Dec 7 2010

Walk2gether: Peruvian children cheer on Bob

Catherine QuirogaCatherine Quiroga, CFCA director of information services, sent us this reflection from Peru. She has safely returned to the U.S. after joining Walk2gether, which continues in Peru.

We walked into Lima to a residence home for girls (Nuestra SeÒora de Misericordia, or “Our Lady of Mercy”).

When I arrived on Thursday morning, we came here to ride out with them (or them with us) to meet Bob. We stuffed 20 people into a van probably intended for 15 ñ girls, a couple of moms, a couple of Catholic sisters, Luis (from Ocotepeque, Honduras) and myself. What a welcome to Peru!

They fashioned extra seats in the van by putting in little wooden school chairs. This was in addition to girls sitting on one anotherís laps. They were all so friendly, good-hearted and joyful.

Walk2gether in Peru

A Peruvian group joins Walk2gether out in the desert.

Bob told me the residence home had contests ñ the group that could come up with the best cheers for Bob would get to join him for a day.

When we found Bobís entourage (thankfully, close to a rest time), they cheered him on appropriately. Lots of hugs, hellos, etc. Ö After a brief rest, we got them vested up (with safety vests) and we were off.

When we stopped for lunch at 30 km (about 18.6 miles), one mom could barely move. Her feet seemed to be made out of wooden blocks. Ö. But she wouldnít give up.

She finished out the entire 35 km (about 21.7 miles) ñ so sweet, so determined to be a part of this movement and show her gratitude to Bob. She joined us again today. Both she and her feet fully recovered.

Back to today …

We drove to the residence home after yesterdayís walk and stayed the night here. And although many of the girls said they were going to walk with us today, none showed up at 3 a.m. when we were leaving.

At some point in the morning, a somewhat small bus stopped on the other side of the highway and our first group joined us (about 15-20 in this group).

A little bit later up the road, I saw something ñ a huge sign … more kids. Introductions, songs, cheers, more vests handed out, more water and onward … a little further down the road, the familiar blue van ñ kids from the residence home. What a joy to see them again!

Walk2gether in Peru

Girls from the residence home meet Walk2gether.

As we neared Lima, another group ñ more girls from the residence home walking to meet us! What a delight!

We now had anywhere from 70-100 people ñ moms, kids and vehicles. … Thankfully we also had a police escort.

As we prepared for a water/rest stop, they moved us further along to a safer place ñ there was now time for rest and more water.

I do hope I can get the pictures uploaded of the welcome we received at the residence home in Lima. Both sides of the entrance lined with kids, teachers, other CFCA subproject coordinators along with a band. What fanfare.

They treated us to a nice program ñ more band music, introductions, speeches, etc. before they finally released us!

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