posted by Kathryn Schmidt
We went as a family on this service visit, to go see Lydia and Reuben in Sam Ramon, then on to Oxapampa to visit Clara and Katie. The two towns are about 2 hours apart by taxi. Our kids even survived the night bus, which was about an 8 hour trip through the winding mountains from Lima towards the jungle.
San Ramon is a lovely small town (pop. 25,000) that is the gateway to the jungle. Reuben and Lydia are enjoying warmer temperatures and can get away with wearing shorts. (Although you can see Reuben gets dressed quite nicely for school!) Reuben is serving at the Naranjal school, a short distance out of San Ramon by bus. He teaches English to students of a variety of ages and works several hours per day. Lydia works at the Inabif center, a Ministerio por la Mujer y Poblaciones Vubnerables (Ministry for women and the vulnerable population). It’s a large building that provides meals, community services, before and after-school care as well as daycare for young children. I got to witness Lydia care for them during nap time. The kids sleep on the cool floor, and they don’t mind it during the warmer afternoons at all. They even had a kitten to play with! And they love their Lydia snuggles.
Clara and Katie are on service in Oxapampa. What an interesting town of 10,000 people. Apparently in the 1850’s, several thousand German settlers arrived in Oxapampa and founded this town, which now features many buildings and homes with European architecture (tudor style, wooden A-frame homes), several European-named streets and even some German bars and restaurants. Of course this is still rural Peru, with moto-taxis on every street, Spanish spoken everywhere and all of the traditional Peruvian clothing and dishes. It’s a peaceful place nestled in the mountains, with a warm dry climate. Katie and Clara are both serving at tiny schools for small children; Katie’s school is Jardin de los Jazmines and Clara’s at IEIP Tres Reyes. They help out with English lessons, general classroom management, crafts and games. They work only half days, and so have a lot of time to walk around, exercise, and enjoy their host families who are close relatives and next-door neighbors.
We had a wonderful time visiting these 4 students; it is clear they are doing well on their own. They are spreading their wings, continuing to develop in their Spanish, and providing some much-needed help to these busy schools.
Gracias a Dios!