It’s been almost two weeks since I left Michigan for a summer of working and traveling around the great Incan country of Peru.
For those of you that don’t know, I am spending my summer volunteering with Scripture Union of Peru, and organization that primarily works with former abandoned boys around the country, but also many other things. As an “intern”, I travel with the various work teams from around the US and UK, who come to Peru to work at the organization’s homes for abandoned boys, in local schools and do construction work. A typical day for a work teams includes a morning of construction work, an afternoon of songs and games at a school, and an evening with the boys that live at the various centers across the country (like an orphanage). (I’m working on uploading photos from this year, but accessing the Internet from my laptop is a rare occurrence – this is the first time I have been able to check my email in 2 weeks!).
Upon arrival to Peru, I joined a group from Southwood Presbyterian in Huntsville, Alabama. The 17-person team was made up high school juniors, seniors, recent graduates, and some parents. I, being the only one from the North, was quickly dubbed “the Yankee” and was also the one with the accent. Any time I didn’t know what they were talking about, or asked for a pop instead of a Coke, or pointed out one of our many little differences, it was explained as a “Northern thing.” I spent a part of the week with the entire team at the SU home in Kawai and a small two-day trip to the desert city of Ica, before a majority of them traveled to another work site in Cusco. The rest of the week, I returned to Kawai with the 5 remaining members to continue working, visiting schools, and playing games with the former abandoned boys.
After taking the Southwood team to the airport, I met up with a good friend, Linda, who is in charge of the entire Scripture Union schools program in Peru. Under Linda, there are workers in each of the regions and major cities of Peru. Each regional worker has many volunteers who visit their local schools everyday sharing positive values such as honesty, respect, integrity, etc. Many of the children that these people work with do not have positive home lives and are not learning these things from their parents or teachers. Each volunteer spends about one or two hours in a school, visiting classrooms and playing with the children.
This week, I am with Linda and a group of school teachers from Southlake Christian Academy in Charlotte, NC in Arequipa (city in the southern part of Peru). We arrived in Arequipa after a 14 hour bus ride from the capital city, Lima and jumped right into working! We are visiting various schools all day along, and at night, the teachers are sharing teaching tips with the SU volunteers and local teachers.
On Wednesday, I leave the group of teachers to head back to Lima to meet yet another team from North Carolina. We will spend the night in Lima and then the next day fly up to the northern city of Iquitos, which is located in the Amazon jungle. It’s quite hot and humid in Iquitos, and should be quite interesting…. After my week in Iquitos, my team from First Presbyterian Dearborn will be here for two weeks. It will be nice to see some familiar faces from home!