Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
Trip End Sep 25, 2012

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Flag of Peru  , Lima Province,
Sunday, September 16, 2012

We finally landed! Thank heavens. My neck is so stiff! We get all of the kids and their massive stuff off of the plane, only to go through immigration with all of them and their many passports. That goes OK--for a while. Then, the last girl. She brought her banana from the snack pack on the plane. OMG! The world has just turned upside down in Peru. A 14 year old girl who has been in America for 9 months, arriving on a Delta flight with a ton of Americans, and the rest JAPANESE tourists, has a banana. An American banana.

She doesn't even like bananas. I tried to get her to eat her banana on the plane. No, Peruvian children don't like bananas. But, as she is leaving, a lady tells her that she should put it in her bag and give it to someone else rather than wasting it. So, the diligent child that she is, she puts the illegal weapon of mass destruction in her backpack with her school books and goes through immigration. It was the stupid American woman who told the little Peruvian child not to waste the damn banana! She should have taken it herself! Then she would have been in interrogation, not the kid and the missionary.

So, I'm in baggage claim with all the others, and their massive bags. About 6 of them have HUGE boxes of clothes. Why? The generous American families decided that they should send used clothes back to Peru with the little kids. JUST GIVE THEM MONEY! It cost them $50 a box to send the boxes! Give the kids the cash, they can go to the local bazaar and buy new stuff. What were they thinking? A good way not to have a garage sale? What a waste of time. So, here I am, wrangling all these kids, boxes, carts, and all this stuff. And now, when all the hard work is done, here comes the missionary and banana girl.

Now we get on a very nice 25 passenger private bus. The highlight of my trip. Things are looking up. I just sat my happy butt in a seat, told those kids and the others to put my crap on the bus, and I was done. OK, on to our "spartan accommodations", as described by the missionary. Never, ever listen to a missionary, and go anywhere he tells you if he describes it as "spartan". Seriously, I have just been stung by the biggest bee in Peru! Double, triple OMG!

We get to "the place", which happens to be dormitories for a Seminario de Iglesia, or a Church Seminary for the Assembly of God. Boys on one side, girls on the other. It's in the most run down side of Lima, as I can see it. Hookers of both sexes on the way. Wow! I thought to ask Rick if we had water for everyone. Can't drink the water in Peru. Montezuma went there too! Uh, no. No water. It's midnight. A bus full of kids, no water, and we are at the seminary in the hood. So, around the block, and around, and around. Finally, a restaurant. Sort of. We go inside, and Rick asks the lady for 2--I repeat, 2 bottles of water. You said what? There are 14 people!!! He looked at me and said, "Oh, do you think we need more? I was thinking one for the girls and one for the boys." Well, I guess he WAS! There are 3 boys, including HIM.

I moved up. I asked the lady how many bottles she had. She had 13. I said, give me all of them. And how many of those red and blue Powerade's do you have? 7. I'll take those too. About $13 later (I have no idea how many "soles--Peruvian $ that was--hundreds), we left. This guy truly "walks in the shoes of Jesus". I commend him.

We get to our accommodations. OMG!!!! OMG!!!!! I am speechless. And you know me, I am never speechless. I'm not kidding. Couldn't even speak. It was unbelievable. Rooms with 2 sets of bunk beds, nasty as you have ever seen. Filthy. Just mattresses, with old pillows, wool blankets. I could just imagine the bugs crawling in those mattresses. I wouldn't even go in the rooms. The hallways were so filthy. Now, let's go to the bathroom. Just mind blowing. Sinks barely hanging on the walls. Toilets without the back tops. No toilet tissue in the whole joint. No paper towels. No towels of any kind. No soap. Disgusting showers. I didn't even want the girls to go in there.

I just squatted down in the hall, and was so tired I couldn't even cry. What the hell do I do now? I can do a lot of things, but really? And don't one single one of you reading this tell me you could have been fine. I promise you, even the missionary was back peddling. The girls were grossed out, and they are orphans.

