April 21, 2010 Urubamba-Sacred Valley of the Incas
Today, I visited the two Safe Haven’s teachers and sisters, Adriana and Dina. Adriana’s busy schedule hasn’t permitted an earlier meeting. She is studying for her master’s degree, in addition to carrying the full financial load of the family, for her mother, brother, and sister. Dina, her younger sister, just gave birth (via emergency C-Section) to her first child and is unable to work yet.
After catching up and getting updated with the children’s program, Safe Haven, I asked Adriana how she was really doing. I learned about the challenging events that have contributed to this present moment. There was a delay in ending the 2009 school year due to the effects of the H1N1 virus. As the school’s principal, she wasn’t able to have time off until the middle of February. By then the chaos that resulted from the Urubamba River flooding the Sacred Valley, the delivery difficulties Dina experienced (back and forth with false labor assessments and signs), testing for her master’s degree, the burden of being the only one to carry the family’s financial burdens, etc. has made it impossible to start the Safe Haven in March as scheduled.
Then Dina told me that she felt they were like the Israelites, walking aimlessly in the desert, under harsh conditions, confused, but with their hearts focused on God to provide the manna needed for nourishment. When I heard her say this with such conviction and faith, it really moved me to the point that I choked.
Here I was with two humble women, trying to survive under extreme circumstances, but grounded in their faith to be provided for. What they didn’t know was what had conspired on their behalf. Momentarily I was transported to a gathering, a couple of days before I left our home in Oregon: Larisa, a generous and kind Russian woman had slipped a sealed envelope into my hand. It was colorfully adorned with flowers and butterflies, the kind you’d search for when you want to send a very special message. Later that evening, and after everyone had left, I opened it and found $150 dollars and a note that said: “To please give this to your teachers. They have so many unmet needs.”
After I regained my composure, I pulled out the envelope, the money, and proceeded to share the story. They listened intensely. When I finished, there were tears in their eyes, and a profound silence surrounded us. After a long pause, they thanked me profusely and wanted to know who this kind woman was. They want to write her and tell her how significant, and timely, her generosity was received. Dina said that this morning she had run out of money, and didn’t know how she was going to manage her urgent baby’s needs: formula, diapers, but most importantly upcoming doctor and clinic appointments. “Larisa’s kindness is like the abundant manna that rains from heaven I have been praying for.”
José, humbled in the Sacred Valley