The missionaries that work at Diospi Suyana are encouraged to take a home leave after having worked for a period of three years. Its objective being to recharge energy, reconnect with family, friends and the supporting churches. Our home leave period was planned to start in November of this year. This was brought forward to October due to the never-ending lockdown Peru is in, and especially the effect these measures were having on our children. Lockdown in Peru started the 16th of march. With that, the schools were closed and have been closed since then. Contact with other children was not allowed, children under the age of 14 (now 12) were allowed out of the house for 1 hour a day within 500m from the front door. With the passing of the months this became more difficult for our children and therefor also heavier for us as parents. The possibilty of bringing our homeleave forward a few weeks was therefore a relief.
As with everything during these Corona times, we had to be flexible with our departure as well. Originally we had tickets for a flight Lima- Amsterdam on the 8th of October. These were canceled and changed for a flight Lima- Paris- Amsterdam on the 2nd of October. Thankfully it was possible to change our flight Cusco- Lima. What was a problem was that Cusco, as well as Aprurimac where we live, was still in complete lockdown. The airport was therefore also closed. Three days before leaving the tickets were also cancelled. Via some contacts we were able to arrange a tourist bus with drivers willing to take us, and a few others, to Lima. The bus was to pick us up in the morning of September 30th and drop us off in Lima the next morning.
On one of Steven’s last days of work he was tested positive for Corona during a routine check for the hospital personnel. He had (had) Corona! This meant he was to go straight home and we had to be in Quarantine as a family for the next 14 days. Our departure was now very uncertain!
The positieve test was a so called ‘quick test’. It measures the reaction of the body to the virus and the antibodies that are generated as well. The only hope of us leaving according to plan was to have a molecular test done. This one sees if the virus is present in the body. It takes 3-5 days to receive the outcome. On Monday the 28th of September the sample was taken from Steven for this test. The biologist of the government laboratory assured us, in this situation, to have to have the results the next day. On Tuesday the tension increased as the hours passed and we still had no result. Finally we received the liberating news. The test was negative! All the packing had not been in vain, we would be sitting in the bus to Lima in 15 hours!
Our conclusion to the tests is that we had all had Corona but now the virus wasn’t any more in our bodies. Safe to travel.
The following morning we stepped into the bus to Lima together with another Diospi family. The drive took us 18,5 hours and we passed heights of about 4.500 meter, the road consisting mostly of curves. It was quite a challenge with the kids. Simeon vomited once after an hour’s drive. Though there was nausea throughput the journey, there was no more vomiting than that.
Once in Lima we had close to 24 hours before we had to leave to Lima Airport. At the airport it was obligatory to use a mask and a plastic shield to cover our face. This made the waiting quite uncomfortable. The flight to Paris was long (12.5 hours) but all went smoothly. In Paris we had a waiting time of 6 hours after which we finally got into the airplane to Amsterdam. There we were welcomed by both our parents and Steven’s brother. A strange meeting since we did not hug them due to the Corona rules. Arriving in our village Best we were welcomed by more family and friends standing in front of the house. Lovely to see them all!
At the moment we are stil in quarantaine. In a few days’ time we will be able to leave the house. Our girls will be going to school after the fall break.
The plan is to return to Peru at the end of February/ beginning of March. We will continue our work at Diospi Suyana. Vikki will be working more than before and Steven will work less due to a Masters he will be following online. The study commences in a few weeks’ time. Before we return to Peru we hope to meet lots of you in person!