It's been a little while since I've written, but that's alright! I'm back!
This week has been pretty low key, not a whole lot going on. Hence, not much to write about. I still love going to Corason, the kids are absolutely precious! This week, we've been teaching them the vegetables in English, and yesterday, we painted with vegetables!
Despite struggling a LOT lately, I have had some good moments :) My faith has grown immensely, and I honestly spend hours a day studying the Bible, and I love it. I have a sketch book that I've been filling with some of my favorite verses. On hard days, I read through them and am reminded of God's love for me.
I also want to thank my family and close friends for reaching out to me this week to check on me! It means a lot and I miss you all!
Today, we had a meeting that takes place on the last Saturday of every month. We talk about life goals, which has been really helpful actually. Some of my goals include, becoming COMPLETELY fluent in Spanish, studying the Word of God everyday, running everyday, eating better, and taking better care of myself. The latter are some of the most difficult, unfortunately. However, I have a plan, people to keep me accountable, and motivation!
After the meeting, Albino called a family member who, for 10 soles per plate, delivered a plate of chicken, potatoes, and even a little sugar cookie bar for lunch. It was AMAZING. I was supposed to go up to the mountains today, but the ladies who go, didn't today. So Delia, Emanuel, and I went down to the grocery store (we've been craving peanut butter). Unfortunately, it costs $10 American dollars. We also looked for some cake. Delia and I are going to church tomorrow and need to bring a cake, but we decided to buy one on the way there. As we walked back up to the house, we decided that we were hungry, so we stopped at a street vendor and bought what's called salchipapas. It's French fries, sausage, noodles, and some rice. Most Peruvians eat it covered in ketchup and mayo, so I had to too! It was actually amazing.
Overall, it's been a good day, and I'm hoping more will continue.
Thank you for your prayers!
It has been QUITE the last couple of days!
As a lot of you know, I started my first day at the Casa Josefina orphanage :) I am scheduled to start at 7 am, which makes for a bright and early 4:30 am wake up, since the the walk to the bus stop takes a good 10 minutes, the bus ride takes about a half an hour as well as the walk into the village.
So I got up at 4:30, trying not to wake Delia or Elli up, and took a shower. It was cold since something is up with the water heater. Yikes. I went downstairs for breakfast and burnt my egg! I wasn't discourage though, I was too excited! I headed back up to my room to get the rest of my things around, and left the house at around 5:50. As I was nearing the bus stop, I saw the bus I needed take off. I didn't think it was that big of a deal, so I sat patiently for another 15 minutes until the next bus came. I was probably more confident than I should have been, as I rode the bus for an hour. It took me to the end of the route, which should've been a bridge in front of the entrance to the village. However, I ended up at the end of the opposite route. I didn't panic, I just started walking a little ways, trying to find a store to put minutes on the loaner phone I have. Of course, no one was open that early. I tried calling Sandy, despite not having minutes, the phone sends a text to the intended receiver that they're trying to be contacted. After about 7 tries, she called me back. We discussed my options. I had no idea where I was, but was just going to take the bus back in the other direction. Albino suggested that I take a taxi instead, since the bus ride would take another hour, and I was already late. Sandy called the orphanage and explained my situation. I didn't have enough money for a taxi, just enough for two-way bus fare. Albino said that he would pay the taxi driver when I got to the house. I hopped into a taxi and asked him to bring me to Universidad Andina, which is where the bus stop is. He said it was too far, so I hopped back out and flagged down yet another. He agreed to take me, so off we went. The taxi ride took about 45 minutes. I got to the house without being hurt, that is except for my pride.
Albino and Sandy agreed to drive me to Casa Josefina, and we went over the fact that next Monday, I'll have to get on the bus on the other side of the street. I got there a little less than two hours late, around 9.
I am absolutely in love with this place. There are 7 infants, which I get to help take care of. The first thing I got to do was take two of the babies to the doctor with another employee. We took Gina (7 months old) and Almendra (1 year old). It was quite the experience, holding two babies in your lap in a taxi. It was so interesting to see how the health care systems work here, and I'm thankful for the U.S. in that aspect. I was told that Almendra was born premature (I heard she was born 7 months premature, but I am probably wrong) at 2.2 pounds. Despite being a year old, she is the size of a 5 month old. Even so, she sits up, crawls, and does everything else a normal one year old would do! If I could, I would take her home (but Dad said no bringing babies home)! I am probably going to invest in some scrubs, since I was puked on twice and pooped on!
The house has their own taxi driver, who takes the older children to and from school. I leave at four with him, and he drops me off at the bridge for free so that I can catch the bus. The bus ride home was quick (15 minutes maybe) and it was fun! I'd never had such a fun driver or attendant! They were listening to loud music and dancing. I got home, ate dinner, and just about crashed immediately. I think I slept for a good 12 hours last night.
