Fiona, who is currently completing a gap year with Step into the Gap, shares her experiences in Peru and how she brought a little bit of Peru back to Bedminster for Lent.

180116 children with gappers

On Sunday 14th February, Holy Cross Bedminster’s CAFOD group banded together to host a Peru-themed Lent Fast Day fundraiser at the end of Sunday Mass. This was inspired by parishioner and CAFOD ‘Step into the Gap’ Gapper Fiona Sim who spent time with five of CAFOD’s partners in Peru.

Fiona and fellow Gappers Bea, Michelle, and Alice, actually had the opportunity to spend a day with the women of Sweet Temptations—a women’s food co-operative supported by CAFOD’s partner Solidaridad.

They got involved with the baking and cooking in the morning. In the afternoon, they set off to accompany one of the women to a marketplace where she sold her freshly made empanadas con pollo and keke naranja (chicken empanadas and orange cake).

They got to learn a lot about the lives of the women and how Solidaridad has had a significant impact on their lives. Solidaridad provides training in some of the poorer communities in Lima to develop business skills, cooking skills, and even self-esteem in women. We learned that this empowers the women to manage their own businesses and become financially independent so that they are able to make a living for themselves.

As a result, each member of the CAFOD group took on a Peruvian dish in solidarity with the women of Sweet Temptations. The group was sure to try and make the dishes as authentic as possible by following recipes used by Sweet Temptations themselves. There was everything from empanadas to corn biscuits to local Peruvian tea called Herba Luisa.

I spoke to Margaret Webb, a parishioner at Holy Cross, who said:

“I have been involved with CAFOD for 20 years. I have been doing fast days for just as long – we have grown over the years, we have a CAFOD table in church. We are a small parish and last year we collected over £1000.

“I like how CAFOD uses local agencies. They are talking to agencies who say what they need and it goes straight to them, there is nothing wasted. Fiona spoke on the weekend and talked about Peru – everyone clapped at the end.

“Normally we have soup and a roll, this year, Fiona who has done a gap year and has just got back from Peru has brought back some recipes so we are opening up a Peruvian Kitchen.

“They are not rich recipes – I made these biscuits – sugar, flour butter and milk and I am making them ready for Sunday. Then someone is making cheese twists, and someone is making a big cake. We are holding the Peruvian Lunch after Mass and we hope to increase the number of people that stay so we can increase the donations we send to CAFOD – it is a different way of celebrating.”

peruvian lent lunch2peruvian lent lunch







The parish was buzzing with energy and curiosity over the event, and everyone dug in to try the homemade Peruvian foods. It was a great fundraising event that helped to raise awareness of the work that CAFOD supports in countries like Peru.


Donate to the Lent appeal:

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