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Saturday, December 10, 2016
Fr Kevin Dring writes from Peru - 9
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¬†Dear Friends... Queridos Amigos, I realise it's been a little while since my last letter, the main reason being that I spent a wonderful month from mid June with my parents visiting me here in Peru. It was a great break in many different ways and so good just to spend time with my "nearest and dearest". We actually ended up travelling the length and breadth of the country, constantly packing and unpacking and registering in and out of hotels - but saw some wonderful places and most important to me we also spent time in my new home and place of work, Chulucanas and Frias. This means Mike & Sue can now picture where i am, who I live and work with, and bear witness to the truth that the noise level in Frias is truly undescribable... as much as I've tried over the past 10 months! A new "Peru experience" for me was being just another gringo in the crowd (i.e. a tourist) rather than "Padresito" - a bit of anonimity never goes amiss!! Saying goodbye at the end of our month together was even harder than saying farewell last September. I'll cherish the time and memories but life must go on, so hugs and kisses and straight onto a bus back from Lima to the parish... and almost immediatly into four nights of visits in the campo. Needless to say the bus journey from Lima to Chulucanas was about 18 hrs total - longer than M & S's two flights from Lima - Madrid - Malaga. I must admit to having a wee bit of post-holiday aprehension. How would I cope back in the campo??? - no bathrooms, lots of hills to climb, mules to ride, sleeping arrangements (with who or WHAT?), food issues etc etc. Thank God is all went great - the people as ever were wonderful, the hospitality sincere and generous, the walking and mule-riding fairly gentle, and food was fine (even "tasty"!!). Did have, though, a few hair raising insect / animal encounters. On night # two - tarantulas everywhere (well four anyway!); day # three - very poisonous 4 foot long snake on the path ahead; night # four - a large rat running up and down my bed... with me in it! Have about 20 more nights in the campo in the coming weeks. Three days ago Alan Garcia Perez was once again (for a second term) sworn in as President of the Republic of Peru. Many people say the same thing: he's a great speaker / orator but "actions speak louder ... " . When he finished in govt at the end of the 1980's inflation was running at 5,000 per cent and terrorism was peaking under the Sendero Luminoso. Please God, having made a real mess once, he genuinely (as he himself claims) has learnt from mistakes and will be a good president for his people, especially the most disadvantaged, about 80 per cent of the country. In his 1 hr 40 minute opening address to the nation he promised: to reduce his monthly stipend from 42000 soles (£7000) to 16000 soles (£2700) along with all other politicians, mayors etc; add one hour a day to the school timetable; a big improvement of the health service; 20,000 new police officers... in a country that already has at least three officers outside every bank! Good luck to him and his government. On a light finishing note my friend Gary from St Louis (USA) who met his sweetheart Vanesse (Frias - Peru) on the internet is back in town. They make a lovely couple and genuinely seem to be in love. The disconcerting thing for me (and for Gary) is that people are still coming up to him, as he's walking along hand in hand with his sweetheart, and calling him Padre Kevin !!! What should I do he asked me the other day - my simple answer was just smile and say God Bless you (Dios le bendiga). Well amigos that's all my news for now. With many days & nights in the campo in the coming weeks - well away from computers and internet - the next letter will not be for a couple of months, so until then take care and Dios les bendiga! Pray for one another. con mucho afecto, Kevin (Fr Kevin is a priest from Arundel and Brighton Diocese currently working in Peru).
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