Today was the big day. But Carlos and I woke up late after our big day yesterday, and rushed out of the house around 7:30 without breakfast. We made it to Santa Rosa just in time to meet the kids at our usual gathering place, the cross in the middle of the Santa Rosa apartment complex.
Everyone gathered at the cross wearing their polos blancos, their white shirts. It wasn't long until our little army had assembled and we where headed to the Parque Santa Cruz where we were to meet the other teams and begin the treasure hunt.
We were the last team to arrive, and the second to arrive wearing white, but we were the first to leave. Mi amigo, Chino, won the first game and gave us a head start. Our clue led us to the Puente Trujillo in downtown Lima, where we ran to the Plaza de Armas, the main square, home to the governor's palace. There we were made to march in triple file as a small band.
Our next clue sent us running several blocks to one of the supermarkets in the downtown area. There, our task was to give hugs to strangers on the street. Kids held signs that read, "Regalame un abrazo," which in English reads, "Give me a hug."
From there we split up into four taxis and rushed to our next destination. There, kids had to wash windshields for taxi drivers before we could get our next clue, which led us to a park where we would wait for the rest of the groups and eat a small lunch before completing the second half of our quest. Our team from Santa Rosa arrived at the checkpoint in second place.
After lunch, we once again won the first contest and left with a head start. This time, we commandeered a comvee that took us nonstop to a destination where our task was to complete a Sudoku puzzle. Our head start was soon lost, due to too many people working on one Sudoku at a time, but we eventually corrected our mistakes, and raced the other teams to the next location.
The next clue led us to a library where we had to complete a numbers pyramid. This took us no time at all, and we were back in second place, trailing San Martin by only five minutes.
But then we were directed towards the Metro, which is a lot like San Francisco's Muni. We ended up having to wait at the station for the next tram, and the other teams caught up while San Martin moved ahead.
Once we got off the Metro, it became a foot race through Mira Flores. Really, more of a cross country race. And the kids were tired. Still, we consistently beat out the team behind us by mere seconds, and arrived at the final destination just behind San Martin. Everyone else arrived in a matter of minutes, and the hunt was on. In the end, the team from San Martin ended up finding the treasure.
After the hunt, we let the kids relax and play in the water for a while. Then, we gathered everyone together and had a typical Young Life club, with songs, games, and a talk. Alberto came to give the talk, and brought his son, Fabio. He shared about how Jesus knows us, how he knows our stories, our lives, and that Jesus knows us regardless of whether or not we know him. It was a message that was good for the Santa Rosa kids to hear as they are being introduced to this thing called Young Life.
Just before club, while we were playing on the beach, Fabio asked me to build a sandcastle with him. But, because he was afraid of the water, we stayed up where the sand was pretty dry. While I was playing with Fabio, I was able to talk some with Alberto. We spent time sharing what we are seeing God doing in Young Life, both in Peru and in California. It was good to see that he and Fabio were doing well.
After club, we spent more time resting by the beach, and eventually loaded the kids onto a bus and drove them home. It was a long day, but it was a lot of fun. Lot's of strong quality time spent running through the streets of Lima with our young friends. We'll all be sore tomorrow, but it will have been more than worth it. If you ask me, that quality time was the real treasure we were looking for today. I'm glad we found it.