My last weekend before the onslaught of uni starts. I better make sure I do plenty of relaxing.
I have been back in Australia for 5 days now but haven’t really had the energy to blog.
So much to think about, pray about and reflect on from the trip. I am still pretty sure that Peru is the place I am called to but have no idea what I am supposed to do there. Right now I am feeling most convicted by the idea of just living there (in community of course), and being friends with people rather than doing anything in particular if that makes sense. I am also convicted by the idea of not being busy, living simply, being connected with family, prayer, supporting relationships and connecting people across social divides. Again not fully knowing what that actually means.
However about week ago in my time of reflection and prayer I was reading Job. In a place of much pain and suffering I felt that was quite appropriate. I read this and I found it really spoke to me and made me feel at peace about the uncertanity.
“Give into God and come to terms with Him
and everything will turn out fine.
Let him tell you what to do;
take his words to heart.
Come back to God Almighty
and he’ll rebuild your life.
Clean house of everything evil.
Relax your grip on your money
and abandon your gold plated luxury.
God Almighty will be your treasure,
more wealth than you can imagine.
You’ll delight in God, the Mighty One,
and look to Him joyfully, boldly.
You’ll pray to Him and he’ll listen,
he’ll help you do what you’ve promised.
You’ll decide what you want and it will happen,
your life will be bathed in light.
To those who’ll feel low you’ll say “Be brave”
and God will save them.
Yes, even the guilty will escape,
escape through God’s grace in you.”
This won´t be a long one as I am at Buenas Aires airport and paying unbelievable amounts of money to be here but I wanted to write and ask people if they would be able to pray for my friend Teresa. Teresa´s 15 year old daughter Paola disappeared almost 5 months ago and she hasn´t heard anything. She has searched most of the north of Peru and Ecuador but nothing and has receieved no help from the police at all. In fact most of her meetings with them have been very negative. It seems quite possible she has been sold into prostitution or somthing. As you can imagine Teresa is compeltely distraught as she does not know what else to do but pray to God and hope for a miracle. I also can´t do anything else but that either and if you would all too that would be great.
Sorry I have been so slack on the blog front but we have made it to our final destination Chulucanas. I can´t say how happy I am to be here and rest finally. Lida is looking after us very nicely and yesterday I slept pretty much all day, it was wonderful.
Apart from that though the last week has been pretty busy. After our day in Arequipa we decided to take a tour to the Valle del Colcon which is about five hours out of Arequipa and you can see Condors. I don´t usually do tours but we had Lida with us so we thought it would be easier that way and it was pretty fun really. We stopped at a few touristy places along the way, met a really cool girl from New Zealand and the Condors were amazing. They are so big and they flew around for about an hour. They were actually looking for food but to me it was like they were putting on a show just for us.
That went for two days and then we moved on to Lima. I am not a huge fan of Lima but it was good to be there and catch up with some of Martin´s family. We saw his dad and some cousins and I finally met his nephew, Diego. He is absolutely gorgeous and kept calling me tia (aunt) I loved it. We also watched the soccer game between Peru and Argentina. Unortunately Peru didn´t win but it was exciting. Peru played four games in the Copa America before getting knocked out in the second round and they won two and lost two but I saw the two they lost. I hope I am not bad luck. We also went the stadium of Martin´s soccer team “La U” and watched a game. They tied. It was fun and I am pleased to finally have seen up close the other love of Martin´s life.
After two days in Lima we took the overnight bus to Piura and arrived at about 8.30 in the morning. We have visited many places in South America now which are far more beautiful than Piura and have talked a lot about where we may live but nothing feels like home quite like Piura does. It has changed a lot though and thankfully seems to be doing a lot better and much cleaner. I don´t know if that is true but it does seem that way. We visited Martin´s brother and his new baby. She is so cute although being around babies makes me so clucky. We also visited Martin´s other niece and Koky, Cesar and Arturo. Again they all seem to be doing really well which makes so happy. It was strange been there and made me feel very nostalgic. It is a good thing that things change and people grow but I guess part of us wants things to stay the same.
Then finally at about 8.30 in the evening we took the bus to Chulucanas. Lida has painted, reorganised and cleaned the whole house for us. It looks great actually and feels homely. She has been a wonderful host. I think she enjoyed the trip but really she is much more content having us in her home and I too am content. It was nice to unpack the bags fully knowing I don´t have to pack them up for another ten days. I have slipped in to the very slow paced life of the town. I have slept, ate, read, gone for some short walks around the place but pretty nothing else for two days. After the last couple of months I have so needed that. Tommorrow we go back to Piura to visit some of the families that I was friends with through Ayni. I am feeling a little anxious about it, there is a lot going on for them and me really, so am glad I have taken these two days to just relax. I haven´t made up my mind if I am going to go out to the school yet. I don´t think it would be at all helpful but people keep telling me I should. They think they´d be offended if I didn´t and I have to say Peruvians are kind of like that. I guess we´ll see.
Martin has been a lot more active, visiting people, playing basketball and catching up with everyone. He is so happy. Lots of memories here too for us. It is kind of like falling in love all over again.
I am not sure if my days are right. It is funny right now I seem to have lost track of what day it is, what the date is and how many days I´ve been gone but I guess it is not really that important.
