Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Wheelchairs Arrive In Peru

Our fifth morning had us starting off like we did most of our mornings, at Starbucks. Well, ok, not exactly there. We always had an amazing spread of food thanks to the Gutierrez family. Better than the cereal I typically have for breakfast.

Stephanie, Pastor Danny's wife, is a Minnesota gal!

After Starbucks, we headed to the storage unit. This was our first view of this one. Each time Fred's gone down, and me two years ago, the storage unit and distribution location have been different. The traffic is crazy no matter where you go, and one mode that people tend to use out in this area it seemed, more than anywhere else we'd been, was these mototaxis. Tiny little things that would scare the snot out of me in the Lima traffic!

The church had just gotten their shipment in of the wheelchairs, and all we needed to do was wait for the container to get to the storage unit. While we waited, we moved the wheelchairs we were planning on using to the front of the unit. And then we waited some more...and some more...

 Moving the boxes with all of the interns. See how empty it is now?

Fred's back was killing him! Free Wheelchair Mission is where they get the chairs.

Now, when we first showed up, I was watching people walk up and down the street, wondering what they were up to. They'd go past us empty handed, and as they came back, they had plastic bags filled with something. At some point, I realized the people must be grocery shopping. Well, Peruvian market shopping is more like it. We got to the storage unit, initially waiting for more people from the church to show up to unlock the storage unit.

The boxes were all to the front of the unit, and we were still waiting for the container. It had run into a few snags getting the approvals, and whatever else happens at the docks. I randomly asked Pastor Trent if he thought we could walk to the market. He thought for a moment, and decided why not?

One thing that I had also wanted to have happen on our trip was to get my hands on sugar cane. It was something I really enjoyed the first time I went down, and figured it'd be easy enough to come across. Turned out, that wasn't the case. I hadn't seen any so far!

So, what started out as a couple of us going to what I hoped was a market (otherwise it would've just been a little walk around the neighborhood), turned into pretty much the entire group going. Fred ended up having to go back to the bus because he didn't have his money. GAH! I ended up waiting for him at the entrance to the market along with the only guy intern, Mitchell. Everyone else kept going because they didn't realize Fred had run back. Apparently Fred had missed the memo to not go anywhere by himself. mmmhmmm

When he caught back up to us, we had no idea where everyone else had gone. We walked through the first part of the market, and came out to the street looking both ways and not seeing white skin at all. Thankfully, the people at the market could see we were separated and showed us the direction to head. One of the booths we passed, someone had guinea pig, a rabbit, and birds for eat! Oh heavens.

We finally found the rest of the group, and Tammy proudly walked up to me and handed me a bag of four bundles of sugar cane! It was so funny because all she did was hand the person a couple of soles, and here she was with all of this sugar cane. For me! I was beyond ecstatic. I had wanted to bring some home to my boys. Mind you, this was Wednesday, and we weren't leaving until Saturday night. Turned out, by Saturday morning, it had all fermented. Needless to say, I was super sad, but I'd gotten to enjoy a few pieces!

One of the funniest moments of the trip to the market was seeing a kitten walking out from behind a booth. Tammy and I watched the booth lady scoop up the kitty and bring it back in. That's when Tammy said she saw her put the kitten in a bag. Oh my gosh, the kitten was for someone to eat! And all of a sudden, she gasped. And then I gasped, horrified, knowing the booth lady had just killed the kitten for someone who had bought it. Then, then Tammy laughed. She was kidding. Yes, the lady had put it in a bag, but it just laid down in it and gone to sleep. UGH!

Bernie & Molly having some down time.

We all walked back to the storage unit because there wasn't anything else to do, so we all sat there for maybe another hour or so, when it was decided we would head back to Alcance for lunch, and wait to see if the container would show up later.

Back at the outreach center, Rosa & Juanita had yet another delicious lunch ready for us. We were all pretty famished by that point. But the real treat came after we'd gorged on the lunch. They made us these Peruvian donuts. There was this big bowl of yellow stuff that looked like slop, not kidding. Rosa would grab a handful of the stuff, play with it in her hands until it became an O, and then it went into the pan to cook.

 Roast beef on mashed potatoes with rice

For real, how could I not love Rosa & Juanita?

As the donuts finish, they're put on this wooden stick to drip off the oil, then put on a plate.
These are called "picarones" and the syrup at the bottom had a slight anise taste. They were amazing! Hot and doughy!

After we were done with lunch, we found out the container was on it's way to the storage unit again. We headed back, totally unaware of what work we were really about to do. lol You know, sometimes you have an idea of what something is going to be like, and then you see it first, what an afternoon we were coming up to.

We got there and when the container showed up, we were all very excited. It was sealed shut, so Denny, a former 18-wheeler driver, broke open the doors! And then we saw it. The container was filled from front to back with wheelchairs that would last the next couple of months! The process was, a couple people took inventory as it came off the truck, and the rest of us made a human conveyor belt. It was a bit of confusion, and a touch of frustration because sometimes when so many people are working together and while there are a few people in charge of pieces of the work, but no one's in charge of different parts, it's easy to get out of sorts.

I'm a strong personality sometimes, and I tend to be of the camp that says, "suck it up, do the flipping work, and stop complaining." I know, not very loving and Christian-like. Dear, sweet Fred tried to fix the conveyor line, but it was sort of hard once we were already started. I had to keep my mouth shut because I tend to go overboard with emotion, especially when I'm frustrated. I was actually frustrated at the people being frustrated. I just didn't understand it. lol We got the job done, and we were really happy at the results!

I don't remember how long it actually took us to unload the container and move all of the boxes into the storage unit. My phone, by the details of the pictures, is saying it only took half an hour, but I'm pretty sure it was more like an hour and a half. It felt like it took forever. The boxes were about 40lbs each!

Because of how late the day had gotten, we went back to Danny & Stephanie's for delivered pizza. Yes, you can get pizza delivered, even in Peru!

What's the biggest project you've worked on with a group of people?


Brandy Ellen said...

This is fantastic! I Love reading and looking at photos of experiences like this, makes my heart melt!

Pam said...

All that food you ate looks good! I really enjoy sugarcane when I am visiting that type of climate too. Sounds like you have had quite an eventful time with the wheelchairs so far!

The Rebel Chick said...

Wow, you had an amazing day getting those wheelchairs delivered! I was, potatoes AND rice for lunch? I don't usually eat that much starch but I guess you really need it when you are working so hard. Now I really want a donut. LOL

Melanie said...

What an awesome trip and I loved hearing all about it. Sooo glad you all made a difference. The food look amazing, made me hungry, too. Thanks for sharing

Rico said...

What a great post! I love to see uplifting stories like this of people coming together and helping each other. I have to agree with the other ladies commenting...the food looks yummy!

Unknown said...

Wow, what an awesome experience! It makes me feel really good when others make a difference in the world. We definitely need more good.

Unknown said...

this looks like a really awesome trip and i must say that food looks great. I have never heard of "picarones". #yummy. i would def try those. lol

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