We’ve now been here six months so to mark this we are going to share a few reflections on our time so far. First up, Lori writes:
In many ways it is hard to believe that we have only been in Peru for six months (except for our break with family in the UK at Christmas). Living here has become “normal” although still has many challenges. Our last three months has been almost exclusively spent in the Loreto region of Peru and most of that time in the small city of Nauta.
We have become used to washing almost exclusively in cold water – hot showers are a treat only available at some of the hotels in Iquitos. Dessert, cake and chocolate are also now treats and not consumed daily as in Britain; this is almost certainly a good thing but I don’t suppose we will keep up this new healthy attitude in the next 6 months.
Travel here is rarely comfortable – literally. Bumpy roads, being squashed like sardines into the back of a minibus with total strangers; sitting for 6 hours on a wooden bench in a small covered boat as we journeyed up the Río Nanay to Samito; sitting for 3 lots of an hour and a half on an even more uncomfortable, backless wooden bench (part of the time spent bailing water) in an even smaller uncovered wooden boat as we visited two communities.
And then there is the wide variety of insect life, a large proportion of which will bite or sting if given the chance. Moths, crane flies, cockroaches, crickets, spiders and of course mosquitoes and ants. There are bats, geckos, dogs everywhere (or so it seems). Once upon a time I was the sort of person who would freeze and insist that someone removed it if there was a daddy longlegs flying around the room…
I am, by nature, a reserved quiet sort of person. Having to communicate in Spanish has only served to emphasise that but I have participated in a teaching session (with notes), introduced myself at the front of several churches, read aloud from the Bible and even prayed out loud (all without notes). I am starting to manage brief conversations as well.
I have tried new foods – many of which have been delicious, a few not so much – and have mastered the art of eating fish which still has its head, tail and fins attached and has all its bones. I continue to prefer it filleted!
It has been our privilege to work alongside an amazing team of people, to make new friends with local people and other missionaries. I have learnt that, very often, it is not the work that we are doing so much as that we are actually here doing life and voluntarily forsaking our comfort to understand more of the challenges faced by those whose home this is that counts the most.
Yes, living here has been hard on many levels, especially being so far away from family but thanks to the internet it has been possible to keep in touch. It is also wonderful, constantly surrounded by reminders of God’s creativity, and humbling and a reminder that we really don’t need all the stuff that we surround ourselves with in order to be happy. I am already looking forward to returning in order to continue this adventure that God has called us to.