|Well Boxing day, not celebrated here at all, we(Rachel, Sharon and I) were off to San Juan de Lurigancho to meet Christian. After a few taxis knocking us back, cos of the traffic they told us, we got a guy who offered to take us for S20, which was well overpriced, but as it was xmas.. Havent been bartering the taxi prices the last coupla days as it is xmas!!
Well he started his car by hot wiring it, had a beatles disco goin on and had 2 fans on the dash that took the breath from ya when he switched them on!!!!!!! And he was mad, kept cracking jokes and chuckling at them, discovered he was relying on me to get him to the right place, it was a bit ambitious!! After 40mins and asking about 20 people we were dropped totally conspicuiously at Canto Grande, Paradero 2!!! Then discovered the mercado Marleni(Christians mum)had told me to go to was further up the road, so after gettin totally stared at we jumped in a micro bus to take us to to the market.
My next instruction(it was like something out the Krypton Factor) was to find the person with the tannoy and announce that we were here and that she would come and find us. Yup, like everything in this country, nothing is jus that simple! So after looking completely out of place, like real sore thumbs, we were directed to this woman who supposedly knew something about the tannoy. I was then told I had to go to another stall and pay one sol and come back, I would then be allowed to use it. Paid ma money,got ma receipt, then was taken to this room, with a tannoy system. Talk about surreal!!! So the guy then started shouting, her name, where she lived, who I was, where we were to meet over and over on this tannoy.
We then got to wait, and watch the football tournament that was on in the playing fields,again, conspicuous, conspicuous, then wow, oor Christians friendly face suddenly appeared, how pleased were we to see him. all of a sudden we fitted in, people stooped looking at us like we had 3 heads. He had a shopping list so we went round the market with him buying chicken from the most unhygienic place.. chickens lie with their out-spread feet stuck in the air, flies all around, no plastic gloves, and chopped up and flung in a bag, next stop eggs. Flung in a bag- honestly they buy eggs, milk, everything in bags here!!!
We had arrived in one of the shanty towns, turned out the last time I had been here, it wasnt actually his house we were at, it was his aunts. It was cardboard huts built on top of what seemed like the edge of a quarry, certainly not a place for flip flops as we found out sliding all over the place, more like hiking boots n a big stick!!
His house consisted of one room, split in half with a curtain, plastic bags and hte odd bit of wood for a roof, woven stuff for walls, I had never been anywhere like it, none of us could believe it, that we were actually here experiencing this. There was no floor, jus the ground, holes in the ceiling, walls. One gas stove with 2 rings for cooking, a wee table, one electric bulb, a few water containers(they collect water from a tap 50m away, down the most precipitous slope Ive encountered with flip flops on). The other room has one bed, a pile of belongings, a shelve unit with a tv on top, and thats it, that is all they hav in the world. It was a moving experience to be there, but you could tell there is a real community spirit, the neighbour handed up extra cutlery for us, Marleni sent down a plate of lunch(which was chicken fried rice- it was lovely). When we looked around, for as far as we could see, it was all shanty, everyone lives like this, but they seem really happy, and when I asked her if we could help her with anything she replied she doesnt need anything, they have everything, its the kids on the streets who get sent out by their mums to work in dangerous situations, its them that need the help, the kids whose mums only see them as a way to earn some money. She believes in God, and that he helps her and her boys daily get thru life safely and with the care and love they have. Made us all pretty humble, we all came out wanting to give her as much money as we could to help make her lot better. The boys got washed outside the house in a basin of water with a bar of soap, and dressed putting on the new t-shirts and Christian, his shoes, we had gave them as presents today. She apologised for the inconvenience of her house, thanked us for coming..... We were so humble, couldnt thank her enough for her hospitality, we were so taken by it all, words cant really describe what we experienced today, it was an unforgettable experience, and brought us all back a bit quiet and reflectful, how could we help her, she really wants to improve her lot and her kids futures. She told us that as it stands at the moment the boys are only going to be allowed to stay at the Puericultorio till the end of Primary education due to some government legislation, dont fully understand....
Took Christian and Luis back to the orphanage with us in the taxi, they fell asleep on our laps, I cant tell you how much I was, like Rachel and Sharon, moved by today, pictures and words only tell part of the story. Its an insight into one families life, how many million other people live like that in Lima, in Peru, and elsewhere in the world......
Have been spending a lot of quality time wit some of the kids this week, and one of them Erick(the good looking one) asked if we could start doing English classes again. This morning when I was out a guy was selling an English Spanish dictionary for S20 so i bought it for him, he is really keen and speaks well. He has some brothers, half brothers and cousins but never really leaves the orphanage, and is the nicest boy in the world.
Today his pal Katherine was gettin him all embarrassed by showing me his shoes, they were totally falling to pieces, split i half at the sole. Noone will buy them for him, they get one pair a year from the Puericultorio, and thats it.
Katherine is another girl who has noone, her parents both died a few years ago and she never leaves the orphanage, and like Erick is a really nice kid, both 13/14 years old.
She also has shoes that are falling to bits so have got permission from the hermana to take them both shopping tomorrow and buy them shoes.
We got a list of all the kids who never get to leave the Puericultorio and have got permission to take them to the beach on Wednesday for the whole day, we are so excited!!
Wesnesday, at the beach, ended up being an epic paseo, 28 of us went in a big bus, 12 boys, 5 girls, Walter, his mum and cousin, 3 auxiliaries and 5 of us, it was the best paseo ever. Left at 10am, and got back about 5.30pm. We arrived at the beach to about 20 people trying to sell us unbrellas, food, the usual peruvian marketing ploys, managed to get away with only hiring 3 umbrellas! We had had a magic time, jumping waves collecting those wee beasties muy muys, the sand hiding things, eating oor mammoth picnic! 2 crate of juice, 3 litre of water, bag of crips, biscuits, chifles, cheese and ham rolls, it was great!!
7 hours at the beach and it was time to go home, time for everyone to fall asleep on the bus, wee Christian on ma lap. The best day out ever, we all loved it, knackered after it tho!!
Following day, found out all the boys had sunburn on their back, we were laughing so much, how do peruvian get burnt in the sun!
Had a bit of a day from hell on Thursday as got into trouble off the directora for not speaking to her first before buying the stuff, speaking to the nuns blah blah blah, horrible day. On Friday, all the nuns brought me presents and told me not to worry about things, that I was great, and only want to help, I upset the line of command thats all!!
So all finished really nice on Friday, got a lovely letter from Katherine saying thank o much for the beach, trainers, shorts, that I make her happy, she thinks of me like a kinda mum cos I care for her, it made all the hassle on Friday worthwhile, its gonna be so hard to leave here!