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 :)
The first two pictures are of one of the bakeries on the way up to the village. The cakes looked AMAZING! The bread smelled fantastic. I had to save my money for the bus fare though :( The next seven pictures are from the village where we do the ministry. It's a beautiful view that I don't think I'll ever be able to get over. The eighth picture is the village where we stopped to pick up Yasmina's niece (and where I got my free bread). The last picture was a little building with five or six llamas hanging out outside. Thought I'd share its even if it's kind of blurry!
I was the first one out of bed today, right at 7 am. I took a quick shower and headed downstairs for some breakfast. There was some lukewarm oatmeal, which I had a mug of. I went back upstairs to tidy up the room. Delia was awake and ready by then, and we both decided that we wanted pancakes for breakfast.
I looked up a recipe for high altitude pancakes, and we went two houses down to the little convenience store for some milk. Since it was only the two of us for breakfast, we made a little batch. They turned out pretty well, and tasted just fine. I told her that some people like to put peanut butter on their pancakes, so that's how we ate our two pancakes each.
Once we cleaned up our breakfast mess, we decided it was time to deep clean the rest of the kitchen! We tore apart the stove, cleaned that, mopped the floor, did ALL the dishes, cleaned the walls, chairs, tables, and counters. It was quite the ordeal, but we had a shiny, clean kitchen by 10 am.
We decided it was a good time to get some studying down, so we went downstairs. While she studied her English, I studied my Spanish.
Today is Felicity's 3rd birthday! The girls were downstairs baking cake, and the boys took off to go buy some flowers.
After studying, Delia, Ruth Mary, and I made some lunch. We sat and chatted for about an hour and a half, then it was nap time!
At about 3:30, Albino took me to the bus stop to meet with a pastor and his family who do a children's ministry in another village. I am becoming more confident with my Spanish, because it's much easier for me to converse.
On the way up to the village, we got stuck in some unusual traffic. As we got closer to the police car, everyone on the bus realized that we were looking at a fatal accident. A 15 year old girl was hit and killed by a distracted driver. We passed by the uncovered scene and my stomach flipped. I think this threw my whole night off.
We got to the village, which was beautiful like the rest of them!
I don't know what it was, but something just didn't feel right about that whole night. Again, maybe it was the accident, but I also felt like I was being bullied by children ? Strange, I know. I don't know if I will return quite yet, I've got a lot of praying to do.
Welp, I've been pretty bad about posting, but oh well! It's been a really good last couple of days.
Thursday was pretty uneventful, I hung out at home, studied my Spanish, and just had some downtime. It was nice, but I can definitely tell that I'm an extrovert during these times. I get grumpy and sad and start to miss home when I'm alone. Then when everyone comes home, I'm happy as a clam because I have someone to talk to! On the days that I'm alone, I work on little things, like updating my schedule, blogging, making shopping lists, and cleaning. I'm going to start running again in the morning since I've become acclimated to the altitude!
Yesterday started off pretty similarly, eating breakfast with a few of the girls, cleaning, and doing my devotions. I had some time just to rest too, which I felt was needed. The devotion I read was about resting, and I guess you could say that I took that to heart ;)
In the afternoon, I went with Sandy's friend Yasmina to one of the villages (I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the village, I want to say Cachimayo but I don't think that's right). Yasmin and her friend do a ministry up there with the village children, and I get to be apart of it every Friday! The bus ride takes about 45 minutes on a good day, then we hop off and into a taxi, and that ride takes about 50 minutes. When we got there, it was FREEZING. As you look around, you can see the snow on the nearby mountains. The air is so clear and quiet. Absolutely gorgeous. The ministry only takes about an hour, we play games, do a bible lesson, and they get a little english lesson, which I get the pleasure of doing.
Before leaving to Peru, one of my prayers was to have my heart broken for these children. Which it definitely was, to see their clothes, their homes, their dirty faces and hands, hurt to see. However, my other prayer was for God to heal my heart in knowing that He is holding them in his hands and caring for them. He answered those prayers too, as I saw their bright smiles, loving embraces, energetic play fights, and their longing to learn and grow in Christ.
On the way down we picked up Yasmina's niece. Yasmina's brother owns a bakery, and she was nice enough to let me pick out something to try. I snagged a piece of bread for the long trip down, which took more like two hours because of rush hour.
We left the house at around 2:15, and got back home around 7:30. It makes for a long afternoon, but it was so worth it to spend time with those kids.
After getting home, I unpacked my things and headed down to the kitchen for some food. I wasn't really feeling like cooking, so I grabbed a bowl of rice and went to go to my weekly Friday FaceTimes. Delia came in while I was talking, and disapproved of me only eating rice for dinner. What a sweetheart, she went into the kitchen, fried me an egg, some potatoes, and made little tomato salad for me.
