Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Inca Link Internship: Week Two

June 3:
Today we took a break from the Amazing Race and went to a retreat center in Quito, where we did a ton of team-building exercises in the morning and then some training in the afternoon where we learned about Inca Link’s mission, its history, and its values that we as interns should follow. After that, we went over some information about ourselves—two nights before, we had taken the “Leading From Our Strengths” tests about what we like and don’t like in leadership, which was pretty neat. That night, we took another test about our spiritual gifts, which is something I had never done before, and so it was really eye-opening for me. But later that night is what I really benefited from: a few of the interns had our own little church service around a bonfire, singing songs and reading Scripture and praying. One prayer request I had was about something I learned that morning, about a car accident in Brunswick that left four students, two of whom I knew, dead. I hope that the fact that people are praying for them in another continent gives those families some encouragement.

June 4:
In another day of training, we spent the morning talking about the results of our spiritual gifts test. After lunch, we did some more physical team-building exercises at a ropes course at the retreat center. This, for me, was the most strenuous day—I am not used to this kind of thing so it was a little tough for me to do all the stuff. But I did most of it, and later that day, we all went on a 40-foot rock-climbing wall at the center, which was the first time I’ve ever climbed all the way up on one of those things. I’m so proud of myself! Later that night, we made hot dogs and s’mores over a bonfire, and then went to the Quito airport to greet some more Inca Link missionaries that had just arrived, who you’ll hear a little about later.

June 5:
Here it is: the last day of the Amazing Race. For today, all the Ecuador interns got in one group, and all the Peru interns got into another, to do challenges that started at the retreat center and went around the local town. And boy was this an interesting day: in one day, I got to climb yet another mountain, touch a llama, pick up trash along a street in Quito, and even drink milk directly from a cow that I helped milk myself (which, I’ll admit, didn’t taste that bad). However, our last challenge was kind of a bummer: while three members of our team slid down a zipline, three others shot at them with paintball guns, and we got 200 points for every hit. Ana, the brave soul that she is, went down the zipline, and in the process got pretty bruised. But after everything was over, she ended up getting second place in the Amazing Race, with Brent in first and Derek in third! After that, we had a little more training, talking about our creative projects (which I’ll explain later), and then we left the retreat center. That night, we all had pizza at the Brown’s house, and then Ana, Derek, Jen, Aaron, Bethany, and I had to say goodbye to everybody going back to Trujillo, which was pretty sad. But that night, I was pretty excited at the same time: the Amazing Race was over, and my time as an Inca Link intern was really starting!

June 6:
Well, I guess it didn’t really start immediately; today we were given the whole day to relax, get groceries to last us for about a week, and go to a couple other places close by in Quito. So using a bunch of spending money provided to us by Inca Link, all of us Ecuador interns got a bunch of groceries from the local supermarket at the mall, Mega-Maxi (the name of which was the butt of many jokes from Matt and other guys in the group). And that night for dinner, we made our own French bread pizza with salad and drinks! Fabian and Mabe, who run CasaBlanca but live in another home close by, came over for dinner and later took us out to Quito to see places in the town, including a pizza shop, a DVD store, and getting ice cream. It was really nice to have a break after the Amazing Race, I’ll be honest. I’m just hoping the Peru interns are doing okay—today they were driving pretty much all day back to Trujillo, which could take about thirty hours of driving in buses.

June 7:
This morning, we visited one of the local sites of ministry in Quito that we didn’t actually get to visit during the Amazing Race. In Quito, there’s a convent called Ganas where children stay whose parents are in prison. So Gustavo took all the Ecuador interns there, plus one named Shelby who’s sort of a pseudo-intern in Quito this summer, and we all had a couple hours to play with the kids there. It brought back a lot of memories for me when I was in Trujillo, playing with the kids at the daycare center or the garbage dumps. After that, though, we all got to see the new facility that Inca Link is trying to buy for those kids: a large house called Tesoros, which is pretty darn nice despite a little water damage on the walls. Hopefully that will work out for those guys. Once we got back to CasaBlanca, we had a little time to eat lunch, relax, eat dinner, and then talk about all our personal goals this summer.

June 8:
In the morning, Gustavo took us Ecuador interns back to Ganas to be with the children again for a few hours. Today, they were celebrating kids’ birthdays, and we even got to sing briefly for Bethany, who turned twenty today! But after we left, we still didn’t get to CasaBlanca for a while. First, we had lunch at Crepes & Waffles, a restaurant with… well, mostly crepes and waffles, which were pretty delicious. Then we went grocery shopping again at Mega-Maxi for some more food, including some ice cream and frozen foods… which unfortunately melted a tiny bit in the couple of hours they ended up being in our suburban. But dinner was good, with even a cake for Bethany, and that night, we got to welcome a short-term team from Albuquerque that’s not working with Inca Link but was staying at CasaBlanca for a couple nights.

June 9:
For most of today, we were at the new apartment of a new family of Inca Link missionaries in Quito, painting walls before they moved in their furniture. Their names are Oswaldo (I’m pretty sure that’s spelled right) and Denise, with a 3-year-old daughter named Sara who Ana got to play with most. Once we got back to CasaBlanca, Jen, Aaron, and Derek (who all go to the same college in Iowa) went out to see a professor of theirs who was just leaving Quito, while Bethany and Ana taught me how to make fettuccini alfredo with homemade garlic bread and fruit salad. Mom, you’d be so proud! (Except the sauce for the pasta tasted a little sketchy to me. I’ll just say it’s because it’s from another country…)

And now that you've read about my second week in South America, you'll be waiting for week three. Well, unfortunately, as you read this, I am in Huaticocha again, working with my first (and, sadly, only)  team of students, and I do not have Internet access. So I will definitely let you know about my third week here, but I won't be able to post anything on Wednesday the 20th. At the earliest, I can post something on Friday the 22nd. But thanks for reading, and I look forward to sharing more about my trip with you soon!

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