Tuesday, June 9th.
After such amazing experiences on Monday, our first real day of experiences down here, I was so excited for Tuesday! I was exhausted after travel and trying to adjust to the altitude, but I think we were all experiencing a little bit of a rush!
As an aside, I just went to Walmart tonight and bought some items to send to Angely for her 9th birthday. It’s in September, but it takes a good 3 months for items to get there at the moment so I am sending things now. I’m so grateful that the Compassion staff traveling with us were able to mention that they are actively trying to reduce the time between letters. I can’t tell you how excited I am to buy her things knowing more about her interests and what kinds of things I can send through the mail! More about that in the post for Saturday.
We headed out to a rural area outside of Huancayo called Sapallanga. The first center we visited was Rescatando Valores Student Center. It was the morning so there weren’t any kiddos there yet.
The pastor talked about how he prayed for so long that God would give them more room, and the people of the church came together and built the addition to their small church. It’s now 3 stories tall! Every pastor we met had such a heart for the kids. After the pastor was done speaking, we enjoyed a dance by the staff all dressed up in bright costumes!
After the festivities, we went upstairs to look at the classrooms. The first class we went to was led by Anna. Anna is about 9 months pregnant, and as of this writing, she may have had her first baby! She was explaining the classroom to us and showing us around when she said she wanted to tell us something. She then went out to tell us that she was in the Compassion sponsorship program since she was young and even into the LDP (Leadership Development) program. She said that we, the sponsors, are the heroes to the kids. I happened to glance over at a family group member, and he was looking skyward with glassy eyes. I had to stop looking at him as I was already feeling emotional. I loved her immediately. She was so sweet. We prayed for her and her family. I think we were just about all in tears by the end of that one.
After the classroom visits, we headed out again to visit some homes and bring baskets of food and supplies with us. This time we went to a home that seemed less happy than the one we visited the previous day. So much despair. I could almost feel it. The mom and children were nice, but I knew something was not quite right. There were skinny animals, like the cat and her kitten that were hiding out nearby that just seemed to make the mood even more heavy and depressed. The sun seemed particularly oppressive while we were there since we were sitting outside. The pictures kind of tell the story. The oldest daughter was wearing a shirt that said in English “Smile, God loves you.” We explained to her via Shirley what that meant in Spanish. I think she was happy to know that.
We asked the mother what we might pray for, and she said that the father does not treat the family well. That was pretty rough to hear. When it came time to pray, I surprised myself by saying that I would. I honestly don’t know where the words came from, but I just remember asking God to show that man that He is real through his children. I was very thankful for my family group at this point since we were able to reflect on this visit later when we were together. I hope that the families we visited felt love from us.
It was somewhat of a relief then, that we made our way to the director’s house for a big lunch of pachamanca! Basically, it’s kind of like Peruvian barbecue! Chicken, potoatoes, and sweet tamales are piled onto very hot rocks and covered, and everything cooks together. It was SO tasty! My favorite were probably the sweet tamales with raisins in them – I had 3! After the meal, Soledad told us to drink some munia tea which is supposed to help with digestion. I’m not sure if it did or not, but I just drank it quickly as it didn’t taste the best!
After lunch, the staff and pastor presented us with wonderful alpaca scarves with the project information embroidered on them. It’s probably one of my favorite things. I, and probably my traveling companions, was blown away that they gave us gifts. It was incredibly humbling because they’re the ones doing all the work, and it was such an honor just to imagine that they were even thinking of us.
Next up was a project in Chupaca. We gathered up to listen to the pastor speak and enjoy some children singing and/or dancing. My particular favorite was the teens dancing. They had a great time! We also saw quite a few very scenic landscapes on the way there so I’m including a few of those pictures as well. Plus, I like donkeys! (My parents raise mini-donkeys so I’m a fan of all donkeys.)
If anyone reading this blog is considering sponsoring a child, please consider Anelize! She’s at this project and needs a sponsor. I only have her information until the beginning of July at which time she’s going to go back out through Compassion’s other channels. Peruvian children are just the best so if you’re interested, please leave me a comment or contact me through other channels! I’m committed to getting her a sponsor because that’s the least I can do for the way the children blessed me through this trip.
We also played a game with the teenagers at this project. Basically, we all held hands and moved as quickly as we could in a circle when the leader of the game shouted “Heera! Heera! Heera!” Then when they decided enough time had passed, they called out a number in Spanish, and that’s how many people you had to get into a group with. Fortunately for some, we had a translator call out the number in English. There were so many of us, we ended up outside the classroom on the rooftop. I usually ended up in a good group because you just put your arms around anyone nearby and hoped you ended up with the right number! Of course there were some people and kids who got pushed/pulled into other groups! It was quite amusing.
I was surprised at just how much I’m loving kids at this point. Anyone who has known me for a while knows that I’m not really someone who wants to hang out with kids all the time. I never got tired of the hugs and the smiles and the laughter of these Peruvian children. They were all so excited to see us! These projects around Huancayo have never had a group sponsor visit in the 10 or so years they’ve been operating because there were no commercial flights available nearby until only recently. I hope that we did well in representing those sponsors that may never be able to make it down to Peru in person. I gave out as many hugs as I could!
We went out to dinner at the mall in Huancayo to a restaurant that was okay. I think they didn’t do particularly well under the stress test that about 40-ish people put on their small location!
Almost to Wednesday! If I wasn’t tired before, this would do it for sure!