Sunday October 22 was Peru's national census day. What this meant was that it was forbidden for anyone to be outside of their home on this day starting at 8am until 5pm because an army of over 1 million volunteers was walking around the country filling out the census reports by hand. A country of more than 30 million people was put on hold for a day. It was forced to rest.
For the past three summers (and the Smiths and McKinzies before that) we have taken interns from several different universities from the States. This year we welcomed four interns at the end of May who will have been with us for 8 weeks. During these 8 weeks they have gotten to take Spanish lessons, do a week long homestay with a Peruvian family, visit the Living Libraries, experience Arequipa, and be involved in the Bible studies and work that we do.
Kool & the Gang would have loved Arequipa. Almost every week of the year here we could sing: “There’s a party going on right here, a celebration, to last throughout the year”. There are tons of celebrations here. Some are characterized by traditional rituals, but many share common features: music (religious, local, traditional, mariachi-type, and pop), cohetes (what my husband calls “fire crackers on steroids”), cakes, sodas, and beer, and the hora loca, the ‘crazy hour’, a time to dance, make noise and wear funny hats, masks and ties that signals the ‘nearing’ of the end of the party.
The interns are here, the interns are here! Every summer starting in the summer of 2009 Team Arequipa 1.0 hosted interns from various universities. We decided as Team Arequipa 3.0 to continue this work. This year we are hosting 4 interns for 8 weeks. We have 2 interns from Harding University, Lizzie Tripp and Paola Quijano, 1 intern from Oklahoma Christian University, Hannah Henley, and 1 from Abilene Christian University, Sam Jones. We are excited to be working and learning with these students for the 8 weeks they are here!
Since moving here two years ago I have begun to understand a piece of the culture that I had no idea existed. Trust and mistrust are two sides of a coin that are very significant here in Arequipa. Getting to know people and building a level of trust with them is no easy task. Once you do build trust with a Peruvian you have made a real friend and it’s a beautiful thing
Incense. Candles. Live bands. Fireworks. Veils. Popcorn. Cotton candy. Barefoot reverence. Purple vestments. Dueling bands. Balloons. Crosses. Flowers. Candied apples. Priests. Banners. Crucifixes. Ornamental street tapestries. And people. Lots of people. Men dressed in purple are carrying a massive painting of Jesus on a heavy pedestal. Others dressed in purple are following close behind, reciting their prayers and showing their devotion to the Lord of Miracles, some by walking barefoot.