The world has changed since I last wrote on this blog! The coronavirus has spread globally and affected virtually every country.
Peru, where I live, has been in lockdown since the 16th March. At the present the tight conditions of lockdown are set to continue until the 10th May. Lockdown here currently means that only one person in an household can go out each day between the hours of 4am-6pm. We can go out to buy food (locally), for medical reasons or to go to the bank, nothing more, and a mask must always be worn on these trips. When we go out we have to take our ID and proof of our address to show that we are staying close to our home. The police and military are always out patrolling the streets to ensure people stick to the rules. If the rules are broken we can be fined or imprisoned! Keyworkers are an exception in that they can apply for a special pass to allow them to work. The number of people contacting the virus continues to rise every day.
In a country where many work in the informal economy and live hand to mouth, life has become very tough for many. If you would like to read more about the situation this is a good article to read from the Washington Post.
Photo above: the cathedral in Arequipa, taken last year.
Photos: one my regular zoom meetings and the view from my roof
So, what has been happening with me over the last few months?
Well, I have two striders who are in Peru and for which I am responsible. Please do pray for them as they continue to adjust to lockdown in a new country and culture, process the change in expectations as to what their time in Peru will now look like, and as they are away from family and friends at this time. I am in contact with them regularly and they are both doing well considering the difficult situation. I am feeling the loss of not being able to visit them or connect with them in person.
We (Latin Link) made the decision to suspend our summer step team and any future striders from coming out to Peru until further notice. This is the right course of action but has made me feel a bit sad as I was looking forward to working with the summer team. It is now hard to plan anything as the future is unknown and uncertain, at least to me. Thankfully God does know the future and I go on trusting him in these strange circumstances and seek his guidance.
I am still coordinating with Elvira, in the sending of Peruvians as missionaries. We are looking at ways we can stay connected with those who have an interest in serving God in a different culture during this time.
During the past few weeks I have been able to catch up with some things that have been on my to-do list for a while! I am doing a mentoring course online, am keeping in touch with friends in Peru and around the world, am learning new recipes and keeping fit with friends via Skype amongst other things.
Photos:with my housemates and having a picnic in the garden
I am grateful that I live with two other girls, Lizbeth and Ruth, here in Arequipa. We have had some special times together since the lockdown began in mid-March, from celebrating a sun-rise service on our roof at Easter to picnics in the garden, and from dancing around the living space to having times of prayer together.
I am learning to be grateful in the small things as well as the big things. I realise I have so much to be thankful for each day.
And that includes being extremely thankful for your support and interest which you have shown in many different ways.
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.