Sunday, February 28, 2016

Woof woof Surprise

Church is always interesting because we never know what to expect. In Nuevo Chao we always had to be prepared in case they asked us to speak. In Chao they often asked me to lead the music, so the challenge was figuring out what the song was in English so I'd know the melody. Then I'd lose track of the verses and by the fourth I didn't know whether to end or sing one more. Here in Las Flores, they just ask us to sit on the stand. Today we managed to escape that because the stake and mission leaders were here. We sat next to an open window in hopes of a breeze. The heat is intense day and night. Last night it rained, so the humidity is up. The church is like an oven, or a sauna after the rain. The surprise today was something brushing against my leg...a dog? Of course, there's always dogs in church. Back home I loved dogs, but here they're just walking communities for fleas. This one made his mind up to rest at my feet, no matter how much foot nudging I gave him. Maybe there really was a breeze, and he could feel it!
After church I had another little friend Lara. She took me to see her mom and baby brother Billy. Billy's having a bit of a struggle in life. Mom just took him off the teta/breast and he feels mistreated. She figures at age two he should be ready. We used to visit their family of six regularly, and they were ready for baptism except there was a problem with them getting married. Dad couldn't locate his birth certificate because his home town Huamacucho lost it in a fire or flood or earthquake. So they've been working on that problem, but it's been a few months. We'll have to visit them again, especially since Lara's birthday's coming up.

Surprise....there's a cute puppy at my feet in church. 

Wonder why he's scratching?

Fleas? I'll have to check my legs for bites. 

Baptism, familia Chacon

Cool occasion! 

Announcing our Pioneer Trek!

I'm ready, and Ken's working on hand carts! 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Sparkle in a Woeful Tale

“AAAHHHHIIIEEEE!!!” I heard first thing a week or so ago, or at least AAAHHHHIIIEEEE is a rough equivalent to what I remember hearing. The mornings here are hot and humid and sometimes anty, buggy or mosquitoee. I like to start off the morning with a tree-ripened banana and thus left my bride of 40 some odd years snoozing in the boudoir while I stayed regular. The outburst from the other room startled me and left me a bit preoccupied for safety and well-being of the jewel of my life. Leaving the banana, hoping to get back to it before the ants, I hot-footed back to the bedroom. Whoa, the bedclothes were completely disheveled, perhaps more accurately, demolished! And Linda was scouring the floor: pillows, socks and unmentionables flying every which way. I was somewhat fearful for my personal welfare and hesitated briefly before barging ahead to succor the obviously distraught and agitated mother of our children. “What, pray tell, has happened?” I gently pried. If she was in the throes of a sleep-walking nightmare I was a bit fearful of waking her. I’ve heard waking sleepwalkers is to be discouraged. Ahh, Linda was awake but significantly distressed. “Have you seen it? Did you hide it? How could tease me so unmercifully?” she wailed. I immediately embraced and held my precious close while muttering among other imprecations, “What is the ‘it’ that seems to be missing?” “One of my diamond earrings, you know the studs you gave me a half a lifetime ago.” Well as I’ve already made a brief yet tearful account into a long verbose tale, let it be sufficient to say we dejectedly spent the morning searching high, low, under and over for the errant stud. We shook, wiped and cleaned everything, floor to ceiling all to no avail. The poor dear finally stoically surrendered to the obvious. The pair was now a single. “Remember the time I lost the diamond out of my wedding ring and after you replaced it Becca found the diamond under the fridge?” “We have already looked under the fridge,” I thoughtlessly reminded her. A moment passed before I realized she was not interested in cold facts but was searching for a glimmer of hope. Well as the days continued to zoom by Linda finally allowed me to purchase her a pair of replacement studs. This time faux diamonds. In fact, she had so much fun looking for earrings, she shopped a bit more and purchased another pair, then ordered some miniature gold tumies (Inca ceremonial knives) on studs.
Well, still trying to keep this short story short I’ll fast forward to this week. It was wash-day Monday… You think you know where this is going. Yep, I washed the sheets. Being the brilliant quatral-lingualed dear that Linda is, she suggested dumping the washing machine drain water through our spaghetti strainer. See, the apartments around here don’t have washing machine hookups so we kinda jury-rigged a connection at the dish sink with two hoses. One smooth one for the water (there is only one temperature available) and one ribbed one for the drain hose. That hose we tied onto the sink faucet to keep it stable then directed the flow through the strainer. False hope. We watched as the wash water squirted through the strainer. Then the rinse water was strained. No diamond, fortunately nothing gross either. White shirts and undies next. I like to bleach them both to keep the fungus under control and to help the whites stay sparkling. Linda likes to also use bleach in the mop water for the tile floor then when she’s done mopping, throws the bleachy water down the toilet to help keep it fresh. She said, “Why don’t you just let the washing machine drain into the bucket so I can use that to mop the floor?” Always thinking ahead, eh? Again muttering under my breath, I untied the drain hose, lowered it down from the sink and held it to fill the mop bucket. Now that was a bit of a chore. You’ve got to hold the hose and the bucket and pause the washer when the bucket is full. Count them. It takes three hands. Then because the hose is now lower than water in the washer, just hitting the pause button with your elbow is not enough. This I know from experience. The water keeps on coming. Oh well, the floor was about to be mopped anyway. So while Linda is mopping away and I’m draping the undies over our indoor dryer and hanging-up the white shirts, once again, “AAAHHHHIIIEEEE!!” I hear. “Look at that sparkle in the mop!” “What is the screeching about?” I mumbled. “Look at this sparkly spot on the mop.” She yells again as she waves the mop around for me to examine it. “I think I see my diamond!” Afraid to be disappointed or smacked with a wet mop, I’m hesitant to examine it very closely. Wow, I start to explain, the diamond must have been in the sheets or pillow cases then was detained in the drain hose by the corrugations until I lowered the hose and it was washed out into the bucket then picked up by the mop threads. . .  “Wait, wait, wait,” she said, “spare me the half-hour scientific explanation and just be happy the diamond has reappeared.” (As did the sparkle in her eyes.)

