Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Happy Birthday

It's been a busy week, and the wifi in our apartment quit working, so I just haven't written anything or maybe we're so used to being here that nothing seems unusual anymore. We've been careful with our food so we won't get sick, but still had salad and ceviche, which are strictly forbidden for the young elders. However, not forbidden is the infamous tres leche cake which we've heard is quite the urban legend. 
Wednesday we went to Trujillo and met the 12 elders from our zone at the temple. Sometimes we feel like parents with lots of comedians for sons.  We went early to do a special sealing for Leonardo Bernardini and Rosina Franceschi...pretty awesome...much thanks to all our kids and grandkids who did the work up to this point :) After we met at the mall where they had a special lunch (at McDonald's) for an elder being transferred. We left and went to the mission home to lunch with President and Hermana Rios. We were late, so we ate alone. Then the office elders came over and hung out. It seemed odd. Hermana Rios set out treats on the table: popcorn, chips, hot sauces, cookies. Then she brought out a cake, put  a candle on top and everyone sang happy birthday to Ken. Surprise! It was delicious and moist like a pudding cake. Hermana Rios explained that they take milk and drizzle it all over the cake after it's baked: canned milk, sweetened condensed milk and fresh milk....you mean like three kinds of milk? Like three milks, tres leches? I guess it must have been okay after all, as strict as they are about food rules. 
We were getting ready to say goodbye, when we were informed that our visa/carnet paperwork had come back from Lima, and we only had one day to fill it all out and turn it in or our visas would expire. How does this always happen? We spent the evening shopping and visiting with the Rios family and went off to bed to prepare for an early start at the immigration office. By morning we were too sick to figure out what had happened to us. But we're tough. We managed to get out to the Migracion. We stood in line, filled out forms, let the guy behind the counter harass us and tell us we had to go back to Lima or leave the country. We signed forms and put our inky finger prints next to our signatures, all the while in pain with stomach cramps. Four days later we're back in Virú, so the visa must have extended. But the stomach cramps are still here too. You might wonder why no one else was sick. They all assured us you get used to the cake after awhile.
Saturday we strolled around Nuevo Chao looking for excitement and new contacts with our two Elder buddies, Gomez and Rodriguez. There's always construction going on, to Ken's delight. The town is part of an agricultural project growing asparagus and other fruit and vegetables for export. People keep moving in because jobs are available. We always stop at the Adobe yards where some men shovel mud into forms to make adobe bricks, three at a time. Ken always talks to them, and this time we brought them a big bottle of Inka Kola. We are friends and had a pleasant visit.
During our stroll we met up with the branch president. He casually mentioned that on the third Sunday of the month, tomorrow, the missionaries always talk in church. If it wasn't for the last minute we'd never find out anything. So we prepared for that before bed. I also prepared more thoroughly for Primary.
The talks went well. They liked it when I spoke a little Quechua and told about how we met in Peru 40 years ago. I was relieved to see my friend Trinidad there to help me teach Primary. The first thing she told me was that the primary president was absent...oh no! Good thing I had a lesson prepared. It's all so bizarre the way things go. About half way through, this lady Alissa sat down in primary with us,  and she was the best help! We had just helped her buy some jello to start a business. They make the jello, pour it into little bags, let it set up, and sell it on the street. People just bite a hole in the corner and suck the jello out. She says she can make 10 soles per day. That's $3.
Today, Sunday we had our second choir practice. Everyone did much better, and I didn't get lost as often. I'm starting to think that Peruvians simply don't practice piano though. I wonder if my piano players will ever learn their parts. Oh well...I'm confident my choir can sing a capella when the pianists get lost :) It's not like the piano helps them stay on key or anything. Also most of the Elders showed up to practice with us. They did their parts with gusto, and I even noticed some harmony, although at first I thought I was back teaching high school again, classroom managing teenage antics. The harmonica turned out to be a different key than the music, but I think we can work something out. Everyone loves the harmonica part, so we have to make it work. This choir is awesome!
Grandpa, I mean, Elder Whitney and Rafael
Niños de la primaria
Adobe makers. Note the Inka Kola, raw material piles and the finished product.
Walking around in Valle de Dios, just keep an eye out for buses and men with loads of guinea pig food.
All the Elders from Zona Virú.
A proud moment for these boys' moms.


  1. My favorite line: "if it wasn't for the last minute, we'd never find out anything."
    Also, it was in Honduras that I found out not everyone sings in tune. When I led a choir, I thought they were messing around cuz it sounded so crazy. But no, turned out they were in earnest.

  2. And I can't figure out why Elder Whitney is a Mormon rabbi, sitting next to Rafael. (See his rabbi hat)

  3. Look, I'm Martha o n my iPad! Now, if I can just my iPad to tell my laptop that I'm not Mel Muir!

    I m without the children today but can't wait to show them this post and pictures. I think we must have missed it last time.

    Fun birthday party for Dad! Great job with the choir Mom! Keep up the good work!

  4. Lizzy: Has Rafael seen Ninja Turtles before?
    All: we like the temple
    Hyrum: those missionaries are real "bozzes" walking in slow motion.
    Hyrum: did the picture with the guys and the motor cycle really get it working by themselves?
    Kids: what is inca Kola
    Lizzy: that is crazy that they have the same chairs in church as us!
    Hyrum: they don't make very much money!
    Lizzy: that is the same girl from the picture i got, right?