So, let me tell you what happened.....
We left Sunday morning on a 6 hour bus ride to Puno. We arrived and got settled in the hostal. This is the first time I've ever stayed in a hostal and it was okay. I'm grateful we and our stuff were safe and we had a place to rest. Well, I didn't sleep very well, the bed was incredibly hard. Other drawbacks included the leftover sock in the bathroom from the previous traveler and the dead fish smell in the bathroom. But, we had an electric shower head and therefore had hot showers 24 hours a day! At this point I'd rather have a hot shower than a good night’s rest so it worked out well!
Anyway, we arrived in Puno just in time for the rain, which I loved since I haven't seen rain in over 6 months. And, we even got to see a few minutes of baby hail! Our Peruvian counterparts had never seen hail before! They were like children seeing something new for the first time and eating these weird little ice balls falling from heaven. My partner Francisca has told at least 5 people here in Arequipa about her first experience with hail. How cute!
Sunday we basically just hung out in town, went to the evening church service, and spent time with Pastor Herman and his family. Then Monday morning we got together and assigned different parts of the city to each pair to start the search. Here, you don’t just hop onto the internet and got to rent.com or google, look at pictures and details of each house/apartment and call if you’re interested or move on if you’re not. No, here, you go to this giant classifieds board in town and look for ads advertising houses or apartments for rent. Then you call on these ads to see if you can take a look at the place in person. This doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well, the thing is, there are only a handful of advertisements on this board. So the board is just where to start. After that, you must walk around town looking for signs in windows saying “Se Alquila” (for rent) or looking for places that look empty and knocking on the neighbors door to ask them if they know anything. Also, talking to tienda owners is a good idea as well.
On Monday we all split up after looking at the board and started knocking on doors and walking around town in our designated areas. Francisca and I walked and walked and walked. We found two places that had just been rented out and found another place we were able to take a look at but ended up not working out. During our 5 or so hours of walking around a part of the city called Huascar, we took a few photos and had a good time chatting and spending time together.
Our group reconvened in the late afternoon, looked at a few places together, ate dinner and went to bed after a long day of searching. Then Tuesday most of us left Puno to head back to Arequipa on the noon bus while leaving behind Chad, Garren, Trevor and Sixto to continue the search with Pastor Herman. There were some good possibilities from our search the day before that they needed to check out along with a new lead on the house pastor and his family used to live in.
When we were almost back to Arequipa I realized I missed a call from Trevor and called him back. He told me they found a place! But he also told me they hadn’t even seen it! Of course I was confused but he explained that they went to the house Pastor Herman used to live in and the current resident would not let them view the house. The owner explained she had other people interested and that they needed to make a decision right then. Pastor described the house to the boys, it’s actually two different apartments, one on top of the other. Even without seeing the house, all the boys that stayed behind felt a peace about this place and agreed to sign a 3 month contract. So we have a place! We will be moving the first week in January. We are not sure if this is the place we will be living for all of our time in Puno or just for the first 3 months to get us up there and more time to search. God will reveal His plan to us in His timing. But at this time, we know our prayers are answered and that we have a hogar in Puno to start our time and work in just a few short weeks! Thanks for your prayerful support in this process!