Well, life kind of slowed down for me since becoming pregnant. When we first found out I had 4 weeks left of teaching which I just about managed. I have had top put my nutritional  studies on hold for the time being as I my ability to concentrate is almost next to zero and the intense tiredness that one feels when making a little person has meant that daily chores tire me out quickly.  I have been limited to going to the market every other day, and washing up! Some days I have got out and about but that usually requires lots of rest either the next day or immediately after. According to everything I have been reading, my energy should be coming back now that I am into the 2nd trimester….. I await this stage eagerly!

However, my latest little project, that doesn’t involve too much thinking or walking around, is to record a book in Spanish on my laptop. Our friend A down in Chincha is still living up queer street with his personal problems and life decisions, so we sent him a 70 page document which would help to explain to him where one picks up personal baggage in life and what can be done about it. He has so far managed 4 pages of the introduction – fairly large type. We know he doesn’t like reading but had put it mainly down to laziness until recently. We have now decided that maybe he is just unable to read it. He can read and write, but probably only has to cope with gmail chat, facebook and email which is quite different to a book or document.  We heard recently that Peruvians only understand 10% of what they read. They can read the words but they haven’t been taught reading comprehension. This is an alien concept to our culture, something we take for granted perhaps.

Anyway, my response to this issue is to record the book we gave him to see if that helps in any way, shape or form. If it does, this may give us a tool for the future.

At last, after a very long period of silence, both husband and wife (the couple we had been couselling) in Chincha have made contact again. Wife M sent Rachel and email apologising for their silence – not really giving a reason, but nevermind. Husband A, having been finally asked to not come home because of his continued unfaithfulness, made contact again and seems to have a renewed desire to sort out his personal problems. Whether this will last we don’t know. Two days ago Rachel gave him a task to do, (generally tasks put him off as he seems to want answers given to him on a plate), and we haven’t heard from him since, but we are now on national holidays so we probably won’t hear anything until next week if he does make contact again.

Paul has to go to Lima next week to take Francesca to the airport and so he will take the opportunity to go down to Chincha for the day to catch up in person and also say goodbye to folk down there.

Not long before we leave now!!


Click to see where we live and work. Be sure to zoom in around the flagged areas to take a closer look. You must have it set to satellite in order to see the real image as opposed to a digital map!!!

The party in the park, which we thought happened elsewhere (thus saving us from sleepness nights) a couple of weeks ago, was obviously something else. The party in the park we were hoping to avoid this year, is now being set up in front of our house as I write! This means we are in for 3 nights of very loud (terrible) music.

This challenges our patience and especially our ability to maintain patience and a smiling face despite a lack of sleep… not to mention the people dancing (form of: trying to fly) and getting incredibly drunk outside our front door!

Oh joy!

So, we have had the challenge, since living here, of how to respond to someone who always takes advantage of us, how to keep accepting them, loving them and offering to help in what ways we can: food, money management, advice…

He used to turn up at lunchtime expecting food, which we obliged him with for a while then gently told him that he was taking advantage of us (eating at ours in order to not spend his own money, helping himself to any food lying around etc) and could he please not take advantage of us and maybe he could phone before he came round, especially if he was hoping for food…

We had a few good weeks! He didn’t come round unexpectedly or expect food, he has just come round to visit as a ‘friend’ and learn from Paul how to manage his money.

Then yesterday he arrived, helped me with the washing up, got some help with a few things… then stole our iPod. We realised today.

We are so disappointed. We thought we were getting somewhere. Maybe it was our own fault for not watching him closely enough. it isn’t the first time he has stolen from us and we usually move things out of the way when he rings the doorbell, but hadn’t thought about the iPod as we are often listening to it!  Paul has now gone a-searchin’ to see if he can get it back.

So it is nearly 9pm and I am home alone. Paul is running his 3-day retreat in a town an hour away. The doorbell goes (the highly inappropriate one that blasts out the wedding march, Christmas carols and other delights at high volume) and looking out of the window I see the guy who keeps coming to our home for food, attention and … well needs a lot of looking after. He (at 34 years old) called us both mum and dad the other day !!!!) has been a challenge in many, many ways and tested our patience big-time. He has taken advantage to the point where we have had to lay down rules…. yet at the same time he has made an effort to try to be our friends (he does our washing up quite regularly – that is about as far as friendship goes here).

He has been thrown out of his lodgings- a local hostal (here that means a brothel) and so has turned to us for help – we can’t help. At least, while I am home alone I can’t let him in – we have a rule to protect me… so I had to turn him away (after standing on the doorstep for a while chatting to him and then giving him the remains of my bean dinner.  Thinking about it now I could maybe have found him a cheap room somewhere and paid for it (only just thought of that) – but I know he has money of his own (not very much) that he refuses to use… so at the end of the day if he has nowhere to go, he isn’t really helping himself is he??? Hmmm.

It isn’t easy helping others to help themselves when really then just want to be looked after. That is why I am so tired and zapped.Helping others isn’t often very rewarding, it is mainly sacrificial.

