Some things in life just take getting used to, especially in Peru. I don’t know if I will ever get accustomed to throwing my toilet paper in the trash can. It almost guarantees that your restroom will never smell pleasant, and that you will be embarrassed when company comes over. On a less odorous note, Peruvians have a superstition that cold drinks make you sick, so the options are: drink a room temperature Coke or find a Starbucks and ask for an iced latte. Also, the sun is not a frequent visitor of Lima in wintertime… He likes to stay hidden behind this huge grey blanket but get close enough that you feel like you’re under a fluorescent light in a dark room. Anyway, it’s no Miami.
These are small matters though, when at the end of the day I reflect on all the cool privileges of living here in Salamanca. Today I visited a home for abused or abandoned kids called El Refugio, where I’ll be playing one or two days a week. Some members of the Calvary Chapel Church in Lima started it 10 years ago, using this huge house in San Isidro. You walk in and every room exudes warmth, at the same time saying, “This is a real house, with regular people and lots of little messy kids who are getting loved a lot.” I met two girls who work there, Milagros and Rosanna—both seemed so genuine and open-hearted. A girl who’s a student from Austria is also working there, and she’s more in my boat apparently because she speaks German and English, but not so much Spanish. Well, they have used all their space to really make this home cozy and fun for the kids. The kids’ rooms are stacked with colorful bunk beds and cribs, and they use two other rooms for classes. On the roof, plants and flowers line the edge of a little playground. The whole place smells of hot, fresh bread, which is one of the ways they make a profit. The organization as a whole has several other ministries in different locations, one being a women’s home for battered women. They make crafts like these beautiful cards with Bible verses on them, and sell them to make money for the home. Really cool.
My beautiful roommate Susan just came in with fresh dulce de leche bread from a bakery down the street and sunflowers! So I’m going to go enjoy those. Nos vemos.