Now it is 1 a.m. The bus is unpacked, it is raining, and we are so completely up Seminario Creek. No choice. At least we have water for those who want to try and brush our teeth and wipe our mouths and faces on our clothes. And, that's what some of us did. Then, I found out that one of the girls had brought home her comforter from her bed in WA, so I made her dig it out of the box. I slept on the floor (yes, the filthy one in the hallway), no pillow, and the creepy "security guard" walked by me several times during the night, as did one of the "men" who lived in one of the other rooms in the "girls dormitory" as he went to the bathroom during the night.

So, first thing this morning, I had Rick call his friend the tour guide, find a hotel, and we checked in the "Nirvana Hotel". We have 4 rooms. Yep, you guessed it. I'm paying. But I cannot and will not do that to them, OR TO ME, another night. We will be here for two nights. Then off to Arequipa. Thank heavens we aren't doing the 17 hour bus ride now.

The Nirvana is a 1 Star Hotel, on some highway. However, it does have towels, toilet paper, electricity (I forgot that little bit of info about Seminario--no electricity except one little light in the bathroom). The Triple rooms (3 single beds) are $70 a night, Double rooms are $60 a night, and I have a Single, with what is called a "Matrimonio" Bed. That is a really small full size bed. $50. We have 2 triples, one double and one single. Yep, could have gone for another triple, but I decided I needed some "space". It's clean, not completely sure about the mattresses and bugs, towels are thread bare, windows open to the freeway sound (better than too much quiet), but at least we are away from Nightmare on Church Street.

We went to a mall today, had lunch at Chili's, which I ended up paying for, and to the best of my calculations, I think it was $200 . I'm going to skip dinner tonight. Staying here. I actually have a TV in here. I don't care about food. I haven't had anything but water since the airplane, but I know this will get better. I think I might figure out how to start my personal journey a little earlier. I don't really know what I can do with Rick and his merry band in Arequipa. I may be exhausted by then.

Oh yes, I'm on the 5th floor. Everything here is a walk up. I think they call hotels like this "boutique" in some places. Not sure about it here. I actually think this might be really nice in Rick's standards. Truly, he is one sacrificing man for his children. I take my hat off to he and his wife for what they give to this endeavor. Unbelievable.

So, I think that's it for now. I need a nap. It's 4:45 in the afternoon, and I feel like I have been up for days. I didn't sleep much on Friday night, not at all on Saturday night, and guess how much sleep I got between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. on the nasty floor on a blanket last night. Yep. I am bone tired. And the kids are on a different floor! Yippee!

Please pray that this gets better, or I will be asking for donations so that I can buy a first class ticket home early. Oh yeah, I get to fly "Japanese low class" home too. Sitting straight up. That lady was like a stone next to me. Never moved a muscle for hours and hours. Never spoke a word to her husband. The whole flight. And they were about 30 years old. Interesting people. Is that the word?

Wish I could include photos, but can't get them off of my camera, and can't get internet to connect on my phone. Welcome to a 1 Star Hotel. And an old camera. Maybe later

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Audra Blumn on

Wow...I am speechless. I mean, seriously. God bless you and the Daviscourt's and seriously, GOD BLESS these precious children.

Nick Easley on

The accomodations sound like two places.. the hotel sounds like the Heart of Texas Motel on 290 (really classy joint $59.99/Night during Peak Season) and the church sounds like a night at the ranch. J/K Proud of you momma and I am sure all of the little rascals there appreciate you!

diana anderson on

Well, this sounds like quite an adventure that you will never forget! My hat is off to you! Lots of prayers coming your way for you and all involved! Be careful!

Martha Alarcon on

Connie, that sounds like a rough day! What you are doing for these children is amazing!! This will be an adventure you will always remember! I will be sending lots of prayers your way that things get better and maybe come upon a 2 star hotel :) Love you and when you get home we will make sure you get some quality time getting spolied!

Susan M on

Connie, I can hear your voice in your blog and detect your humor as you survive this "adventure". You are made of tough stuff and handle this better than anyone I know.

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