It has been another busy few months since our last update!
Peruvian Independence Day is at the end of July and it also coincides with the mid-year school break. This year Peru celebrated 201 years of independence and Will’s school spent the week prior to vacation doing all sorts of celebrations. Every class performed a dance from either the coast, mountains or jungle and this year Will and his classmates danced Los Caporales, which is a traditional dance from the Puno region (mountains). The students rented dance outfits based on their chosen dance and performed for the parents. Will’s dance included boots with big bells on the sides and I can only imagine how noisy it was in his classroom with 13 five and six year olds all wearing these boots.
Later in the week, Will also participated in the Peruvian Cajón group. He and another classmate were chosen to represent his class in the group.
Will and his teachers, Miss Judith and Miss Magy
At the end of July, we had our last meeting with our board games small group. We normally would meet for a few hours on Thursday evening but since everybody had the day off for Independence Day, we offered to host the group at our apartment for a longer game of Risk. It was a great afternoon (which turned into late evening!) to close out the small group series. Throughout the weeks, we enjoyed getting to know the others in the group and learn a few new games.
At the beginning of August we traveled to Arequipa for a week for vacation and to attend a wedding of a friend and co-worker. We all have been to Arequipa before but this was the first time the three of us went together. We spent a few days in the Colca Canyon, which is the deepest canyon in the world, and another few days in the city of Arequipa. Billy and I agree that if we were to live in another city that wasn’t Lima, we would pick Arequipa.
From my first trip to Colca in 2008, compared to 2022.
Will standing at the same window in the Santa Catalina Monastery in 2018 and 2022.
While in Arequipa we were able to see our friend Alex and finally meet his wife and two children. We know Alex from our time working with the Scripture Union children’s homes and were happy to be able to meet up with him again!
In August, we participated in an event hosted by Perú por los Niños in Lima. The event was about promoting a transition from residential to foster care and was geared for churches, children’s home staff, government staff who work with vulnerable children. The speakers were the director of foster care from the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations and staff from Casa Viva in Costa Rica. Casa Viva is an organization that started with children’s homes but has successfully transitioned into a foster care model by working with local churches. The event was informative, inspirational and helped the participants to envision a similar type of care for children here in Peru.
We have recently signed a partnership agreement with the Puericultorio Pérez Araníbar in Lima. The Puericultorio Pérez Araníbar is a children’s home in Lima that is operated and funded by the Municipality of Lima. It was founded in 1930 and at one point was home to upwards of 1000 children. Currently there are 200 children and teens that are residing in the home. Starting next month, Billy will be meeting with the staff weekly for 10 weeks to provide the Trauma Competent Caregiver training and we will begin the mentoring program with a handful of teenagers at the home. Participants from the previous Trauma Competent Caregiver trainings that Billy has led on Saturday mornings have volunteered to serve as mentors.
Signing the agreement with Andrea from Pérez Araníbar.
Last week Billy held an informational meeting with volunteer mentors from the Caminando Juntos mentor program
The 3rd Sunday of August every year is Children’s Day and there are tons of activities for kids across the city. For the first time since 2019, our church was able to celebrate Día del Niño in person with a service completely geared towards kids. Will’s school celebrated a few days prior with some special activities during class.
Part of Will’s class got together for a weekend lunch with their teacher Miss Magy, and the extra curricular teachers (gym, dance, karate, technology and music).
We also had a special couple weeks with a visit from my brother Randy. It was fun to have him here and to be able to spend time together which we don’t get very often. Knowing that it would be the only thing he would focus on, we didn’t tell Will that his uncle was coming until a few days beforehand. He spent an afternoon making welcome decorations for our guestroom and the rest of the time asking how much longer until Uncle Randy lands!
Billy and Jocabeth (our co-worker at Paths of Hope) traveled to Ica for a couple days to spend time with the staff at the Girasoles home to work on the Comunidad Girasoles program. Comunidad Girasoles is a joint project between Paths of Hope and Health Bridges International and the goal is to prepare the youth for transition into adulthood, focusing on necessary life skills, and building connection to their local community and systems of support that they can rely on as the look to life beyond the homes. At this meeting, Billy and Joca met with the staff to develop the working plan.
This weekend is the final session for the Trauma Competent Caregiver training. It is the third and final iteration of the 6-week training for mentors this year and Billy was able to train 35 people throughout the course of the year.
Next week we will travel to Atlanta to participate in the Christian Alliance for Orphans annual summit. This will be the third time that Billy and I attend the conference and it has always been a great place to meet other people working with orphans and vulnerable children, learn from other organizations and to be inspired about what we can do here in Peru. After having to miss the last few conferences due to COVID, we’re looking forward to being back at this one!
As always, we very much appreciate your prayers for us, our ministry and for the country and people of Peru.
– Kate, Billy & Will