After our arrival yesterday, today we started our first full day with an early Mass and then began our ‘Orientation’ session, discussing the overall history and project of the Columban mission in Lima. We disscussed the next two weeks, which includes visits to various projects that Columbans and CAFOD support as well as time to get to know the real Lima, with its struggles and complex history as well as it’s beauty. After a typical delicious Peruvian lunch of Ceviche (thats fish ‘cooked’ or rather marinaded in lime), Claire Dixon from CAFOD led us on a whistle-stop tour of the ‘postcard’ Lima, which included the impressive Shopping centre on the dramatic coastline, where all the big brand names could be found. We then went to some traditional markets, selling all the traditional peruvian handicrafts, with the famous Alpaca woolen clothes. As the City darkened we were then driven through the lamp lit historic City area, with the Magestic Plaza de Armas, with the stunning Cathedral and Presidential Palace.
I felt comfortable in the wealthier commercial and historic centre as it felt like any European city i’ve visited but the contrast between these areas and the poorer district where the Columban Fathers are based was unsettling. Our adventure in Lima has began and I’m looking forward to discovering more about Lima and all the projects which support the people of the City with help from the Columbans and CAFOD.