Lida arrived today. It was really nice to see her and we have had such a specail day together which has been wonderful. It is so important to me to have a close and supportive relationship with her and I am not sure how great I have been at that so I am happy that we are having a good time. When she arrived we picked her up from the bus station and then we went and had lunch. It was good food and we had a spectacular view over all of Arequipa. It is called the white city cause most of the buildings are made out of the local volcanic rock which is white. Anyway it is very attractive, not to mention it has a very beautiful plaza and churches. After lunch we visited the Santa Catalina monastry. It must be the biggest and most lovely monastry ever. Then we wondered around town for a bit and then visited an archaelogical museum which houses “Juanita – the Ice Princess”. Juanita is a mummy whose remains were found in the mountains close to here. She is a very important mummy as she is pretty much fully in tact (it is bizarre) and she was sacrificed to the Inca god in the 1500´s. From all the other artifcats that they have found they believe she was a very noble and imporatnt sacrifice. It was fascinating, really fascinating.
We just had dinner and now I am going to go and have a shower and go to bed even thought it is only 8.30. Sight seeing really takes it out of me but will write soon.
Time is a funny thing. It feels kind of like an eternity since I was in Sydney yet on the other hand however it feels like only yesterday that I first came to Peru.
We made it to Peru today (maybe that is what has got me thinking about time). When we crossed the border Martin lay down on the soil for awhile. I didn´t go that far but I was feeling pretty moved. However where have we been since then.
I did manage to see the Valle de la Luna and it was pretty cool. Maybe not worth a five year wait but good and incredibly unique. After that we went back into La Paz and Martin went to the Coca museum. I didn´t as I had seen it before but it was pretty interesting. A sure example of just one of the ways that Bolivia has been so completely exploited.
After that we left La Paz and went to Copacabana, a cute little town on Lake Titicaca. There we visited the Island of the Sun. It took about five hours to walk across the island and it was stunning. There was also some Inca ruins to visit. Along the way though we were frequently asked by children with llamas if we would like to take their photo for one boliviano. Obviously they have realised that tourists like to take their photo so they are cashing in on it. You can´t blame them at all but I found it pretty grose. It just makes it so difficult to genuinely connect. That evening we went out with some other travellers we had met that day. They were great but some of the other tourist were just appalling. They complain about everything. While travelling one seems to meet the best and the worst of humanity.
This morning we left Compacabamba and after about three buses and nine hours we arrived in Arequipa, Peru. It was a bit of adventure as we had got down to about $10 and every town we arrived in told us there was no ATM so everything was pretty budget and there was lots of walking but it all worked out in ther end. As said it is good to be here. We will be staying here for three nights I suspect which will be nice as I may actually be able to unpack somewhat and it is a bit warmer so I am hoping to shake the cold that has been stalking me.
I have been feeling pretty negative the last two days really. Mostly to do with the fact that both Martin and I have been a little physically sick (a cold combined with the altitude sickness is not all that pleasant) but also pretty tired with constantly moving, living out of a backpack, being looked at a lot (although Bolivia believe it or not is better than Argentina) and just not knowing how to respond to all the poverty that I see around me. Martin thinks that I make it more complicated than it really it is. I think he makes it more simple than it really is. As usual the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
There have been some good and interesting moments though. After our nap in Oruro we went for a walk around that town. Again nothing spectacular but I enjoyed walking around. We sat in a plaza in the sun for awhile and I shut my eyes and felt the sun on my eyes and it was so soothing. We also visited an old mine that is no longer in use so they turend it into a museum. How awful it would be to work in a mine. I was feeling really sick and claustrophobic after like half an hour in there I couldn´t imagine been in there all day.
The next morning we moved on to La Paz. We bought tickets at the front of the bus upstairs so the drive was pretty spectacular especially driving into La Paz. What a crazy city it is. People everwhere, still dressed very traditionally and all with some crazy thing to sell. We went and checked out the Presedential Palace. It is quite attactive and we were hoping to get a glimpse of Evo Morales. Bolivia´s first indigenous president who is making some pretty big changes. The Bolivians we have spoken with tell us that they are yet to feel them but there is hope for the future. We sat in yet another plaza outside and after been hassled for about five minutes Martin aggreed to let one of the shoesshine boys clean his shoes. He did and then Martin cleaned his. You should have seen the looks of the people walking by when they saw that. Anyway we got chatting with them and it turned out that Bolivia was playing Uraguay in the America´s cup that afternoon and the boys did not have a TV to watch it or the ten Bolivianos it costs to see at the cinema so we invited them to watch it in our hotel. It was a fun 2 hours that we spent with them although Bolivia lost 1-0 so they left pretty disappointed. Then Peru lost 2-0 to Venezuala so I had a very disappointed Martin as well.
After a lot of soccer we went out for dinner and stumbled upon a drag show in the street that was trying to raise awareness of gay rights. It was pretty tame compared to Sydney but the crowd was still pretty quiet and didn´t fully know what to do but it was good to see that there is some openess to the rights of homosexuals and lesbians.
This morning feeling much better but still pretty tired and out of shape. Walking around this place is so hard. Two flights of steps and I am gasping. I am not sure why the altitude has affected me so much more this time as I am much fitter but it has. Today we head off to Valle de la Luna which was somthing I tried to see last time I was here but didn´t manage to due to getting robbed and few other disasters so I am hoping today will go well.