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3/16/10

In the morning in the Lima airport, we couldn’t just drink the water.  It was bad water, so I had to buy one from Starbucks to wash up with.  Our plane to Iquitos left at 6:20 AM.  It’s only a 1 1/2 hour flight.  You want to know what I did during it.  I slept the whole way.  I even missed the food and drink cart.  I heard it wasn’t very good though.  What I saw of Iquitos on the plane when I did wake up was vegetation and forest.  We arrived at the airport and Paul Opp, the director of People of Peru Project, met us there with Kevin, the bus.  People of Peru own the bus.  It’s a rustic bus with no air conditioning but just open.  I love it!  When we got there, we got breakfast and then got to shower and take a nap!  For breakfast there was eggs, bread, homemade peanut butter, manjar (dulce de leche), and juice.  I got room #4 with Holly Luce (the girls counselor), Lauren, Ciara, and Jessie.  Oh it felt so good to be clean.  Afterwards we had a run down of the place and instruction from Paul.

We took a tour of the Belen district neighborhood, still in Iquitos.  This is the lowest, dirtiest part of the city.  In the Amazon Rainforest, called the Floating City.  We took the Mototaxis (motocarro).  Lauren, Freddie (a translator), and I took one.  Those cars are pretty scary because they weave in and out of traffic going as fast as they can.  Don’t get me wrong, they are so so fun!  You can’t stick your hands and arms out the window because otherwise they could get chopped off.  All the buses and mototaxis get right next to you on the road.  They don’t really use the lines or stay on their right side of the road or use the speed limit.  They pull up right next to you within inches.  It’s really scary on the road but oh so fun!  There aren’t any regular cars in Iquitos which surprised me.  The mototaxi (motocarro) is a light vehicle that has a “carriage” at the back for 2-3 people and it costs around 2-4 sols to ride.

So we got to Belen and started our walking tour.  We went through all the markets selling anything and everything.  There was trash piled high in the middle of the road and underneath the ground.  Belen stinks VERY bad.  All of a sudden it instantly started to rain heavy and hard.  It was like that for about 30 seconds and then it went away.  There was the meat market with just the meat sitting out in the open with flies crawling all over them.  They had plucked and headless bare chickens just piled high.  I have to admit, it was disgusting.  We turned down a market row that was the medicine row.  All the venders have a cure for anything whether it works or not.  One vender had a lot of items.  One was alligator blood that cured something the vender demonstrated.  She rubbed it fast against her skin and turned into a hard white seal.  Then she had a snake head in a jar simply to attract people to her store.  We headed down farther to lowest Belen and saw kids.  They just swarmed to have their picture taken.  What you do is take their picture and then show them it.  They love it.  We saw part of the river and it had trash and muck in it.  There are public restrooms right next to it so all that restroom stuff goes into there.  Kids actually play in that too.

When the Andes Mountains melt, that water floods Belen every year.  So people have floating houses or their house is built up high on stilts.  It’s all very gross.  We then raced back in the mototaxis.  To me, it’s like a roller coaster riding in them.  Lunchtime now- we had beans, rice, and juice.

We then went to our VBS program at a little Iglesia Adventista church.  It really just looked like a barn, but it still had benches.  Lauren, Jessie, and I did our story and craft that night.  It was The Fiery Furnace with making lions masks as the craft.  There weren’t very many kids there but it was the first night.  Two little girls came up to me afterwards and gave me a hug and a kiss.  On our way home, kids would ride on the back of the bus.

Dinner was just upon us now back at the facility.  We had vegetable empanadas, bread, and juice.  Not very fond of the empanadas.  It is our first night sleeping here, very different.  Earlier when we took our naps, we saw a tiny lizard in our room.  They are good though because it eats all our bugs for us but I was informed that it will probably crawl on me during the night.  Not pleasant.  I took a shower again just because we get so dirty, sticky, and sweaty!

Buenas Noches!

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