Peru Update - "Olla Comunes"

“Week 1 - Olla Comun”

Our week in Lima feels like it went by in the blink of an eye. After a travel day that began at 3:30am on a hilltop in Wisconsin (on July 3) and didn’t end until about 1 am the next day at our hostel in Lima, we completely hit the ground running. We spent the next five days commuting over an hour across town (and up the mountain) to serve a small community through acts of service and building relationships with the local kids.

We spent each morning split between a couple of “Olla Comunes” which is Spanish for Common Pot. Olla Comunes began popping up all over Peru in direct response to the pandemic. In a country where a large portion of the population live hand to mouth, meaning their day's labor pays for the day's meals, complete shutdown of the country meant there was no way to provide for themselves - and Peru was in complete lockdown for nearly a year. Hence, the Olla Comun, which is a local kitchen where food is donated, prepared, and distributed to families in the community for very little cost. These kitchens are very small, typically one room, with a space to prepare the meal and a couple of burners for cooking; not much else. Our team was able to serve them in a few ways. We moved a portion of a large pile of rocks into an area that Olla Comun Siete (7) hopes to develop into a garden and placed them strategically for a path. Johan was particularly enthusiastic about rockin’ the garden! Another group, working at Olla Comun Nueve (9), helped prepare stuffed potatoes by taking mashed potatoes and filling it with meat and vegetables before sealing them up and having the local ladies fry them in oil. This was probably Keira’s favorite part of the day though I know she was disappointed that we did not get to try them!

Our afternoons were then filled with activities at the local soccer court, where we built relationships with the kids after they got out of school. We held a daily program similar to a VBS where our students taught the younger kids dances to Spanish versions of Trading My Sorrows, One Way, and Every Move I Make, they re-enacted biblical stories of Jesus’ miracles, and played many different games. At the same time Quaid, Bethany, and David were able to engage with the teenagers who preferred to play soccer (football), and then you had a few teenagers who really just wanted to practice their english! Brody and Ava seemed to really connect with one of these guys and even shared the Gospel with him by using a Join the Story booklet. All of these different opportunities were a great reminder that evangelism and discipleship can look many different ways as we seek to serve the local church!

Jack Becker

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