A CCIM's South American journey makes a difference.
Craig C. Evans, CCIM, distributes winter coats to Peruvian villagers.
At 15,000 feet in the Andean highlands of southern Peru, temperatures hover around 30 degrees and stiff winds pelt sleet at those who trek the remote mountain passes. During a 2005 hiking trip to the region, Craig C. Evans, CCIM, learned firsthand how Peruvians in these remote villages cope with the elements in such a beautiful but harsh environment. Upon returning to New York, he did something to make their lives a little warmer.
Last year, Evans led a drive to collect and ship winter coats to the villagers. His chance meeting at a reception with Paul Tagliabue, former National Football League commissioner, resulted in a generous donation of 140 coats from NFL licensees. The water- and wind-resistant coats, which bear NFL team logos and colors, were shipped courtesy of the league to Cusco, Peru, and Evans returned to Peru to help distribute them.
“It was one thing I could do to help improve the quality of life for these people,” Evans says. “The coats were not a perfect solution, but if they helped make someone who was cold a little warmer, why not?”
Meeting alpacas and llamas on mountain paths is a departure from Evans’ role as senior managing director and head of institutional investment sales for Colliers ABR in New York. But when Evans needs a respite from handling investment sales in the U.S. and overseas, he seeks the tranquility and beauty of the Andes.
During the 2005 trip, his encounters with local residents shaped his mission. Evans was inspired by 12-year-old Nelson Olarte, a boy from a nearby village who joined the hike for three days to purchase salt and sugar for his family. Wearing only lightweight slacks, sandals, and a fleece sweater in cold temperatures, Nelson maintained a positive attitude and was delighted to join the group.
“In the equatorial region of Peru, the temperatures and weather conditions really change as you climb to a high altitude,” Evans says. “Nelson impressed the heck out of me because he never complained.”
Enthralled by the spectacular mountains and glaciers, as well as the Peruvian people, Evans prefers taking the roads less traveled rather than following the “traditional Inca hike on the tourist track,” he says. But even in the Andes, conditions are changing for the villagers as electricity is being provided in some regions. “The construction of the Trans-Oceanic Highway, a joint project between Peru and Brazil, will dramatically improve access to this area,” he says. “However, the mountain villages will still be remote.”
Evans has planned a two-week trip to the region beginning August 31 and is collecting donations of basic medical supplies and enlisting help from hikers who can provide medical care. A nurse and two doctors will join Evans and he welcomes other hiking enthusiasts as well. Those interested in contributing medical supplies or joining the hike can contact Evans at email@example.com.