It's been a year. A year since we went down to build and distribute about 130 wheelchairs. 365 days since we said goodbye to a country and people I've grown to love immensely. Over the next week or so I'll be sharing about our trip down there. This year was so different than the past two trips I've taken. I can't wait to share about our experiences!
Our trip on the way down was a bit muddled to say the least. We got to the church to meet the shuttle at 2:15pm. The shuttle was meeting us at 2:30, and one of our mission members saw our boarding pass said we were supposed to be boarding our FLIGHT at 2:30pm. Oops! We just took it all in stride, and the church secretary got our flight rescheduled. I have to admit, it turned out to be even better than we expected.
We ended up flying up to JFK to grab a flight down to Miami, where we boarded a Latam flight. Have you flown Latam? Oh my word, I wish I wasn't so afraid of flying because it's such an amazing plane. We flew it back from Lima our first year down there. You get your own tv screen to watch your flight, play a game, or watch a movie! Score!
Our flights went off without a hitch and my medication worked like a peach! Can't ask for more than that. We left around 5pm from Baltimore, and didn't get to Peru until 6:30am. I think that was about it. I was on so much medication I can't honestly remember. Flying just does me in.
I was incredibly grateful to my sweet friend, Denise for coming over the day before we left to give me a pair of her support socks. Last year my legs swelled up pretty badly. It took two days for them to recover. I tried to be aware of that this time, and get up to walk around at least once during the flight, and kept my legs moving. I still ended up having my ankles swell, but it wasn't at all like last year.
At one point, I woke up when the sun was coming up, and poor Fred had to keep moving out of my way because I kept wanting to take pictures. The views were so beautiful. Seeing the sun come up, from that high in the air, what more could you ask for? I'm not sure what time it was, but we were going by some mountains, and I must've woken up again because I took a few more photos. I vaguely remember taking them. lol
Our first task was to meet our interns for the week. Maressa was a new intern, and Kennedy had spent some time with us last year. When I was told about Kennedy being there, I was like, "wait a minute, I think I remember her." As she and I chatted throughout the day, I had an "aha" moment where I realized I remembered our conversation in Toby's bus last year as we talked about Canada, where she's from.
Maressa was full of energy. We were her first team, and she was ready to get us going. Let me remind you that I had a days worth of anti anxiety meds flowing through me, so I don't completely remember everything. Our first stop was to Danny and Stephanie's mission house so we could drop off our luggage. From there we went to Miraflores, which is always our first stop in Lima. We get to spend the day going around the city, but this time we didn't do a tour. We got to go to the "beach" which we'd never done before, but it was all rocks. It was the most amazing sound to hear the rocks as the waves would come up over them, and then recede.
After we visited Miraflores, we went to the Inka Market. This was a very small one, but we were able to get everything we "needed." We love bringing home gifts for the family. I was excited to have the chance to go back to the cat park. I got to introduce Olivia to it. Sadly, it was under construction for some reason, so many of the cats were gone. We still got to see a few though.
I think from there we headed to dinner and then to church? I keep having to ask Fred what we did on that first day. Maybe if we have the opportunity to go back again next year I won't take as much medication on the plane. That way I'll remember what we did on our first day.
Church that night was exactly how I remembered it. Church in Peru is something you can't forget, even if you're heavily medicated. It's electrifying! Our host Stephanie was singing with the worship team, and Danny spoke for a minute before church started. We were blessed to have an English speaking pastor visiting. It was hysterical to watch Pastor Robert moving in unison with Pastor Dino. Pastor Robert was interpreting for him, so he followed Dino's every move.
I was thrilled after church to get to see our friend, Jenny. She was with us as a volunteer much of our time last year, especially when we were building and distributing our wheelchairs. At one point, when we were trying to move all of the wheelchairs across the street to where we were distributing them, she stopped the traffic to make sure everyone could get by safely. I was sad to find out that night was the only night we were going to get to see her.
That was pretty much our first day in a nutshell. The work was starting the next day, and we'd been going since early the day before. It was time to go to sleep!