Monday, July 21st, 2008

Our first day of VBS was a smack in the face, literally.

We all got up and had breakfast as usual. Then all the students had their quiet time with God while the leaders had their meeting. We then went over to a school and painted the floor of its basketball court. It looked really professional. Next, we headed over to another school and performed all of our dramas. They were not perfect by any stretch but that's OK because it was our first day. Following that, we capped off our performances with 10 of us getting up there and performing the Shackles dance. Everyone looked pretty ridiculous but fortunately, the front row held it together and we pulled it off.

We headed back to the seminary to grab a bite to eat and went out to our first day of VBS. As soon as we got there, we all piled off of the bus and hung out on the soccer field in order to draw in as many kids as possible. So here´s where I explain my first sentence above. I go and sit down on a set of steps next to Ruben and a young girl that befriended Mr. Watson strolls on over wearing a deceptively pleasant smile. This young girl, who we call Star, decides to stomp on Ruben's foot with hers and in Spanish say ¨and what?¨ Since Ruben knows Spanish he replies ¨nothing its ok¨ and she proceeds on to me. Star then stomps on my foot and once again says ¨and what?¨ I do not understand any Spanish, so i just look at her with a confused expression on my face. Apparently the look of confusion is offensive in Peru because at that point suddenly and unexpectedly that young girl reached back with her right hand, stated ¨and don´t look at me like that¨ and slapped me across the face. Just as her cold palm swept across the side of my cheek I exclaimed, ¨Oh¨. Ruben, being a cop, saw the assault and immediately took a step back. I didn't know what to do and I don't remember much else.

But the VBS went very smoothly and the kids loved it. We still love the children of Peru.

Giancarlo Romani

Today started off early as usual and will finally wind down around 10:30pm. Today was the first actual “work/VBS” day. Our first stop was to the school in the Nocheta community. We have been here for a few days now, but I still have not gotten over the appearance of their living environments. As very privileged Americans, we all step off the bus and think that these people live an extrememly impoverished and under-privileged lifestyle. This may be true, but the fact of the matter is, these people are happy and happy with the things they have. Many of these Peruvians we have been involved with have found a way to walk the fine line between living simply, and living in poverty.

I had been very anxious leading up to today and the first Vacation Bible School. I am one of the 2 leaders of my group and were the first to do VBS. I was a little worried that were not prepared enough or the activities we had were not sufficient. However, after spending just a couple of days with the Peruvian kids, I realized we could have done absolutely ANYTHING or given them anything and they would have loved every minute of it. The one thing these kids love the most is your attention. All of the little ones run to you shouting“¡Vuelta, vuelta!” or “arriba” which means they want you to pick them up and swing them around in circles—how quickly the lines form to be next!! In American society all kids are taught to not talk to strangers and stay away from them. However, in Peru, it is the exact opposite. From the second we are off the bus and within arms´ reach, the kids crave your attention and want us to just play with them and pick them up. I am sure that other people are posting many similar blogs, but with good reason. There is no way to imagine the things you could possible see here without actually visiting a place like this, simply because it is so far from what we as Americans are accustomed. From lifestyles, hobbies, relationships, and methods of living, Peruvians have so many different ways of living than anything Americans have ever seen or will ever see. The week is still young and already, this trip is something I wont ever be able to forget as long as I live. I hope to visit again.

Adam Ivester