Thursday, May 29, 2014

Kids and Kittens

It was another gray day in Lima. Humid and comfortable temperatures, but gray. We got up, ate breakfast and were ready at 9:00am for Pastora Uta to come pick us up and take us to Emanuel.

Us waiting outside for Uta.

It was an adventure getting to Emanuel. Traffic was especially bad today, so it took us almost 2 hours to get there. The drive was hectic as always, and our cab had a hard time following Pastora Uta all the way there. 

Lorna captured Dale, Deb, and I above in the grey taxi just ahead.

We drove through endless miles of the poorer parts of Lima. Although this is my second time here, it's still shocking to see the condition of this part of the city.

We arrived around 11:30 and were greeted by the teachers of the kindergarten that is run out of Emanuel. We got to meet and play with the children of the preschool/ kindergarten. Emanuel had come so far since I last saw it four years ago. It not only has expanded, but has built classrooms and play areas to hold the kindergarten. It was cool to see how the congregation has come together to build this self-sustaining entity of the church. 

We then met with the president of the church council and director of "Manos Unidas". Manos Unidas is another social project that Emanuel does where they employ women in the local community and teach them how to sew and make goods such as purses and wallets. These are sold in the U.S. and in local markets in Peru. 

We talked with Uta about the progress her congregation has made, and how Emanuel is working to become a self-sustaining church. It was assuring to see that in the face of many problems, their congregation was pushing forward and doing good for its members, and the community.

After our conversations, we left Emanuel and took the long ride back to our hotel. We spent the afternoon/ evening in the park, eating lunch, and walking near the ocean. The gray was not going to stop us from enjoying our day. We ate at Cafe Cafe, an old favorite, and stopped by the park. The park is oddly filled with wild cats. There are so many cats just wondering around and they only stay in the park area.

We also walked to "Parque de Amor" and along the ocean.

There were people running of the cliffs and paragliding.

We stopped at Starbucks to use the internet then mosied back to our hotel for the night.

Even though we didn't go to dinner, it gave me a chance to diminish my stock of Peruvian Doritos (yes, they're different). 

Debating whether to buy another bag of Doritos,

Ben Beyond the Bubble

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Crepes & Waffle Wednesday

Today was a wild day starting bright and early at 4:00am. We had our taxis set to pick us up from our hotel and bring us to the airport at 5:00am. We were the first flight to leave the airport, at gate 1. Check in and security were a breeze and we were at our gate with time to spare (a nice change). We all sat in row 8 on the plane.

We landed in Lima around 8:30am. Unfortunately, our arranged taxi was nowhere to be found, luckily a very nice taxi driver got a van for cheaper! We made it to our hotel, however check in wasn't until 1:00
so we had some time to burn.

Lorna led us to an amazing restaurant she remembers from her previous visits named "Crepes and Waffles". We all ordered amazing breakfasts which were much needed after an already long day of travel.

After finishing our amazing crepes we walked down to the ocean and Larcomar, a giant American-style shopping center on the ocean.

After a quick stop at Starbucks to keep us all from falling asleep in the middle of the sidewalk, it was time to go back to our hotel, check in and get ready for our 3:30 meeting. We were invited to attend a meeting with 4 ILEP (Iglesia Lutherana Evangelica de Peru) pastors. 

We had a little bit of an adventure on our way to the meeting. Lorna, Deb and I all were in a cab. The cab driver took off before Ofelia told us where the meeting was located. He said he knew where it was. However, after we drove around endlessly it was clear that he in fact did not know where it was. By an act of God, we somehow made it to the correct street. I heard Ofelia say that we needed to go to the 10th block, and the driver let us out at an intersection and pointed to the right. We walked to the right and ended up being stopped by a security guard. I told him we were looking for the tenth block and all he could tell me was that we were in a restricted government area and needed to walk in the other direction. Well, that set us on our way the other direction, and ten blocks later we finally spotted Pastor Dale at the intersection looking for our taxi. Reunited at last and very relieved, we went into our meeting.

The meeting lasted a little over 2 hours and we talked mostly about ILEP, the congregations, and our relationship into the future with the churches and children of Peru. It was great to see the pastors again and meet some new ones too.

After our meeting, we had a hectic taxi ride in rush hour back to our hotel. We decided that we better take one taxi this time to avoid the same adventure as before. However, this meant a very crowded back seat.
Trust me, we look a lot happier in this picture than we actually were.

After returning to our hotel we took a short break and decided to go out for pizza. The pizza was super delicious. We ordered a pizza that was similar to a Hawaiin pizza, but it had fresh peaches on it! So good!

After dinner we took a short walk around the park, then back to our hotel. Although only 8:00pm it seems like midnight because we have been awake for so long! Plus, we have to be ready to go at 9:00am tomorrow to head to Emmanuel to do a short morning kindergarten music workshop with the kids.

^insert plug about being exhausted but excited for tomrorow,

Ben Beyond the Bubble


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ciao Cusco

Today was another early day; Clara asked us to be at Huch 'uy Runa by 10:00 because they had something special planned for our last day. We arrived at 10:00 and by 10:15 we were starting our workshops. Today's workshops were identical to yesterday's and Friday's except with 5th and 6th graders. They picked up everything a lot faster. In our station with the recorders we were actually able to not only teach them basics and how to clean the recorder, but a little scale too. Below are some pictures from today's workshops.

