Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Peru: Day 12

Greetings All,
So today Joe, Ellora and myself stayed home as we weren't feeling well. Therefore I don't have much to report other than successfully getting a haircut without a translator and sleeping all afternoon. One blessing today was that It was uncharacteristically sunny so the view out the window was beautiful.(Today's view out the window.)
Michael has written the following report on the day's activities of the team...
Today, we started our day with three of our hearty group sidelined with the Inca’s Revenge. No matter. The remaining six team members stopped first at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd for Morning Prayer, and then we travelled with Susan Delgado-Parks to our first stop, Santa Maria Virgen. This parish is a well established and thriving one that specializes in job training programs for women in the Parish. They teach skills such as shoe making, jewelry making, sewing and knitting so that each women can better earn a living and provide for their families. They showed off some of their wares, and their work was quite impressive. Many of the members of the team bought jewelry and garments while we were there.
After a short stay at Santa Maria Virgen, we left to visit or at least see the four missions that Fr. Aurelio has opened in the last year. Take note of that: four missions in ONE YEAR! We had to walk a short way up a 30 to 40 degree grade to get to the first mission, which consisted of four woven cane walls and ceiling. It was pretty bare, but Fr. Aurelio says that they have Mass there every Sunday, and he plans to turn the mission into a center for training mechanics and handymen. It is important to note that the area in which these four missions are located has the most expensive and most contaminated water in the world.
While at this first mission, we were treated to some amazing hospitality. The woman who was in charge of the mission welcomed us and provided us with soft drinks. Soon after this, we walked further up and over the top of the hill to see and visit the other missions. Fr. Aurelio had just finished pointing out one of the missions that we were not going to visit, when he stopped on the road and introduced us to a mother and child he knew. Because the child was sick, he, and all of us around, gathered to pray healing upon this sweet little girl.
We then walked down the mountain and stopped in front of the third of the four missions, before we stopped at the fourth for our main work of the day. Fr. Aurelio showed us around the area and introduced us to the ladies that were already there, and then we started working. Our job was to move a large pile of bricks across a road so they could build a wall. We managed to move about a third of the pile before everyone was tired. Then we moved back into the mission, which consists of three and half woven cane walls and a roof and dirt floor, for Mass. Fr. Aurelio celebrated using the Anglo-Catholic style Mass that Bishop Godfrey brought to Peru when he became the Bishop. Fr. Aurelio started by leading the congregation of about 50-75 people in about a half dozen praise songs. He loves to sing and broke into song numerous times during the service. There was an adult man who celebrated his first Communion at the service, and after the service, Fr. Aurelio blessed the marriage of a couple that had been married for 17 years.
After Mass, the ladies of the mission treated us to a wonderful lunch of chicken, rice and vegetables plus chicha morrado, and then a fantastic desert. Then, Fr. Aurelio took us across the street to the site of the new church. The land was donated to the diocese and is literally a part of the side of the mountain. The women of the parish have been working to clear a flat place for the last year. They have a retaining wall and about half of the land cleared. They are carving the lot out of the side of the mountain with picks and shovels and hard work. As Fr. Aurelio was showing us the wall that they have built, he called it their “wailing wall”. Being the smart seminarians that we are, Sven, Michael and Micah showed off our cultural prowess by bobbing back and forth and singing the Shema in Hebrew. Fr. Aurelio thought it was hilarious.
Before we left, the children of the mission performed two incredible native dances for us, involving some of the group at the end of the first dance. We were also each given a personalized certificate commemorating our visit. The hospitality of the people was overwhelming.
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