Sometimes life can be really lonely here. Despite being relatively connected to the States, we do get homesick! If you miss us and want to send either of us (or both!) a letter or package, we’d love to hear from you! Thanks to current/former volunteers here in Perú for most of this information!
Bryan S Ramirez or Andrew Meluch
Cuerpo de Paz
Casilla Postal #779
La Libertad, Peru
Estimated Arrival Times:
LETTERS: 2-6 WEEKS
PACKAGES: 4-8 WEEKS
*Here’s some pricing information for letters and packages through USPS so there aren’t any surprises [taken from https://postcalc.usps.com/Calculator ](you’ll have to select Peru from the menu). Please note, there are other ways to send packages to Peru (including DHL, FedEX, and others) but USPS is actually the most reliable, even if it’s a bit more expensive.
- Postcards and Letters: $1.15/each
- Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope: $32.20 (up to 4 pounds)
- Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box: $33.60 (up to 4 pounds)
- Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box: $72.30 (up to 20 pounds)
- Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box: $94.25 (up to 20 pounds)
Here are some tips:
- Re-pack any food items in a ziplock bag (especially candy). If animals like rats smell it, they will eat through the package. Make sure it’s in a box/bag of something non-food like, such as a box/bag of pens, etc. Food is iffy and sometimes doesn’t get allowed through customs.
- Un-package all products to reduce weight/space – you can always cut out any instructions or descriptions from the packaging and send
- If sending by envelope: place all items in a sturdy bag and then inside the envelope (for when the envelope gets slit/cut/torn en route, the items will remain in the bag)
- Send packages so completely covered in tape that customs can’t even open them. Make it so that if they did open the box, they’d just find other smaller boxes wrapped in more tape. Make it difficult for a random person to get inside!
- If you think something is valuable or possibly enticing to someone who may look inside, you can tape something to the inside of an empty tampon box for example and re-seal the box with glue. Some solid advice we’ve heard from other Volunteers!
Declaring and addressing the customs forms for packages:
- You must complete a customs form (available at the post office or online at the USPS store.) Their online store will send you mailing supplies for free.
- Do not declare a total value over $10 and always write things like “religious materials, bibles, teaching materials, candy, letters, pens, stickers, gum, paper, magazines” etc. Also, for anything that appears to be over $100, we will be charged a customs fee. We doubt this will be an issue, but if someone does and you paid less than $100, please include the sales receipt.
- Do not send clothes or electronics. We will be charged a hefty customs fee, probably higher than the value of the thing you’re sending, or they simply won’t allow it in the country. If there’s something you really want to send, consider consulting us first. It may be easier to just Venmo/Cash App us and we can buy it in Trujillo or Lima!
- Draw a cross, write Bible verses and phrases like, “Jesus loves you” and “God is watching” on the box. For example you could write: “Jon 3:16: Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo que dio a su único Hijo, para que todo aquel que cree en él, no perezca, sino que tenga vida eterna…”
- Similar to the previous bullet point, consider labeling our packages: Hermano Bryan S Ramirez , or Hermano Andrew Meluch. This, paired with crosses, bible verses, etc. written on the envelope/box will make it much less likely for customs to open it, as they will associate the package with something religious, which, being a heavily religious and mostly Catholic country, can make it less of a hassle if we’re picking something up and less likely to be charged some sort of customs fee.
- Packages coming from America are assumed to be very valuable, and you don’t want to give some random person working in the system a reason to open/take anything.
Things Volunteers Love/ Our Wish List (to be updated as need-be)
- Vegan protein bars (Lara bars, Cliff bars, etc)
- Nutritional Yeast (we need the vegan chz pls)
- Other Vegan Snacks (like vegan cheeze-its, sour cream and onion chips, etc.)
- Vegan Protein Powder (Sunwarrior, Vega [you can buy this kind at Costco])
- Vegan chocolate (there’s so much milk in everything here)
- Candy (vegan, pls!)
- Good quality ink pens
- Mechanical pencils and lead for them (those like don’t exist here)
- Markers (various colors)
- Papelotes (these are basically giant sheets of paper for making posters, etc…. we have to give lots of these presentations and projectors aren’t really a thing in rural sites)
- Flashdrive(s) with new songs/movies/etc
- Other stuff: we can most likely get everything else in the major cities here, but if you really still want to send something our way, feel free to reach out privately to Venmo us or Cash App us buttttt – don’t ever send money through the mail! And checks are a no-go, we have no where to cash them! Reach out to us first.
Things NOT to Send (because you can find them everywhere here/not allowed):
- Peanut butter
- Oreos, Ritz, etc.
- Books/Physical Movies
- Physical Cash/Checks