We have enjoyed getting to know so many new people in Vina Alta. It is almost like visiting a small southern town. In the afternoons and evenings the neighbors sit on their front steps and chat with neighbors and those passing by. Children play marbles and checkers on the street corners. Vendors pass by with little carts selling sweets and ice cream. The streets are even cobblestone. It truly does seem like an oasis of calm in the bustling city of Lima.
It has been nice to begin building relationships with the neighbors. Each day that we visit we seem to be more accepted. People are stopping us and asking questions. Some have even wanted to tell us tragedies and difficulties in their lives. Seemingly looking for hope and a listening ear. We've especially enjoyed seeing the children learn our names and tagging behind us as we walk from place to place visiting. Every few minutes we hear a shout of "Hermanos!" from the younger ones. (Hermano simply means "brother" in Spanish.) Some have even wanted to play a round of marbles.
Yesterday we saw a group of a half dozen neighborhood boys just sitting on the curb talking. We approached and sat down to chat with them a few moments. Soon others came and soon we had more than a dozen boys around us. They wanted to hear me speak English. I said a few words but that didn't satisfy their curiosity. They insisted that I tell them a story in English. I had Daniel begin to tell a story in Spanish then I translated it into English. It was an odd feeling speaking in front of this tiny group. Not a one understood anything I had to say. Yet it was a neat opportunity as we shared with them the story of creation and then the fall of man. It was an open opportunity to teach them several Biblical truths.
We invited them to church and got ready to leave. One looked into my eyes and said, "Look everyone! He has blue eyes!" I decided to seize the opportunity and made a deal. If every one promised to come to the Kid's Club on Sunday I would take out my eye and let them see it. They were amazed and all raised their hand making a promise. I carefully pulled out my contact lense and held it on my finger. Several of the younger boys looked shocked. One even started reaching into his own eye! They all started laughing and cheering as I placed my lens back in place. Most had never heard of contact lenses. None had ever seen them. I can only imagine the tales they must have told when they got home. If we are blessed some of the adults will show up Sunday to see the crazy American that takes out his blue eyes!