July 21, 2006

Christie's Peru 06

I am having such a wonderful time that it's hard to describe, but I´ll try to tell you about what´s been happening to give you a little clue. We hung out this morning, had lunch at a wonderful local bistro where I had a vegetable ¨soup¨and spinach mushroom quiche. Best food I´ve had in ages, and oh so cheap. We went to church after a one hour bus ride through one of the busiest cities in the world. Lima is full of minibuses and taxi cars that drive like nothing you´ve ever seen! They pull out in front of each other and turn in front of each other and try to hit each other, and all the while, they beep the horns and smile at everyone, and while all this is going on, I was standing in the middle of the aisle (along with various other members of our team, at times) holding to a rail on the ceiling, subway style. It was unreal.

There was much stopping and starting on a dime to let people on and off, and about the time someone would leave and I could get a seat, a pregnant or older woman would get on and I´d need to stand for them again. Lots of adventure and fun, though. It was great! The city is very slummy for the most part, and we´ve seen many sad things. Donna and Kelly weren´t handling it well at first, but I think they´re lots better now, since we had church.

When we arrived at the Mi Peru church and got off the crazy minibus, we had to walk several blocks--SEVERAL--uphill in the deep sand. My knee needs a healing, to be sure. Then we went into the church, where the children were standing outside to allow us entrance first. They let us walk around inside and greet the "officials" of the church before they entered. We got a tour of the school. Very impressive. It´s the Linda Baker school. Anyway, the first little girl I met was a four year old named Camilla, so I told her about Camille and showed her the pictures of my girls. I told her about Caroline, too, then. Many children came around to see the pictures and touch them, so I got to be the first to hug on all the children, who were begging to get to kiss us. They were very eager for us to touch and hug them, and to bless them. It was very special and we loved every second of it!

The children had learned some songs in English for us and made humongous banners welcoming us, and they said some things to us in groups of their particular grade. (2nd graders all together, etc.) There was much thanking us for our sacrifice, and the like, and of course, we all felt very unworthy of all the praise and gratitude. They wanted each of us to give an intro, and I managed to get through mine in Spanish. I´ve done okay with it so far. Able to ask for most anything I need, but not yet understanding enough from the locals.

We left there and went to the home of a church lady who had prepared an unreal meal for all of us. She, her daughter, and another lady made and served us an appetizer of--get this--avacado covered in vidalia onions that had been sprinkled with a lemon juice concoction, with lettuce on the side. It was SOOOO good, and I don´t even like those foods. Ken, you would have loved it, and I thought about you throughout the meal. The entree was a seasoned sauced piece of chicken, steamed rice, and some sort of vegetable that was similar to sweet potatoes.

To say that the fruits and vegetables are fresh here would be quite an understatement. I don´t know how to describe how much more intense they are. It all just melts in your mouth with very little chewing necessary, and so flavorful. The final course was a fruit plate filled with cantaloupe that I not only ate but loved, strawberries that I avoided, and the best purple seeded grapes you´ve ever imagined. Then she came out and sang a beautiful song for us. She thanked us profusely and blessed us all.

We´ve gone through some very rough spots in this city, but Bro. Vera and Bro. Nick are not only very knowledgeable, they are also extremely protective of us and very chivalrous.

I´m looking forward to the hotel´s breakfast bar in the morning. Off the chain yogurt, thick creamy milk, fresh fruit, killer cheese slices, unreal fresh sliced bread for toast, pancakes, and a bunch of other stuff that I DIDN´T eat this morning. Aw, man, you´d love it!

I´m sorry I haven´t called in person, but the phone card I got doesn´t work in the hotel for some reason, and it´s been a little hectic to get out. We can´t go out of the hotel unless we ALL go out, so I´m a little stranded.

As of now, we meet at noon tomorrow to go grab lunch with Chucky and Team 1, who just met up with us a few minutes ago, then we fly on into Iquitos and some of Team 1flies home. We are an hour behind here because they don´t observe daylight savings time. Anyway, I´m doing good on what we´ve had to spend so far for things, and I´m having the time of my life. The only thing that could make it better is for yáll to be here. Keep praying for me and thanks so much for making a way for me to be here. This is just unreal.

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