Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Power Blackouts

Living in Peru has given us a whole new perspective on electricity. It flows through the streets suspended in a tangle of wires resembling old mangled cob webs. Sometimes the electrical wires hanging across private roofs multitask as clothes lines. The electricity flowing into our building is limited so that when one apartment runs a major appliance, everyone's lights flicker and the fans slow way down. We can always tell when the elders upstairs shower because the water heater dims our lights and slows our fans. If we were to shower at the same time, it would trip the breaker; we base this on experience. Water heaters don't come with the apartment. You install your own. It goes on the bathroom wall and heats only the shower water on demand. All the other faucets have cold water only, except in the afternoons when the sun warms the pipes. About once a month or so on a Sunday, they turn off everyone's power from Chao, through Virú all the way to Trujillo. It typically lasts 10 to 12 hours while the power company does maintenance. Some of the effects include no hot showers, no water after the rooftop storage tank empties, no crock pots or rice cookers, no internet, no charging phones, no fans, no lights, no printer to print out talks or lessons for church. At church we have no lights, no fans to cool the building, no microphone, no piano (it's electric), no internet, no videos and no water at all since the electric pump to the underground tank turns off (no flushing). This past Sunday when the power was off, we learned of a new problem. It was Branch Conference in Virú. President Rios phoned us at 7:05, just after the power went out, to ask directions to the new chapel here. We couldn't attend because we were giving talks in the Las Flores Branch but decided to wait outside the Virú building for President Rios. It's surrounded by a high adobe wall, and we were afraid he might not find it. The meeting started at 8:30, but by 9:15 it was apparent he wasn't coming, so we left for Las Flores where the meeting started at 10:00. Finally Monday we found out why President Rios didn't show. Right after he phoned us he got into his car to leave, but his electric garage door opener didn't work because the power was out! Who would have thought that could happen? One good thing about these power outages: the frost in my freezer melts so I can easily defrost my old fashioned manual defrost freezer in the evening when the power comes back on :)

He's a lineman for the county...
Don't look down.
Power lines doubling as a clothesline and pig tender

New high rise Municipal Building construction among the wires
Power/clothes line
Power Lines
Oh what a tangled Web they weave...
...when power lines they do conceive. 
Enjoying a watermelon snack on the way home
Brand new municipal building   
Look...there's us in the window.

They teach school children how to protest. 
The neighbor's turkey is up on the roof again. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Mr. Techno

Throughout our mission, we've seen ourselves grow and develop new talents in ways that can only be described as miraculous...leading choirs, teaching piano, organizing a pioneer trek... Then some people tell us about miracles that don't seem miraculous at all.  For example, temple attendance cures colds and coughs! Explanation: air conditioning filters the air so you can breath. A local member told us she was miraculously provided with temple clothes when the Trujillo Temple first opened and none was available! Explanation: the mission president phoned someone in the US who was on his way down and asked him to bring them. But the most remarkable miracle is Elder Whitney and his new talent for technology. He maintains a variety of devices which he uses to access church publications, download and store inspirational videos, share family photos, video phone the grandkids, organize presentations, share inspirational videos he downloads from YouTube, and you wouldn't believe his smart phone. It notifies with an authentic Peruvian flute melody that no one else has. At a missionary leadership meeting last week, he pulled out his tablet to sing the closing hymn. He looked pretty cool among all those young missionaries using paper hymn books. Then suddenly, "all by itself," the device started loudly playing the hymn. Elder Whitney tapped the screen, but to no avail. He pushed buttons along the sides, but nothing happened. He tapped some more, shook the device and stuffed it inside his coat, but nothing worked. It kept singing out the hymn. By now his clever smirk had transitioned to frantic desperation. The young missionaries looked on, thoroughly entertained. At the edge of tears, he found a solution. I turned it off.

It's Mr. Techno!

Why are these Elders staring into the baptismal font?

They're watching me plug the drain so they can fill it.

Marisol works at a lovely restaurant in Chao: Beny's.

Hurray for Hermanas!

Hermanas Rios & Whitney, the best hermanas of all!

Elder Miller...he's cool.

I just love hermanas!

New piano students, Alejandra & Ariana

We call these R2D2s. Everyone else calls them trash cans.

In Casma the streets are filled with moto taxis....except when I try to take a picture.

In some parts of Chimbote, they really take pride in their parks.



Sightseeing with the Marlers, president of the "other" mission.

These little piggies went to market.

They said we should take our kids to Huanchaco Beach in Trujillo.

They even have beach rentals.