Our three-year assignment here ends on Wednesday afternoon when the new mission president and his wife arrive at the Jauja International (joke!) Airport. We have tried our hardest to get things done well in advance, and our "pack-out" of things being shipped home went well ten days ago.
However, the local Church O&M (Operations & Maintenance) waited a bit longer than perhaps they should have, and for the past six weeks, there has been frantic work going on around the house.
A good bit of which were things that we had mentioned (and re-mentioned) along the way, but have now become urgent.
We have notified the organizers of the work when we'd be out of town, but less advantage was taken than could have been, meaning we have been living here while a lot of the work gets done.
The original plan by O&M was that we would stay in a hotel for our last two weeks while they worked on the house. Two weeks?! As I said, they've been working for a solid six weeks. Glad we didn't buy the original plan.
Paula has tidied up her gardens, wishing them well under new supervision
Meanwhile, there have been kind farewells and cool gifts,
and more meals than my weight-management plan had accounted for. We have one more lunch today and a farewell meeting this evening.
We will dearly miss many people here, and the majestic scenery throughout the mission.
However, we will miss the missionaries the most; they have become our adopted sons and daughters from all points in the hemisphere. We have come to love them and appreciate their desires and efforts to do good and help others, and we rejoice in their successes. We're already mission 'grandparents,' as they begin to marry and have families.
This has been a rich time in our lives, and one in which we have grown closer, in part by necessity. We have learned a great deal alongside the missionaries, and while this has been a sacrifice, it has not been without it's compensating blessings.
Now, to take care of the last details and hand over the cell phone on Wednesday to the new president, and pass out of a tough, but sacred part of our lives.
Dave & Paula
As previously noted, we are trying to stay in shape for the upcoming hike on the Inca Trail. Knowing that we are leaving in only five more days, and that the last several days would be hectic, we decided to hike up to the Huaytapallana glacier at 16,100 feet one last time, which would be my tenth trip and Paula's fifth. Somehow, the missionaries found out and wanted to come, so we said sure, and 51 signed up.
The alpacas were less than enthusiastic about the arrival of the crowd on the approach trail to the mountain.
The missionaries let Adventure Grandma® lead the pack.
For the first part of the day, the weather was gorgeous.
It got significantly colder and windier as we ascended, and folks started feeling the altitude.
AT the foot of the glacier, everyone stood still long enough for a picture, then we skedaddled down the hill to the bus.
So, our final climb up Huaytapallana, Our mission certainly has natural beauty, even if there is enough other stuff to keep us crazy.
When I married her almost 39 years ago, Paula had just finished her undergraduate degree in Youth Leadership, which at the time required such classes as Water Skiing 101, Backpacking 203, Whitewater Canoeing 302, etc. She has always been willing to try new things, and is an avid cyclist, has her scuba certification, windsurfs fast, and doesn't wimp out.
We were in the jungle part of the Mission recently, and decided to see a new set of waterfalls on a half-Preparation Day. Jorge, the owner of the land, grinned and said, "Try the right side this time!" So we did.
The right side (we'd already done the left) turned out to be a bit wilder, but gorgeous.
It required a little more scrambling.
The trail was a bit more sketch.
But it was worth it.
We continue to climb the hills behind Huancayo when we have the chance, to stay in shape for the upcoming Inca Trail hike with friends and family.
We admit that we're not as fast as we used to be, but it's still fun at age ___ and ___ (actual figures redacted at the demand of Adventure Grandma®'s legal counsel).
We hope you're still trying new stuff!
Dave & Paula