I've been rather deliquent in posting partially due to the fact that I was gone to Peru for two weeks on a mission trip. My friend, Elizabeth, has been chronicling our trip day by day; however, I'm not that committed or organized nor is my memory good enough to give a detailed account of what happened on what day or even who was there. (I'd be a terrible eyewitness at a crime scene...to me, everyone has a mustasche and is wearing red). So I'll just be writing about random things as they come to me.
Let me say that of all the mission trips I've been on, this one was by far the most physically strenuous and mentally exhausting. We spent 6 days in the Trujillo area doing medical clinics, door to door visitation, Vacation Bible School, women's studies and evening worship services. It was wonderful. I'm sure I'll go into more details and share a few pictures in later posts. Rewarding, but demanding for someone who enjoys sleeping late and taking afternoon naps.
The second leg of our trip took us to Cusco. Since it was primarily "sightseeing", I thought the pace would slow up a bit. I could not have been more mistaken. Our tour guide, Edith, was determined that we see and learn everything about the entire Sacred Valley and all the various "most important places." She was extremely informative and very helpful, however since she had been born and raised in Cusco, the 11,000 ft altitude did not cause her lungs to constrict and her head to explode like the rest of us. Thankfully, she was patient.
The first day, she took us to the Temple of the Sun (one of several by the same name). Edith said it was only 200 steps to the top. She was mistaken.... HannahKate counted. (see pic at right) She made it a point of broadcasting every 25 steps or so from up above me, "Come on, Mom. Only 75 more to go!" I think the Incas might have had a different numeration system, because their idea of 200 steps and mine were not in agreement.
The next day, Edith cracked her whip at 6:30 a.m. We rode a bus for 1 hour 45 minutes to get to the train station. Then we rode the train for 1 hour 30 minutes to Aguas Calientes. Then we rode another bus up a one lane road on the side of a mountain for 25 minutes. Then we climbed "200" stairs (at this point, I learned my lesson about Inca counting, so it may have been 20 or it may have been 2000. In that altitude its hard to say.) I was beyond exhaustion by the time I reached our destination, but then, I saw it...the ancient city of Macchu Picchu. Edith had taken us up a rigorous, less traveled route to the "Guardhouse" so that we would have the most amazing view of the city below. In that moment, it was worth the lost sleep, bus ride, train ride, scary mountain road and countless breathless steps.
It would have been so easy that morning to turn the alarm off and stay in bed. It would have been so easy to stay in Cusco and just shop and eat. It would have even been easy to stay at the foot of the mountain, but in the end, the journey was worth it all. So even though Edith wanted me to learn all about Inca civilazations, this is what I learned instead: I pray that at the end of my earthly journey, I can look down and say, "It would have been easy to stay safe in the low places, but I took a risk, chose the Higher Path and oh, how sweet is the reward!"