Wednesday, May 26, 2010

learning a lot

It’s been a busy few days so I have a lot to update you on!

Saturday, Christopher and Jessie took all the kids (aka me, Joshua, and Diego) to Lima Central and La Plaza de Almas to visit the cathedral. Afterwards, we walked around in a few markets and ate lunch at my first peruvian restaurant! When we got back, the women’s sewing group was here so they had me help by inspecting and ironing the beautiful pillowcases they are making. They are sewing them for an organization, called CBF, that will sell them in the states in order for the women to make a little extra money for their families. Their attention to detail and pride for their work amazes me.

Sunday, we went to church and met up with the Tallowood group that is here for the week. It was great meeting them and it has been a blast having them here! The Roses go to a church here in Collique and I enjoyed the service a lot – the pastor spoke slowly so I was able to understand the majority of what he said! Later Sunday evening we got a chance to talk as a group and hear a little more about how the Roses got to Collique and all about what OSA does in the community. I even learned a lot of new things that I didn’t know already. Afterward, we took a walk around Collique so the Tallowood group could get acquainted with the area. While walking around, I saw a couple OSA kids that I recognized from the program. I was excited to see them, but it was also hard because it was the first time for me to see them in front of the homes they live in. Their struggles and suffering became even more real to me when I saw the humble houses they sleep in each night.

While we were walking, Christopher also explained Collique’s water system. Unfortunately, the water here really is not okay for anyone to drink because it has many parasites in it. However, they drink it anyway because it is what they have and can afford. They can’t afford to take parasite medicine, so instead they just choose to live with the discomfort. When the OSA medical teams come, the doctors always give out parasite medicine for this reason. They are told to boil their water to kill whatever is in it, but to do this they would have to spend more money on gas to heat the water which is often not an option. About HALF of the world does not have clean water to drink and Collique can be included in this. How blessed are we to have access to clean water and not have to worry about what we are drinking?

I’ve also been learning that most of the people in Collique and Peru are what we can call “cultural Catholics.” Meaning, they are really non-practicing Catholics who participate in all the traditions and social aspects of their religion. For example, they have parties and processionals throughout the year where they will honor and worship saints, idols, and objects that they believe to be holy. Because of this, their beliefs are not focused on a relationship with God, but are more focused on the traditions.

Yesterday, I got to go on a house visit with Charo (the OSA social worker) and Metche. We went to the house of a woman named Nilda who just had a baby last week. It was so gracious of them include me in this trip to visit the baby and his mother. This house visit was both beautiful and heart-breaking to me. On one hand, we were able to celebrate with a mother the arrival of her healthy baby boy, Moses. On the other hand, it was very hard for me to see an infant living in the conditions that I saw. Nilda, her three children, and the father of her children live in a small two bedroom house with dirt floors and thin sheets of wood for walls. The baby sleeps on a twin mattress with his mother. There isn’t much electricity in the house so it was very dark and cold. Charo and Metche brought the baby many warm clothes and blankets so he can stay warm in the house. The good news is, both Moses and Nilda are doing well! During the visit, Charo said a beautiful prayer for the baby and for Nilda that almost brought me to tears. Nilda also said how grateful she was for OSA because without them, she wouldn’t have anyone to help her.

There are two other things that I stood out in my mind about the visit today. First, the women told me that Nilda had a tubal ligation after she had her other daughter, Rocio, 10 years ago. She was not supposed to be able to have children, but she got pregnant anyway. This means either the doctor didn’t do the operation correctly, or he didn’t do it at all. This made me even more grateful for the healthcare we recieve in the U.S.- when we get an operation, we can expect for it to be done correctly. I was also told later that Nilda is only 33 years old. I was shocked when I heard this because she looked to be at least in her late 40’s -this is the effect of her hard and stressful life.

We also found out today that one of the OSA mothers has TB. Unfortunately, we had to send her son, Isaac, home until he has a chest x-ray and tests negative. Please pray for Isaac’s mother and family, and that he has not been infected so he can return to OSA soon.

The longer I have been here, the more I am realizing that Collique is a place of poverty, domestic violence, drug abuse, and suffering. But it is also a place of hope. It is a place of hope because of the work God has started through OSA and through the people on staff at OSA.

Other than what I have mentioned, I have been helping the Tallowood group with their morning and afternoon science classes with the kids. They have had so many great ideas and have done a lot of fun activities that the kids have loved! We also had an OSA team meeting today and I am excited about the projects I will be starting in June!

In the meantime, please pray for:
- Baby Moses and his mother, Nilda
- Isaac’s mother who has TB
Love from Peru,

Here are some precious OSA kids to make you smile like they make me do every day :)

1 comment:

  1. Elizabeth, thanks for this update. You've seen and learned a LOT already even though you've been there for just over one week. We can tell that you are loved by the OSA kids and their families.