Friday, May 27, 2016

Howdy partner welcome to the wild west- Part 1

On Friday, May 13th our visited one of our new communities in the valley of Bombonajillo. We had to take a camioneta from Picota to Nuevo Chanchomayo. The only means of transportation to Nuevo Chanchomayo are horseback, motorcycle, camioneta, and walking. The rode is incredibly bad so only experienced camioneta drivers haul people and items into Nuevo Chanchomayo. The rode is usually impassable from February until June due to the rainy season. We lucked out though. We haven't received rain for two weeks allowing the rode to dry. Praise God! The last time Taylor was able to get in was the last week in January with our friend Max.
The red dot is Nuevo Chanchomayo. Caspizapa is the first red dot on the yellow line depicting the road.

Our drive to Nuevo Chanchomayo was beautiful. The rode is extremely bumpy but the scenery takes your breath away. Surprisingly the drive only took two and a half hours. When Taylor went on his motorcycle it took eight hours before he arrived.

My first impression of Nuevo Chanchomayo is that it looks nothing like any of the other pueblos we have visited. All of the streets are dirt. Normally the towns have a few paved roads or gravel roads, but this wasn't the case here. The streets were no longer dirt when we arrived. They were all mud. Deep layers of mud. It looked like a fun track to drive on but I wasn't excited to walk on it. All I could think about was how I was going to keep the kids clean. The houses are also very different. Every house was made out of wood. I figured out very quickly why they are two story houses.

Our ride into Nuevo Chanchomayo.

We were welcomed into town immediately by a man named Gato. Taylor and Max met him on their last visit. He asked us to rest in his house while Taylor went to find one of the town animadors. Blanca, his wife, quickly went to the store to by food to make us lunch. During our time in their home we witnessed Gato carrying bags of coffee beans to his house from someone's chacra. These bags weighed over 50 kilos and he carried bag after bag into his home. We had arrived right in the middle of the coffee harvest. The town was a ghost town since everyone was trying to harvest their coffee beans. We were so blessed to chat with Blanca and Gato over the wonderful soup of chicken feet and organs they had prepared for us. Adele absolutely loved eating the organs. She refused to eat the actual meat and cried until she had an organ in front of her.

Blanca and Gato introduced us to a single mother with six children. This mother is having a hard time supporting her children. They are all malnourished and underweight. She has no support from the father and desperately wants a better life for her children. She asked us to find them a home out of Chanchomayo. She doesn't want to see them suffer anymore and she knows that she needs to find them a better home. It broke my heart to hear her story and to see the pain in her face. She loves her children so much and doesn't want to see them die. She sees that sending them away will most likely be the only thing that can save them. Please I beg you to pray for this mother and her children. Please pray that God will send us an answer for this situation!

Hiking to the next town. We are still fairly clean.
We were finally able to find one animador to talk to. We set up a time to have a class that evening and placed our bags in the room where we would be staying. We decided to hike to the next town. Padre Leopoldo asked us to visit and the people from Chanchomayo said that it was a short walk. As we started up the muddy mountain we could see some clouds rolling in. At that point we decided to keep hiking. The hike up the tall muddy mountain was very slippery and muddy, go figure. It was a slow climb but we made it to the top. As soon as we recached the crest the beauty was surrounding us. Low clouds were covering our heads and we were immersed in the jungle. This is exactly what we had in mind when we heard we were going to Peru. Bird calls were echoing through the trees. Malachi tried hard to mimic them. We laughed and took it all in and then it happened- a downpour. Yep that's right we were caught in the middle of a heavy downpour on a muddy mountain road. We were able to find some shelter just in time to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00. The rain slowed down as we neared the end of our prayer. We decided it was time to head back to Chanchomayo.

The hike down the mountain was much more difficult than the hike up. Of course silly me wore sandals on our trip. I didn't realize that it was a mud town otherwise I would have worn my other shoes. The kids really enjoyed the muddy slip and slide. I was struggling to stay on my feet most of the time. Then we came to the steep mountain. I thought it was slippery on the way up but now we had a fresh rain and had to navigate the way down. Taylor, Ruth, and Leo seemed to navigate the mountain easily. Anthony, Malachi, and myself had problems. Anthony conceded to the mountain and slid on his butt down the mountain. Malachi took off his shoes and found a better footing. I just struggled. Praise be to Jesus that a young girl from Chanchomayo was walking down the mountain at the exact same time. She saw how difficult it was for me so she offered to take Faustina. Thank you Jesus. I continued to struggle all the way down. Let's just say it wasn't pretty. The Lord humbled me and I was able to praise Him through it all.

This is what I looked like after the hike.

We all arrived back to the home we were staying for the evening covered in mud, some more than others. We were so blessed to be able to take showers as soon as we arrived. I was so excited to wash the mud off but then I stepped into the water. The water in Chanchomayo is fresh from a mountain stream. As you can imagine it was cold, the take-your-breath-away cold. Thankful to be clean it was time to bath the children. Taylor was so gracious to bath the little boys. I knew exactly when they stepped into the water. I don't think Leo and Anthony has ever screamed so loud. We were so thankful for a warm meal and hot coffee. Coffee is a main drink for the people since it is quite chilly and for us chilly is in the 60's. We headed off to the church for our talk. So much for nice clean kids. By the time we reached the church our legs were all muddy once again.

After our talk we were thankful to be heading to bed. We had a long day of traveling and when 10:00 came around we were excited to sleep. We made our way up to the second floor. Here we learned we would be sleeping in the same room as our generous hosts. Our hosts had a bed, the three boys shared a bed, Ruth had a small bed, and they laid a mattress on the floor for Taylor, Faustina, Adele, and I to share. We prayed with the kids, kissed them, and climbed onto the mattress. Then it happened. Our gracious hosts proceeded to tuck Taylor and I into bed. They placed the blankets around us, wished us a good night, and tucked the mosquito net under us. Taylor and I were at a loss for words. We looked at each other and asked if we were imagining it. Nope we both agreed that it definitely happened and that was an experience we never thought would happen. Last year Noah, a fellow missionary, mentioned that this exact thing happened to him. We didn't believe him and we teased him. Well it happened to us. We were tucked in.