This morning was my last little bit to spend time with the boys at Puerto Alegria. Out of anticipation of leaving and wanting to take advantage of the little time I had before departing the house at 8:30, I woke up at 5:45 to shower and pack the few things I still needed, like my tent. If everything had worked perfectly, 5:45 would have been a perfect time to wake up. On my way to the shower, I ran into Lilia, one of the cooks, who informed me that there was no water – somebody forgot to fill the tank with water from the river the night before – and I would have to wait for him to get up and do it. So, I returned to my room and finished packing.
At about 7:30, the boys were all up (I also forgot that they sleep in on Sundays and don´t wake up at the normal 6am!) and ready for breakfast. Since it is Sunday, they didn´t have their typical morning devotional since they were to meet later on in the day and we proceeded to have breakfast – my favorite Puerto ALegria breakfast, pancakes! But before we ate, Willy, the caregiver spoke to the boys about the team from Nebraska that left the day before, about how they had come from such a long way away to share God’s love with them. Atfer mentioning the team, he changed topics and started talking about how thankful the boys should be for me – for the 2 months I spent playing, dancing, hugging, singing, and supporting them in their lives. (Me?! I was only doing what I thought I should be doing.) This made me realize that these were my last moments with them and, of course, made me cry. Things did not get better when they started to sing one of my favorite songs, La Niña de Tus Ojos, a song I woke up and fell asleep to every night while in Puerto Alegria.
When it was time to go, I carried my bags down to the maloca (the gazebo by the river) where all 43 boys were waiting for me. The littlest, Luis (who I have written about before), ran up to me and asked where I was going. I explained that I had to go to my home, that I loved him very much, and that I would miss him. He said that it was okay because he was going to come with me. After telling me this, he ran over to his Papi Willy and told him that he was going to go with me, wherever I was going. After loading my bags into the chalupa (boat), I returned up to the maloca for the final goodbyes. They charged me and one by one, I said goodbye to each boy. Some came multiple times and the whole time I was hugging them, Luis was standing at my feet with his arms around my knees and his head buried in my legs. Of course by this time I was crying and he asked me over and over again, “Why are you crying? Why are you sad?”
At some point it was time to go, time to make the last trip into Iquitos, time to leave Puerto Alegria for the last time on this trip.
(As I write this, I´m sitting in Billy’s apartment in Lima, waiting for our 11pm bus to head up to Huaraz, where we´ll take a little van to Yungay and a taxi up to our Girasoles home in Kusi. Today I will have traveled by boat, plane, bus and car to go from the Amazon jungle to the Andean highlands – all in 24 hours.)