We were going to leave Ayaviri and move on to Bolivia, but they convinced us to stay an extra week to work as translators for the annual medical mission. Each year a group of 50 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other non-medical personnel travel to Ayaviri with all the medicines and tools necessary to see patients for 4 days. After spending a whole day setting up and cleaning the place where the mission was to be held (in addition to the weeks of preparation that had been done by the locals before any of us arrived,) we began to see patients for 4 days. There were oncologists, pediatricians, gynecologists, dentists, eye doctors, and a fully stocked pharmacy for the people to receive the treatment they needed. It was a long week, and very tiring, but it was a necessary mission. The most difficult part was hearing that some people had been abused or raped, and trying our best to help them. The most we could do in some of these difficult cases was give them basic medical attention and pray with them for their healing and strength to move forward.
In the remote highlands of Peru live a people tragically forgotten and engulfed in poverty. Nine men respond to the call of the Lord, sharing their time and hearts with these people. They end up encountering much more than they had ever hoped for. With interviews and footage of actual missionaries, Into the Depths explores the intense and unique experience of being a Catholic missionary, a journey through all of the work, joy, trials, friendship and profound discovery involved in the mission, coming from the words, minds and hearts of those who lived it firsthand.
They day after arriving in Ayaviri, Peru, the local bishop of the prelature, Msgr. Kay Martin, invited us to the house where he and the other Sodaliths live for a meal of lomo saltado de alpaca, which is a Peruvian dish usually made with beef but in this case the more common meat is the al paca (llama.) The meat was tough, but actually very good. That day they invited me to participate in the annual church talent show that weekend, and I prepared a song in Spanish to sing as well as began rehearsing with a group of women that take care of the Adoration chapel to sing a song in Quechua (the language that was spoken before the Spanish conquest.) We performed in Quechua and I performed in Spanish in the typical dress of Ayaviri. That same weekend we also spent a beautiful day at Tinajani, a park filled with large rock formations. We also visited several times a 3 cloistered nuns from Guatemala that are living in Ayaviri (they are the first of many more that will come to live there because the convent in Guatemala was growing too large.)