Wednesday kicked off bright and early; before the sun had even risen! We headed out to my new favorite place: Belen. We stopped in the market on the way in and bought bread. There were many vendors already there setting up and preparing food to sell that day. Michael took Lance and I for a walk through a section where there were people butchering meat. Whole [skinned] pigs, plucked chickens, and even some fish in this part were all laying there to be chopped up and sold. I learned that if you want fresh meat, you get to the market at this time while they are still cutting it up!
Once we had the bread, we headed down the 100+ steps to the beautiful place of Belen. Beautiful with all its filth and trash lining the streets, all the mud and muck, the houses falling apart, the not-so-pleasant smells, and the most beautiful part of it all is the barefooted people running around, the people who call this place home. Oh, what I would give to be there now to hug on some people and tell them how much they’re loved! And that’s just what we did this morning. The Safehouse men played their drums and sang while we clapped and danced. It was nearing 6:00am by this point, so the streets were still pretty quiet. Slowly, those dark brown Peruvian eyes began to pop up around us as people were waking and beginning their day. After our worship, we began to hand out bread to whomever we came in contact with. Some people would take it and eat, some would take what they had been given and immediately turn to share it with the person next to them, and some would flat out refuse and point to another family that they knew of that needed it more than they. The selflessness of these people who had nothing, were starving, but so willing to give what they had away… it was truly a moment in time I will never forget.
We were able to go visit Elga’s family again. She was so excited to see us and quickly welcomed us into her home. We talked with her until some of the other people from the group came to tell us it was time to leave. We sadly said our goodbyes to her, and were on our way. As we walked back up those steps out of Belen, I was so sad to be leaving a place I had come to love so much. All I can do is pray that I’m able to return there again one day!