My kids see drunk people all the time. You cannot walk through town without having to skirt by a man who has been drinking and is acting unpredictably. My kids are scared of drunk people, and they are correct to be wary. They are unpredictable; I have been verbally accosted by drunks and even had them try to physically intimidate me more than once. My kids while riding their bikes through town have been yelled at by the the men who turn aggressive when consuming alcohol. I think that in many ways this nervousness that the kids live with when in town alone on their bikes is a blessing, because none of my kids have much interest in drinking. They see how harmful it can be. So many times alcoholism is hidden in the US, but here it is open for all to see. Our eyes are open to the temptation and the addiction. Here is an interesting post from the Diospi Suyana Hospital webpage.
A change in both the head and heart
Nine years ago the work of Diospi Suyana began among the children of Curahuasi. Currently, 400 boys and girls attend the kids club each week. They learn not only to handle scissors and crayons, but also that God is real and loves each one of them. They learn that problems can be overcome through faith in God and the indulgence into alcohol is unnecessary and counterproductive.
Since Diospi Suyana’s presence in Curahuasi through the kids clubs, the hospital, and the school, the behavior of the residents in relation to their alcohol consumption has changed significantly. The children attending the kids clubs often tell their parents what they have learned about alcohol. Even local politicians tell of this positive development through the work of Diospi Suyana.
In the end, almost everyone benefits. However, the liquor dealers earn less and probably dislike the work being done by Diospi Suyana.
Our friend Nolan has a really good post on their blog Wrights in Peru about how he is helping a young cystic fibrosis patient as she struggles with the complications of her disease.
The past week I’ve been treating a little girl with cystic fibrosis. Before coming to Peru, I had never seen a patient with this condition (basically all my experience has been in outpatient orthopedics). She came to the hospital about 2 weeks ago from Cusco with difficulty breathing, fever, etc. and was quickly admitted to the ICU. She was found to also have pneumonia. I first saw her in the ICU about a week ago. She had a drainage tube coming from the right side of her chest and had labored breathing. I was asked to do some chest physical therapy to help with drainage in her lungs. The treatment was a bit limited due to her pain and decreased mobility from the chest tube, however we got through the first treatment.
Read more on their blog at the link.
Look up and see the glory!
A note from David regarding his average school day. Parental comments will be italicized to add clarification.
6:15 AM Get woken up by Dad.
6:30 AM Finally get out of bed.
6:30 – 7:00 Take time eating my breakfast.
7:00 – 7:25 Get ready for school.
7:45 Arrive at school.
7:46 Stand over the balcony outside my classroom waiting for other students and watching everybody enter the school courtyard.
8:00 Victor walks in the classroom and puts his computer down on the desk. (Victor is the teacher.)
8:15 The teacher starts to dictate after checking the homework. Dictation is when the teacher speaks slowly so the class can copy every word he says. In the Peruvian education copying and dictation are very important. I don’t like it a bit, because it gets old writing words down and some of them I don’t even know what they mean.
8:30 Benjamin, the only other gringo in the class gets bored and starts to become reckless. David thought it would be funny to try and get Benjamin in trouble in this blog. He is exaggerating and laughing while he talks about Benjamin. I write this note so no one will misunderstand and think Benjamin is trouble. He one of David’s best friends, and he is a blessing to all our family. We enjoy having him around very much.
8:31 The teacher leaves the class. Chaos breaks out! And Benjamin has to be a part of it. Again, David is laughing about Benjamin.
8:33 Danna, the police of the class, goes around hitting people with the ruler even though she is only a student. Corporal punishment is common in the schools in Peru. It is not allowed in our school, but that does not stop the kids from inflicting it on one another. Every class has a policia, and they are trying to keep the kids in control. These are self-appointed positions, almost always girls. The Peruvian culture is very authoritarian, and people like to boss each other around. We watch people yell and argue and demand from one another all the time. It starts at a very young age.
9:15 Recess. People pile over each other as they leave the classroom.
9:30 Back in class. The second class is mostly the same, except for the new teacher who will now teach us a grammar subject. Victor taught religion.
11:00 Second recess. But after we hear the trumpet (we don’t have a bell, the music teacher Jorge plays a trumpet to mark the classes) we enter the English speakers classroom. (This is the classroom that Mom uses to teach American subjects.) The American kids go to the English speakers classroom during subjects that they are not going to learn at the school. Examples of subjects they do not do at school are Quechua and English. It would be great if they could learn Quechua, but it is almost impossible for the older kids because it is completely in Quechua; translations are in Spanish so often they do not even understand the definitions of the words they receive. Also, Allison and I cannot help them in any way, so they have been excused from this class with the exception of Sarah. Sarah is learning Quechua as well as spanish. The advantage of being young when exposed to a new language are obvious in our house.
11:05 John Paul and Peter (John Paul is another American) are also in the classroom to escape Quechua class. And we also escape easy and rather boring English class.
11:05 Peter and I start to pull out books.
11:10 Benjamin gets to his second level of boredom and starts to draw. Tip . . . there is not a teacher in this classroom.
11:30 Benjamin becomes extremely bored and he and John Paul begin to think of their own loud activities.
12:50 PM School is out and we are all very glad.
1:00 PM Mom shows up in the classroom with a lunch. Allison teaches a class for the English speakers focused on English grammar, American and world history, and english literature.
1:05 PM Most of the class is present, including one Peruvian and one Peruvian-American, Obed and Omar.
