One thing that really is going to stick in my mind forever while I visited inner city Lima, Peru. The homes and the way of life they have come to accept. Until you leave the United States of America.....it is hard to really appreciate all that you have or all the freedom that we have.
Seeing how yesterday was the celebration of our freedom and we can celebrate all that we have here. It was hard no to reflect back on the homes that I saw in Peru.
When we were given the tour of the homes, we were told prior to that we needed to make sure our facial expressions didn't reflect our emotions. I have been in some rough homes here in the States- but was NOT prepared to see what I was about to see.
Most of the homes we saw were the ladies who had been in our bible study meeting all week long. They all were very clean, well kept and super sweet. You could tell in there faces most of them had a relationship with Jesus Christ. You could just see it on their face!! When you walked the streets and saw so many empty sad faces it was a relief to see this bunch of ladies who had the JOY of Jesus on their faces.
When we arrived at their homes it was the same way, they were so proud of what they had. Then they gave us a tour of the neighbor hood. Each house had a different personality much like in America. They were painted different colors, had different decor. But one thing that was the same.....dirt floors and roofs made of plywood or cardboard.....not to mention NO running water in any of theses houses.
There was ONE watering center for 100+ people to share!! AMAZING!! The simple things like water that we take for granted. Before I left for Peru- the man across the road from us cut a water line and therefore they had to turn mine off to fix the line. I was OUT of water for an hour or so.......that was such an inconvenience for me. Seeing how I had to turn off my washer, and dishwasher.....that would just delay the chores for the day. Shame on me!!
Then when they showed us how they take a bucket of water to and from their home for bathing, cleaning, cooking etc. When that is out they take it back to the same place they got it from and pour it in a drain.....that filers back to the same water they got it out of the spout.
They have been given money through a Baptist missionary fund to get the running water they have- but they now must pay to get each home one spout of running water. This is what the men are working on in this picture. They will still not have sewer or septic- that must still be disposed in the same place all the other water is emptied.
Each home did have electric. In fact while we were touring I hit my head on one of the electric wires. They are very low and very exposed. In fact in this picture you can see the lady on top of her house taking clothes off the clothes line.....I wasn't for sure which was a clothes line and which was electric lines at first.
A few years back in 2000 there was a very bad ice storm that hit the area we live in.....most of South Arkansas was paralyzed by the storm. Not having electric, for some up to a month or more. I can remember B and I living in an all electric home at the time.....and after one night we were prepared to go stay somewhere else when we realized we could not handle being without heat or the comforts of our home in the state we were in. We barely made it without electric for a little over 24 hours.
Although we still had running water, and all the comforts of our home. It was just almost unbearable to live just that short time. I was reminded by that as we walked from home to home and looked at all they don't have, yet all that we DO HAVE and if we are inconvenienced one or more days we are just PUT OUT by it!!
I didn't realize how good we really had it until I saw this neighbor hood I walked through. Most of the homes you had to step down into- because they had to bring in so much dirt to help put the water system in. And when I say step down, I mean a BIG step. They didn't mind it, because now they have water.
This kitchen was cooking on a propane stove......and this is the kitchen they use everyday. How would you feel if this is what your kitchen stove looked like?? For me it would be hard to have company to want to show your clean kitchen off to?!?!
Then how about this.....washing your clothes in a bucket.......no Kenmore or Whirlpool here!! I never heard one complaint. In fact I asked some of the ladies if I could video tape them, and they were just laughing and talking. Much like we would if we had company. You could tell they were a tight community- that stuck together.
When we have hard times here in America, we stick together. Remember that Tuesday morning, September 11th? We stuck together and we bonded in a new way, you could not turn down a street without seeing an American flag. We united as ONE and worked together for good.
My how things have changed, I take my freedom for granted- I try not to seeing how I am a daughter of a veteran.....granddaughter too. I know that many have fought and died for my freedom. But it is the small simple things that were revealed to me that we take for granted. Water, electric, sewer, any kind of floor except dirt!
I find myself wanting the nicest, newest of everything- when I realized how they lived on so little and how they made it work. It made me sad for them- but at the same time, I know that there is not much I could do for them.....except pray that God helps them make it through each day.
It is hard not to forget those faces and those homes, but it has changed my perspective on ALL that I have been blessed with. GOD has been so GOOD to us.....it is hard not the thank him and give HIM ALL THE GLORY!!
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things above not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears then you also will appear with him in Glory.