Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fortuitous Change of Plans

This photo contains a dish Peruvians call cuy. In English, we call it deep fried Guinea Pig. Can you see the rodent outline now? I was only adventurous enough for one bite, Ryan ate the most. We all agreed it must be an acquired taste.

After a relaxing couple of days, we had a change of plans that is turning into something exciting. Tomorrow evening, I was scheduled to head over to Pucullpa in the Peruvian Amazon with Ryan, but that fell through for various reasons. In place of that trip, I am booked to fly to Cuzco tomorrow at 10am, and from there head to Machu Picchu on Monday. There are more details to work out, and many connections to organize, but that is the plan.

I'll return to Lima and my wonderful friends The Smedes Tuesday afternoon before flying out toward Seattle late Wednesday.


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Location:Francisco De Cuellar,Lima District,Peru

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 2 - Rocking the Communities

My second day in Lima began with a visit to the Food for the Hungry offices. I met the staff, saw the layout, and got a good idea for the organizational structure of FH. The offices are really two departments. One for the country of Peru, and one for the programs in Lima. The building (like many in Lima) is an intriguing mix of Spanish and modern stylings. It was a former residence, and sits in the middle of a residential street, but not far from a busy intersection with a delicious lunch spot :).

Next, we met up with the larger group consisting of Leeland, their friends, and other FH staff to head off to the Santa Barbara region of Lima. It was about a 30 minute drive from the offices. We arrived at the FH office in Santa Barbara and then headed way up on a hill where a dirt playfield was hewn into the rocky hill side. FH had organized this event for the children of the area to interact with Leeland.

They played fútbol and volleyball for about an hour (the youngsters of Leeland and the kids, not this middle aged man), before heading up even farther to a spot above the playfield. It was an amazing view and moment punctuated by a setting sun over the valley of Santa Barbara. I began and ended a short but distinguished career as a "sound guy" by holding the recording device for the band as they sang a few versions of a song in Spanish they had just learned earlier that day. It was quite a remarkable setting.

I'll post some more photos in another entry. Today I spent the morning exploring the neighborhood of my hosts, and realizing the incredible value of my $5 Spanish-English translation app on my iphone. The phone doesn't have a network connection, but still functions quite well as a pocket computer and video camera.

This afternoon we're heading back to the same neighborhood for more of the same. While these events are incredibly fun and festive, I think I'll get a better sense for the day to day work of FH when the band depart and things return to normal. I really like the people in and around Leeland, but I also look forward to learning more about FH in a lower profile mode.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Some people are so poor, all they have is money."

My first day in Lima has been marked by friendships new and old, a remarkable metropolis, insane driving, delicious food, and Christian rock. It happened I flew here on a plane carrying the Christian rock band Leeland who are here to learn about and expand the ministry of Food for the Hungry. We spent the day with them before they split off to tour some of the communities in which FFH has a presence. These were very nice peeps, and youtube says they have the followers.

Over a delicious lunch of remarkable Peruvian sandwiches, we heard from Ryan-- my host, long-time friend, and head of FFH in Peru-- about the history of the organization in this country, and some new initiatives underway. It excites me to hear Ryan describe how a recent FFH initiative began with the question of, "What are the issues facing these communities we desire to assist?" This is different than the starting point of "They need health care/food/clean clothes, etc." They may very well need those things, but what if there's something else these communities deal with that we don't know about until we ask?

This is a kernel, and Ryan shared much more of the whole bowl of popcorn (metaphor fail?) that I will digest this evening. Discussing the reciprocal nature of ministry, he dropped the title quote of this post-- given to him by a colleague-- and wondered if the spiritual transformation many of us need is held in the hands of the poor. Maybe we are here to participate in a relationship that will transform both parties.

I wonder if we at PRLC think this is true when we work in the food bank?

We are off to celebrate Ryan's birthday tonight. Feliz cumpleaños!


Above, Ryan (center) and members of Leeland discuss the complexity and simplicity of Poverty Relief in Peru.


I have made it. Today I awake to the trademark overcast skies of Lima, and the kids of my host family singing happy birthday to their papa.

More later... now I take it all in.

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Location:Francisco De Cuellar,Lima District,Peru

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Southern Hospitality

I post a photo of Atlanta's sunset because I indeed did lose a day of Peru thanks to a maintenance issue with the plane this morning. Delta did their best with a hotel, three meal vouchers, and $200 off my next ticket purchase.

On the lemons from lemonade front, I think I'll get to tour the CNN headquarters tomorrow. On the bizarre front, my neighbor on the flight down had a high school counselor who was the girls basketball coach at St Martin's College in Lacey, WA when my dad was coaching the fellas in the 80s. There you go.

On the truly awesome front, it was 90 when I landed here and promises to be the same tomorrow. That REALLY helps.

I'm also currently, as I type, two blocks from the original Chick-fil-A restaurant. The south is weird in such an awesome way.


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Location:Atlanta Best Western

So Far so Crappy

I am off to a slow start on my journey. A maintenance delay on my first flight to Atlanta means I will miss my connection to Lima. With only one flight out a day to Peru (on Delta, anyway), I will have to spend 24 hrs in Atlanta and fly out tomorrow. Sigh. At least they are shelling out for a hotel since it is their maintenance issue.

I'm frustrated, but this kind of thing has never happened to me and I guess I'm due. There's an outside chance the plane will find a tail wind and we'll make up enough time in the air for me to make today's flight to Lima.

Down but not defeated...


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Noche de Perú - June 13

I have hatched a plan to share about my trip over delicious Peruvian food when I'm back in Seattle. Mark your calendar on June 13th for Noche de Perú at PRLC.

Cafe Cuzco in Ballard will provide the food and I'll share about my adventures. A $20 suggested donation for the meal will be collected with proceeds returning to Peru as a gift to Food for the Hungry.

More details are found on the flyer at left. I sincerely hope to find you there!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Watch this space for updates on my upcoming trip to Peru. I'll be studying the ministry of Food for the Hungry, and catching up with my good friends the Smedes.

I fly out the morning of May 22!