Our Second Trip To Peru

Recently I wrote the following for a just for fun poetry contest. The theme to write on was a trip that you’ve been on, and the form to be used is called a haibun(a combination of prose and haiku). I didn’t place in the contest, but I truly enjoyed writing this and reliving the memories. Missions trips are the best!



In 2014 my family and I were privileged to be able to go on our second missions trip to Peru. The year before we had gone down with a group of 12 from our church, comprised of mostly young people, but this year it would be just my husband, 2 grown children and I. After about 10 hours of flying, we landed at the airport in Lima. We were greeted by the missionary and his helpers, loaded our luggage into a couple of vehicles and began our trip to the missionary’s home. Lima, which is the capitol of Peru has a population of over 12 million people and driving in this city can be a hair raising adventure, to say the least.

In Lima’s traffic
a person can learn to pray
for their survival.


On our first trip, we had spent all our time in Lima and her surrounding suburbs, but on this trip we had plans to visit Iquitos, a city in the Amazon jungle region and Cusco, a city and area of high elevation and home of the legendary Machu Picchu. Our first stop was to Iquitos, the largest city in the world that is only accessible by plane or boat. Cars are pretty scarce in Iquitos. The most used method of transportation is the rickshaw, which is basically a motorcycle with a cart behind it in which passengers sit. This open air form of transportation was a new and fun experience for us.


Hailing a rickshaw
negotiating the fare
and then we take off.


My husband was scheduled to preach a crusade that they were having at one of the churches in Iquitos. The people greeted us warmly, the worship was exuberant and it was very hot. None of the churches there have air conditioning.


Sweating a river
in jungle sanctuary
we praise God anyhow.


I told myself I would do my best not to use the restroom while we were at church. It’s just not the same as it is in America. However, there was one service where I just had to go.


Primitive toilets
sometimes do not have a seat.
Bring your own tp.


We enjoyed our time in services with the Peruvians, and after the crusade was over, we had occasion to do some sightseeing. We paid to take a trip down the dirty Amazon River to a small wildlife refuge. It was a peaceful ride down the river, and after about half an hour, we pulled up to the shore where there was a rickety wooden stairway that leads up to a small wildlife refuge. As we exited the boat, we saw several small monkeys coming down the side rails of the stairway. Much to my son’s delight, one of the monkeys came and jumped right onto his shoulder. These monkeys seemed truly happy and anxious to see who their visitors were. We found out that these monkeys, as cute as they are, also can be full of mischief. One of the little guys pulled a chopstick out of my daughter’s hair and tried to run off with it, but we were able to apprehend him and retrieve the article. I had my own encounter with a small imp.


Fresh little monkey
trying to lift up my skirt.
Missionary laughs.


As we made our way through the refuge, there were several animals that we were allowed to hold in our hands if we so desired. We all took turns holding a giant turtle, a toucan and a colorful parrot sitting on a limb. All of the animals there have been thoroughly cleaned up and have had parasites removed from them. I also held a sloth. It was not what I was expecting.


Stiff, sanitized sloth
much like a furry backpack
held near in my arms.


Before we returned to the city area of Iquitos, we planned to make one more stop. The missionary told us that there were groups of native people that live along the river that ran around very scantily clad or sometimes naked. We weren’t at all interested in seeing that, but the tour guide on the boat told the missionary he knew of some native people that were not like that, and he could show us where they were. He took us to the spot, we got off the boat and started walking towards a large hut that was in the distance. For some reason, my son was ahead of everybody else in a group, and when he reached the hut, he went inside. That tour guide must have fibbed. My son was mortified.


A primeval hut
filled with half naked women
he quickly exists.


Once we had returned to Iquitos we took a walk through an open air market. Just one look at the filthy hands of most of the merchants let us know that we would be playing Russian roulette with our health by eating anything here. We came to one particular vendor where we just stopped and stared for a few minutes.


Grub worm on a stick
regional delicacy
I think I will pass.


Near the end of our Peruvian trip we boarded another plane for our flight to Cusco. Cusco is a region of Peru, and there is also a city by the same name. We were told that where we were landing the elevation was 11,000 feet. . As soon as our plane was on the ground, I could feel the difference.


Landing in Cusco
one thought dominates my mind.
I need oxygen!


The next morning a taxi that was scheduled to pick us up came and dropped us off at the train station. The train ride to Machu Picchu was about an hour long, but it was scenic and pleasant. After exiting the train, we got on a nice, spacious tour bus which would take us the rest of the way there. All I can say is that Machu Picchu is absolutely breathtaking. I can certainly see why it is now named as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.


Oh my, what splendor
Machu Picchu in person
Photos can’t compare!


I might mention that the elevation is around 7,000 feet at Machu Picchu, so I had no problems breathing during our visit. There is so much more that I could say, but I will end my recollections by saying that this was a trip of a lifetime, and I was so blessed to be able to experience this with my family. I will never be the same!


The people, the sights
of our journey to Peru
live within my heart.


Why Didn’t They Tell Me……….

when I took my daughter home from the hospital after her birth, that the day would come when she would be able to drive a car without having me in it? Come to think of it, they never even gave me an instruction manual upon our departure. Alas, the day has come, and Jen is driving for the first time by herself. She drove to a youth service tonight about 20 minutes away. I did real good. I waited about 15 minutes until after she should have been there……………………………………..and then I called. Her response? “Oh, mom.” I guaranteed that I wasn’t going to call her every time she goes out in the car, but cut me some slack. This was her first time. I realize though that this child who is really on loan to me from God is in His hands, and I simply must rely on Him to watch over her. God wants me to trust Him with this area of my life too, so……………………………………….I will. 🙂

Special Note : For all you who love Jamba Juice, go to this link, put in your name, e-mail address and zip code and you’ll get a coupon, good through July 30th for a buy one get one free smoothie. There, you can’t say that I didn’t tell you.


Safety Slogans For Jen

A few years ago, a friend of mine who was a bus driver at the time asked me if I could come up with some safe driving slogans for a contest he was having at work.(I love doing stuff like this. Maybe I should have gone into advertising.)  I had completely forgotten about these, but came across them yesterday when I was looking for something else in our computer files.  I thought I would share these here for the benefit(and possibly a chuckle or two) of my daughter and any other new drivers who will be getting a license soon. 


Some Safety Slogans




1.     As a matter of fact, I don’t own the road.


2.     Stay Alive – Think and Drive.


3.     Driving like there’s no tomorrow is likely to produce that result.


4.     Reckless driving just may be your ticket to some place out of this world!


5.     Got indicators?  Got brakes?  Got a license?  Got insurance?


6.     Speed – some it thrills, some it kills.


7.     Crash Go The Chariots! – when traffic signals are ignored.


8.     Hit and run was meant for the ball field.


9.     Don’t be the driving force behind traffic accidents.


10.             Having a license doesn’t make you a safe driver, any more than having a lottery ticket makes you a millionaire.


11.             Practice sensible acts of driving and conscious choices of courtesy.


12.            A driving tip for the day ……..yield the right of way.


13.            “Full speed ahead” is an expression, not a rule of the road.


14.             If you fall asleep behind the wheel, the “road may rise up to meet you.”


15.            Slow and steady may not win the race, but fast and reckless is more likely to get you a ticket.