The confreres in Popayán had given the father a mattress and some blankets with which he returned to Cali... The father slept on that mattress on the floor that night. This was his first night of sleeping in what would be the house of the first Blessed Sacrament community in Cali. And he must have slept like a dormouse, because when he arrived the next day at the convent of the Sisters, they – like women - noticed some red marks on the father's arms... What’s that? they wondered. That is not due to mosquito and flea bites, but bedbugs... Neither slow nor lazy, they went with the father to the neighbourhood and immediately detected the body of the crime: the mattress with the blankets provided by the Blessed Sacrament Fathers of Popayán were alive with bed bugs. They took mattresses and blankets to the middle of the street, and set them on fire, while they disinfected the entire house. And right there, they went to the centre of the city and bought the basics for the father who would live there.
Approximately a month later, the three remaining religious arrived to form the Blessed Sacrament community of Cali, comprising four religious. Meanwhile, the father who had arrived first had made himself known to some people who were collaborating with the neighbouring parish priest, a diocesan priest, Fr. Alberto Rico Patiño.
The following, it is understood, is the simple but enormously affectionate example of welcome that some people from the neighbourhood gave to the recently arrived SSS. Since it was already night, he did not stop adding his anecdote. As there was no light, and the sewage flowed through small ditches in front of the houses, this caused one of the three new arrivals, given the darkness, to plunged a foot right into one of those ditches to the uproar and shouts of the women, who immediately set about cleaning and disinfecting his foot.
In that period of time they were obtaining fundamental elements - they did bring a little money - such as to get folding beds, mattresses, blankets, sheets, etc.
To be continued…
Father Lucinio Martin Herrero, sss
Columbia-Peru, NOTIBIP 88 - February 2023