I can’t quite believe that I am now living in Arequipa, Peru. It is such a beautiful city! It is only beginning to sink in that I’m not just here on holiday but this is where I live. My housemate, Ruth M, is wonderful. She has been helping me to settle in and we are slowly making our house a home. It is great to have a space we can relax in and invite others into.
I’ve spent the past couple of months getting used to life in Arequipa. I’ve loved visiting different markets, some of the viewpoints of the city and surrounding volcanoes, trying some of the local delicacies. I’ve even turned my hand at making some! Whilst all these new experiences are great, they are also a constant reminder that I am living in a culture that is very different from my own and that it will take time for me to adjust. When I feel the challenge, it has helped to focus on being kind to myself and doing my best to embrace the differences as they come.
Photos: Buñuelos (amazing ‘doughnuts’ made from flour, anise and yeast) and the Irn Bru of Peru .
My main task at the moment is to reach an advanced level with my Spanish. Monday to Friday I spend my mornings completing homework and doing some personal study before attending language classes in the afternoon. My classes are split into two; a grammar class and a practical class (ie. me reading out loud and chatting a lot!). I have two great teachers, Abi and Juan Carlos. I have days when I feel like I am getting the hang of speaking Spanish then other days I am struggling to say even a simple sentence. In days like these, I am learning to hold onto God. I know that He has called me to Peru for a purpose and that He will help me with the language.
Since I’ve arrived we have celebrated Peruvian Independence Day (28th July) and Arequipa Day (15th August). On Arequipa Day, Ruth and I went to see the city parade. There were lots of different displays of traditional dances from around Peru. For us the main attraction was being able to support Ruth’s colleagues from Shalom (additional needs school) dancing in the parade.
At the moment, I feel like I’m at the very beginning of a massive learning journey. These times are always tough, especially as it is hard for me to speak Spanish with confidence. Not only am I learning the language, I’m also trying to learn the culture. The culture is very different from my own and I’m trying to learn as much as I can from observing those around me. I am learning about trusting God, and depending on the Holy Spirit in all things. I’m learning that God’s grace is available in every situation and that I can bring it to Him and rest in Him.
My role as Short Term Coordinator (STC) for Peru will start in January, once I have finished full time at language school. Over the coming months I am going to be learning more about the role and what it involves from the current STC Ruth T. My first taste of this will be a week in September when I will shadow as she welcomes and orientates a new family coming to Peru for two years.
Thank you so much for all your support, it really does make a difference.
Love, Hannah x
After some language training to improve my Spanish I will be taking up the role of Short Term Coordiantor (STC) for Peru. The STC coordinates the Latin Link Step (teams) and Stride (people) programmes, placing them in projects lasting from a few weeks to two years. Based in Arequipa, I will be getting involved in a local church and my local community.