Day two in Peru began with us heading to Alcance. That's the Camino de Vida La Victoria church, which is also an outreach center. Florencio was there to greet us. He's the key master. He holds the key to get in and out of Alcance. No one gets in or out unless he's there. I found it to be my goal to get him to smile at least once while I was down there. Gotta have a hobby, right?
We learned about Antuane. She had been living on the streets, eating out of garbage bags, and doing whatever she had to so she could survive. We're not completely sure about her full story. She might have a child even. The people she was staying with had told her she couldn't live there any more, but she could live on their roof. Hey, it's somewhere, right?
Thankfully, that roof was about 2 blocks from the outreach center. We had to carry over about 24 sheets of drywall and some other building supplies. They had found a contractor named Edwin who was going to build her room. Because the stairs are so narrow, we couldn't take any of the larger supplies up through the "apartments". We had to tie them to a rope at the bottom, and pull them up hand over fist, one by one. There were two types of drywall: one for the outside and one for the inside. The outside ones were extremely heavy. Not that the interior ones were a heck of a lot lighter.
We had two guys with bad backs on one team of haulers. Then when they'd need a break, the wives would step in and we'd haul up a couple. It became a process and a rhythm. I honestly don't know how long it took, but it seemed like a couple of hours. Tie the drywall on, haul it up, throw back down the rope. After the drywall came the metal frame pieces. After that, Edwin got to work by laying out the frame. In Lima, there are no housing codes. There aren't inspectors. No one checking in on you. You just build. I think the hardest part was having enough work for everyone to feel useful in such a small space and with so little that could be done at once.
Now I have got to tell you how amazing Antuane is. Some people would sit around and let other people just do all the work for them. Not Antuane. She was right there! She and I hit it off easily, and it was almost like we were homies! We couldn't really speak each others language, but we both have somewhat strong, sarcastic personalities. I think we rubbed off on each other. It was awesome to say the least. I was so honored to be helping build her room!
Whenever we've gone to Peru, we've never once brought sunscreen. Turns out this was the year we should have. Several of us ended up sunburned! The past couple years, it's been gray skies most days or we were inside. lol Thankfully, one of the gals, Nancy brought some, so we definitely lathered up the next day.
We spent the day building, and had lunch at Alcance. The food there, always so amazingly good. I keep forgetting to ask for the recipe. Next time, right? I need to come home with at least 2-3 because they feed us so well, and I never leave a speck on my plate.
I'm not sure if I've ever talked about the toilet paper issue in Peru before, but it's a delightful little thing that I only remember half the time when I'm down there. Ladies, I don't know about you, but when I go to the bathroom, I wipe and then drop the TP into the toilet. Flush and I'm done. Well, not in Peru. Everything goes into the trash can. Their sewer systems aren't made for toilet paper. You throw your TP into the toilet, and you're likely to cause a block or flooding. As it says on the wall in the mission house, "Throwing away your toilet paper is scary. Not throwing your toilet paper away is even scarier." One time when I dropped it into the toilet, we were in our dorm room and I said, "Oh man!" thinking I'd said it quiet enough, but I hadn't. The ladies all got a good chuckle because they knew what I'd just done. Heck, every time I threw it away I wanted to cheer! And this is wherever you go, not just at the mission house.
Monday night was also a big celebration. We had Stalin with us. Stalin is Paige's husband. Paige was our host last year. We met Stalin the night we were leaving because he rode with us to the airport. We all totally fell in love with the guy. A total love for the Lord and his wife, and a fantastic personality. Well, we went to eat at Papachos. It's a burger place at the mall. We went there last year and loved it. That day was Olivia's birthday, and I'm so American that I asked Stalin if the restaurant would do something for her birthday. The staff said they would.
Now, here in the States you might get a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream. Well, well, well, I know where I want to go for MY next birthday! It's at Papachos! Olivia came back from the bathroom, and they were so slick, they snuck behind her and lit up a sparkly candle and started singing to her in English. She was SO surprised! then they sang to her in Spanish. It was the BEST! She had the biggest piece of cake, I can't even explain it. Oh, and it had some ice cream with it. Then, THEN, the fun wasn't over. They brought her a bowl with 3 scoops of ice cream. Along with that, they brought a table top treasure chest. Inside the treasure chest were all kinds of treats she could add to her ice cream. She was super gracious and shared it all with everyone!
It was a really great second day! We had an amazing time, and were ready to get back to it the next day.