Two weeks, two groups and four locations later we’re almost to mid-July…
As I write this, I am heading south to Kawai, our boys home on the beach. We’ve just passed Km 41 on the Panamerica with about 47 more to go. I’m heading to Kawai just for the day to meet one of our groups, Health Bridges International, and to spend a few hours with Billy. HBI is a group of medical and dental volunteers from the United States and Peru. They come two times a year to put on medical and dental clinics for nearby communities where we have Girasoles boys homes. Billy has spent the past 4 days with the group in Ica and now they are spending another 4 days in Kawai.
For me, the last few weeks have added a considerable amount of kilometers to my travel total. I was able to spend a week with some familiar faces from home with the annual group from First Presbyterian. Despite the fact that Billy and I were in Michigan in April and have plans to return for home leave in the fall, it is still always nice to have a group from home come to our other home. I am blessed to have faithful supporters from my home church, and even more blessed that the church has partnered and committed to support Scripture Union through a yearly work group. The church has been faithfully sending a work team every year since 2001 and has been a blessing to the Girasoles boys and Scripture Union staff.
I started my week with the First Presbyterian group in Kusi and from there we headed south to Ica. In both locations the group wanted to have a party to celebrate friendship. We decorated the dining room with crepe paper and balloons one night before dinner and each boy received a party bag with some small toys, candy and a bottle of soda. Over the years, the group has watched many of these kids grow up and they wanted to do something special to celebrate the years of friendship shared.
In Ica, we were able to share water with an area of La Tinguiña. The city is finally in the process of installing sewage and running water for the residents of the shanty town area but it is taking longer than anticipated and until then we will continue to support this area with free, clean drinking water.
The group was planning on visiting a few school classrooms while they were in Ica but due to an unexpected government holiday for the “naming of the pope”, classes we cancelled. Nestor, the SU schools worker in Ica organized for a group of niños trabajadores (working children) to come to the home. A group of 50 children joined our 12 Girasoles boys for a morning of games and a lesson presented by the group.
Later that evening, we took the boys and staff out for dinner – for a delicious pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken). It was a fun to go out for dinner with everybody and to do something out of the ordinary.
At the end of the week, I said goodbye to the group and spent a quick night at home before meeting another group to go to Cusco for a few days – 24 high school students and 6 teachers from Scotland. They had just returned to Lima from spending the week prior in the jungle at Kimo and I was to accompany them for the remainder of their trip to Cusco and Puerto Alegria.
Because of schedules and tourism, we only spent one day at the boys home in the Sacred Valley. Despite the quick trip, I had an opportunity to talk with the house parents Héctor and Maritza, play a few games with the boys and learn a few more phrases in Quechua (arinchu kashanki – how are you?).
From the beautiful mountains and valley, we headed north to the jungle to spend a few days in Puerto Alegria where we made a trip to the mouth of the Amazon River, visited Belen and spent a lot of time playing with the Girasoles boys.
We returned to Lima for a traditional visit through the city and the group left for their long return trip to Scotland. For me, it is back to Puerto Alegria tomorrow morning for the next week with a group of friends from North Carolina. Billy ends his time with Health Bridges International tomorrow and heads to Kusi on Saturday morning!