Sand boarding in at the Huacachina dunes nearby Ica with the team from Dearborn.
Here’s a video Randy, Jared and I made about to our trip to Mala to buy candy for the Girasoles boys at Kawai.
Last week was spent at the Casa Girasoles Ica and working in the local schools.
The Dearborn team was the first work team to stay at the site with the boys for a long period of time. Because of the newness of everything (the Casa Girasoles Ica was inaugurated on January 20th this year) and being the first work team to stay with the boys, it was a new experience for the boys and house parents, Augusto and Nancy.
I spent every moment I had not working or sleeping, playing and talking with the boys or Augusto & Nancy. Since I had been to Ica once before this summer and I was the Scripture Union worker, I didn’t seem to be one of the team, but rather an extension of the house parents. All of the 22 boys knew my name and would call me Señorita Kate. If Augusto or Nancy weren’t around, they turned to me. I helped with homework assignments, led them in prayers and song before meals, and helped Augusto & Nancy take care of 22 boys.
Schools in Peru run a little differently than they do in the US. Instead of going to school all day, there are two shifts of children and teachers. The boys at the Casa Girasoles all go to school in the afternoon, which means they start at 1pm and are in classes until 6pm. On Wednesday evening, I was able to go with Augusto to the school to pick up the boys from classes. It was fun to see where they go to school and to surprise them. On Friday, the entire team showed up to the school with Augusto to visit the classrooms of the boys. They had no clue that we were coming and later that night, they all were talking about their special visitors to school!
Today, July 6th, is Día del Maestro (Day of the Teacher) in Peru. Augusto, who treats each one of the boys as his own sons, invited the teachers at their school to the home on Saturday to thank and show them where the boys live. Since the house is painted white, and Augusto & Nancy wanted to make a good impression on the teachers, they decided on Friday morning to repaint all the walls (both inside and out) of the large house and do a super cleaning of everything. Now, you can imagine what needs to be done to a 4-person house to be cleaned, imagine what has to be done to a house with 22 boys! Needless to say, many of the older boys stayed up quite late into the night cleaning and repainting their home.
At the party for the teachers, we played games with the teachers and boys. A few days earlier we had made the hand print shirts with the Ica boys too, and they all wore them at the teacher party. We were also fortunate to have somebody donate about 60 Beanie Babies that we were able to pass out to the boys. They carried them around all morning and during the games, many gave me their treasured gifts to keep safe while they played in the grass.
Now, I am staying in Lima for a few days before heading to another jungle site Kimo.
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.
Boys at Casa Girasoles Puerto Alegria dancing to the Pato Song with a work team from North Carolina.