Pointing and screaming, I clutched onto Rachel, my teammate, as we ran into the other room. After attending Mass and eating dinner, we came home late to find some unwelcome guests in our house. The first massive wolf-spider sat just behind the front door eyeing us with an evil gleam in her too many eyes. My other two teammates, Angela and Cate, tried to smash the spider as she scurried around the corner. Legs and all, she was about the size of a full human hand, far too big for my liking. After finally crushing her with a shoe, babies started fanning out from her body. Roach spray and flip-flops took care of the minions (hopefully). We made it into the house where over the course of 20 minutes, screaming, running, and smashing filled our house as we found 4 more massive spiders while a large toad observed the spectacle from a corner in our kitchen.
I live in a jungle. I never thought those words would come out of my mouth, but this statement is becoming truer as each day passes. Let me just say, the biologist in me is EXPLODING. We’ve tasted so many fruits, heard lots of new jungle noises, and seen SO MANY BUGS (some cool, some not so cool).
This first week in Peru has been an overload of new experiences, foods, and people. For this reason, we’ve taken the first week slow allowing ourselves to rest and learn. We’ve had to cook with new foods, locate the market in our town, and figure out Peruvian Spanish.
Jesus has blessed me with our little house, our town, and the people here. Inside our house is an outdoor courtyard and garden with a compost area, clotheslines, grape vine, banana tree, chirimoya tree, lime tree, and star fruit tree. We wash all our clothes by hand and hang them on the line out back. Our showers consist of filling up a bucket from the sink and washing ourselves one cupful at a time. Due to the heat and humidity of living so close to the equator, the cold bucket showers are a refreshing relief.
Most afternoons after siesta time, where everyone takes an afternoon rest and businesses close for a few hours, we open our door to the town. We are greeted by “HERMANA” as children crowd into our front room looking to play. Before I even knew of my post, I prayed that my mission post would include children, and how God has answered this prayer! All the children are so kind and loving—laughing, smiling, and pulling us around town to show us the river and fun fruits.
Stepping outside of our house into the town of Pucacaca sits the small plaza, river, dark chocolate factory, coconut factory, and peanut butter and jelly factory! We are so spoiled! We spent one of the days this week visiting each factory and trying lots of dark chocolate samples. At the peanut butter and jelly factory, our friend Selina shared with us that business men often come by and they put a layer of peanut butter and a layer of jelly on a piece of bread. “It’s really good! You should try it!” she informed us.
In San Martin, our region (similar to a state), we work with missionary priests from Spain. For the past two years, they had been waiting on a large donation that filled a semi-truck. It recently arrived, and we were able to deliver toys to some of the children in our town. Their smiles and squeals of excitement were more than enough to make my heart leap with joy.
Serving the people here would not be possible without all your prayers and support! Even simply taking the time to read this post and scroll through the pictures to learn about Jesus’ mission is more than appreciated! I would just humbly ask that you pray for the people here, especially the children. Some of the children that visit our house come from abusive and/or impoverished families. And yet, the children are still filled with joy and laughter!
Home visits, the children, and exploring our town have been more than enough to keep us busy this past week. As the month of February continues, we’ll be starting our long-term visa process, helping with youth group, and getting into a more normal schedule. But until next time, God bless!
Your sister in Christ (and Tarzan in training),