When we worked at Diospi Suyana Hospital in Curahuasi, Peru we loved our short term volunteers. The first time they came it was nice to get to know them. But then the second or third time they came it was a great treat! We knew them already, and we could rejoin our friendship that was formed previously. And there was something about the sensation that we were not forgotten, and that they were in it with us. We have been fortunate to even visit some of these friends in the US when we have come home. And now we are making an entire new set of short term volunteer friends in Kijabe. I know we will be so glad to see them when they return again in the future. If you want to do short term missions, find your place, and then go. Then go again. You will be a blessing to those who receive you.
“This is going to be great,” Sarah exclaimed.
This was not going to be great. Dad was making us go on a four day hike that none of us wanted to go on, except of course, my little sister Sarah, who was very optimistic.
We climbed out of the van with the rest of the group and started carefully going down a very steep hill that lasted for, what felt like forever, when in reality was just the rest of the day. While we were sliding down the hill, the group separated because some people went slower and some people went quicker. My parents had walkie talkies to keep in touch with my brothers who were ahead of us. When we dragged into the campsite we were exhausted. My mom was in charge of cooking dinner that night. She prepared the best spaghetti I had ever eaten. After dinner we looked up at the brilliant stars. Mom and I climbed into our cozy tent and fell asleep right away.
During the night mom got sick with diarrhea. “I’ll be okay,” she said. “Don’t worry about it.”
But as we went down the hill mom had to make many stops behind a bush. Mom saw the walk ahead and felt dizzy. We were considering going home, but mom kept going. David and I went ahead with a young couple, David and Ari. I had known Ari since the day I got to Peru. She worked in the hospital with my Dad. She was very funny and had a unique personality. Then she married my peruvian teacher, David. Peter and Sarah were a group, and Dad and Mom were a group. Mom and Dad were way behind. Dad was being patient and waiting for Mom while Mom was doing her business. The hike was super steep and we hiked non-stop. There were no flat parts at all. It was a very eventful day. When mom and dad finally got to the campsite, we had already eaten.The campsite was super cool. It had lots of wind, it was extremely high up, and it had an awesome view. It was a lot better than the other campsite.
We ate at a typical Peruvian house. We paid them some money and they brought us some food. It was cool because we got to see what it was like to live in a Peruvian house. There were guinea pigs running across the floor, and dirt walls. After that I took an extremely cold shower but it felt good. We went to bed exhausted. But I didn’t sleep very well because in the next tent they were playing games and being very loud, but I woke the next day refreshed and ready to go.
We hiked the rest of the way to the Incan ruins. They were pretty cool but definitely not worth the hike. At least that’s what I thought. We ate our lunch there, a few granola bars and some fruit, and then started walking to the camp we stayed at the first day. It was miserable on the way down. I thought I broke my toe because it hurt so badly and I cried at one point. I rode a horse for about fifteen minutes and we were at the camp. Ari and David, that young couple me and David walked with the day before, were in charge of dinner. Basically we had raw rice and raw vegetables. They were not good cooks. I imagine they’ll get better at it. I mean they had only been married a couple months. When I went to use the restroom it was very disgusting. The toilets weren’t flushing so they were overflowing with brown and yellow. Mom went to go talk with the manager about the toilets. It took a while for them to fix it. We went to bed exasperated. That was definitely the hardest day yet.
For breakfast the next day we had granola bars, again. We were hiking up the hill that we went down the first day. Mom and Sarah were so worn out that they got on a horse together and were at the entrance in no time. David and Peter went ahead and so it was just Dad and me. I talked and talked all the way until we got to the entrance. Dad would be like “ I need to take a break Annie,” and I would say “Okay,” and we would stop. I wasn’t tired at all! I told dad about “The Ted Wars.” That was when I stole a stuffed animal named Ted from my brother David. He stole it back and then I stole it again and so on. I told him about my favorite part of the hike, about my friends, and practically everything I could think of! Right when we were walking up the final hill we saw two amazing condors soaring above us.
They were so close I felt as if I could touch them. It was an amazing experience. When we got to the entrance mom gave me some money to buy a snack. The car that was picking us up was very late. Something about peruvians you probably didn’t know is that peruvians are always very late. I ate my snack and talked to my teacher, David. When the car finally came I climbed in ready to get home. We all marveled at how we just did that long hike. I was glad to get home. But if someone invited me to go again, I would say yes.
This is a nice video that our friends in Peru have put together to explain the work that they are doing among the Quechua people. I had the pleasure of caring for their two sons – I did not have to do much as they were quite healthy and happy. We drove hours to their house over very curvy roads every January to watch the Super Bowl. What are friends for, right? Erin is an ACU graduate and they are both from the Tacoma, WA area (we lived there as well) which means we are connected in more ways than one! Take a look at the video to be challenged and inspired!
The last couple weeks In Peru were a rush of emotions and business as we hosted my family for the Christmas holiday. Then we had one week to sell all of household goods, say “Goodbye” and move. I was so busy I did not have time to be sad, nor have I yet had much time to miss Peru. But one thing I knew I would miss even before we left was the hike to the Mirador. I would walk out my front door, go down the steep hill, cross the Pan American Highway, and then start going uphill for over 1000 feet. From my door to the top was a little less than an hour. There was not one single time that I made that hike that I did not feel so happy to be where I was at that moment. And then as I arrived to the top I would sit for just a few moments, take a picture, and try to remember the views as I knew my time in Curahuasi was coming to an end. I always prayed and thanked God for what he had done for me and how he had brought me to that moment. There is nothing to match it in Dallas, and I miss that hike and time of reflection, silence, and solitude very much. We benefit from special places where we can be alone with our thoughts and where we can be alone with God and his creation. And when we find those places they can give us energy for the next thing that is placed before us. So here is my post dedicated to the Mirador and all the special places we have had in our lives. (I got to practice putting .gifs in the blog.)
We are not at the hospital any longer, but it is still fun to see what is going on. We have new plans to explain in the several days. A new continent and a new work is on the horizon.
Whenever the above picture shows itself to us in our computer I am reminded of some of the silly happiness we had in Peru. There is a constant joy of discovery when working cross-culturally. There is a happiness in knowing that you are doing something significant that will have eternal significance. I will not say that life was not hard, and we had some struggles living in Curahuasi that are not to be discounted. These struggles were full spectrum being psychological, spiritual, and physical. But there was not a time when there was not a happiness in God underneath it all. When I posted the above picture to Facebook two years ago I had no idea that we would have left Peru for good just a mere two years later. God works in our lives in ways that we cannot imagine. And in trust we say “Take us where you want us to be to live out Ephesians 2:10 which states ‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago’.” I am interested in seeing what is next while all the time trusting that we are prepared for the work ahead of us.