This is a continuation of the first post, Changed Plans & Unexpected Opportunities – Part 1
Also thanks to Billy’s delayed naturalization to become a Peruvian citizen (missed that story?), we were able to travel to Kimo and Ica with a small group from Scotland and England for two weeks.
In the 12 years that I have volunteered/worked with Scripture Union, I have only been to Kimo four times. I can’t tell you how many times I have been to Kusi or Puerto Alegria, but I’ve only been to Kimo four times – in 2001, 2008, 2011 and this trip. Billy has been many, many times through trips with Ward Church and then while working here, but for some reason it just wasn’t on my itinerary very often.
Kimo is a beautiful place. It is two sites in one – a Girasoles home for boys and a campsite which is used as an income generator for Scripture Union. It is our property in the high jungle, about 9 hours almost directly east of Lima. The property is absolutely huge and there are more than 10 waterfalls on the site.
The property has a rich history. Before it was an SU property, it used to be an avocado farm and to this day has many trees still producing fruit. The whole region is very rich farming land and a lot of oranges, coffee, bananas and many other Peruvian fruits are grown in the area. Starbucks even has a Peruvian blend that comes from the Chanchamayo region. After SU acquired the land, it was used for school and church camps with groups primarily from Lima. There was even time that the Shining Path took over the property during the years of terrorism Peru faced in the mid 80s.
By far, the highlight of the week were the boys at the home – as they are at any of our locations. Despite having made a few trips over the past years, I had yet to visit this boys home. The home didn’t open until 2010 and during my last trip, I was only in Kimo for a day and we stayed on the campsite side of the large property.
There are 21 boys living at the home in Kimo and almost all of them are elementary and early high school age. They were all very sweet and curious about us and the group. We spent the day on the Girasoles side of the property working with the volunteers and spending time with the handful of kids that were either too young to attend school or new to the home and were in the process of starting school. This was also the first time that I was able to spend time with Henry and Eva, the directors/parents at the home.
Mid-week we took the volunteer group out to the surrounding area to visit a few tourist places. As an added surprise, a handful of the boys joined us for the day. We went to a coffee company in the nearby town, played on a playground (that was by the boys’ request), visited a butterfly house which included a mini zoo and visited a local Ashanika tribe.
Looking back on the many conversations Billy and I had with the 5 person group over meals, the walks between the camp side and Girasoles side of the property, the nights in mosquito nets and the smiles, conversations and hugs from the boys, I must say that I truly enjoyed my experience in Kimo and I am looking forward to going back with another group.