It never rains here in Arequipa. We're living in a desert. Well, that's true except in the wet season - late December, January, February and a little in March.
We've just been through the most severe wet season in 30 years. This meant lots of broken pipes, flooding in the streets and frequent water cuts.
Christine with the many containers we use to store water
We had one really difficult day without water. I made the assumption that if the water stopped, we still had 120 litters of water in the hot water system. I was wrong! When the water stopped, so did the hot water. Someone explained that when the water is cut, there is no pressure to drive the water through the hot water system. It was a frustrating day not being able to flush toilets or wash dishes and fortunately it only lasted a day.
I went out and bought several large containers to hold our water backup. So when the later water cuts came we were fine.
Christine is under our make-shift rain water catcher. We purchased this to protect the washing machine from the sun but accidentally discovered that in heavy rain the water funnels to one point where we can catch it in a barrel. It's ironic that the water cuts are during times of heavy rain so it's great to be able to catch the precious rain water.
All the containers you can see (above) were used for storing (a ridiculous amount of) drinking water.
Water purification technology has come a long way. Previously missionaries had to import an expensive water filtration systems from Europe. The local people boil their water, which in the long run is also expensive. Now it's easy to purchase here these inexpensive two phase filter system. The first (black) unit is a paper filter that removes all the particles. The second (white) unit is a carbon filter that kills the bacteria.
We've learnt a few simple lessons that have made life so much easier. I think that both in Australia and here in Peru we are very aware of how precious water is.
Here are a few photos of our home plus the kids. We live on the second floor of a Peruvian family's home.
Annabelle posing - who does she get that from? Styrofoam can be a lot of fun. This is our little balcony where we have our washing machine and we dry our clothes.
When taking photos I sometimes ask them not to smile and this is what happens.
Annabelle enjoying dancing! This is our study and possibly where we can have students stay.
Living and dining area
Ours and Samuel's room
The view of El Misti (the volcano) from the study window
Thank God for our home. We love the place - it's close to markets, shops and the university where David hopes to work. It's also convenient because there are lots of buses from here into the city.
In our next post we'll share what it's like when it rains in the desert - water shortages and flooding at the same time.
I'm in the office of "Corazones Unidos" ("United Hearts"). This is an organisation which supports people with disabilities, providing practical help with wheelchairs and also helping to bring this community together. It is a partner organisation of Joni Eareckson Tada's "Joni and friends". Our church here, Calvary Chapel Arequipa, works with this organisation - our pastor Efrain manages the office and coordinates events along with his wife.
I'm currently doing something really simple - backing up several years of computer records that had never been backed up and setting up a boot password. In a place where computers are often a target for theft, this is a good idea.
Our pastor is currently working on a much more pressing need. Their lease on this current office is running out and they need to move out of this building. So how do we find space with an incredibly tight budget?
Efrain has been speaking with businesses, churches and individuals in the area to see if someone is willing to rent space at a highly subsidised rate. It involves knocking on doors of business that seem to have a spare room and explaining the work of Corazones Unidos and seeing if they are willing to negotiate a price. It also involves visiting other local churches and seeing if we can work with them. Often rooms may only be used once or twice a week and there is the potential to somehow share the space. I'm learning a lot of about how things work here. It's so important to have of a strong network of friends/contacts and it is also so important for churches to work together.
Maybe the love of Christ can be shown just as much in the way that we Christians work together as in what we do.