1:25 Mom starts circle time. Circle time is a time when we sit in a circle of chairs. First you can share about your day. Then you listen to a few stories that Mom reads including but not limited to the Bible and chapter books that she reads a chapter out of every day.
1:25 – 2:00 People tilt their chairs back and some lean them on the wall, but our schools chairs are very modern and have weights in the front to keep them from leaning. So typically you have to lean them back very far for them not to tip foreword.
3:00 Mom’s class is over.
3:00 – 5:00 Long, tiring practice band practice. Sarah has marching. We are practicing for the Peruvian Independence because Peruvians are very patriotic and march on many special occasions. First, I get my instrument out. I am playing a drum. The beat starts out with one big pound, and then has three smaller pounds. And then repeats itself three times, and after that you will have three large beats. Peter is playing the trumpet which plays every four beats. Annie plays the lyre which she also plays every two beats, but complains about hurting her when she holds it. This was written when the kids were still preparing for the Peru Independence Day parade. Now they come home during that time and poor David usually has 2 hours of homework. This is the pain of homework in a second language.
5:00 Everybody shouts “Viva Peru!” The kids repeat “Viva!” And everybody is free to go.
5:30 We arrive home exhausted. We might do homework if there is time. We might play video games until 6:00.
6:30 We eat dinner.
7:00-8:30 We finish the dishes and prepare for bed.
8:30 I might read for 20 minutes, and then I will go to sleep.
8:50 I go to sleep. Zzzzzzzzzz
These pictures are from the Hospital Diospi Suyana blog.
The internet is killing us right now! We have such a hard time getting on to even read our email. But this morning we have a little bit of action! I like this picture below of the backyard that was taken by some missionaries that were visiting Curahuasi!
This is what we take people to see when we go to Cuzco.
While others buy souvenirs, we buy the essentials. We must have Doritos! Life is barely worth living without mexican food. 😉 If only we had access to Velveeta to make queso!
We asked our witnesses from over the summer to give some input from their experience on our blog. Austin came from Colorado, and served willingly in all part of the work going on here in Curahuasi. He was a blessing to our family, and we really enjoyed having him. Take a look at this nice post from Austin McCuistion. I really appreciate how he talked about the problems of trust in the Quechua culture, and related it to how we fail to trust God. It is true that we all want control over our lives, and even when we are in relationship with God, sometimes it is hard to trust him with control over it. As you will be able to perceive from reading below, we had some quality people living with us over the summer.
Spending a summer in Peru was a great experience filled with many learning opportunities. While in Curahuasi, spending time helping out in the hospital and school, God was able to reveal and remind me about a couple of things in regards to his nature.
The first thing that I learned this summer came during a Bible study one Wednesday night with Will, Allison, Lydia, and I. Many of these weekly Bible studies focused on missions and this particular one was about features of a mission. One feature we talked about was the “power of mission” which is an “encounter with God” according to the pastor we were listening to. Specifically, we spoke about Abraham and the promise of God in Genesis 12:2-3:
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”
The amazing part about this promise from God is the last part where he finishes by saying that not only is he going to bless Abraham and his family, but also the whole world through them which I find so cool. So my thought is that if God has blessed us with so much, it is to be a blessing like Abraham’s family and go to other people and be a blessing to their life. The great thing about this is that it doesn’t necessarily require leaving where you live to do so. I believe God places opportunities for us to bless people wherever we are as long as we are open to following his Word. Whether it be serving those people in your workplace or church who seem to be left out or helping out at a local homeless shelter, we have been blessed with so much and I believe the best way to show our appreciation to God is to bless others just as Jesus did when he came in human form for the sole purpose of cleansing us of our sins.
Something else I learned during my time in Peru started from many conversations with some of the other American missionaries. As we discussed what they found to be the hardest part about missionary life, many times the issue of trust came up. During my time (especially in clinic with Will), I was able to see the lack of trust that seems to be embedded in the Peruvian culture. One of the hardest things for me was to not look at them and think, “Why aren’t they able to trust what the doctors are doing? Isn’t it easier to disclose all the information they have about their sickness at the beginning of the consult?” However, as my time in Peru progressed (and after countless discussions with the missionaries about this problem), I came to the realization that it is not necessarily their fault, but rather, a cultural anomaly.
Then, one day, as I was praying and attempting to understand this, I found that this trust issue, that we were able to see so easily, can be applied to our relationship with God. It is so easy to become frustrated with someone else when they are not trusting you, but then, when God calls upon us to follow him, we are reluctant despite his track record of always doing what is best for our lives. We, as humans, have a trust issue with God, plain and simple. At times we call upon our bravery and follow the path he has laid out for us, trusting in what he has planned. But other times, we falter, as humans do, and fail to trust the one person who we can put all of our trust in without a single worry. Fortunately, due to his abundant grace, we are forgiven time after time. This grace does not falter. It is not something he will take from us. He will continue to love us. Time, after time, after time of us failing. C.S Lewis states this extremely well in Mere Christianity:
“But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.”
Therefore, as we attempt to follow Jesus and his example, I feel this is an important point to remember about his nature. Despite the way we are treated by others, whether it be mistrust or indifference or even contempt, we need to forgive them and continue on loving them to the best of our ability for this is what Christ does for us.
As I have already said, being able to spend seven weeks with the Caires was great for me at this point of my life. I feel extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to be one of their first “witnesses” for the summer and pray the best for their lives as missionaries. I sincerely believe that the work they are doing through the hospital and the school are making differences in the lives of the Peruvian people and that God has great things in store for them. Thank you for all your prayers. God bless.