This has been a hectic trip. We’ve been on the go every day. It has been . . . without a doubt, an absolutely awesome trip!
On Sunday Father Alex and I flew back to Lima from Juliaca. On Monday, Carmen and I drove to Ica to visit the Casa Girasoles. We arrived late in the afternoon and were greeted with a banner and joyous well-wishes.
Not wanting to let a moment of the suspense last – the boys quickly opened the boxes with the new bikes, cycling clothing, helmets and equipment. They were overjoyed with emotion. In fact, we later learned – they rode the bikes on the concrete pitch in the darkness . . . just to get the “feel” for their new steeds. 🙂
Following the unwrapping of the new bikes, we had a pizza party (thank you Peñonetti Pizza) for the staff and boys – complete with McGrill cakes (for those of you who have been to Ica you know McGrill and their amazing cakes). The smiles on everyones faces were priceless.
On Tuesday we met with staff in a COVID-protocol manner and then jumped back in the rental car at mid-day to race back to Lima for the Center of Excellence trainings. We did the virtual training with our colleagues Kate and Billy Greenman (and their four year old son Will) in their house in Surco. Following the training we shared a meal together and spent time playing with Will.
Not wanting to let the evening end without a little more excitement Carmen and I braved rush-hour traffic (it was already 9 pm, but “rush hour” in Lima lasts all night) to drive the rental car back to the HBI office. Wow – that was an adventure . . . for sure.
Today, we are meeting as a team and will complete another course for the Center of Excellence research project. For those of you wondering, what is this “Center of Excellence” research project? I will be writing more about our work in the coming weeks – but for now, check out this blog post for a couple of months back.
I am departing Perú tonight on a red-eye flight and heading back to Portland. This has been an amazing trip filled with so many learnings, insights and reconnections. I feel incredibly privileged and grateful for the opportunity to return to the country I love and the people I hold so dear in my heart.