A COLLECTION OF POEMS WRITTEN BY CATHAL CREGG AND PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY JACKELINA PANDO KELLY AND THE UCC MEDICAL STUDENTS DURING THEIR TRIPS TO THE ANDES, PERÚ
Words By Cathal Cregg. Music by “Days”. Video by Niall Cole.
Should we stop the hawk from killing the tiny little sparrow? Then the hawk’s young would die why should our minds be so narrow?
Do you look at something majestic and realise you’re meant to be a witness?
When you witness something majestic, do you know you did?
And do you give yourself time to process its beautiful meaning?
“And would he live in Rome among priceless paintings and from gold and silver sup? Or would he have supper with the poorest man and drink from a wooden cup?”
“You see, when I could see, I couldn’t see past the blindness in my heart. I never knew who Jesus was, my sight kept us so far apart.”
“Butterflies like seagulls inside my stomach pit, I spread my coat on the ground for her to sit”
“That warlike fire that burns inside, Full of anger and revenge. Peace will come like cool water, And quench without a single hair singe.”
“And I screamed in silence in a voice, not for human ear, “Please see me, please see me, I am here, I am here.”
“Many famous men release many famous beauties from their solid tomb”
“Sometime, somewhere, somehow, But all before 6 months. Hard to believe. No, no, no, Here I am on God’s death row.”
“In our wonderful society, this woman has no part, Your greed and selfish ways kept that eye blinded in your heart.”
JACKELINA (JACKIE) PANDO KELLY was born in Lima, Perú, from a Peruvian father, Manuel and an Irish mother, Helen. She did her undergraduate training at a medical school in Perú, and then moved to Ireland and completed her paediatric training in 2010.
She is currently a Clinical Lecturer at the Department of Paediatrics & Child Health at University College Cork (UCC) and works also in the Out-Patients Paediatric Department at Cork University Hospital.
As a medical student, Jackie started working with the OMG (Operación Mato Grosso) which is a movement of Italian volunteers working in Perú, founded in 1967, by Father Hugo de Censi, an Italian priest living in Perú since then. In 1994 the OMG inaugurated the Mama Ashu Hospital in the rural town of Chacas, at 3,359 metres (11,000 feet) above sea level in the Andes.
Funds for medicine and other necessary supplies are now raised by volunteer groups in Italy and most recently, in Ireland too. The hospital depends entirely on Italian, Peruvian and Irish doctors and nurses, who volunteer their time and services. The hospital provides health services to over 8,000 people, who without this help, wouldn’t have any medical care.
Jackie continues to work at the hospital as a volunteer each summer. Since 2012, she has been taking UCC medical students to the hospital to do an elective rotation during the summer, while Jackie works as a Paediatric doctor there. Jackie has also been able to take junior doctors to Perú who are doing their paediatric training in Ireland. She is the only Paediatric doctor who volunteers in the hospital, so children have to wait for her annual visit every July to be seen if they have specific paediatric conditions that other doctors cannot resolve for them.
Jackie believes it is important to continue taking medical students to Perú, as there is a need for young people to open their eyes, minds and hearts to the needs of millions of people as those living in the Andes in South America. She hopes that giving this opportunity to the students will provide them with a life changing experience that will guide them and bring insight into their future careers as doctors. Before travelling every year, Jackie and the medical students do fundraising activities to purchase medicines for the hospital.
Where your money goes, if you buy this book
All the income obtained from the sale of the book will go directly to Mama Ashu Hospital, Peru to purchase medicine and equipment needed to help the sick people in the Andes.
How the money is used
Operación Matto Grosso (OMG). The OMG is a movement composed principally of young Italians who give their time to help the very poor in Perú, Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia. Their biggest mission in Perú is based in Chacas.
Operación Matto Grosso (OMG) and their work in Chacas, Perú
San Martin de Chacas (city of the stone) is located in the east-central region of Ancash, in the Peruvian Andes. It has a population of 2,082 and it is located at 3,359 metres above sea level, surrounded by the stunning mountain peaks of the “Cordillera Blanca” (white range of mountains). Chacas was founded in the 1570s by the Spanish, but long before the Spanish arrived in this area, pre Inca civilisations like Chavín de Huántar and Huari, settled here.
The OMG is a movement composed principally of young Italians who give their time to help the very poor in Perú, Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia. Their biggest mission in Perú is based in Chacas. In the 1970s, the first volunteers started working to collect
donations in Italy in order to help Father Hugo de Censi, an Italian priest who had decided to live in Chacas, at the time a very remote and poor village. The next step for the volunteers was to go on a mission and learn about the lives of these very poor and neglected people. They became directly involved with the problems of the poor communities, such as those related to agriculture, building of houses, education and health.