Once again, we had them meet all together at the end for some big group singing and motions.

Look at Lorna's video here:

After our music workshops we went down to meet with Clara before the surprise the kids had planned for us. She had this super weird fruit called a "granadilla" and started peeling them for us all to try. They were soooooo good. It was similar to a pomegranate but smaller and it grows all over the place in Peru. First, you take off the hard shell, then you use a spoon to scoop the seeds out from the inside.

After our fruitful adventure (get it) we were in for the surprise of our lifetimes. We all sat down in a row and the kids all lined up in the courtyard. 

The kids and teachers had put together an entire program and each grade had a special part. They wanted to thank us for the work we had done there. First, the littlest kids came forward and sang a song in their cute costumes.

Next, each grade had one kid come up and give us their completed forms and pictures. There were conveniently six grades and six of us! We each got a packet of their forms and a hug. 

Next the 3rd graders came forward and performed a traditional Peruvian dance. You can see the video here:

After the dancing the teachers explained how each workshop made each one of us a special gift so that we would remember our brothers and sisters in Peru at Huch 'uy Runa. Then, the children came forward and gave us the gifts.

Then Clara stood up and said some words thanking us for all of our hard work and presented Dale with a poster. After that, Dale stood up with Ofelia as his tranlslator and told the kids how grateful we were for them and that they truly are the kingdom of God.

Now, it was time for the kids to go to lunch, so while they were getting ready Clara showed us the dormitories, the doctors office, and the dentist office. They only have 30 beds at Huch 'uy Runa and they are mainly for emergency. 

Then, we joined the kids and all of the staff for lunch. The teachers served every single one of the kids and they all waited for everyone to be served before eating.

During our meal Clara leaned over to Annie and I and told us that the kids have a hearty lunch, because some of them go home after school, and are not fed until they return the next morning to Huch 'uy Runa. She also told us that when the younger kids first start there, that they are hesitant to eat because they have never had food available to them, therefore they are required to stay inside and sit down until they finish all their food. 

One girl today didn't like her beets.

Today provided us with such an insight into how amazing the teachers truly are at a Huch 'uy Runa. After the kids finished with their lunch they all left and it was our group with the staff. The amount of dedication each teacher gives to the school and the children is unbelievable. From the way that they selflessly serve everyday in the classroom to literally serving the children their meals, they are all amazing people. After lunch each teacher had words for us of praise, thanks, and assurance. When we were all together we asked them how we did, and reminded them that our main objective was to enable them to continue teaching music everyday in their classrooms. They all expressed how pleased they were with our work. They looked at us and promised they would practice and continue to build on our teachings. 

We then had the staff congregate for a final photo.
Pictured above are teachers Edwin, Susana (principal), Jacqueline, Walter, Maria Luisa, Clara (director), Edgar, Nilda and Boni

After a very lengthy goodbye or "Ciao" in Spanish, we left Huch 'uy Runa until next time...

After leaving Huch 'uy Runa it was hard to get the children off our minds. We spent the afternoon in the sun again in the main square because it was too nice outside to be in our hotel. We waited until 4:30 when we knew the children from Huch 'uy Runa would walk through the square on their way home. As they passed us we waved hello and they ran over to us and gave us hugs. They asked if they would see us tomorrow. It was painful to tell them that we left for Lima at 7:00am. After the final kids left the square, we decided to go to the chocolate museum to clear our minds.

We had a sampling of chocolate, coffee, and a brownie! It was all delicious!

To close the day we all spent some time packing and went out for a final dinner in Cusco at our favorite restaurant below our hotel. 

With a 4:00am wake up call tomorrow, Ben Beyond the Bubble better get some sleep!

P.S. The carpet fumes are back. Again, if we don't make it to morning, send help! 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Música Monday

Today was another beautiful day in Cusco. What we did was almost identical to last Friday, but this time we worked with the 3rd and 4th graders of Huch 'uy Runa. Again, we did workshops with them just as last time. We had recorder, percussion, and keyboard workshops for them to do. The day went smoothly and the two hours workshops flew by. Below are some pictures of the workshops today with the 3rd and 4th graders.

Again at the end we got the whole group together and sang some of their favorite songs. Of course, "Siempre que me muevo es en Ti" was on the agenda.

The children were amazing and enthusiastic to learn and participate, much more than I am in school on a typical Monday!

We ended the day at Huch 'uy Runa, and ate lunch at a new restaurant near our hotel. We then split off for the afternoon, some of us to soak up the sun, and some to go shopping. Ofelia left after lunch to go to Talitha Kum for a meeting about their future and a bible study. We reconvened before dinner, and waited for Ofelia to return from her bible study at Talitha Kum. She returned, and we walked a little further to a small cafe to find the "best apple pie in town". Of course, the food was good, and we were all stuffed as we waddled back to the hotel.

They are putting new carpet in our hotel, so the fumes from the carpet glue are quite strong, and there is no escaping them. If there is no blog post tomorrow, we all fainted due to the fumes, send help.

High on fumes, I mean life,

Ben Beyond the Bubble.