Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Desert Huts

 The scene outside the bus window intrigued us one day as we headed to Chimbote to see a stretch of desert sprouting little straw mat huts. As the days went by, they spread to both sides of the highway for about ten miles. They were very orderly with white lines marking out lots. In conversation with local members we heard someone with a government land grant was subdividing the property. It was a "really good deal." For between 20-40 soles you could start the paperwork to own your own piece of desert. Before you knew it, there were 5,000 people living there. Last week as we went by again, imagine our surprise to see the big bad wolf had blown them all down, and some were burned.  Sadly for the new home owners, the real property owner uncovered the con . . . and then they were gone.

The homes were gone leaving nothing but rubble and a few charred spots.

Local fruit stand: mangoes are out, pomegranates are in, also some strange yellowish cactusy fruit.

Virú's answer to breakfast at Denny's: outdoor breakfast tables are all over with chicken soup, drinkable oatmeal, fried eggs on rolls or Peruvian egg mcmuffins.

We have a new favorite cevicheria run by Captain Bly.

We made ceviche, inspired in part by the Mayberrys, in part by Captain Bly and in part by good-looking, fresh fish that morning in the market.  I didn't notice the Raid until after we took the photo, but we always keep it handy.

Exploring a field of papayas and ponderizing how amazing this melon-like fruit can grow in clusters like grapes without breaking the tree.

Our little friend Leon has a dinosaur costume made by his aunt Sonia. She recycled milk cartons and herbal tea packets to make it.  Leon's the envy of many! I think Lorenzo needs one of these.

The trucks here seem to have hairdos.

Is that a designer hairstyle or what?
Look, a bow in the front of her hair.

The sign outside the Virú cemetery prohibits flowers with standing water to prevent mosquitoes that spread dengue fever.

We attended a local member's funeral and learned some interesting customs. Yes those are crosses. The memorial service was at the deceased's son's house the evening after he died. The front room displayed the coffin, and everyone gathered in the front yard. It was dark and noisy from cars and buses on the street, but the congregation was faithful. Elder Whitney gave a talk about the plan of salvation, and there were some other talks and eulogies. One of our young missionaries, Elder Hart, accompanied while everyone sang hymns. He sat hunched over a plastic keyboard outside in the dark buggy air competing with the road noise, but still he played on for at least an hour. When it was over we stood up to leave, but noticed no one else did. They all stayed the night, maybe to make sure he was really dead in the coffin. The next day we joined the funeral procession carrying the deceased and walked to the cemetery, about a mile or two. After graveside talks and ceremony, they pushed the coffin into the crypt and quickly bricked and cemented it shut. He was starting to stink.

Familia Blas

Daughter Rosa eulogizes her dad.

The next day we boarded a private bus to Trujillo for a branch temple trip.

Our neighbor just had a baby. When I asked her sister how big it was, she gave me an odd look, like people often do when they hear a dumb gringo question. Then she held her arms up with her hands apart like showing the size of a fish, and said, "About this big."


  1. I had many thoughts while reading this article... Many of them had the word incredible in them. Seriously, what an incredible adventure you are living! I love reading about it and yes, Lorenzo definately would love a dino costume like that- I'm hesitant to show him the picture incase I would have to make it- maybe his grandma will when she gets back from Peru. ;)

  2. That's so sad about those poor people who were scammed and lost everything. How did the ceviche turn out? I've been wanting to make more.