For many children, the first thing they learn about Darkest Peru is that it is the place from which Paddington Bear originally came
Here he is, pictured with his Aunt Lucy. she lives in a home for retired bears in the capital city of Lima.
[trivial fact – the Paddington Bear toys were designed and developed by Shirley Clarkson, Jeremy’s Mum]
But other children, fond of adventure stories, and heroes like Indiana Jones, who seek out the treasures of lost civilisations, will know Peru because of Machu Picchu – the great Inca Citadel near the city of Cusco.
It is just one hundred years this week since Hiram Bingham made the world aware of this amazing, atmospheric place. He was not the first non-Peruvian to get there – just the one who saw the potential for fame and fortune.
The BBC website this week has some great photographs of Bingham’s trip in 1911.
Bingham took many thousands of Incan artefacts back to the USA, and they were stored at Yale University.
I am glad that they are being returned now, and will be kept in Cusco where they belong.
But I have another Peruvian link.
The Williamson Family are our missionaries in Peru. this week, Scott, Anjanette and the children joined 1500 Christians in Cusco for the March For Jesus
It is quite cold there at the moment. Anjanette has been glad this week to be able to distribute warm gloves, socks, hats and scarves, to the poor families who come to the health clinic where she is a doctor.
What is utterly amazing is that these are part of the Christmas Collection we made here at KMFC in 2009 I posted three parcels in January 2010 – and the third one has only just arrived with the Williamsons.
But the parcel did arrive – just as it was needed. Anjanette says
“Hace Mucho Frio - June, July, August is winter in Peru and we are feeling the cold. This last week has been unusually cold in the mountains, it has snowed in some parts of the Cusco region and we have been wearing many layers of clothes and even woolly hats to bed!!”
So if you see pictures of the Machu Picchu centenary celebrations on TV this week, or spot a Paddington Bear toy or book on the shelf – please remember the Williamsons and the work they are doing in darkest – coldest – Peru right now.