery, with Mateo (16) - who wants to be a journalist.