Earlier today, four of our volunteers boarded a flight to Miami. They are scheduled to land at 10:30 pm tonight and arrive back in Atlanta tomorrow morning. It was a tough and quick decision – both for the ones who left and the ones who stayed behind. Most of our volunteers were never offered a repatriation flight and yesterday it was announced that today’s charter flight — costing $2,100 one way to Miami per person — would be the last flight out until the Lima airport re-opens and no one knows when that will be.
Jason, Gwen, Ronald and a young college student volunteer, Malachi, all made it on the flight today. They sent me reports from the U.S. Embassy and if you follow us on social media you got to see them today too. They passed on many, many stories of people who were waiting for a repatriation flight sponsored by the U.S. Embassy because the cost of the charter flights was just too much. But with today’s announcement of this being the last flight out, people had to do whatever they could to get out. Today’s charter flight by Eastern Airlines was very full and we are not sure if everyone who was there was able to get out. We hope that the U.S. Embassy will continue to do what is needed to help people get home.
Here’s what Gwen said earlier today, “Of course part of us would rather stay, just as part of each of the ones we leave behind would like to go home. Uncertain times try us all and our human nature loves any little comfort we can find. I have learned more than ever that comfort is an internal work. It feels like a sacrifice to leave, but understand the ones staying are making the real sacrifice. We will have a lot to share in the coming days now that we’ll have some down time. We are excited to see and hug our kids. It’s time. They are the real champs and our supporting friends back home should be sainted.”
Nineteen other volunteers are still planning to stay with our community in Lima for the duration of the quarantine there. While the timing is uncertain on when they will be able to return home, they are all choosing to stay in order to continue serving the people they came to serve over a month ago. The truth is that times are always uncertain. I think we are all just more aware of it as we are having to face it more right now.
I am looking forward to welcoming Jason and the others home. I believe they are coming home changed for the better and will have much to add to our ongoing efforts to raise funds and support for the people in Peru.
Please consider donating to help cover the costs of the charter flights today. We are certain it was the right time for these four to come home. We are also certain that this time is uncertain so we will continue to take it day by day. Thank you all for being on the journey with us.
If you have already donated please spread the word and ask your friends to help us. We are so thankful for ALL of the support during this time. It is changing lives no doubt — and I believe that is true for both the recipient and the giver. Let’s keep going.