It finished a couple of weeks ago now, but we still thought we should share with you the joy which was the large-scale 4 days and nights party in our park. All this footage was shot from our flat…

Video: Party In Our Park

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!

We don’t really know why, but this time last year there was a huge drunken party in the park right outside our house continuously for about 3 days and nights. This year, fortunately, we have been spared this joy. Judging by the sound of it, it seems to have shifted location to a few blocks away, although given the volume of the party last year, it could even be the other side of the city and we’d still be hearing it!! We’re now aware of it at all times, but it is not so ear-splittingly loud that we can’t sleep.

So, yesterday, Rachel sat down to study and then got up again and searched the house for one of her nutrition textbooks (Transition to Vegetarianism for anyone curious) and it was not to be found. We phoned our favourite thief who confirmed that he had it as well as some of Rachel’s English teaching materials and some mints that her parents sent us from Texas (and which he must have taken by going through her handbag). A short while later we were in possession of all items once again.

He came round in the evening to speak to us, but was fairly incoherent and no real apology was forthcoming. He seemed much more interested in how he felt about stealing from us and what his ex-girlfriend would do if she found out than feeling any real remorse and realisation of how we might be feeling as a result of his actions.

Well, I’m glad to say that the iPod is back. It took a fair bit of patience and being fairly assertive, but he eventually went to his work where he had left it to retrieve it for me. Not the most sensible crime, seeing as (as opposed to what he stole from us before) we use it often and were sure to notice that it was missing. He also told us where he lives!!

How do we respond from here? I’ve told him he’s no longer welcome at the house, at least until he can show that he is wholly to be trusted (which I don’t expect to happen before we leave Peru). God must have a pretty tough job when it comes to metering out both mercy and justice…

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.

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