What a Month!

May has been filled with so many things to share. We have learned about several Peruvian holidays, continued settling into our new homes, and prepared for some exciting things to come. I decided to just give you some dates and let you see some pictures of what has been going on around here.

May 1--the Peruvian Labor Day 
All schools and most work places were closed. They treat this day just like we treat it in the states. 
May 1--celebration of the Virgen de Chapi 
There is a location outside of Arequipa where the people make a pilgrimage through the night to pay their respect to the virgin. Greg and I live in the neighborhood where the main Catholic church for this saint is honored. We got to witness the procession of people carrying the virgin down our street. They stopped on our block to pray to Mary and thank her for all that she does for them. The procession ends at the church, and the people celebrate throughout the night with dancing, drinking, and fireworks. 
May 10--just like the states, Día de la Madre “Mother’s Day” 
The role of the mother is highly honored in this country. Flower vendors could be found in many places, and most of the people celebrated with a special meal on this day. Greg and I got to celebrate with the Pinto Family (our landlords). They presented carnations to each mother present and spent the afternoon eating and visiting. 
May 11-15--Fall Break for most schools in the city 
We took advantage of this week to make our whirlwind trip to Chile to renew our visas since the girls were out of school. 
May 25--Día del Jardín (a celebration of the preschools) 
Ana and Shaye experienced a special week where the idea of primary education was celebrated. As parents, we had to make “pancartas” (special signs) for the girls to carry in a small parade for their school. 

Every Wednesday night--Bible study of Mark with a group of around 6 Peruvians 
We have really enjoyed studying the Book of Mark with this group of Christians. It has been great for the team to interact in a small group setting speaking only Spanish. The Peruvians are very eager to learn, and we have also benefitted from learning some tid-bits on Peruvian hosting. 
First week of June--hopefully, the inauguration of the first library in Alto Selva Alegre (very exciting!) 
June 1--the McKinzies’ contract begins on the 2nd half of their home (we will occupy the first floor of a 2- story house)

June 2--our first intern arrives, Aaron Shaver, along with Larissa’s sister, Briana, and a friend from Shiloh, Kristen Eastland (we can’t wait to see you guys!)