Again – I am reporting Polly’s activity. She is doing so much here in Lima. Check her blog for her perspective and reflections – well worth it!
Every week Jean goes up to Mision Nazareno, Pamplona Alta. It is a half hour bus ride up into another of Lima’s “Pueblos Jovenes.” These areas of Lima have been homes to refugees from rural Peru for decades. In these “young towns” the poverty rate is huge and people live on miniscule incomes, earned any way they can. Pamplona Alta is one of these areas. They are high poverty, gritty, messy parts of Lima. Into these communities the Anglican Church has been bringing its message of Christian love and transformation.
Nazareno is a mission church run by an English missionary from SAMS/CMS – Deacon Pat Blanchard. Her ministry here has been in two areas. The first is among women and their children. The second, which Polly and I want to write about later is a ministry among the disabled, who have traditionally been shunned by some church agencies.
In order to bring some economic stability, Pat has developed a sewing ministry called Arpillera among some of the women. Jean, with whom we work at the Cathedral in Lima, volunteers with these amazing women. Three afternoons a week she travels there and spends time with the women, assisting, reading, praying, counseling and then marketing the arpillera products. I wrote about Pat’s church last year. The picture to the left is from that visit.
Jean is a very active member of our Cathedral expatriate community. She has lived here for ages, loves Jesus Christ and serves the Anglican community in mission. She is truly an unsung heroine.
Polly went with Jean yesterday to visit Nazareno – to meet the women and to see how arpillera is done. Arpillera are three dimensional applique collages that illustrate community life or religious themes. They consist often of minature dolls sewn into appliqued scenes. Some are to adorn everyday objects. Some are wall hangings. I have several stoles that depict scenes and themes of the Scriptures.
These stoles are works of art and I use them all the time – the green one is actually at the Cathedral as I have been wearing it during Epiphany. I had another that depicted the whole life of Christ and that is adorning the neck of the Rev. Marnie Kaetor who pastors St. Andrew’s Church in Turners Falls in Western Massachusetts – one of our wonderful supporting congregations.
The money from this arpillera goes to the women who make the pieces. Polly visited the home of a woman whose earnings paid for a new tile floor in her home. This woman was a refugee from the rain forest area and now has a new life in Pamplona Alta, here in Lima. This income provides a home and dignity to this wonderful woman. Another woman is financing law school for her son. I need to say that most of the “product” goes through a church in Texas. Write to Cindy (firstname.lastname@example.org). They in turn sends the money back to Peru.