It really was a lovely day, and I thank God everyday for helping me to overcome my fears of rejection!
The first picture is another from the market, I've been there three times already and I still think it's beautiful! The third picture is the inside of Corason, it's so cute! The last two are walking down the mountain at night, I think the lights on the opposing mountain are breathtaking!
I forgot to post about yesterday, oops!
Anyway, I got up and went with Albino and Sandy to Doriana's "olympiadas". In the U.S. it would be like a field day! Her school was split up into four teams, and each team had two weeks to prepare a dance and perform it in front of the school and the parents. It was really fun to watch her dance and to see how the cultures differ. I have never seen parents cheer louder than I did yesterday!
I got home and did quite a bit of cleaning, mostly our room and our bathroom. No one was home to eat with and there wasn't much food to eat, so I made some rice. I spent a lot of time studying too.
At our weekly Tuesday night meeting, we talked about how people weren't eating in the house, and how that's the whole point of Casa Del Maestro. It was a good talk, which led to a really good day today!
We woke up early as usual, and after some bread and oatmeal for breakfast, Delia, Elli, and I went down to the market. It was a fun little roommate bonding time! We walked the whole way there, which is a good 30 minutes. We loaded up on food, which I am grateful for! No more plain rice for lunch anymore! We took a taxi home because there was no way that all of our food was going to fit nicely on the bus with us.
After unloading everything, we began to make lunch (it was only 10 am). Lunch here is a big deal, there's no light sandwich or salads here. We cooked up carrots, green beans, onion, garlic, eggs, and fried potatoes into one mix, then had rice and noodles in another. For lunch it was Delia, Elli, Edison, Emanuel, and I. We ended up watching a movie (Ali Baba) in Spanish while we ate.
This brought us up to 2 o'clock. Sandy and I had planned on going to visit Corason today at 2:30! There's a certain bus that I have to take, the M4C. That'll take me to the bottom of the mountain, a 30 minute ride on a good day. Then it's about another 20 minute walk up the mountain to reach it. The views there are beautiful! I didn't get any pictures of the view, but I will next week.
The majority of the students who come to this after school program are poor, but man are they the sweetest, friendliest, and energetic kids I've ever met. I wasn't even half way up the mountain when a couple of the students came running down, grabbed my hands and said, "Hermana, quieres jugar con nosotros?" (Sister, do you want to play with us?). Before going to play, I got a tour of the beautiful mountain, which the founders own ALL of. They own a mountain!
I went back alone. The program ends at 6, and the sun sets at 5:30. This makes for an interesting trip home. The bus is PACKED at this time, it's rush hour. I definitely got closed in the door at least once. Also, pickpockets are out and about at this time, so I've got to be really sure that I know where all of my things are.
I got home and had leftover lunch food for dinner! I really need to do some laundry, but I think I'll work on tomorrow when it's warmer, that way my clothes will dry faster.
I'm off to do some studying now, more pictures will follow soon!
The first three pictures here are from the market. Saturday morning, Delia, Edison, and I went to shop for the weekend. Despite being packed, it really is a beautiful place. The last picture was on Sunday. Since we were cooking for about 30 people, the two ovens in the house would not work out for all of the food. There are public hornos, or ovens all around the city. In this picture, we were walking to the horno to pick up the cuy and other food that we needed cooked.
If you have a weak stomach, I suggest not looking at one of the following pictures (freshly killed guinea pig). ;)
I won't lie, today wasn't a very good day for me. Every 2-4 months, the student's families come into the city and everyone cooks together. All of the students had their families here today, except for me.
We woke up really early today (Delia came home at 5:30 from an all night church service and was yelling at us to get up). We got ready, had a quick breakfast, and began cooking. We started right around 9, and we didn't eat until 2. The majority of this time I spent standing around watching, because I don't speak Quechua like everyone else.
On the bright side, I ate cuy today! This means guinea pig! As long as you don't focus on the fact that you're eating someone's pet, it's really good! The rest of the food was amazing too, noodles, a root (I don't remember the name but it tasted like potatoes), a fried veggie mix, a stuffed chili pepper, and a big slice of homemade cheese.
There were also visitors here from the U.S. coming to check out what Sandy and Albino do, and it was kinda fun to talk to them about it. They were typical American tourists though, and were quite loud and obnoxious. It was a little embarrassing.
Once everyone left at around 4, we all crashed. We watched a movie and cleaned up a little bit. Sandy and Albino were going to the mall to get some things for Doriana, and I went along. I bought some house shoes, regularly 50 soles (about 30 American dollars) but turns out they were on sale for 15 soles (about 5 American dollars). That was a nice surprise. However, they forgot to take off the security tag, so I have to go back tomorrow before I can wear them, haha.
I've still got some studying to do tonight, so I'm going to get to it.
I hope everything is going well at home, praying for you all!