A rooftop aviary in Peru

Dan and Meri Diamond
June 30, 2010
New Lay Missionaries Find Much in Common with Just-Hatched Ducklings!

Meri and a newly hatched friend

Meri and a newly hatched friend

On January 23, 2010, Dan and I gathered a few of our belongings and headed to a month-long living experience with a Peruvian family. The purpose of the stay was for us to be exposed to Peruvian life as it happens in an everyday setting. Our host family’s name is Guerrero-Mateo, and the members of the family are Juan (Dad), Gloria (Mom), Gloria (daughter), Lesly (daughter) and Anelli (daughter). Each has a unique skill set and lots of charm.

One interesting thing to note is that both Juan and Gloria are engineers, two of the daughters are going to school for engineering, and the youngest is studying hard to get into engineering school as well. There are 60,000 applicants for the state school and only 2,000 spots available. Competition is tough for anyone wanting to have a shot at a public university education.

Mom duck with her babies

Mom duck with her babies

If the engineering theme wasn’t interesting enough, we found something in their house that makes this family even more interesting. The day we arrived, we were welcomed by everyone and given a tour of the house. During the tour, they asked us to go up some stairs that right away looked suspicious to me. There were feathers everywhere, and I thought: “Where I am being taken? Can it be that this city house keeps chickens on the roof?”

The answer to the question was a resounding yes! Not only were there chickens on the roof, but also hens, roosters, ducks, ducks just about to give birth and a white kitty that lives up there among the birds. Finding such a vibrant farm scene on our roof has been quite amusing.

I wanted to know everything about raising approximately fi fty birds. Were the birds being raised for consumption by the family? Birthday presents for relatives? Cooking a duck for a special celebration? Or is it Gloria’s hobby? The answer is all of the above, and it has been fun to see how the birds are fed and cared for on the roof.

L-R: Regional Lay Missionary Coordinator Ariel Presbitero, Columban Fr. Al Utzig, Meri and Dan Diamond, Columban Sr. Pat Zandrews at the Diamonds’ commissioning ceremony

L-R: Regional Lay Missionary Coordinator Ariel Presbitero, Columban Fr. Al Utzig, Meri and Dan Diamond, Columban Sr. Pat Zandrews at the Diamonds’ commissioning ceremony

Unfortunately, I missed the birth of seventeen ducklings, but I did not miss how the mom duck puts all of her babies underneath her for warmth, and the ducklings all try desperately to fi nd a place close to her. I found this image quite intriguing since Dan and I are just hatched to Peruvian life and are being taken underneath the wings of a lot of people as they help us to establish ourselves in our new life. We thank the entire Guerrero-Mateo family, the Columban Fathers, our lay missionary peers and especially our families back home who pray for us and wish us well as we, newly hatched Columban lay missionaries, make our home in Peru.

Columban lay missionaries Dan and Meri Diamond began their appointment to the Peru Region in January 2010.
This article first appeared in Columban Mission.