Children of Peru
Encountering Children of Peru
When you run into a child in Peru, they don’t care if your not from here or don’t speak their language. They come up to you like they’ve known you for years, and just start talking away. I do my best to understand what they are saying and asking me. With broken Spanish, and an educated guess, I talk back to them.
The first time I encountered children was when I was on my run; I stopped at the cement court where they were playing soccer. There are some bars where I do dips and pull ups on, the kids that aren’t playing soccer are climbing them along with me. They try and mimic my sets, but are too young to do them. When I finish, I am swarmed by them, they start chatting all at once, I don’t know whats happening so I just smile and say “Si, Si”. That doesn’t discourage them, they press on, some grabbing my hands, and pulling me down to them. They grab my arms as if I were a big guy, I guess I am big to them. Makes me laugh.. One kid wants me to pick him up so I give in and swing him upside down by his foot, a mother smiles and starts laughing, and I get nervous so I put him down. They try and help me with my Spanish, little do they know I barely know English, and they want to show me the English they know, we go back and fourth for a little bit until I find an exit and I run back home. Funny how they didn’t want me to leave, but I figured they weren’t going anywhere and neither was I, I’ll see them again.
Visiting the School
Gerry helps one of the local schools in the area so we headed up there and check things out. As we entered the gate, it looked to be recess, half the kids were in the class and half in the court. There were 3 classrooms and we stopped in each. Every time we entered the kids would get excited and run up to us. They would wrap their arms around Gerry, but not me, I guess they needed to warm up a little. A few were brave enough to let me take a picture of them and they thought that was the greatest thing in the world. Gerry and I scoped out where the new chapel will be (second floor of the roof, see pictures below). Our time was short lived and we left with a trail of them following Gerry.
On our way back from the school, Gerry and I made a pit stop. I have been carrying my camera around in a black plastic bag because there is no strap for it. Gerry knows a guy that he thinks can make one for me, so we knock on his door. He leads us in and we head up three stories to the top of his place. Fabric and crap everywhere. We came to the right place. We explained (well, Gerry explained, I kinda help show visually with a made up sign language) what we needed. He grabbed some nylon straps, plastic brackets, and went to work. Within five minutes I had a perfect adjustable strap for the camera, no more need for that stupid plastic bag. We asked him how much he wanted and he said nothing, but we insisted. He then said its our discretion, so I gave him 10 Sol. which equals about $4USD. Can’t beat it.. You could never find something like this in America. I wouldn’t even know where to look..
Later that day I went on another run up to the same spot with the court and bars. This time there were some older kids (middle school probably) playing soccer and some girls on the bars. I do my thing and they look on kind-of timidly, it’s a different crowd then the last and we don’t know one another.. Yet.. They end the game of soccer and before I know it, boom, surrounded by 8 kids. One starts talking, and the rest follow. Same situation as before, asking questions, trying to understand what I’m saying. They don’t care that I can’t talk their language. They don’t get frustrated either, they just keep talking or switch to something they think I might know. One of them ask me if I want to play soccer, and I said sure. We played for probably about 20 minutes and they stopped and came over to me, asked where I lived and I told them.. They kept asking the same question.. Then I realized, they wanted to see where I lived. I said okay and we walked/ ran there. It was fun being surrounded by 6 of them, curious to see what I was doing and where I was doing it. We got back to the place and I had them all wait outside for a second while I grabbed some water and brought it out to them. We chatted, my spanish seemed to be getting better, then they left and I went in.
Funny how being around children, especially these children who don’t have anything, will make you feel differently about life. Just being around them makes you feel good inside, they are curious to know you- where your from, who you know down here, why your down here, etc. They just want to know because they’re interested, not because they have something to gain, or have some undermining agenda.. They want to see where your staying because that would make their day. It’s the little things that make them happy, and its funny how that happiness can easily spread.