We have both been working hard and long at our respective responsibilities over the last couple of weeks: Lesley screening and processing missionary applications and Craig calling missionaries who need some general support and counseling. We continue to enjoy our time at the Missionary Training Centre next door. This week Lesley had 120 out of 136 missionaries perform in the choir item before the Tuesday night devotional. We joked that we should have put the “congregation” on the stand and the choir sing to them. There is always a great spirit when a group of such fine young people come together and sing special and sacred music. And…if you forgot how quickly the year is passing we have just started rehearsals for the senior missionary Christmas Choir (because we were such a hit last year). This will be our second Christmas in Lima.
On a geographical note October seems to be “earthquake” month, or at least the locals say there seem to be more tremors around this time of year. We lived through three reasonably strong ones in one week, with the strongest being a 5.0 magnitude nearby. They lasted 10-20 seconds, but the third was long enough for us to dash for our shoes (and electronic devices-that would be Craig) and grab our emergency backpack as we headed to the front door, by which time it settled. One occurred whilst Craig was interviewing new missionaries at the MTC on their first night. All the metal framed chairs started rattling on the tiled floors and we got ready to evacuate but it settled. We told them it was something to write home about to their parents.
We did manage one “tourist” type thing last Saturday. Yes, it was a bit desperate, but we caught a train. To clarify, it was a long train, not the ride, but the train. Lima is constructing an underground system to rival others around the world. However, at present it only has one line, and it is not underground, but is elevated above the roads and buildings. To quote wikipedia.org (which knows everything) “At 35 km (22 mi) long, Metro Line 1 is the longest in the Americas, and the elevated viaduct of Metro railway the longest in the world.”. So we each paid our $1 for a ticket and got on at a station in the middle and headed north to the end of the line. We stayed on and headed to the end at the south, then came back to the middle and got off.
Initially the cabin was extremely crowded — think rush hour in Hong Kong, Paris, or New York (actually we have never been on the NYC subway but it sounds like a good analogy). Forget personal space, keep your hands on phones, wallets and anything else you wouldn’t want to lose. Fortunately it is is not too hot yet so the smell was bearable being in close proximity with half the population. As we got to the ends of the line the numbers dropped off (not literally, but that is always possible when the doors open). Did we mention that Lesley doesn't do well in crowds, but she did survive.
It was a worthwhile adventure, seeing much of the city from above. At one point we went past a huge cemetery (with all the graves above ground in multilevel shelving). It was probably for the people that accidentally got pushed off or squeezed off the train!
The afternoon was topped off by having a nice lunch at one of our favourite restaurants near where we exited.