Compassion had generously arranged an individual visit for us based on our time schedule and it turned out to be a wonderful, meaningful experience for everyone involved. First, we met our chaperon/interpreter, Juan, and then he and the hired van driver took us to meet Daniel and his Mother at the local mall.
then Juan let Daniel pick the activity for the day.......he chose a visit to the arcade. He'd never been there before nor had he ever played any of the games.
This is where Levi and his charisma and excellent Spanish speaking skills were invaluable.....he really bridged the gap that separated a middle aged American white woman and a shy 15 year old Ecuadorian boy.
Next we visited the project that supports Daniel and his family, and the church that supports the project. And they had a surprise for us. In one of my previous letters to Daniel I had written out the words to the old Sunday School song, "I have decided to follow Jesus", to encourage him because his parents were not super supportive of his conversion to Christianity. Well, the women of the church learned that song and sang it for us in Spanish and again in Quechuan.
I was stunned....it just took me by complete surprise....that my letters were really being read and that it mattered what I wrote. That people were reading them and that they really made a difference. I tell you, I was so moved that I simply could not stop crying! And then they collectively thanked us for sponsoring one of their students and wanted me to say something to the crowd, but I was so choked up I could barely manage it. And then, of course it was time for pictures.....everyone wants to get in on the pictures!
Many of the young workers in the project were once sponsored students too and they were so overwhelmed to meet us and just wanted to thank us over and over.
After touring the church and the project facilities we got a tour of Daniel's home. It was humble and sparse, but very organized and tidy. Their home is situated behind this house that is on the street.....
.....through the alley.
They had put up balloons to welcome us!
And everyone was excited to show us around and have us take photos.
Mom and Dad's bedroom....
The cooking area....
Upstairs where the kids sleep.....
And here is the view from the second story window....
We presented a few gifts to the family.....one of which was the all-important soccer ball...and of course this demanded a trip to the local soccer court for a rousing game of soccer.
And everyone was invited!!!! They chose up teams and then went nuts running around like crazy for a couple of hours until everyone was quite sweaty and exhausted.
I watched from the sidelines. It was quite a day.....quite a day.
The next day we headed South again and ultimately ended up in Lima where we caught our flight toward home. It was a great vacation! Peru is so economical for a vacation. We figured we each spent about $2600 and I think it was worth every single penny.