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Tres veces a Pisco

This trip marks my third return to this place, which is becoming more familiar than home. Each time I revisit Pisco I am greeted with the familiar energy I remembered, but easily see new circumstances facing the organization and reconstruction. From the moment I stepped foot in Lima I was greeted by our Peruvian friend Jessica, a Peruvian journalist who spent over two months volunteering with BWB and continues with Pisco sin Fronteras. Entering her apartment quickly connected my two worlds. Comfortably sleeping on her apartment floor were Dakota, similarly returning to Peru following Burning Man, and a member of BWB’s ECP plumbing team, Mike. Moments of internal connection are important. Within seconds in this small Lima apartment, my perception of the American Dream theme was represented by four separate nationalities dedicated to a cause.

Upon planning my last departure, I was drawn to return. During our operation as BWB we worked closely with the local population hoping to empower them to lead their community and carry on similar activities and operations. During the last month of BWB operations this became a reality with the dedication of two close Peruvian friends Will and Harold. These two decided to spearhead the formation of Pisco Sin Fronteras (PSF), a Peruvian based organization, focused on providing for those most in need. They are continuing our efforts and working hard in a similar fashion. Unlike BWB and other international organizations, they don’t have a pull out date. With the right support they can provide the needed assistance for years to come. In our initial planning meetings I quickly realized, not only had we taken the energy of playa out to the larger world, but also we inspired those unfamiliar with Burning Man to keep the gift economy going. To me, that is what BWB is all about – taking our energy, focusing it as an assistance organization that does things a little differently and a lot more colorfully than the others.

Experiencing the difficulties involved with forming a new organization parallels my first trip here and the many problems we had to overcome during the setup of the Peru Project. Volunteer numbers fluctuate and the money to continue operating is always a major concern. Combine those with living in sub prime conditions and dealing with constant security worries, makes you kind of wonder how this all seems to work so naturally. Very quickly, I remembered how and why this works so well; it ís the drive of every volunteer, the inner purpose you feel when you share a city with people so unfortunate. The ambition and devotion of PSF volunteers was tested very early into the organization’s formation.

One morning four men, representing the wounds of this devastated city, pushed their way into the headquarters with a different request. The men entered with the intention to rob and degrade the wonderful work ahead of this organization. The men left with three volunteers backpacks and the items in them, but left the organization with the hard questions of why and what now? This incident brought the volunteers closer and led many to better comprehend the dangers as well as the needs of this area. I arrived two days after this horrible robbery and have spent much time working with PSF to better provide security and keep the energy positive. After long days of electric and light installation, building a new door, and many other fortifying measures to the headquarters; I figured it was time for PSF’s first burn.

The burn we had the following weekend was one of the best I’ve experienced. We wanted to celebrate our ability to stay strong, focus on the work ahead of us, and not let the actions of a few ruin the potential to help so many. That night with all of us surrounding this giant gun we did just that. As PSF continues to grow, I hope that night will never be forgotten. I am grateful to have been a part of BWB in Peru and am equally grateful to be a part of PSF. I hope the Burner spirit will always be a part of Pisco and that many more of us can share the experiences of this special place. Check out their website at or feel free to send me an email anytime at



One Response to “Tres veces a Pisco”

  1. Mom says:

    That’s a moving synopsis of action…I’m very proud of you and wish you a safe return.