– by guest blogger Lindel W. McCarty
In 1955 my parents moved their four children to Tingo Maria, Peru when my father accepted a research position in animal husbandry. After a couple of days in Lima we flew in a small plane to Tingo Maria. The flights depended on the weather in Tingo, and once they “found a hole” (my Mother’s words) the plane swooped down and landed in a grassy field. We walked across a swinging bridge to get to the other side where someone took us to our house.
The house seemed spacious with its tile roof, tile floors; the outside walls had screen windows almost from floor to ceiling, all to keep the house cooler. The outside yard was large with all kinds of plants I had never seen. There was a small creek running on one side of the house; we were not allowed to cross this as the other side was pure jungle. One could hear the monkeys, and the birds; ants were as large as my baby finger. I was not allowed out of the house in the morning until our gardener, Mario, had captured all the snakes from around the house. Every door had a large Y stick next to it, and he would throw the snakes across the creek.
In the afternoon I attended a kindergarten class taught by the nuns at the convent in Tingo. I learned to read and write Spanish before English. English was very difficult for me as the Spanish language is so much easier! I was home schooled first, second & third grade. Mother used the Calvert System, and she taught my two older brothers at the same time.
I remember a trip into the jungle to visit the Ralphsnouders’ (sp?), who were missionaries. Getting there was what stands out in my memory. We drove by jeep, then we were picked up with a tractor pulling a wagon, then the rest of the ways was riding a donkey. We met some very native Peruvians!
We never returned “home” to the U.S. – to North Carolina. In 1957, my Father accepted a position in Bogotá, Colombia. From the jungle to a big city in just a couple of days, and then two days later, I entered the fourth grade at Colegio Nueva Granada. I graduated from CNG in 1966 and went to college in Oxford, Ohio. I did not feel I had gone “home” as Bogotá was home.
I have lived the last twenty seven years with my husband in Columbus, Ohio. I now feel I have a place I belong – I am truly “home”!