…And Back Again

The reason we had to got to Cusco so early was that the hardware supply stores that are open have to close around 10:00. The majority of the stores were closed. I think they’re allowed to be open, so I’m not sure why they weren’t. Though, it was clear that some stores had closed down for good.

We made several more stops for material, but couldn’t find all the things on their list. At the one place, we had to wait a long time because there was a line of people. Rafael and I waited with the truck.

While we waited, we looked online for vehicles. I’ve been looking for something recently, and it seems there may be more options now that people are wishing to sell to make some extra money. Rafael made a few phone calls. There were some hopeful options for four-door Toyota pickups.

With the last supply stop made, we headed to Rafael’s mom’s place. She was delighted to see us and made us breakfast. Rafael’s brother William joined us; he’s an elementary school art teacher. Rafael had saved half a dozen of my biscuits and shared them with his family. They oohed and aahed over them as if they were a delicacy.

William had a lot of questions, including why I was in Peru. He could not believe we would come just because we loved Jesus and the people here. “How did you know you loved them before you met them?”

I explained that we’d been able to somewhat meet the people through the Martin family, which fascinated them. He wanted to know how many years I’d known Spanish and was incredulous to know I’d only been here less than a year.

I gave some credence to my ignorance when I accidently called Rafael a “large serpent” instead of a “great servant.” They laughed pretty heartily over that. William said it was an easy mistake to make since Rafael could be either.

Leaving there with promises of visits to the country from them, we headed to Rafael’s uncle’s yogurt shop. We wanted to take a short tour to see how he makes his yogurt, but the uncle wasn’t in. We bought two cups of yogurt. It certainly was the best yogurt I’ve bought here, but I agree with Elisabet that I prefer ours.

We headed to San Pedro next to shop, but all the roads nearby were closed to traffic. We had to park a good distance away. Elisabet and Tobbi stayed to guard the truck while Rafael and I walked. San Pedro turned out to be closed, but Orion was open.

A guard was stationed at the door to take everyone’s temperature. If you had a fever, he would turn you away. If you didn’t, he would spray your hands with disinfectant and have you walk through rugs sitting in bleach. No germs allowed!

We were able to find only about half the things on my list. The shelves had some empty spaces, and many items they had formerly stocked weren’t to be had. No chocolate chips, cheddar cheese, or peanut butter, for example.

Nevertheless, I was able to fill a cart. Walking back to the truck was all uphill. I would have made a few more stops for other items, but we were running out of time. The truck permit only allowed us to be in Cusco up to 3:00, and it was now after 2:00. We’d spent a good bit of time at Rafael’s mom’s place.

We were loaded down as it was, anyway. We had to stop a couple times on the way back to catch our breath. Hauling several large sacks bulging with groceries was exhausting.

We made it back through the Poroy checkpoint with only minutes to spare. Thankfully, we had no real trouble there. The officer did obstinately insist that Rafael’s “conductor” permit was not sufficient and was asking for a “worker” permit, too. He did finally let us go without taking money, but I thought for a minute it would come to that.

Back at the store, I helped them unload the truck. Elisabet sprayed us all down from head to toe with alcohol to kill any germs we may have picked up. She then called her mom and a couple of aunts before she found someone who could make “lunch” for us. It seemed everyone was at a special Mass.

We picked up the food and headed home to eat it. We got there around chore time. On the way, Elisabet asked me if we have Mass in our church. I explained to them what the Bible says about the Lord’s supper and about confession and forgiveness of sin. They seemed rather fascinated and asked questions.

After eating “lunch,” I took Rafael out to milk. Poor fellow, he tried his best, but he just couldn’t make it work for the cow. She was very patient with him. I let him try again with the goat, and he had a measure of success. He said he’s going to try every time he visits until he’s strong enough to milk by himself.

Chores done, Steph was finished preparing supper. I was surprised to find I was still hungry. Apparently, the chicken foot soup didn’t fill me up. I was not surprised Rafael and Elisabet could still eat. They are peruanos, after all.

Steph had made a sort of chicken fajita dish. The best part was the fresh flour tortillas. We ate our fill. I love fresh flour tortillas.

While Elisabet helped wash dishes, Rafael and I talked about their delayed wedding. It seems he is dealing with more of a sense of guilt about their disobedience in living together, but they don’t want to have a wedding without their families. Rafael had asked Elisabet to do something privada, but she said no. So they are planning for when the lockdown lifts.

On top of that, their relationship is facing difficult times. I told him I’m still praying about it, and he thanked me. I think he wants freedom from his weight of guilt, but he feels a wedding will take care of it. God is still speaking to him, I think.

My desire is for them to learn to know Jesus the way I’ve come to know Him. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and offers peace and joy that can’t be found otherwise. I want that for those I love.

You can pray with me about that.

Rafael’s mom does crochet work for income.
Some of my bags
Playing tag