To celebrate New Year’s Eve and to start 2012, Billy and I headed south to SU’s abandoned boys home in the city of Ica.
I’ve written about my experiences in Ica before. It is one of the properties that my group from First Presbyterian has visited every year since 2002, and it is where I most recently wrote about delivering water. Ica is located approximately 5 hours south of Lima, in the Atacama Desert – considered to be the driest desert in the world.
Wanting to do something fun with the boys for the holiday (and thanks to a generous donor), we were able to rent a bus and go with all of the boys and staff to the beach. Since the city of Ica is about 1.5 hours from the Pacific Ocean, going to the beach isn’t a frequent occurrence for the boys at the home.
Before we had even left the Ica city limits, I could hear some of the younger boys sitting behind me on the bus talking about how excited they were to go to the ocean, what they were planning on building in the sand, and wondering how cold the water was going to be. The closer we got to the coast, the more excited and anxious they got.
Upon arrival to the small beach, we piled out of the bus and walked to the water. Some of the boys immediately dropped their towels, took of their shirts and ran into the water while others sat in the sand and started to build their castles, trenches and one even dug out a mini pool.
After spending a lovely afternoon in the sun and salty water, we headed back to the house to anxiously wait the start of 2012. About 10pm, we gathered in the dining room to talk about the successes and challenges from the previous year, inspire and motivate for 2012 and enjoy a late dinner.
As the clock got closer to midnight, anticipation grew and so did the “what time is it?!” questions. To make sure we could wish each other feliz año right at midnight, an countdown clock was set and we spent the last 30 seconds of 2011 counting down (we couldn’t watch the annual special “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest”).
As soon as the clock struck twelve, the sky over Ica was lit up with colorful fireworks (I’m starting to think that with every celebration in Peru, there will be fireworks at midnight). Hearing this, the boys jumped out of their seats and ran outside to watch the colorful bursts in the dark sky. We set off our own fireworks on the soccer field, lit boxes of sparklers and distributed glow bracelets to all of the boys. They consequently spent the next few hours running around with sparklers and waving their glow bracelets in the air.
First photograph from 2012 at Girasoles Ica.
The next day, both Billy and I were greeted with a cheerful feliz año! from the boys. We spent a relaxing first day of 2012 in the sun, hanging out with the boys and even Skyping with friends in Dearborn.