Sunday we had a new couple, J & C, visit our church. They are elderly but smiley. "How did you come to hear about our church?" I asked after the service. "We saw the sign hanging outside the church." I'm not sure if it is a cultural thing or maybe they have something to hide, but when I tried asking them more information about themselves they answered very vaguely. And shortly thereafter their answers started to conflict with previous answers. I chalked it up to me being a scary gringo. I asked them where they lived and they gave a vague, "On the last street near the Jesus statue on the hill." What's that even mean? After a few minutes, Pastor Elvis came up and talked to them a bit and I laughed inside as he got frustrated by their vague, evasive answers to the exact same questions I had asked. Okay. It wasn't fear of the gregarious foreigner after all.
Today, I had about 40 minutes before our music lessons in the afternoon (Mary Beth is teaching guitar and I am teaching piano to some kids that attend our church) with nothing to do, so I decided to try to go visit J & C. This was a completely unrealistic plan considering the time. My first step was to ask the first person I saw in their neighborhood if they knew who J & C were and where they lived. When I arrived at the Jesus statue on my bike 15 minutes later, I realized I was in a ghost town. There was no one in sight anywhere. I decided to inquire about J & C in a little corner store, but when I entered I was suprised to see a 10-year-old boy attending an 8-year-old boy obviously sent my his mother to buy mangoes. He was trying to calculate how he could include a chocolate bar in the purchase without it being too noticeable. "Uh, do you know an older couple named J & C," I asked. The 10-year-old looked pensive and shook his head. "Their last name is Roca," I added, not expecting my prospects to improve with that added detail. "Hmm. HIS last name is 'Roca'," he said, pointing to the 8-year-old. "Do you know J & C? Are they your grandparents?" I asked redirecting my questions to the 8-year-old who quietly replied, "I don't know." I realized that many 8-year-olds here don't know their grandparents actual names. "Are they from Azángaro?" "Don't know." The 10-year-old called for his mom who came and after I explained why I was looking for them, she encouraged the 8-year-old to show me his home where I met his mother, J & C's daughter-in-law! Unfortunately, J & C weren't home (or maybe they were, one never knows!), but I left greetings and thanked them for visiting our church and invited the daughter-in-law to visit too.
Searching in Alto La Punta on my bike