Dads and Daughters

Long and bumpy bus rides lead to the loveliest of things around here, and we feel so lucky to have captured so many of them for keeps.

We traveled an hour-and-some to the north today. Traffic is tough in downtown Lima  (signs and lights act more like “suggestions” here), but I’m fascinated by the variety of art and architecture we pass by every morning. The projects we travel to, on the other hand, all look pretty much the same- dogs on roofs, and lots & lots of dust.

But ya know what else is always the same? The vibe. It’s a smiley one, for sure, and there’s such a strong sense of friends and family here. Which, by the way, is incredibly comforting for those who are really starting to miss their own. *ahem*

The man in the photo below is the pastor of the church we visited this morning…

We were walking up the hill with him when the little boy in the photo came running up shouting, “Papa! Papa!”. The pastor is not the boy’s actual father, (just his pastor) but that tells you how close their relationship is. It was such a beautiful moment to witness and I’m so glad Kevin captured it with his camera!

Near the top of that hill, we visited a family whose daughter is in the Compassion program.

Their home sits, flimsy and weathered, amongst hundreds of others that look a lot like it. It’s floor and aging roof were tired and worn, but it felt like a faithful little house, and I could tell there was a lot of strength inside it’s walls.

The family has lived there going on nine years. Inside the largest area of the house, there are two beds. Both mattresses droop, but each one is made up nice and neat.

At the back of the room is her father’s bed, with its cherry wood headboard and layers of colorful wool blankets. A picture, drawn by his daughter (Estefania) hangs on the wall near the foot of his bed. She loves her Papa very much.

He broke his back in a three-story fall while he was working earlier this year. Compassion stepped in and paid for all his medical expenses and continues to pay for them as he recovers. Estefenia told us she didn’t get to see him for months while he was in a coma. She said she was so afraid he’d never come home and I could feel how that experience had scarred her because of the way she acted around him.

She sat close, and was quick to make sure he had everything he needed within arms reach. When I asked her if I could take her picture with my camera, she moved up next to him so that he’d be in the photo, too.

My favorite moment? It was this one…

But I should probably preface it with this: I’ve given away two of my three bracelets on this trip. One to our sponsored-child, Fresia, and the other to Estefenia. They’re identical- both mostly brown wooden beads, except for the one big glittery blue one. I wore them almost every day back home. But now back to that moment. It happened right after I took my bracelet off and handed it to Estefenia…right after she smiled from ear to ear. What she wanted, without hesitation, was a picture of it on her wrist, holding her papa’s hand.

That’s where her brain went.

She may only be nine years old, but she taught me so much about what’s really important today.

I have a challenging relationship with my Dad, but I think it’s time to try again and make sure whatever he needs is within arms reach, too. Thanks for the reminder, Estefenia. Compassion kids rule.

For more posts about our time in Peru, please visit Shaun GrovesAngie Smith and Jen Schmidt‘s blogs, too!

Thanksgiving 2012
The House That Compassion Built - Day 3

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  1. Frances says

    Yellowrose…… you speak the gospel truth. May all who have read these Peru posts take them to heart, and as best they can, move in the direction of working for a better existence for our brothers and sisters, whoever ever they may live!

  2. Nicola Blake says

    You have made me cry every time I have read your post for the last week. I don’t have my papa any more. He went to eternal rest on July 4th 1996. He past away from Renal Cell Carcinoma. I was right by his side through his suffering. There is nothing like having a papa to hold his hand. I cant see to type because of my tears. Sorry, I need to end now.

  3. says

    So touching! I love the photo’s. They truly tell the story just as well as the text.

    Thank you for inspiring me!

  4. Rachel Carey says

    I’d rather live in a cardboard hut surrounded with love than in the fanciest of homes….without it. While these peeps live a monetarily challenging lifestyle, they are RICH in family, love, and those smiles.

    Will you return to Peru? Wasn’t it worth that long flight?

  5. Deborah says

    Bless you, Layla! I miss my dad every day. I am glad you are thinking about your relationship with your dad. Prayer and love will help you along the way (oh, and don’t forget to breathe & drink plenty of water!).

  6. says

    Layla, that was a beautiful story. Dad’s are really special people especially to us their little girls. Bless you for your work there in Perua and you relationship with your dad.

  7. Culpepper says

    Layla and Kevin, thank you for sharing your journey with us. You are amazing, generous people. God bless you.

    These images remind me that we are spoiled rotten in our world of plenty. What we often think is of “value” has no real value at all.
    God sees and knows our hearts and what he sees in Estefenia must be pretty close to perfect. Her heart and intentions are pure and her love for her father is boundless. What a fantastic illustration of what we all should aim to be like.

  8. says

    This is beautiful, Layla! I like what you said at the end, that you think it’s time to try again. It’s hard to try again sometimes when people have hurt us but what I’ve learned is that people can change and you have no idea what your love and compassion for your father will do for him (and maybe even for you also).

  9. says

    Your pictures are beautiful and your certainly have captured the emotions of the village people.
    It looks like they enjoy having their pictures taken.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip .

  10. PreK Teacher says

    I have devoured each of your posts from Peru. How beautiful! They’ve made me even more prayerful for Simon and Nemata the Compassion children our family sponsors. We wrote them long letters this week as a result! Blessings to you!

  11. Melissa says

    This has me in tears – the love between the girl and her father shines through, so beautiful! I wasn’t close to my father, I was a teen seeing things black and white, without much grace for his shortcomings, then he passed away when I was 19. I try to encourage others to show love while you can, nothing is more important than relationships. I wish I could go back and redo that time in my life….

  12. says

    I grew up in that city!! Lima, Peru was home for seven years. My parents were/are missionaries, and we moved down when I was two years old. The dog on the roof!! Oh that brings back memories!!! Also, we would walk into neighborhoods just like you photographed every week. Thanks for visiting Lima. It definitely puts a lot of things in perspective doesn’t it.