I am very thankful for our flat and a warm bed – it is getting significantly chilly here as we head into winter.

Well, I have had a few really bad days when I thought I would never last a day more in this place, but, I always get over them! That isn’t to say that I now love this place, it just means that I have a bad day or two each week and then the rest of the time is bearable.

We have had contact from A in Chincha, but only the kind of contact that makes me angry (he seems to be the kind of person who can’t take advice and just makes things worse for himself and other people). I haven’t heard anything from his wife as yet.

I am pushing my way through my nutrition course – it has been challenging the last few weeks; too much chemistry for my brain to cope with when I’m struggling with just living here. But I’m making some interesting discoveries about what our governments don’t let us know re. how we should be eating. It seems that the selling of statins and medication is far more important than preventing the need for them!!

I’m currently teaching one lesson a day at the university. My last cycle will start in a couple of week and finish mid-July. In the meantime I have been asked to record some videos (more cheese) to teach grammar points. It appears that they want my presence to remain in the university so I have to put my face and voice on camera!!

I’m really looking forward to going home now! I want to go swimming, eat British desserts, consume fresh milk, go to a proper church, have friends again, have intelligent conversations, wash my clothes in a washing machine that washes properly, go for country walks (I will miss the mountains here), HAVE A BATH EVERYDAY FOR 6 MONTHS TO MAKE UP FOR THE LAST 3 YEARS!!

We’ll be looking to book flights in the next few weeks after we give a chance to prospective jobs to get back to Paul.

Will send out a news email soon to bring you all up to date on our last projects before leaving.

Well, since my last post about progress in Chincha we have since lost contact with our ‘friends’ in Chincha. We suspect that A, the husband wasn’t happy with us for various reasons and has probably forbidden his wife to be in contact.  This upsets me as she could at least send one message to let us know. But no. If our suspicions are not correct, then…well…. they are being very unappreciative… and very Peruvian. I can’t wait to leave this country.


…though not without lots of stress, disappointment and anger on everyone’s part. I have been struggling lots with this situation (the couple with 4 children whose marriage is about to spectacularly fall apart).  We have managed to have two session over skype with them both since we were last down in Chincha, and we left some goals/tasks to do together as homework. The husband, however, seemed to be more intent on tearing his wife apart than doing the tasks we left them, and then wondered why she wasn’t changing!?!? Hmmm. Such a shame he doesn’t realise it is him who needs to change the most!

After ignoring our advice several times in favour of doing the exact opposite, we had to tell him that we were not prepared to waste our time counselling him if all he was going to do was ignore what we say. We haven’t been in contact for the last couple of weeks.

I have, however, kept in regular contact with his wife, M, and we have decided to tackle this situation from a different angle. Since her husband, A, is not ready to deal with his own personal problems (which we consider to be the bigger contribution to their failing marriage) we are now investing our energies in M’s personal development. She has been so walked over and controlled by A to the extent of not being able to make her own decisions or do anything apart from look after 4 kids (a huge job, we give her lots of credit). My sessions (roughly 3 times a week) over messenger chat, are now aimed at encouraging her independence, opportunities to learn new skills, goals to bring order back into her household and the possibility of starting a new low-key dessert-making business. She sets herself 2 goals a week and I hold her accountable.

Since we have been doing this, things seem to be a little more positive between them. Granted, A isn’t making much of an advancement, but maybe his wife’s changing focus is changing his perspective a little…?!?!?! We’ll see.

I have to confess being very faithless with very little hope in the last few weeks… but perhaps something good will come of this situation, even if a saved marriage still seems a little impossible.

We recently started studying a new book with our American friends. In His Image: Understanding and Embracing the Poor.

Together we are 7 people working with the poorest of the poor. Well, saying that, I personally don’t get too much of a look-in (thankfully) as I am caught up with the slightly less poor who can afford to go to private university! Anyway, the topic of this book seems pretty apt. for us all.  How to see each person made in the image of God. Each person was made with ‘original goodness’ (Genesis ch. 1) which existed before original sin (Genesis 3). How easy it is to tell people they are sinners and forget to mention that they are worth a bucket load and made in the image of the creator. That alone is special.

So why is it that the poor make is so incredibly hard for us to see that image? Our experience in Chincha, what seems like light-years away (but the scars are still there), was less than positive. We were surrounded by people who had grown dependent on handouts and weren’t really prepared to learn something new in order to better themselves. The few who really touched our hearts worked day and night and this made us want to help them all the more.

Paul works with lots of families who do everything they possibly can to survive, let alone climb out of poverty. But it is the few who want to live off of you like  leach that almost completely obliterate your perspective.

The person who has so many problems and spends his money unwisely meaning that his children don’t have enough to eat. He then blames God for punishing him and doesn’t provide. Why can he not see that he lives the consequences of his own decisions?

The person who gives all his money away to buy presents for his ex-girlfriend – to try to buy back her love, and then has nothing to eat and so turns up at our house at lunch time just expecting we will have enough for a third person.

How do we deal with these people and at the same time not tar everyone with the same brush?

© 2017 Paul and Rach Elliston Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha