Last Sunday I attended my very first mass, ever. One to remember I must say.
("God loves you the way you are.")
We went with the family to Lares, a tiny mountain village where there is nothing to see or do - except for the baños termales, natural hot springs. So after an adventurous 2-hour trip in a full micro (minibus) on a sandy path through the mountains (pretty scary at times, deep abysses) we arrived by night. The family knows the priest of the local church. The priest set up a place for the kids of the communities in the mountains to stay during the week, so they can go to school and eat healthy and learn basic things. That is where we stayed and we got to know some of these kids a little bit. It's special to notice how most of them are quite shy and clearly not so used to visitors (of course, especially I was extra strange) - compared to the kids I see everyday in the orphanage who come up running to give me hugs, even when it's the first time I see them.
Campesinos boys setting the table for everyone to eat (all the kids, the priest, us)
These boys were shy, speaking amongst each other in Quechua (the native language) and
looking at us (ok, me) with curiosity.
Anyway, that night we already went to the hot springs, risked our lives on an unlit muddy path, but made it to the deliciously hot baths. It was already dark, amidst mountains and with not so many people.
So, since we were the guests of the 'Padre', we were expected to attend the Sunday morning mass. It was raining heavily and very cold so I spend the mass shivering, sitting on the wooden bench in between Andrea and Luis trying to keep ourselves warm. The church was not nearly filled, the people who were there were mostly 'campesinos', people from the village and the mountains. Due to my lack of religious background I was a bit lost, even more since everything obviously was in Spanish, but I tried to fit in, standing up and sitting down when the others did. Sometimes it feels strange being in such a religious country without having the same background or beliefs - in almost every house, shop, public place, there's religious images and texts. Makes me think about these religious, or cultural, customs that we don't have at all back home.
On an ending note: this weekend awaits excitement! Finally going to see Machu Picchu.