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Life in Peru's Sacred Valley

Petit portrait.jpg

30 Second Snapshot

Name  Petit
Your home base  Sacred Valley, Peru
Aside from a passport, the three items you always travel with   Music, good books & my phone
Your perfect meal on the road  Salad – wherever I can find it!
The best thing you’ve read in the last 6 months  The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
Your travel soundtrack  All types of music, usually in French or Spanish
The one place you’ve been that you think everyone should visit  Patagonia – it's an epic, never-ending destination
The one place you’ll always return to, no matter how many times  Home, as it's where I belong
The one Never-Have-I-Ever destination that you hope to visit  Bhutan. I would like to stay there for a few months and just breathe!
The one thing that most surprised you on your last trip  Antarctica, as it was like nothing else on this planet


Meet Petit, owner of the Sol y Luna Hotel and Association, who left behind successful corporate life for the Sacred Valley of the Incas to improve the lives of the world’s poorest children. In 1999, together with her husband Franz, she started an education project for local children which has evolved into the Sol y Luna Intercultural School. In order to support these education initiatives, Petit and her husband built the wonderful Sol y Luna boutique hotel – a pioneering, sustainable tourism project in the depths of Peru. 

Tell us about your journey and what brought you to call the Sacred Valley in Peru home?
Destiny brought me to Peru. I used to work in the mining industry and that was how I came to live in Lima. Then, I found myself at one of life's crossroads and decided to take a side road! I left behind my life and moved to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This was now 20 years ago. My husband, Franz, and I shared a dream of setting up our life in a corner of the world where we could improve the future of some of the world’s poorest children. In Franz, I met the perfect match: I am overflowing with ideas for how to educate these children, and Franz possesses the gift of being able to build and realise these audacious dreams.
How would you describe a typical day?
I love to wake early, cuddle with my family, go for a morning run and then work, work, work – sharing my time between the hotel guests and the children of the foundation. I'll read a book in the evening if there's still time. 
What propelled you to embark on an education project for local children in the Sacred Valley back in 1999?
One of the first things Franz and I did when we moved to the Sacred Valley was to visit the local communities and I will never forget the first time I entered a classroom. It was so sad, terribly sad, with abandoned children in a dark place – not light, no colour, no life. Despite all of this, the children were so positive, with huge smiles on their faces. That's how we fell in love with them and decided to do something to help.
How does your philanthropy link to your boutique hotel, Sol y Luna? 
The 'raison d’être’ of the association is to deliver a high level of education to children who would otherwise have to walk for hours each day to get to a very basic school, or not attend school at all.  Our aim is to give the gift of education to the local children so that tomorrow they can be the protagonist of their own life. And, at the same time, to show the world that no matter where you were born, and in what conditions, all children have the right to go to the same school. Sol y Luna is our home, checking the details, receiving our guests, talking with them, guiding them, is part of our daily life. I would say that like at the foundation, we have no limit to our generosity for our guests!
Having lived in Peru for the last 30 years, how have you seen the country change?
Definitely there has been an amazing economic growth in the past few years, but I don't think this boom has benefited the people of the Andes. There has been very little change in education and health care here – both remain inaccessible for most local people.
As an avid traveller, other than Peru, where in the world inspires you? 
I would say the entire world, and simply being alive, inspires me.
Where is your go-to place for time with family and/or friends?
Here in the Sacred Valley, we keep returning to the Pumahuanca Valley, just above our home, which is very peaceful for a day of hiking – I actually just spent last Sunday there with my family.
Finally, what does the future hold for Petit in Peru?
I'm not sure, but I am excited to discover it...