Saturday, October 25, 2008

Journey to School

Since we have staggered times at the language school Scott takes the children to school in the morning in a taxi then continues on to the language school, fortunately we have found a taxi with seat belts in the back who takes them each morning. Anjanette starts language school mid morning and when time allows prefers to walk to the language school in order to get some exercise. The following is a description of the walk from our house in La Fonda Cerro Colorado to the language school 30mins walk down the hill in Cayma. Our house is on a secure compound so as I leave I greet the guard (watcheman is the spanglish word used) the roads are really dusty and hot, I walk mostly on the pavement on a main road .Arequipa is a city, yet unlike other cities I walk past fields of cows and sheep and sometimes see farmers and their animals cross the road. Other animals one needs to walk past are the many street dogs sometimes lying across the pavement . As I walk I see the beautiful mountains and can not help but thank God for the beauty of his creation (whilst dodging holes in the road and the street dogs and other obstacles). Interesingly some of the houses I walk by have a sign on the door stating that it is a catholic house. This is to show that they do not want any Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons knocking on their doors. Recently I was chatting to the neighbours saying that we are missionaries and they asked if we are mormons, sadly it seems that evangelical Christians are viewed as a sect here in Peru . The traffic I see on the road is quite incredible: motor cyclists without helmets, combi vans (like a small mini bus) which will take you from one side of Arequipa to the other for 70 centimos (approx 10pence) taxi cars sometimes with 10 people in them and tables strapped to the roof and bicylcles attatched to large carts which transport all sorts of things imaginable. The roads in Peru are terrible, we learnt this week that there are 9 deaths from road accidents in Peru daily, apparently the highest in the world! I walk past women in traditional Peruvian dress with babies strapped to their backs , also quite a sight to behold are the people who work outside in the parks as cleaners or gardeners. To protect them from the strong sun and the dust they are wrapped up from head to toes in hats scarves and balaclavas. Many shops I walk past only seem to sell a few things and never seem to have any body in them which makes you wonder how people survive and life in Peru is indeed hard with people working at least one job for very long hours to make ends meet. As I continue my walk down the hill I pass the statue of the Pope which commemorates his visit to Arequipa, often the taxi drivers will cross themselves as they drive past it. The decorations inside the taxis are interesting often the same taxi will have religious photographs and charms , photographs of scantily clad women as well as a nodding dog! The sights and smells and the heat are an experience in themselves but I hope this gives you an insight into the journey. If running late I catch a combi down the hill the experience is somewhat similar to being on the London underground in rushour!

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