Guayaquil! We have arrived! It only took a 28 hour bus ride, some Chifa (Peruvian Chinese food), lots of random stops for the bus driver to buy things for himself, and boarder crossings. We left Lima at 3pm on Sunday, luckily we found a bus that wasn't too expensive that would take us the entire way...no dragging our bags across the boarder and finding a new bus to bring us the rest of the way. This bus was nice, air condition, blankets and pillows, and food! And the most important part...a bathroom! Now, let me enlighten you on this bathroom...imagine an airline bathroom with a window. The seat is spring loaded so you have one of two choices, sit on it (which in my case was not an option at all) or hover over the large silver hole. The issue with hovering is that the bus is moving, the roads are bumpy, there are potholes, pedestrians, oncoming cars, animals...so the chances of hitting this hole aren't so great. Fortunately they give you a handle attached to the wall directly across from the toilet, if you grip it tightly, bend your knees at just the right angle, and levitate at the perfect height going to the bathroom is a possibility.
Once we got here, we met the rest of our team (Paul, Bridget, and Nick) at a hostel where they have been for a week waiting on us. This place is beautiful, overlooking Guayaquil with hammocks and a pool. Dont get too excited, we are only here for a few days. The best part is this hammock that I am laying in right now...Liz and I have been wishing for something comfortable to sit in for a very long time. We are convinced that Peru has no comfortable seating, all of the seats basically try to throw you out...no place to lounge and be comfortable. We are very grateful to be able to relax!
Tomorrow we will begin our house hunting, we are trying to find a place to live and to house volunteers while we are down here. We have a few good options, so we are hoping to secure a place in the next few days. This week is Carnival so everyone is on vacation, but we have been contacting people and getting some connections and going to get started working as soon as possible! Javier, our contact in Lima, is coming up sometime next week, he knows a lot of people and we are hoping that he gets us hooked up with some contacts. We are all anxious to get this show on the road, but as for everything in life we are trying to be patient!
The school...we ended up seeing about 700 of the 900 kids at the elementary school over 3 days. The issue apparently is that in the first week not all the kids show up, for numerous reasons. We are compiling the data, but it is ridiculous the amount of kids who have lice. We will be giving the information both to the school and the public clinic in the area so that they can send the information home with the parents and hopefully get this under control.
What do you think of when you think of lice? I would presume that most people would think only of the nits/eggs that are usually found in the hair, well here we not only find those nits but bugs. Bugs, big bugs, bugs that if I had them in my hair I would know it, i would feel them moving! But, these kids have no idea...if you ask them if they feel something moving they say no. The biggest problem here is that they do not have hot water, they must boil all of their drinking water and washing everything that they own in hot water just isnt an option. The only other way to get rid of lice from your house, clothes, stuffed animals is to put them in plastic bags for 2 weeks. Unfortunately they dont have enough clothes and things to just let them sit in plastic for all this time. We cannot come up with a good idea to eradicate these bugs, especially from the orphanage.
Speaking of the orphanage, MMRCglobal.org has decided to see what we can do as an organization for them. They need more space, Clara the lady who owns and runs it and who is the mother to 15 kids, does a great job with what they do have but they need more space. The house is small and they have one covered cement area that they eat and play in. Otherwise they have an upstairs with 7 sets of bunk beds, and a bathroom. We are trying to figure out a way to either build onto her current house or what the procedure is to build something from scratch. This is a lady who loves all her orphans and all of the kids (somewhere around 30) that she watches every day. Liz and I really think that helping her will help the community of San Genaro and help these kids to have a better future. We are uploading pictures of each of their faces to the mmrc website over the next couple of days. You will have the opportunity to see each one of them and help us to help them!
Saturday Liz and I took 10 of the orphans to the beach! They were so excited! We got two cabs, stuffed everyone in and headed to the closest beach. This beach, Vanessia, is nothing like Chorillos...we could actually see the water and play with the kids! We played in the water and the sand with them, they loved every second of it! Since they obviously have no sand toys they were playing with trash that they found, wait until you see the sand castles that they built with straws and other various objects! We cant wait to get back down there and be able to take them other places and do other things with them! It is amazing how appreciative children are over the smallest things here, I would love for every child in the US to experience one day in the life of a child in a third world country.
Now that I have taken up most of your day reading about my past week, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers and take a look at the mmrcglobal.org website!