I’m Kate, and I live in Lima, Peru with my husband Billy. We’re both originally from Southeastern Michigan. I have lived here for 5 years, Billy for 7 years, and we got married here in Peru 3 ½ years ago. We work with an international organization called Scripture Union and started as short term volunteers with their ministry for abandoned and at-risk children way back in 2001. After numerous short-term missions trips and spending a couple summers as interns, we both felt called to full-time ministry and now we work closely with a team of Peruvian staff to head up 5 children’s homes around the country of Peru and host volunteer groups from the US and UK who come to assist with maintenance projects at our homes.
Lima is a city of about 10 million people and just immense. Both Billy and I are from suburban cities and pretty much had to drive everywhere. One of my favorite parts of the city are the numerous bodegas within walking distance with snacks, soda/water and especially in a pinch all of those basic staples like flour, eggs, and butter that are a pain to run out of in the middle of making something! Apart from the bodegas, I love that each neighborhood has a bakery or two that constantly have fresh bread in the mornings and evenings. Our bakery is a few blocks away and I got to enjoy a beautiful, unexpected blue sky day in the middle of gray, gloomy winter on my walk to pick up bread.
We are thankful to have a nice little apartment in a more residential part of Lima. Our landlord is a nice old man who has been a huge blessing for us. He originally bought this apartment for his daughter but she has moved away to the US, and in the meantime he is willing to rent the apartment to us at a fraction of the cost of what he could charge. One of my favorite parts of our apartment is this built-in bookshelf in the living room because of all of the little memories we keep here – items from various trips, books we are working through, photographs of friends and family back home and my growing llama collection! 🙂
It’s only October but it’s never too early to start working on plans for the volunteer groups we will receive during the 2017 summer. It’s a lot of replying to emails and Excel spreadsheet notes for right now but the real planning and coordination will start come March & April! We receive anywhere from 20-25 volunteer groups a year with the majority of them coming during the US summer break. 2017 will be our fifth year organizing groups and we have come up with a system to keep it all organized but I still sometimes wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I actually sent that email about the hotel reservation change or if I bought 20 bus tickets for the correct day!
Today we have our third appointment with my obstetra to see how our new little one is growing. We’re excited to be expecting our first child this February and are thankful for an insurance policy that allows us to go to one of the nicer clinics in town. The baby will be born here in Lima and will be a Peruvian citizen before he or she becomes an US citizen. We’re looking forward to the new adventure of being parents!
When the children’s ministry was formed in the early 90s, the majority of children living on the street were boys. After multiple years of street work, the organization started to open homes around the country for abandoned and at-risk boys. Recently, we started helping with a girls’ home on the outskirts of Lima and visit them when possible. Today we took the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies – thanks to a volunteer who recently brought us 5 bags of Nestle chocolate chips which are impossible to find here! We had great fun measuring out each ingredient, mixing it all together at the end, and watching each tray go into the oven and come out ready to eat.
Over the last few years, an organization in the US called Living Waters for the World has partnered with us to install water purification systems in many of our children’s homes. Billy was trained in the install and operation of the systems and I have worked on the education side to share the importance of using purified water with our staff and children in the homes. Our partners at Living Waters were in Lima and held a meeting for all of the organizations that have received one of their systems and we were asked to help with translation and share our experience with the systems.
A city of 10 million people means lots of traffic – and a lot of disorganized traffic. For many years we relied on public buses and taxis to get around the city and it wasn’t until a few months ago that we bought a car and both got our Peruvian driver’s licenses. It’s definitely more stressful to be a driver than just a passenger but we are thankful to now have our own set of wheels to get around, even if it means having to navigate traffic like this!
On our way home, we have to make a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up a few items. The grocery store is really close to our house and thankfully it is one of the few places where we can occasionally find those rare imported items like A&W root beer, Cheerios, and Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. I am always amazed at the quantity of potatoes on sale in the store. Peru has more than 4000 varieties of potatoes, many of which were cultivated by the Incas in the 1500s. Thankfully this store has decided they only need to carry just 9 different varieties.
One last stop before heading home after a long day is at the picarones stand outside of the grocery store for some doughnuts and typical Peruvian street food. They are made with sweet potato flour and take a special skill to make them correctly (we once tried to make them at home and it did not work at all!). A portion is usually 5 piping hot doughnuts with a sweet syrup to dip them in and a perfect way to end the day.