Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mapuche Trip, Day 9

We got up relatively early, had breakfast, and then piled in the truck for a little excursion. The pastor’s family came with us as well. We drove to a hill where there were a couple of lakes and the border of Argentina. After awhile, the truck couldn’t go any further since the hills were getting steep. So we hopped off and started on foot. I was hot and tired, and not loving it, especially since I had left my hat in the truck and wasn’t about to walk down the hill to get it. I got up to the top of the hill, eventually, and enjoyed the view. Then they all decided to go down to the water. I decided to stay. Eventually I really wanted to go down too, but every time I thought about walking back up the hill, I decided against it. It ended up being a good time for me, I was completely alone for pretty much the first time all week, and was able to spend a good amount of time praying and singing. However, I do wish now that I had gone down to the water, especially since they took a different—and easier—way back to the truck. They also got to the border of Argentina, whereas I only saw the border. This is my one regret of the entire week. At one point two men came by on horses, and I had a nice little chat with them. They asked me where I was from, since it’s pretty clear I’m foreign. :o) I understood most of their questions, but I was still a little nervous.

We got back to the truck, piled in, and the 6 of us in the back got filthy. I mean, just covered in dirt. We got back, cleaned up a little, ate lunch, and then cleaned up some more. That’s how dirty we were! We were supposed to have another time with the kids from the first town where we were living, but since we hadn’t done anything in 4 days there, no one remembered, so no one showed up. We were ok with that though! They spent some time further training the pastor, one of the other objectives of the week. The local pastors don’t really get much training except when people come in from the outside, and although we’re much younger than him, he was still very receptive to learning from us.

We packed our bags, I took a nap, and then we had our last once at the house with the family. We took a lot of pictures and took our time saying goodbye to everyone. It was kind of sad to leave them, and those people who could understand them and had made closer connections found it harder to say goodbye than I did. Although I did have some time with Keila, and we joked about my blue eyes. Oh, and the other thing I forgot to tell you. Two days earlier I had put my name tag on her shirt, and for the next two days she wore it, switching it to whatever shirt she put on. So I started calling her “Tia Kelly” (which literally means Aunt Kelly, but kids call non-related adults tia and tio all the time…even just to get their attention. I got used to answering to it very quickly.) So every time I called her that she would say, “No, my name is Keila. You’re Tia Kelly.” And I would respond with, “But your name tag says that you’re Tia Kelly.” And that would go back and forth for awhile until I attacked her with tickles and our conversation just turned to giggling.

We packed the truck, fitting an amazing amount of stuff in the back. I’m still astounded at how they were able to do it. Then the 8 of us got in the cab. Six people sat in the back seat (four on the bottom and two of the smallest girls on their laps), Victor driving, and me in the front seat with the laptop, and all bookbags/purses on my lap or at my feet. It was quite cozy! It was about a 2 hour drive to the town where we were meeting the other two teams. We stopped at a gas station along the way and were able to stretch a little…and use our cell phones for the first time in a week! We all enjoyed that. We spent the two hours in the truck going around, each of us telling what we appreciated about everyone on the team. Many of them said that it was easy to get to know me (remember that they had all been together a week before I showed up), and that I was very laidback with plans and hitches in the plans. They said they’ve known some gringos and they’re not always so flexible. Haha. One guy also said that he was impressed at how I was able to adapt to things that were probably way outside my realm of experience—like the bathroom situation. Haha. We all had a good laugh over that one. :o)

We met up with the other teams, and that was a bit difficult for me, since I only knew 3 other people, and not even very well. For everyone else it was like a big reunion. One problem was, many of them remembered me (I do stand out), and I had no clue who they were!! After awhile, we all sat in a circle to share about the week. There was a lot of talking, laughing, and crying. Then we spent some time in prayer. Eventually we split up to go to bed. We were staying in a school, and there were bunk beds…but no mattresses. So most of us slept on the floor. This is the one and only time I used my sleeping bag all night. And I slept miserably. I went to bed late anyway, there were about 15 girls in one room—I’m sure you can imagine what that was like. Then a light was left on, so I couldn’t sleep. The floor was hard, and the room was getting colder by the hour, and my throat was getting sore again. Needless to say, I did not sleep much. HOWEVER (and this is a big however), part of my dream (when I was sleeping) was in Spanish…this is a HUGE thing. You know you’re doing well with learning a new language when it enters into your dreams. Now, I didn’t dream much in Spanish, but it was there, so I was pretty excited. Eventually I woke up, and that takes us to the last day.

No comments: