Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trip to Peru- Visit of AMG Projects

As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, as the PMEL director of AMG Guatemala I have to go to Peru for a workshop.  Well, at this moment I am in Peru and writing this blog from Pachacamac a town some 40 minutes from Lima.  I left Guatemala City on Saturday morning at 6:10am and had to make two stops, one in Costa Rica and one in Panama City.  Although I had very little time between connecting flights everything went smoothly and on time and I arrived in Lima at 3:10.  Immigration was a breeze which I was thankful for.  Lima was a surprise to me.  I expected Lima to be in the mountains and to be lush and green.  I found out before I left while looking at a map of Peru that it is situated on the Pacific coast.  What I did not know before I came was that this part of the coast is basically a desert.  Another thing I did not know was that it would be so cool here.  I expected it to be warmer since being in the southern hemisphere summer is just around the corner.  Another interesting thing about the area of Lima is that although it receives very little rainfall, it is cloudy or misty almost 80% of the year.  

On Sunday I went to a local church.  After lunch I was picked up by a local pastor (Jose Adon) to take a look at two learning center projects that AMG sponsors in Peru.  AMG also sponsors two more projects but they are situated in the city of Huaraz some 450km from Lima up in the Andes.  The two projects that AMG sponsors in Lima are situated in one of the biggest slums of Lima.   Lima is a huge city of some 8.5 million people although some say that it has up to 12 million people.  Between a third and half of the population of Peru live in Lima. The slum where the two projects are has some 1.8 million people.    Ten years ago there were only a few houses but now there are thousands.  As is the case in many countries especially under developed countries people flock to the cities in droves hoping to find a better quality of life and job opportunities.   In most cases they are worse off because unemployment is high and most people can not afford to provide an education to their children.  The projects that AMG supports in this slum helps around 300 children.  Each project provides a safe haven for children of all ages and a Christian environment where they can learn.  Each child also receives a meal.  For many this is the only proper meal they get for that day.  The projects themselves are rustic, but they are a blessing to the community.   What impressed me most about walking through the slum was that people are still smiling.  Children were playing in the street.  Young people were playing soccer or talking and laughing.  It is good to see that even in the midst of dire circumstances people can still laugh and smile.   Pastor Jose is an interesting man.   He is of Chinese and African descent although he does not have Chinese features.  (Peru has a lot of Asian influence and you see it in the food which is a mixture of Chinese and Peruvian and in some of the words they use which are Chinese and not Spanish). He is in his early sixties oalthough he looks much younger and served in the Peruvian Airforce as a pilot for some 30 years.  After serving his time God called him to be a pastor.of a Baptist church.  He is well educated and also is in charge of MINTS in Peru.  As a church they have numerous outreaches all over the country.  I really enjoyed spending the afternoon and evening with him and his family.  His daughter is in charge of the learning centers.  She has a masters degree in education.  Please pray for Pastor Jose and his family as they work in this area of Lima.