This morning has been by far the worst ones. This is a very difficult time. I've been away for a little more than a month now. There are so many milestones that I know I'll miss and have missed while I'm gone. A wedding in the family, baptisms, and I know I'll miss my sister's 18th birthday, as well as some of my closest friends. I don't know if I can handle missing Christmas too. I'm looking into coming home early for Christmas, and cutting my time to three months. Please pray for me as I'm struggling a lot with being demeaned in public, discriminated against, excluded, and treated like a child.
Yesterday's adventure was absolutely amazing!
Delia and I were up at six, we made a quick breakfast and started cooking lunch. She called is "espageti" (spaghetti) but it was a typical Peruvian mix of pasta, egg, and veggies, not the spaghetti we are used to.
We left the house at 8, and had to make a quick pitstop at Delia's work and a store to add minutes to her phone. Finally at around 9:30, we were back on the bus to the mountain!
On the way up, Delia asked me if I wanted any fruit, and of course I wanted fruit! We stopped at a market and bough half a kilo of peaches (6 of them). They're very tiny, and I explained to Delia just how big they can get in the U.S.! We washed them before leaving (since my stomach can't handle eating fresh, unwashed fruit).
We got to Christo Blanco, which is a HUGE, white statue of Jesus that overlooks downtown. From up there, you can see all of Cusco, including downtown and the Plaza de Armas (which is the home screen photo of my blog!). Next to Christo Blanco are also three huge, wood crosses. We took a few pictures, then began walking further up the mountain. We didn't really know what we were going to go explore.
That was, until we ran into a tiny man (I say tiny because he maybe stood as tall as my elbow). He had horses, and for VERY cheap he would take us to go see some ruins. We got on his horses and spent the rest of the afternoon riding to ruins, descending, and exploring by foot. It was one of the coolest things I've ever done! I took so many pictures, they didn't all send to my email :/ I'll resend them and post later!
As we rode, I was continually thanking God for the beautiful scenery that He has given us to explore and appreciate.
It's even a few days since I've posted, but since I'm getting into more of a rhythm, there isn't always much to share! I may only be posting once or twice a week now.
As a lot of you know, I have been struggling a lot with being homesick. The busier I get, though, the better it is to focus on living life here in Peru!
This morning, there was absolutely nothing but some quinoa (we eat and prepare it like oatmeal in the U.S.). "Falta pan!" is what Delia said this morning. (There's no bread). We took the quinoa off the burner and went down the road a little ways. She bought some eggs while I went and bought bread. On the way back up towards the house, the view of the mountain is absolutely stunning. So, her and I made plans to climb it on Thursday! We're waking up at 6 am, making breakfast and lunch, then packing a picnic to eat at the top! I couldn't be more excited! My first real hike! I'll have lots of pictures later on this week :)
Today, I decided to make something a little more American to share with everyone for lunch. I went down the the Main Street to pick up Alfredo sauce and a loaf of bread for garlic bread. I think it went over pretty well :)
I usually don't go to Corason on Tuesdays, but one of the girls is celebrating her birthday, and I was asked to bring a little snack to share. I picked up some animal crackers while at Canasta (it's like a Meijer). I'll be going up to Corason three times this week!
Tomorrow is my meeting at Casa Josefina! Finally!
Also, a quick shout out to my parents for helping me out of my funk this morning ;) I'm feeling much better!
It's been a rough morning! I woke up feeling absolutely awful, my stomach is upset and I've been nauseous.
Delia is such a sweetheart and made me some tea that they drink when they aren't feeling well. I'm laying in bed right now because that's about all I can handle!
I'm supposed to head up the village today, but that probably won't happen unless there's a miracle!
To catch you up on a few things:
- We finally got in touch with Casa Josefina, the orphanage where I'll be volunteering! I meet with them this week Wednesday (10/17). Then, my first day should be that next Monday (10/22).
- I have decided not to return to the village ministry near Tupon. I know that God had his hand in that decision and the gut feelings I was getting. (My mama gets them too ;)
- Delia and I have really begun to connect more. We've talked about relationships, friendships, some of our fears and dreams, and our relationships with God. Next Sunday, we're going to church together and I'm going to help teach some English! Delia has begun listening to Christian music solely in English, as well as listening to Hillsong sermons.
- Emanuel only lets me talk to him in English so that I can help him practice.
- Eidison's mother is sick and he has been at home for the past week and a half helping to take care of her, prayers for her and their family!
- There's a new student who lives with us two nights a week! Her class gets out at 9 p.m., and by that time there is no bus to take her back to her village. Since there are no more beds left on the girl's floor, she shares a bed with my other roommate, Elli.
- Hand washing laundry is a lot of work.
- Summer has arrived, and so has the rain! It has rained for the past three days, and will continue to do so until I head back home.
- Most days I do not speak any English at all, unless it is to blog or talk with my family. (My Spanish is rapidly getting better!)
- I've started praying out loud, which has been absolutely amazing for my relationship with God!
I miss everyone so much and I hope that you are all doing well and are in good health! Sending love from Cusco!
This is the view of Corason that I get every time I go! Yesterday, it had been raining. I found this whole scene strangely beautiful.