Our nifty semi-portable clothes washer.

A jury-rigged diamond trap.

Note the drain hose leading from the floor upward. Also note the sans sparkle mop.

When did I grow such a pansa (breadbasket)?

Making a pioneer bonnet for a future post.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bits & Pieces

After a busy couple of weeks in lots of places, here are the left over pictures that didn't get posted until now. We went up to Huaraz in the mountains to visit missionaries and check their rooms. We've been exploring the back roads in the foothills outside VirĂº to figure out a route for our youth pioneer trek / la caminata. We helped with a leadership meeting in Trujillo. And my piano students keep progressing. There's also been baptisms and marriages.  Busy busy! 

This family is getting baptized next week, but first they had to get married. 

Knock knock... who's there?  Turkey! Yup, there's a turkey at the door! 

Elder Whitney likes brain food. It keeps him brainy!
These two families were married Friday, so they could get baptized Saturday. At the wedding I found out I need to practice salsa dancing.
Harps are part of Peruvian traditional music, and this is one way they move them. 

Beautiful people 

More beautiful people 

And one downright cutie!
Some sight see in the pharmacy . . . for Dramamine.

What a charming little gal . . . on the bus with us
This ferocious creature jumped out of the bushes. We think it's a chicken.

Papaya fields forever

Beautiful papayas 

Mi burrito sabanero . . .  in case you thought burritos are what you get from Taco Bell.

Taking the bull by the horns. . .  right through town.

I see this truck all over . . .  I think it belongs in the movies,  Cars?


Samantha  & Mary... two sweet talented piano students. 

Why are we chopping things? 


For dessert we have mangoes.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cordillera Blanca y Negra

There's double range of mountains in the Peruvian Andes, one white with snow and glaciers, the other dark and barren. We went down the Callejon de Huaylas, saw both ranges, the people and the pueblos in between. With peaks as high as 20,000 feet, you can reach up and touch Heaven, or maybe Heaven has reached down and touched this beautiful part of the world. That would account for the many wonders to behold here!

A glacier peeks out at the corn field,the Cordillera Blanca
Beautiful people 
...dressed up in their daily best. 
Getting the cuy food
A culture still displayed in the Sierra; the one front is carrying a rose in her mouth. She's available.
Let's see...what's for dinner... chicken? 
If all your taste is in your tongue...
Three blind mice.... or cuy?
Maybe some brain food or just plain brains?
My new friends don't say much. 
Forget the 5" heels...I've got a 12" hat. 
Hurray for Hermanas....and Elders too!
Does that say, Inca Power? Does it run on Inca Kola?
Happy Carnaval! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016


We're back up in the mountains visiting the missionaries here and checking their living quarters and conditions. Meanwhile we explored some local sights, like the infamous town of Yungay, destroyed in the great earthquake of 1970, in fact it was during Ken's mission. Actually a mudslide buried the town several minutes after the quake when a chunk of the mountain with snow and ice broke off, obliterated a dam and started the great destruction. Next we climbed up to the national park in the Andes to experience some exotic beauties of nature.

We went to a mountain national park above Yungay where the peaks reach 7,000 meters, that's 21,000 ft.

It even has its own Romeo & Juliette legend.

Such beautiful views

This lake resulted from the tears of the two star-crossed lovers...awe!

Absolutely breath taking... literally because of the high altitude and low oxygen.

At the cemetery memorial at Yungay 

A little girl with her owl

This is a crumpled bus deposited on a three story building. The building is completely covered by the mudslide debris.

Ken & Edwin by one of the many rocks from the Yungay landslide... and we thought the mudslides were bad at Thunder Mountain

Ruins of the Yungay Catholic Church 

Adventures in eating: cuy...see his little feet sticking up?

More adventures: ceviche

This is my friend, Maria, who sat beside me and shared some of my pringles. She commented, Isn't it curious  what they do with potatoes!