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Remembering Peru

My time here in Belize has been amazing.

As we were talking with the Sister from India, the topic of my visit in Peru came up.

There were some similarities and some differences from this trip.

The trip to Peru was similar in that I didn't plan it. I believe God made it happen. Like this trip, I didn't know I was going until a month before I left.

When I was in Indiana visiting with sisters there, the Mother Superior at their "daughter house" in Morropon, Piura, Peru was also there. She goes to the states once a year for a week. Coincidence? I don't think so. God's timing is always amazing.

As we were eating breakfast one day, I heard a voice say, "Buenos dias les de Dios". There were about 80 sisters in the room. I heard the voice but I didn't know who said it. I asked the sisters at my table who said that. As soon as I repeated it they all said, Sr. Romaine!

Remember, I was in Indiana. Most of the congregation was anglo. There were no Spanish people there. Sr Romaine is also Anglo but she spoke Spanish very well.

The sisters at my table asked me if I wanted to meet Sr. Romaine. Of course! My grandma used to greet people with those words and I wanted to learn more.

After breakfast they introduced me to her. We chatted for a while but she had to leave. We agreed to meet again. The next time we met, we talked for a while, she invited me to go to Morropon and visit the sisters there.

That was in July, by the end of August I received my passport and was on my way to Peru.

As far as ministry, there were some similarities. We visited the sick there too. I went with one sister and visited a woman that was dying. She was in her home surrounded by her family.

The "nursing home" there was nothing like we have in the states. It was a regular house and people were in bedrooms and there was someone there to help tend to their needs.

The hospital there was a house with single beds in different rooms and there was someone there helping the patients. They don't have medical care as we do in the states.

I haven't been to the hospital here in Belize. I was told that if I needed medical care it would be best to go to a clinic that is run by volunteers from the states. Thanks be to God I haven't needed medical care.

The sisters in Morropon ran a Parochial School. One of the sisters was the principal and others were teachers.

The village only had electricity from 3pm until 5 am. The community could not afford to run the electric plant longer than that.

I taught some of the sisters how to use the computer and some how to do research on the internet.

I also helped with doing lesson plans and other things for the students. I went to the classrooms once in a while.

The students carried backpacks with notebooks and they wrote down the math problems the teacher was writing for them on a chalkboard. That was their homework.

The teachers were very creative in how they taught. I was very impressed with their ability to use nature and things they found on the property and in the community to teach.

The convent there was within a village. I spoke the local language, castellano, so communication was easy for me.

I have pictures at home that I can dig up and share.

As usual I loved the children. Cell phones weren't a thing back then. I think it was in the late 1990's. I'll have to look it up. It's been about 25 years! Wow time flies.

I snatched this picture from my About page on this website. I used a camera that I bought in Peru. A 35mm camera that I gave to Sister Magna when I left.

This little guy was gathering wood. Yes, it's hot over there too. They use wood for cooking. The burros are amazing. I learned that if you take a burro out looking for wood, load him and send him home, he will go straight home even if the owner doesn't.

The children would also go to the river to wash clothes and bathe.

Children are so resilient. They loved to tell me about their lives and show me how to do things.

I was in Peru for 2 months. Here in Belize, 1 month. I went to Peru in September and October. The weather was hot in the daytime but cool at night. Again, no air conditioning. As soon as the electricity came on at 3 p.m., the fans came on to try to cool off.

We washed clothes by hand there too. The sinks to wash clothes were similar to the ones they have here. The picture below is of the sinks here.

Some of the sinks are deep and others are not. This one is the "washboard" because it has ridges to wash the clothes. The deep ones are for soaking and rinceing.

The people were the same in many ways yet different in others. The customs were different.

The market was similar.

Most people did not have indoor plumbing or electricity. They had dirt floors. They worked hard. But they were very hospitable and always greeted with a smile.

We weren't close to the ocean in Morropon. It was inland quite a bit. We were probably 90 miles from the coast.

The local people didn't have vehicles. They either walked or used bicycles. A few had motorcycles.

The picture below is a screenshot on google maps of Morropon as it is now. There have been some improvements since I was there in the 1990s, if I remember correctly. The building is the Parrochial school. When I was there, the windows did not have glass and there were no doors to the classrooms. You enter the classrooms from a courtyard on the other side of the building.

Notice the bicycle "taxis". The locals used these to help people get around the village. Most of the streets were dirt when I was there.

We used to go to Mass at the church across the street from the convent at 7:00 a.m. Remember, no electricity at this time. They used candles to light up the alter and the ambo for the readings. They left the doors open to let in light. Sometimes the chickens and local dogs used to take advantage and join us in Mass. 👍🏼😊

I also went to visit a smaller convent in a place called Santo Domingo, in the sierra. We had to go in a bus. The bus was actually a 15 passenger van with no glass on the windows. The roads are dirt and rutty. It took a long time to get there.

The people from Santo Domingo have lighter complexion than the people in Morropon. Later I was told that some of the people from Morropon thought I was from Santo Domingo because of my complexion and because I spoke the language.

They thought everyone from the states that spoke Spanish spoke like Sr Romaine, with the anglo accent. They had not heard of someone from the states who spoke Spanish like they did.

It was different in the sierra. The village was actually on a hill/sierra. They had limited water there. The water they did have had to be boiled before it could be consumed. That was for either drinking or cooking.

People were very friendly and welcoming. I was in Santo Domingo a little over a week. I will look up the pictures from there as well.

Looking back, I think the major difference was not the place or the people but where I was at in my journey with Jesus. I was always asking God what He wanted me to learn and what I was to make of all that I was experiencing.

Now, I'm more relaxed about wanting to know "now". I'd like to think I've come a long way since then. God has taught me to trust in Him more and that He will reveal what I need to know when I need to know it. He has also taught me to rely on Him more and more and to trust in His providence.

Yes, there are many lessons and experiences in learning to surrender to God's will. Many blessings. Some are reveled right away, others not.

The key is to always be open to learning and growing and letting God lead. Yes, that's a tough one for some of us. Ultimately the more we learn to let God lead, the more amazing the Adventure Ride becomes. :)

It's Good Friday today. It's a day of silence. All the stores and restaurants in Punta Gorda are closed today.

A day for reflection....


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Peru sounds beautiful too.

I love the lavaderos. We still have those in Mexico to wash clothes and dishes.

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The lavadores are good when necessary. But I admit, washing all my clothes, every other day, in the humid, heat.... not so much fun. A good experience? Yes. But I was super happy when I saw the new washer in the back of the truck! That meant more time to do more interesting things. 😉

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