My son Tyler served a mission in Peru for a few years. While I pined away for him, he was having a great adventure of the Indiana Jones type, as well as the spiritual sort. When he returned home to us he was heartbroken to leave the people there, and it took him a while to reacclimate himself to the land of plenty.
In 2008 Tyler and I went back to Peru to experience more of the country and touch bases with the friends he left there. One real character was Rosa, lovingly referred to by Tyler as Loco Rosa (no translation needed).
Tyler lived at Rosa's house while he was in Juliaca. Rosa is considered fairly well off by Peruvian standards. She's a widow with 3 grown children, was involved in politics, and owns land. We stayed with Rosa for about a week, and toured Cuzco with her, including Pissaq and Machu Picchu (and Wayna Pucchu!). By American standards, Rosa and her family live in poverty. Rosa is a little four-foot something dynamo who scares most people. She tried so hard to communicate with me, but my crash course in Spanish failed the moment I set foot off the plane, and we struggled. One of my favorite moments was when I woke up and realized that the altitude sickness had finally stopped, and I could eat breakfast. I was so excited, and started using American Sign Language without realizing it, trying to tell her that I could eat (feeding guests is a privilege to them). She got very excited, and ran up the hall, returning with toothpaste. Huh? Because of my hand gestures, she thought I was telling her I wanted to brush my teeth. I laughed so hard and loud that Tyler came running out of his room to see what the ruckus was about. When I finally spit out what had happened and he translated for Rosa, we all got quite a laugh out of that.
There was very little language exchanged between me, Rosa and her family because of the language barrier, but the tears and hugs when we got on the bus to leave them needed no translation, and the bond forged between our families lives on.