The charity I am working with, called EcoSwell, work directly in a town called Lobitos. It is tucked away in the North coast of Peru.
Known mostly as a quiet surf town, it is primarily visited by travellers and surfers passing by. Online reviews of the area are always positive, complimenting its peaceful atmosphere and beautiful beaches, but also acknowledge its eerie, deserted vibe. An article states that ‘Lobitos have a population of about 1,650 people, where approximately 27% of the population live in poverty and 14% live in extreme poverty’. This is because this now quiet town has a much darker past.
In the early 20th Century, British Petroleum took over the Lobitos coast line, drilling and exporting oil. The town experienced a boom of foreign money coming in from oil trade. At first the town benefited as many grand houses, hospitals and roads were built, quickly becoming a quite popular destination in Peru. Nonetheless, these privileges were exclusive for the British colony that was forming, and the natives were actually forbidden to use the facilities.
As a result, in the 1960s, the left wing party came into power and everything was nationalized. The town became deserted and isolated. Jobs were lost and the ecosystem was left damaged and brutally abandoned. By the 1980s, the state was divided again by Civil war. Military bases were abandoned, museums and galleries looted and the town fell into desolation.
War is now a thing of the past and the city is in peace, but it still bares its scars. Life is simple and self sufficient. As a coastal town, most turn to fishing to provide for their families. Nevertheless, Lobitos passes through the dry barren desert of Northern Peru. Agriculturally speaking, of course this proves very challenging. There is virtually no rainfall all year round, which will limit crop growth, farming and general living conditions. That said, Lobitos have not given up hope. It is still characterised as a very welcoming and beautiful town.
It’s no wonder why EcoSwell take it upon themselves to help the people and the ecosystem of Lobitos. And that’s exactly what I plan to do!
To read up more about Lobitos history, have a look at these links;