Monday, September 2 - We departed Los Angeles at about 2pm. We encountered a bit of hassle with the airline on our 'excess luggage' issue, since carryon weight was a bit more restrictive than we planned. They were kind enough to check our carryon, giving us a total checked baggage count of 6 .. Kind of them!! We still had two 'large' carryon bags that we insisted were just diaper bag size, but after a strong kind warning they let us pass … However, TSA found a 'tool' (an internet wire crimper that I was needing to use down in Peru) and since it was over 7 inches it could not be in my carryon. So back to the check-in gate I go with my 'tool' and it got it's own little box, and free passage, giving us a checked baggage count of 7! ;-) LAN is actually a very good airline … you just have to watch the baggage limits which are far different for coach than business class!! Will have to watch it closer next time.
Tuesday, September 3 - After an 8 hour flight, about 3 movies, and then two time zone changes, we arrived shortly after midnight. Actually, with all our luggage we were surprised how quickly we got through customs. Our driver, Clemente, was there at the airport to meet us with a borrowed station wagon, and off we went for our first night in Peru, spending it with relatives of Lily's. We slept a little late, of course, waking up to a quick breakfast and coffee. We reloaded late morning off to catch a 1:30 bus to Ica. This was the usual 5 hour bus ride south, getting us here about 6:30 pm. (I am told that by car this is only a 3.5 hour drive.)
Our usual Ica driver, Raymundo Hernandez (not to be confused with Raymundo P, our other neighbor), was there to greet us as well with another station wagon, getting the warning call ahead of time! After loading, driving for about 30 minutes on some new construction work roads, and then unloading, we finally arrived at our destination at the Mission House in El Carmen at about 7:30pm. After not seeing the mission since April, and then it was covered with ceiling supports, I took a few late night pictures to get the feel for where we were, and what we had ahead of us.
It took a few hours still to clean up our sleeping quarters, our little 'Casita'; get the beds reassembled from storage, make it clean enough to unpack, some general dusting, before we were able to go get a hamburger and socialize a little. Met with Leon "Pilily", our regular laborer. Later we went to the other end of the village to visit Maruja (Maria) who we usually contract for meals while here, and she gave us some tea and cake. We got to bed that night closer to Midnight.
Wednesday, September 4 - light day, just settling in mostly. Contacted our contractor, as well as our window/door man, to set up meetings. Had Francisco, Maruja's nephew, come over and do some earth movement to primarily fill in the dry pond bed that we used earlier this year for a water source for the construction. Also got some earth piles flattened.
We attended a funeral in the village that evening, which seemed to bring out most of the village as the deceased was a very well known lady who died in her late seventies. It was an interesting cultural event to attend as well, seeing that the funeral was a short walk from the chapel to the graveyard, and the tomb was above ground where they slide the casket into a hole and cement it in. We met a spiritual brother there, related to the deceased, who lives on the north end of El Carmen. Although he is in a minority here being a non-Catholic Christian, he has a meeting at his house every Tuesday and we plan to attend next week. Excellent contact that we will definitely expand on with the Mission.
Thursday, September 5 - Abel, our contractor came, to discuss our project and our plans to complete the first floor. We spent a good deal of time discussing downstairs bathroom layout, wiring, replacement of iron security fence in front with brick, etc.
He said he would get back to us this weekend after doing some calculations, on the materials we would need, and would get engaged the following week. Our plan centered primarily around the plumbing, electrical, and internal plastering as well as (part of the plumbing) the installation of a cistern.
At about 2:30pm we went to Ica, met with our attorney on the Mission property title discussion. We went to La Crossanteria coffee shop for internet access. Did some grocery shopping, picking up a tea kettle as well.
Friday, September 6 - Today we did many odd jobs at the mission, primarily waiting for our contractor (Abel) as well as window/door man (Miguel), neither of which showed up. Always something is the excuse (car broke down, job delays, relative this or that, etc.) Got a lot of accounting, cleaning, laptop work out of the way. Rested.
Saturday, September 7 - Made contact with Miguel, who came by and did all the measurements he needed to give us a quote. There will be eight total windows and 3 doors, one of the doors being double. Miguel will fabricate the windows and doors out of iron, we will need to get the glass from yet another vendor after the iron fabrications are installed. We also need to work on some iron fabrication for security on some of the windows.
Four of the windows on the north wall are high up at the ceiling, mainly for light and circulation. Miguel is talking about making all windows sliders for circulation (I was thinking more of hinge/tilt design, but he knows best). We are seriously thinking of getting some sort of stain glass for the high north windows.
Sunday, September 8 - Today we are off to church, in Ica, to El Shaddai. We took our other neighbor with us, Raymundo P. A few days earlier when we first arrived I had given him a gift of Josh McDowell's book "More than a Carpenter". He is always hungry for reading material that will improve his English. Last year he was very touched by reading 'There is a Heaven'. It literally brought him to tears. I'm working on him!! ;-)
We saw Yvette, who we introduced to this church a year or two ago after meeting her on a bus ride from Lima. She is Puerto Rican with a Peruvian husband, very bilingual (which I like) and now she teaches English at the church school. She helped us with an outreach last year.
Good to also meet up with our LAMA Peru board member, Pastor Martin Laos and his family again. We brought them some chewable vitamins, by request, for their children from the USA. The service had a visiting American preacher, with translation of course. The message was very very touching, taken from Genesis 33:18-20, Genesis 34; one of the worse tragedies in the old testament, and then John 4:1-26; where Jesus meets the lady by the well, the same location as in Genesis 33-34. A wonderful message to all the women of the world, who have been mistreated, beaten, abused, treated wrongly, as second class citizens, throughout the world .. And the preacher brought this sermon home to Peru and touched many many people. A sermon to remember. Men have caused so much pain in so many cultures around the world, especially to our soul mates, the women we live with. The climax was having all the women that have ever felt so treated forward, as well as the men that through anger have ever caused women pain or anguish. The pastors wives prayed over the women, in english with translation and in spanish. The visiting pastor as well as pastor martin did the same on the men. Then the men, representing not only themselves, but all men, prayed forgiveness to the women for the wrongs we have given them. A lot of tears flowed during this service and perhaps it was the primary preacher being in English made it very touching for me as well.
At the end of the service I noticed this rather small young man, age 3-4, struggling to stack a chair on two others. I went over to assist him and he then decided we were a team as he started retrieving many more chairs for ME to stack. This went on until the whole church had no more chairs to stack, regardless if someone had something on a chair or not, he was definitely the most focused, dedicated, and hard working man of his size that I have ever met. Without a word exchanged, I was thoroughly impressed by him! A future leader for sure! (pictures)
The church had a family focused festival, great food, comradery, enjoyment. We later went to Maestro for some hardware store shopping, still awaiting the supply order from our contractor so we will have to come back again. But picked up a few tools, electrical parts, doorbell, plumbing parts, etc. We then went to the internet café with the intent of catching up on email and the like, but I forgot my charger so only did a little before my computer died. Home for the evening.