Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 3 - Home Visits - Friday

On Friday, Jenna, Michelle and I established a new morning routine---conducting our morning meeting while walking to and from Starbucks. Our hotel was definitely in a very Americanized part of Lima: Starbucks, Fridays, McDonalds, Chilis---all right around the corner.

Friday morning we conducted home visits with leader-mothers and their families in the community. At first, I really didn't understand the point of these meetings but we found the same things with these families as we did with the others we visited: they all had stories and they loved sharing their lives with us.
My team, once again, hiked all the way up the hill. We visited Elva, her son Mikiar, and daughter Grace. Elva shared her sewing business with us. She also shared about her hometown in the hills. She was definitely proud of her heritage. Elva is also quite the matchmaker. She asked each of us if we were married, how many kids we have, etc. I am set to marry her 33-year-old brother. I just have to come
back in October for her son's baptism so I can meet him. Apparently, he also sews. She also asked me to bring my 18-year-old brother with me so he can marry her sister. I think she might end up being pretty disappointed in that situation. Kyle was instructed to take her 3-year-old son back to the States with him since he only has two daughters. I think she really loves her family but is looking for a better life for them than she has. At the end of our time, she invited us to have lunch with her family on Tuesday. She would prepare a traditional meal from the highlands. Of course, we had to accept but looked forward to that meal with anticipation and dread.

After our visits, we stopped by the preschool in the community. The teacher shared with us what her day looks like. The kids were adorable, of course.

We then headed off to an amazing lasgana lunch at the FH offices. Yum! We had about 20 extra minutes to kill. So, in true Janelle fashion, I introduced the team to High/Low. It was good to sit and think about the good moments, the rough ones, and the funny ones.

The FH staff used our visit to have a conversation with the community about family violence. (This is their current focus.) Before they started, the Kooyenga family was able to share a little bit about their story and their two sons, both of whom graduated from Elim. Kathy said that, eventually, she learned that she didn't need to try to fix her sons, she just needed to teach them about Jesus. God would fix them when they got to heaven. What an amazing perspective! To end their time, we sang Alabare--our one attempt to sing in Spanish.

During the majority of the workshop, we were able to visit more families of children with disabilities. I was thrilled to learn that I would get to visit Yoda. (We thought his name was Jordan for a while but finally saw it written out in his school notebook.) His mother is a hard-working woman who loves her son but struggles with what his future holds. Yoda has technically aged-out of the school system at 15. He was still in 3rd grade and the school did not welcome him back this year. I was able to chat with the mom about what the future could hold for Yoda. While school is not really an option for him at this point, I encouraged her to help him find a purpose in life: whether it be helping her at work, running water up and down the hill for people, assisting the FH staff. He needs to find something that he enjoys doing and something that keeps him out of trouble.

For dinner, we were able to take the 5 families from the community that had children with disabilities out to dinner. It was a special time for everyone involved. It was a HUGE treat for these kids. Yoda's little sister announced this was the best restaurant in the whole world. (It was a chicken place a little nicer than KFC.) I think it was also really nice for the families to realize that they are not alone. I think most of them knew the other families existed but they
didn't seem to really know each other. I was especially excited to see Ashley's family there. They had been at doctor's appointments all day but still made an effort to make it. I think that just shows how desperate they are for community. We all had tons of fun eating, chatting, hanging out, and taking lots of pictures.

One of my favorite moments was when dinner ended. Everyone at the table asked for a plastic bag. They each took all their bones, leftovers, salads, etc and put them in the back. There was not an ounce of food or scraps left on the table. The bones went to their dogs. (Dogs chocking on chicken bones must be an American myth because they have tons of dogs that seem to be surviving just fine.) The salads to their pigs. They didn't waste anything. Definitely something we Americans could learn from them.

Once again, we came arrived back at the hotel rubbing our eyes and ready for bed. I think it's safe to say that Friday was a highlight for a lot of the team.


  1. She shouldn't be disappointed with your 18 yr. old brother - I think he's pretty special! Can't wait to hear what you had for dinner on Tues.!

  2. He's not really marriage material.