Nowadays, there are over 2,500 Italian volunteers who reside in South America. They are supported by thousands more in Italy who raise funds there to help the mission. Recently, fundraising in Irelandhas also started to support the hospital in Chacas
Among the most important work that the OMG has in place now in the Andes in Perú are:
Young men study here to obtain a degree as an Art Specialist in wood and stone crafting, sculpture, restoration, artistic painting, stained glass windows and others. After obtaining their degree, they can join the “Family of Crafters Don Bosco” which is an industrial cooperative in which they can work in their own specialities making wooden and stone furniture, paintings, etc. This art and craftwork is sold in Europe (mainly in Italy) and in the USA. In this way, the young men earn a salary and support their own families and at the same time the mission can continue obtaining funds for their ongoing work.
Workshop, School & Weaving Co-operative
Young women are taught the techniques of hand and machine weaving. They obtain a degree and then join the co-operative where alpaca jerseys and “ponchos” are made and exported to Italy to be sold there.
Nursing and Midwifery School
This was created with the aim that young people could be trained as nurses and/or midwives, remain in their own local towns and work in the local hospitals, health centres and rural communities.
Hospital Mama Ashu-Chacas
Funded entirely with donations – the doctors and nurses working there are mostly Italian but also Peruvians, who volunteer their time and expertise to help the very poor and the sick. Recently, Irish doctors and University College Cork medical students have been volunteering at the hospital too.
Homes for Elderly, Special Needs Children and Adults, Orphans and Malnourished Children
All along the different villages in the Andes where the OMG has volunteers, homes like these have been created to help the most vulnerable. They become permanent residents of these homes, and are provided with accommodation, food and a caring environment.
For more information about the OMG’s work in Peru, visit www.30giorni.it or search YouTube for Operación Matto Grosso.
CATHAL CREGG was born on a small farm just five kilometres outside Boyle in Co. Roscommon, Ireland. After completing his Leaving Certificate in 1979, he commenced an apprenticeship in stone cutting and carving, which included studying the art of hand cut lettering in stone. He completed his studies and qualified as a stone carver in 1982. His earlier career was spent hand carving Celtic crosses and handcut lettering. In 1984 he established his own stone business, a company which has been very successful and which currently has up to 90 employees.
From a very young age Cathal was a very keen sportsman, competing very successfully in the sport of orienteering, and mountain marathon running. He used his love of these sports to raise funds for various charities and set himself many difficult tasks in the process, like climbing Croagh Patrick seven times in under 14 hours and climbing to the highest point in all 32 counties in Ireland in 98 hours. In 2004 Cathal led a team that set a new world record for climbing the five highest mountains in all five countries in the British Isles, completing the task in 16 hours and 15 minutes, a record which to this day has not been broken. In 2012 Cathal returned to formal studies and qualified as a Nutritional Counsellor in 2014.
In 2015 Cathal started to write poetry and short stories. His writings are based on his own personal experiences, the lives of people he meets and the conversations he listens to in his daily life.
Cathal met Jackie in 2008. Both of them were volunteers with the IHCPT (Irish Pilgrimage Trust), an organisation which takes children with special needs to Lourdes in France every Easter. Cathal became very interested in the work Jackie did in Perú and in the work of the Mama Ashu Hospital in Chacas, and since then has been fundraising for the hospital.
Cathal is married to Patricia and has three children, Stephen, Gary and Rachael. He lives in Athlone, Co. Roscommon.
This book is a collection of poems written by Cathal and photos taken by Jackie and the UCC medical students during their trips to the Andes in Perú. The poems are a collection of words that try to express the essence of life in its many different aspects, from the common day to day life, to the deepest thoughts and feelings that lie beneath each of us as human and spiritual beings.
The photos try to capture the beauty of the surroundings of Mama Ashu Hospital and the rural town of Chacas, which is just one of the many hidden and lost towns that lie between the shadows of the stunning snowy peaks and the brown and green colours of the Andean mountains. These photographs also try to capture the simple, but profound beauty of its people and of their daily life with its moments of happiness but also with its struggles.
All the income obtained from the sale of the book will go directly to Mama Ashu Hospital, to purchase medicine and equipment needed to help the sick people in the Andes. We want to thank you for your generosity and for your kind support. Our hope is not only to raise funds to help the ones in need, but that we can all enjoy the message, the music and rhythm of the words in the poems; and the colours and the living spirit behind each of the photos.
Our deepest wish is that this book awakens in our hearts, the deepest feelings of compassion and universal love for everything and for everyone. We are all one, and our ultimate journey is that one in which we open the door, we look inside, and we say to others and to ourselves, all as one: “Hello in there…”
If you would like to contact Cathal to find out more about this book of poems or maybe how you could contribute in some way to the project, then please do so by filling in the contact form