The first four pictures are more of Corason! The views that I've seen here are by far my favorites! The next two are walking down the center of Avenida Cultura, the Main Street through Cusco. The statue in picture six usually has water pouring down it and fountains, it wasn't running when I took the picture though. The last two are of Corason again!
I didn't get a chance to write yesterday, I wasn't feeling at that well.
I hung out here at home, working on a few different things. It wasn't a super eventful day! Later on, I left at around 2:30 to head on up to Corason for my volunteer orientation. We planned this week out, and then went down to play with the kids. Tuesday's aren't my scheduled day, but since I was there, I decided to stay. They don't need many volunteers on Tuesday's because it's just a free day for the students to play and get help with whatever they need. They're all kind of sick too (it's the transition from spring to summer) so I think that hasn't been helping!
I got home just in time to make some tea and buy bread for our weekly meeting. Things were going well until I started coming down with a fever. Sandy sent me up to bed real quick! It doesn't help that both of my roommates are currently sick!
I woke up this morning with no voice, but after some tea and breakfast, I'm feeling better! As long as I'm feeling good the rest of the day, I'm heading back up to Corason!
I was walking up the mountain by myself last night and I hear a little voice yelling from below, "hermanita!!" (little sister). I turned around and stopped to wait for her. I have no idea who she is and I've never met her, but she knew that I was going up to Corason, which she knows is a safe place. She came running up and immediately took my had. We walked up together the rest of the way! It's God's precious children like her that make life so worthwhile!
It's been another really great day!
This morning I was up early, and decided to take on a run. It's pretty cold still in the mornings, so I was bundled up. There is hardly a flat surface to be seen, uphill I ran! Obviously it wasn't a very long run, but it felt good to get out!
I came back right around 8 o'clock, and Delia was getting out of bed. It's been the two of us for a while, which has resulted in us becoming quite close. We made pancakes and oatmeal for breakfast, and I ran down to get some bread.
After breakfast, it was time to study, which we did up until around 12:30. And then it was lunch time ;) We cooked for what felt like hours until we finally got to eat something!
We had some down time for a little bit this afternoon, which was nice. I needed to run down to the store to pick up a few things, so Delia and I went together. We didn't go right home from the store though. We wandered through the park just down the street from our house. The park has a bunch of random exercise equipment, so we stopped to hang out there and we talked for quite a bit.
It's Delia's dream to travel to the United States, and I've been trying to convince her to go! She really wants to learn English, and studies daily on her own. She's very dedicated.
It was right around dinner time when we got home from the store (and seeing my groceries get run over by some kid on his bike!). We heated up leftovers and sat and talked about life. Her love for God is so immense and admirable. Her confidence in the Lord is something I strive to have. I haven't really thought of her as a mentor before tonight, but now I do. She's four years older than I am and is wise beyond her years. I feel a connection with her and am thankful that she has taken me under her wing.
After having talked to her, we turned on some music while we cleaned up. "No Longer Slaves" came up on my playlist. I think it fit well with everything I have been feeling this past week and a half, as well as the conversations I've had.
My prayer for Delia is that she finds the courage to speak more English rather than study it, and that God will open her eyes to see when it is time for her to head off to the U.S!
The first two pictures are from the village I visited on Saturday. It is just below the ancient ruins in Tipon. The views of the mountain are probably the best I've ever seen. The third picture is from yesterday when I went with Delia to vote. This is looking up one of the streets in Wanchauq. The fourth picture is probably one of the best ice creams I've ever eaten! I couldn't tell you the flavors, but what I do know is that the cone tasted like coffee. It cost one sol, which is right around 50 American cents. Guess what?? I finally got pizza! The jovenes were MIA last night, so Sandy invited me to have pizza, which I had been craving for weeks. The last picture is my favorite. Delia and I were on the bus on the way home. At first glance, it just kind of looks like a dirty, busy street on a gloomy day. That is, until you take a peek at at the rainbow that stretched the whole length of the mountain in the distance. God's promises are so real, and I wish that pictures would be able to do them justice.
Today is Election Day in Peru! Most of the jovenes are at their homes, since they've got to vote in their area. Delia is still here, and Ruth Mary, they changed their voting district to closer to Casa del Maestro.
We slept in today (like 8 am) and went on another cleaning frenzy. I made breakfast for the two of us, while Delia did some laundry. We went up to our room, deep cleaned the bathroom and mopped the floor. It's really just the two of us here today. Albino and Sandy and the kids went to go visit a nephew in the hospital.
Today, I went with Delia to vote! It was quite the experience. On a side note, EVERYTHING is canceled on election day. It is prohibited to gather in large groups until 6 pm. This means, that it is illegal to go to church. This absolutely blows my mind, I cannot believe that the government trumps religion. In this way, I am grateful for the United States and our freedom to worship, no matter the day.
We were gone for about five hours! We got back and were both exhausted, so it was nap time!
Everyone ended up leaving tonight, so Sandy invited me to have pizza with their family and some of Albino's cousins. It was everything I had been craving and more!
It's been a good, calm night, and I'm thankful for the quiet time I got to have with God today :)