The EXPAT FILES #2: A Child’s Adventures in PERU and Colombia

– 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.

WAugh tractor 25

the tractor transport cart

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!

w capybara auto e29

native Peruvians with a capybara


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”!


6 thoughts on “The EXPAT FILES #2: A Child’s Adventures in PERU and Colombia

  1. I did not know Cinda while at CNG; I graduated in 1966 & believe she was 1970, We came together during my search for CNG friends and then at reunions.
    Were you every in Peru? Woul love to know people who have visited Tingo!


  2. I have heard of Tingo Maria from my Peru MK friends, but never the name you mentioned. That’s an amazing tractor! I’ve never seen a half-track tractor before.

    My ex-wife and her sister used Calvert in their homeschooling in Costa Rica. My own sisters used University of Nebraska for high school in Colombia. When we lived in the jungle, we used old American textbooks and Mom checked our work.

    Colegio Granada has been around for quite a while! Several of my friends studied there in the 1970s. Did you know Cinda McKennon while you were there? She was a contemporary of yours, from what I can tell.


    • Lindel’s mother was both my 3rd grade teacher and a brownie scout leader (or at least she was present on outings!) in Colombia. This made it especially interesting connecting with Lindel, Gene and the other brothers.


    • I don’t know Will – I suspect you are too young to relate to the time frame and from a different country – but we can relate to being expats. Having a different cultural background and memories your Canadian friends might not relate to.


    • Will, I do not know your background ie. where you lived and what age you moved. My family was split up pretty much forever – yes I do see my brother’s occasionally. We had no home base so we each made our own in different states, yes in the USA supposedly “home”. You may share with me or Gene on FB, or my email is


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