History of Meeting Aracely in Peru
We met Aracely when she was six years old. She lived with her mother and grandfather at a roadside restaurant with a thatched roof. Our bicycle tour had stopped there for lunch while riding on a tour over the mountains deep into the jungle. There were eight riders in our group and the grandfather asked us what we wanted for lunch. We will have “chicken” was the common request. The grandfather then took a section of steel pipe and started chasing and swatting at the chickens under the porch. We could hear the commotion as the chickens ran and squawked for about ten minutes as the grandfather chased them. The grandfather came upstairs empty handed and announced “No chicken today, would you like fish?”. We said “Okay we will have fish.” The grandfather then went and got his fishing pole and went down to the river to start catching fish.
During this long wait for lunch we were entertained by a charming little girl named Aracely. She brought us oranges from the tree, then she sat on our bikes and had her photos taken with the group. When our assortment of fish were finally cooked, we finished our lunch. As we were getting ready to leave the mother and grandfather asked if we could take Aracely with us because they couldn’t afford to take care of her. We couldn’t just take Aracely home but we said we would keep in touch with them. A few months later the mother wrote me a letter that she had moved to Lima to clean houses and Aracely was living at the Chosica Girl’s Home. For the past five years we have stayed in touch with Aracely and her mother. They have traveled with us each year on tours across Peru. Aracely has continued to learn more English and she is a helpful guide for our tours. Aracely is now one of the top students in her school and her favorite subjects are math and science. During her school’s recent talent contest she was voted “Miss Chosica”.
In Lima we visited her mother’s “house” located on the flat cement roof of a store front building. Her house was constructed of six pieces of plywood to make a box big enough to hold a bed, table and propane stove. One of her few possessions on the table was a thick photo album from our tours together. Aracely would like to live with her mother again someday but for now the Chosica Girl’s Home is a safer and better environment for her to live. That is why we continue to support the Chosica Girl’s Home.
This is her story from her diary....
My Infancy in Yurinaki
a dairy by Aracely
Hello friends, my name is Aracely and I was born in Yurinaki the 27 April, 1999 in Peru. At the present I am 11 years old, and live in the house “Home of Gina”. (In the town of Chosica 40 miles from Lima.)
My first seven years I lived in Yurinaki (located 200 miles over the Andes Mountains in the jungle). What I remember of that place is that was very green and with plenty of animals, like the zamaño that is a type of wild hog, also there were wild animals but they were far from my house.
In Yurinaki my house was made of wood and brick next to the river. I there lived with my grandfather, my uncle, my mom, my brother. Of my father I never knew nothing. My mom spoke me of him, but I do not remember him.
In Yurinaki my mother would awake me at 6 o'clock AM for breakfast. It was a very simple breakfast of only bread and oats. To be able to feed us my mom sold food in a restaurant and I helped her after school. I walked to school because it was very close across the river bridge.
I first met my Godfather Mr. Lon when his friends rode their bicycles to Yurinaki from Lima. They stopped for lunch at our restaurant where my mom sold food. My memory is that I gave him three oranges. I noted that he was a good person. He asked my name and my address. We wrote letters and I was surprised since from time to time he sent me things like knives for our restaurant. I never imagined that that man to who I only had offered oranges in the future would support me so much. I thought that my Godfather was a good person, but never I imagined that he was going to take me to so many places.
How I Arrived in Lima
When I lived in Yurinaki I had heard of Lima. This is the city of the capital and the people were going there to make a better future. I did not intend to go there and I never imagined that we would be able to move to Lima.
When I was 6 years old, my mom found some work in Lima at the house of a family. She went to Lima with my brother in January. I remained with my grandfather and my uncle, but I missed a lot my mom and my brother. Then my mom returned in April and she asked me if he wanted to go to Lima with them. I told her yes because I wanted to be with them.
My Arrival to the Home of Gina
I arrived at Lima at the age of 7. My mom had to work and she could not leave my brother and me alone. She was in search of a home for girls so that they take care of me. That was how I arrived at the Home of Christ, today called Home of Gina. I remember that the first day I felt fear because I was not going to be with my mom. I thought that I was never was going to see see her again. Then I calmed down upon knowing that my mom was going to be able to visit me.
My Days in Home of Gina
The Home of Gina is as my house. That place where they received me with the open arms and that up to now they worry about my welfare.
In the Home of Gina I like to be with my other companions. When a new girl arrives I try to play with them so that they do not they sit down sad.
In my spare time I like to play and to read. A book that I liked a lot was "Blood of Champions". I felt quite sure to know that my friends in the United States would help me and that they had not forgot me.
Knowing my friends in the United States it has been marvelous because never I thought I would be able to travel to so many places.
First we returned back to the jungle to the places of Yurinaki, Pichanaki, Satipo and Iquitos. These are all places of the forest which is a quite large place. I remember that when I travel I am very happy to know that my country is large and marvelous. It is incredible the quantity of beautiful places that Peru has and that many people of the world come to visit.
In my last trip I went to Nasca the see the Nasca lines! We wanted to rent the small airplane but we could not rent the light aircraft because the only two airplanes that day were busy. We were able to view the lines from a tower and they are incredible. Then we went to see the museum of María Reiche, a German woman that dedicated their life to the study of these lines.
In the afternoon we started our long taxi drive to Cusco (two days, 400 miles). We slept in the town of Puquio where their streams fell in waterfalls. This was a very pretty place also.
The next day passes to the town of Abancay, where we saw several estates and trees. We stopped there to have some lunch. I would have liked to visited longer but we needed to keep traveling to our destination of Cusco.
Upon arriving at Cusco at first I felt a little fear because we could not locate our friend Clara. We needed to ask the friends of Clara in the streets. There were many tourists and finally we locate Clara and I calmed down. Cusco is a marvelous place, but is different when you see it in person. In school I had learned much data on Cusco, but nothing of compares to the fact of being there to enjoy it.
The next day we went on the train to Machu Picchu. Upon being there I could not believe the contrast to my home in Yurinaki. My jungle home is a simple place. Now to see this marvelous place I never believed that I would go to a place like this. It was very surprising there when I saw the houses of stone where the Incas did the great work. I feel happiness and pride that Machu Picchu is chosen as a world wonder.
In the future I would like to be tour guide, since I like the languages, the history and the trips. I dream that with the first money that I would make is to help the Home of Gina, because that was the first place where they received me. It would hope that the other girls that enter should reach their dreams as I.
I would like to travel to other Peru cities like Arequipa and Lambayeque, etc. It is important to know other places because thus I can learn more about each place and be able to be the best guide of tourists!! My gratitude's.
I want to thank all the people that made possible my trips. I tell them thank you for everything that they do for me. It is a little difficult for me to understand why the people of another country have so much appreciation for me. I thank the day that my friends first found me in Yurinaki.
Thus also I give thanks to the Home of Gina by receiving me. They are my family and never I will forget them.