I made it!

Buenos dias mis amigos!

Well I made it! I am actually here, in Peru! How wild is that?? I’ve only been here for 2 days and I have already learned so much. Arequipa is a city rich in culture and history and I was lucky enough to spend my day yesterday visiting museums and beginning to learn a little bit about the people that surround me.

Many of the museums started with descriptions of the Incas that populated ancient Peru. They had many artifacts on display such as pottery, weapons, clothing and even some mummies. All of it was in remarkable condition considering some things were dated to be as old as 1200 B.C.

The mummies were particularly interesting for me because they were all in the fetal position. The guide told us this was because the Incas believed that when one died, he was reborn. This is different from reincarnation. Reincarnation is the belief that when one dies, their spirit or soul is transferred to another body. Rebirth is the belief that when one dies, the same person is reborn.

The Incas also believed in sacrifices to the gods in order to have peace. In one museum, there was a skull of an 8-year-old girl that they found had been sacrificed and left on the volcano Pichu-Pichu, which is one of the three volcanos surrounding the city of Arequipa.

Each of the museums ended with the invasion of the Spanish which caused many of the indigenous people to convert to Catholicism and eventually the Inca population dwindled until there were none left.

The last museum we went to was the large cathedral which is located in the main plaza a short walk from where I am staying. This was one of the most impressive buildings I’ve ever been in (including Notre Dame). It was built in 1832 and the size and beauty of it is breathtaking. They still have mass there every Saturday but during the week they give tours. The cathedral is the only one in the world that is made out of white volcanic stone. My favorite part was going to the roof and seeing the incredible view of the city and all three volcanos. Also on the roof was a massive, 5-ton bell. They have many earthquakes in Peru and the guide told us that a few years ago the top of the bell tower fell off during an earthquake and caused damage inside the cathedral, but it was lucky the bell didn’t fall because it would probably have gone straight through the ceiling!

I am so full of joy guys. So overwhelmed with the idea that I am even here right now. So incredibly blessed to have a God that can not only send me here on this great adventure, but be here walking along side me every step of the way.

Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes on my journey here. I felt so loved and protected the entire way. You have no idea how grateful I am for each and every one of you.

Pray for me as I begin language school on Monday! Pray that I will pick it up easily and quickly, I’m like a fish out of water when it comes to communicating! Thank the Lord for Brooke who is my most gracious translator!

Adios for now!

Ellie