It is hard to believe that two weeks has gone by since we last posted a blog, or that it is nine months this week since we left home. The perception of time is one of those strange things - it can go so quickly at times when you are focussed on other things, but so slowly at other times (such as lying on the dentist’s couch).
Everything was fairly normal until the end of this week. Easter celebrations are a big deal in a strongly Catholic country. So, with good friends, we headed down to Plaza Mayor de Surco, a town square in Surco a suburb of Lima to see the Alfombras Florales, the annual national flower carpet competition. In traditional style there is a large Catholic church (dating back to the early 18th Century) next to the park in the middle of the square.
Each Easter local children and members of the community create floral decorations on the perimeter road around the plaza. It takes hours for them to design these floral carpets. They start with a picture of religious scenes that they copy and draw with chalk on the road. This is outlined with moist charcoal that forms a frame. The colour of the displays is made up with sawdust dyed in different colours and thousands of flower petals pulled from bunches of flowers. Some of the displays were done by children and young people. This would be a perfect Primary or Youth activity. More intricate designs were created by young adults. We enjoyed spending a couple of hours watching this process evolve. Later in the day the procession of the members of the local parish trample them as they carry heavy religious statues around the plaza.
There was a bit of a carnival atmosphere with street food Peruvian style, balloon vendors, families and children, and the doors of the church thrown open to the community. They had even set up plastic chairs in front of large screen monitors showing old epic movies such as Ben Hur for Easter. We really enjoyed being immersed in the local celebration of Pascua (Easter).
Yesterday, Saturday, saw us make a quick trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. By quick, we mean quick. A sister missionary needed to return home for mental health treatment so Lesley came with Craig to fly her back home from Lima. We were up at 3.30 am, at the airport by 5.30, flew out at 8.30 and landed four hours later. After immigration and customs we safely delivered our “package” into the loving arms of her father and family. We had time to step outside the airport doors to see a few drops of rain and then headed back in for the return flight four hours later. We followed an impressive sunset back over the Andes (some peaks above 20,000 feet) and arrived back home at 11.30 pm. At least we could do it in one day.
We are both grateful at this Easter Season, for the reason why we celebrate and the reason behind all that we do. This link expresses this so clearly and beautifully https://youtu.be/BZqTRSVA1YA