I'm the type of person who goes to bed around 3am rather than waking up at 3am. We found out about a week or so before we went to Peru that we'd have to wake up around 3:15am... A.M. to get to La Victoria so we could make sandwiches that we would then take to a hospital.
Now you have to understand, this doesn't mean we just wake up and make sandwiches. Toby has to drive from his house to Pastor Danny's house. Maressa had to get up and leave her Intern house, and get to us. Then we had to drive to Alcance. I think we got there by 4am? By the time we got there, people had already been making sandwiches for a while because there were bags already filled. It was quite a sight to see.
The process was, a couple people cut the rolls, a couple people put butter on one side, and a couple people put on strawberry jelly. A couple hours in, I was so hungry, I finally had a half roll that had lost its other half. No, I didn't eat the other one. lol I think it fell on the floor. I didn't realize initially that people at the other end of the room were making ham sandwiches. Apparently one of each kind were put into a bag that we handed out to people at the hospital.
After we got done with them, turns out there were 1000 sandwiches for us to hand out. They were also making an oatmeal. It was an incredibly watered down version of oatmeal. The oatmeal was put into coolers to distribute in cups at the hospital. I thought we were going back to the same hospital, but was surprised that we ended up in a very different one. I guess the one we'd been at before was the cancer hospital, and they go there at night. This time we were visiting a pediatric wing. I had no clue what to expect when we walked in.
We split into groups of about 5 people. This is where we took the backpacks I had made with the stuffed animals, coloring books, and crayons for the kids. I can't tell you how sad I was that we only had 7 to hand out altogether. My goal for next year is to have a LOT more than that! I can do it...for real! When we got there, it was different because we didn't spend time with the people, just gave them food and backpacks. Then we started handing out some of the gazillion travel hygiene packs I'd put together thanks to so many donations.
It was so cute because there were a couple of nurses sitting outside the pediatric clinic, dressed in their old fashioned outfits, asking if they could have some. Heck yea! I tried making small talk, and they just giggled at me. Turns out that my awkward goofiness works in Peru, too! See, God HAS gifted us all differently. heh heh heh
When we were out of food, we started to walk around the massive hospital. I had blankets and pillows that I wanted to hand out. And yes, I was dragging a suitcase with me through the hospital. God really blessed our team in so many ways to bless others. It was fabulous beyond words.
I'm not sure that how I describe the hospital will really convey the conditions at this hospital. Some of rooms were extremely long with patient after patient just lined up in beds. There was no privacy. Doctors were walking around with a nurse doing their thing with the patients. If I could've seen this room in black and white, I would've thought it was World War I. It was so shocking to me. We finally found a room that would let us in to distribute the blankets and pillows to patients. I couldn't speak Spanish so we had interpreters. What I found out after our time at the hospital was, this was the first time they had let anyone into the rooms.
The Peruvian gal I was with handed me the blanket & pillow and pushed me towards a patient. I handed them to him, not knowing what to say. I just smiled at him. I know we exchanged a couple of words, and the interpreter said something, but I just wanted to honor his dignity. Then we turned around, and there was a gal I had seen through the window rubbing her husband's leg. Before we approached them, I knew of her deep love for this patient. You could see it in her face as she looked at him. The interpreter started speaking to the lady. I honestly can't explain any of this experience to you in a way that you'd be able to understand it fully.
While they were talking about the man laying there, I just knew that whatever it was, it wasn't good. It was in her face, and it just hit me so hard. The sorrow she was feeling. Her sadness. I felt it and welled up with tears. Not knowing, but knowing. She kept looking at me, because she knew I knew that whatever it was, it wasn't good. I just wanted to envelop her in my arms and love on her. I pushed that aside because it just seemed like I was overdoing my emotions. I can get a bit goofy some times.
We left the room, and she came out after us. Milagro was her name. Her name means miracle. She wanted us to pray for her. I just wanted to hug her and not let her go. The man inside is her husband and he has leukemia. He didn't look like he was doing well. One of the other Peruvians who was walking around with us was the photographer/videographer. She turned to me and asked me to pray. I prayed, and she interpreted. I was so heartbroken for Milagro. I'll never know what happened with them, but I'm praying that God will heal them, and hopefully their biggest healing will be spiritual.
After we prayed, we met up with a few other people from our team and wandered around trying to find a couple more people to give the rest of the blankets to. Unfortunately, we also got ourselves a wee bit lost. We didn't realize what a maze this hospital was. It was like an outdoor mall, but a hospital. Finally we got back to the main meeting area. We had a couple other teams to wait for, and the rest of the oatmeal to distribute. Antuane had come with us, and as we were all waiting...she grabbed a box and had one of the guys fill up cups to put in the box, and she started walking around to people asking them if they wanted more. I just stood there in awe. That lady...she doesn't just sit back on her laurels. She was determined that every bit of that oatmeal went to someone. I took her cue, and grabbed filled cups and followed her.
I don't know what time we finally left there, but we headed into the heart of Miraflores to grab some coffee at one of Stalin's favorite coffee shops. Antuane wasn't getting anything...I mean she didn't have any money, so I shared my drink with her. I think she was surprised that I would do that. Maybe that's not part of their culture? What do I know? hahahaha I just didn't want her not having something while we all did. Of course then I was like, duh, get her her own drink. When I asked Stalin if we could get her a drink, it turned out one was already on the way for her.
After coffee we headed back to La Victoria for some lunch, and the plan for the afternoon was to visit Grace House. I'll share about that tomorrow. I can't believe how full the first part of this day was! Full and fulfilling! Serving the people down there fills me with more joy than I can express! On to the afternoon...vamanos!