Week 5 in Peru was spent with some familiar faces. A team from my home church, First Presbyterian Dearborn, arrived very late last Friday night with a couple surprises. Unbeknownst to me, my mother and brother joined the team and are down here for two weeks working with me. They told me that everybody at our church knew that they would be joining me down here, even before I left for Peru!
We spent a week at the Kawai campsite, which is about 1 hour south of Lima on the Pacific Ocean. Now, even though the site is on the ocean, it is not beach weather. Since it is winter here in Peru, it is almost always cloudy and frequently it mists. I have rarely seen it rain here, it just feels like somebody is lightly spitting on you. Due to a labor strike in the area, we are not mixing cement and doing heavy construction work like in previous years, but rather, we are striping the paint from one of the main buildings and repainting it with a clean white paint. The building really needed to be repainted and looks much better now.
This is my 8th time spending a week in Kawai. Every year, I return to this location with my team from Dearborn to see the boys that live in the Casa Girasoles Kawai. It is great to see old friends, one year older. A few nights ago, our team presented the boys with a quilt that some of the women in our church made for them, and we also made t-shirts with all of our handprints on them. Now, you would think that a 12 or 16 year-old-boy would not want to make a t-shirt, let alone wear it, but they were all excited to participate in the project. Some even put their shirts on right away, even before the paint was dry.
Now, we are in the desert city of Ica, which is about 4 hours south of Lima. Being in the desert, it is nice and warm and sunny! We are one of the first teams to stay at the Ica site in the Casa Girasoles house. There are 22 boys that live here, many of which moved into the center after the devastating earthquake that hit Peru last August (the epicenter of the earthquake was very close to Ica).
We spend the mornings working at the site, the afternoons visiting local schools and the evenings are spent with the 22 boys, who range between 6 and 15 years old. On Sunday, we visited a local church, El Shaddai, which we have gone to every year for 7 years. It was great to see Nestor & Carolina, who used to work with Scripture Union. It was also a pleasant surprise to see their newest addition to the family, Nestor Matais, who was only 12 days old!
This Friday, we are going to surprise the boys that live at the Casa Girasoles Ica by visiting them at school. The home father, Augusto, explained to me that all of the boys have told their friends that a group of Americans have come to stay with them at their house and want to show us, their American friends, to their Peruvian friends.