Checca! Checca! Checca! This was the chant of the entourage of young classmates of Jason. Screaming, hands in the air, tightly surrounding Jason with a unison jump as if in a high energy concert. Smiles engraced the face of the 10 year old kid who was just on his way to the airport for a journey to a place far away.
|Together again for a moment|
|The Community Meeting at the Jardin|
It was Jason’s first trip to Lima. It was his first time on an airplane. In fact, it was the start of a journey of many firsts. In a taxi, leaving his one room adobe home in Huilkarpay, Jason, his family, and my lovely wife headed down the dusty road that weaves through about 13 houses to reach the center of the community. There, is the jardin. It is a community building where the neighbors had gathered for a meeting. Jason wanted to say goodbye one last chance before his 4-7 month journey to the unknown. What he encountered was an encouragement of colossal sorts.
|Happy to spend some time with big bro! Jason,Chaska, and Antauro|
As Jason jumped out of the car, into the crowd of familiar faces of his neighbors, he began hugging and high fiving like no other. It was a welcome home, but also another goodbye. He had been in the hospital for 7 months. He was released just the night before. Many had not heard that he was in town. It did not matter. He headed straight into the meeting and let the people know that they were missed. Jason has spent his life in the “campo,” and now he had returned to spend one night with his family in their humble home. Now he was off to the big city of Lima. Boy, was he in for an eye opener.
During the goodbyes at the Jardin, the vecinos (neighbors) passed a hat around and filled it with a solid sum of cash. This was a huge blessing as the family has next to nothing with regards to financial resources. They were heading into the abyss of Lima where things cost a lot, getting around is unknown, and places to shop economically are outside their realm of knowledge. It was a great encouragement for Jason and his mother Isabel. Who knew that people would come together like that and do such an incredible thing? If you ever have given up on humanity, this was a moment to bring you back to having faith in people.
|This is how we roll...when we travel that is...|
After the hellos and goodbyes were all had, the patient taxi driver that was coming just to pick up and return finally got to head down the road toward the airport. It was there that another detour was in the works. Isabel had planned a few things before leaving town. One was to swing by the school of Chaska, the only daughter in the family. This school was also where Jason had attended when he was able. However, for 7 months, he had not shown his face. Upon his arrival, the students were in formation on the large asphalt field in their respective classes. They got a chance to have Jason come up in front and say a few words. It was great for Jason to see his classmates. The director of the school said a prayer for Jason and let him know that he was in their thoughts and future prayers.
|Jason and the mob of his friends|
From there, it went crazy…The boys were released from their formation, rushed Jason with enthusiasm, and began chanting the last name of Jason in a wild form of energy. Checca! Checca! Checca! They shouted in unison as they bounced up and down. With little frail Jason in the middle of the madness, it was utter chaos. However, it was good for him to feel the love of his classmates and friends. I am convinced that there is a type of medicine that beats science. It is just what Jason was prescribed for the day.
At the end of the mayhem, there was a part of the day that just iced the cake. The boys began passing around Jason’s hat. One by one, classmates began filling it up with their bus money, lunch money, or anything they had in the bottom of their pockets. They dug deep. It was quite an ordeal. Jason had been treated with the best medicine available;Love.
So the story continues. As Teri had been preparing Jason and Isabel for travel, she quickly realized that they were not prepared for the big city. One set of clothes for each, shoes without laces for Jason (he had grown out of his shoes in the time at the hospital), and they were carrying around a baseball hat full of money with no wallet or purse. Teri took the family to the local market. It was there that she was able to outfit Jason and Isabel for their trip; Shoes for Jason and a purse for Isabel. A funny thing happenedat the market. Isabel is a very Peruvian Peruvian. She is straight out of the movies. She wears typical clothing, meaning the stuff that is weaved from alpaca, dyed with plants, and sewn by hand. Not the typical stuff you find at the market. Teri had a hard time finding what would work for Isabel. She was able to make due with a few things, but it was a tough situation. After a little time shopping, Teri was able to take the family out to lunch. It was there that they insisted on paying for lunch. Teri obliged and ate at a little hole in the wall place near the market. Then it was off to the airport.
It was a new place for Jason and the family; The airport. Never had they had a reason to go to the airport. They had lived just up the hill where they could watch and hear every airplane that enters Cusco, yet they had never stepped foot inside the airport. Literally walking by the airport hundreds of times to get to school, Jason was finally going to, in his words, “the place where the gringos go to travel.”
It was there that the goodbyes were said, pictures taken, and anxious kids smashing their faces against the glass to get a closer look at the enormous flying machine that stands still just meters from the glass viewing area. It was a first for sure.
|Jason's first view of the ocean|
Through security, Teri, Jason, and Isabel went. Leaving the father, and the siblings, it was a moment that would forever be carved into their memories. Jason is on a journey with no end date. He will come back as a healed kid, if all goes well and as planned. For this day to arrive, the mounds of paperwork, politics, and finances had to all come together. This is just the beginning of the end. Off to the big city, Teri, Jason, and Isabel went… Into the unknown… Into the hands of their creator. May God bless Jason’s journey. Now would be a great time to pray…