Friday, September 18, 2009

Peru 3

Doug and I were picked up from the Peru MTC on the 4th of Sept. after 2 short weeks of Spanish lessons. We felt a wee tiny bit better, but still not conversational. Sister Manning took us shopping for items that we would need in Canete. We then went and picked up Pres. Manning and headed off, but not before we had a treat of ice cream. I now know that was to soften us up. It is about a 2 hour drive. The highways are very interesting here. There may be a 4 lane highway but there are 7 cars & trucks abreast at any one time. There are very few signal lights used and you pretty well go at your own pace, but if you don’t keep up…watch out. There are 2 toll booths along the way. On the other side of each one a handful of police officers stand. If they think they can give you a ticket, they pull you over. We got pulled over twice. The first time was because of the tinted glass on the SUV. You must have a document that gives you permission to have tinted windows, the Pres. had all papers in order. The next toll booth we were pulled over again. This time the officer said we were speeding. The Pres. asked how he knew we were speeding and what about all these other people that are driving by really fast right now? The Pres. speaks Spanish very well. Then he had to show him the papers for the tinted windows. Then the police man said, that he just got a call from his captain saying that we we speeding. So the Pres. said, you are discriminating against us because we are North Americans. This went on for about 20 minutes. But there was no ticket issued. We got to Canete and it was dark. It get’s dark here about 6. So we went up to our new apt. to find that pretty well nothing had been done since we were last here. The owners had decided that the kitchen would be outside and had a brick layer come and start to fashion a laundry sink on the other side of this outdoor kitchen for the laundry room. The Pres. was concerned as to how this outside kitchen was going to really work. It is just a small ledge off the back of the house. The stove is a 4 burner glorified camp stove with an oven. The stove did not have a gas regulator so Doug went downstairs to their kitchen to see how their stove is hooked up. We were concerned about cooking with gas in a room with no ventilation. We sat in this apt. trying to think of how this was going to work. The idea of preparing and cooking food outside really was not sitting well with me. The owner suggested that we just have our meals with them, no problem. The Elders and Sister have pensionista ( a place where their meals are fixed for them) . When Doug heard this he called for a private meeting without the homeowner. Doug said that there was no way he would be able to eat there having seen the state of the kitchen. I had also just disclosed the fact that I have colitus and was suffering at this very time with a flair up. Yet we sat and waited for something to happen. And finally 4 angels appeared. Elder Tanuvasa, a Hawaiian from Oregon and Elder Groosman from Lewiston, Idaho Elder Saavadra from Bolivia, and Elder Fuents, Peru. They had come to help carry the fridge upstairs to our apt. There was no fridge. It was on it’s way from Lima. But not really. We told them that we had serious doubts about being able to stay here, even after all the work they had done, cleaning, painting and hauling furniture up the stairs. They had even hooked up electricity to heat the water in the shower. They have no hot water tanks. Most people in Peru have never had a shower with hot water. Elder Tanuvasa said, I think I know where there is a place for rent. So the 4 of us hopped into the Pres. car and the 4 of them jumped into a taxi. Taxi’s are everywhere. I think they hide under the dirt. We drove out of town a short way and into a gated community. We drove to this quaint little casa (house) there was a piece of paper on the window with a phone #, the Pres. called. The owner was here is such a short time it has made us wonder what the rest of Peru is thinking. We got in and looked around. It has all of the essentials for living, a kitchen, bathroom, living area and 2 bedrooms. The Pres. made a deal with the man about the rent and we looked at each other and said, this is the place. We agreed to meet the man the next day to pay the rent and get the key. Now we needed to get some furnishings. So off we went to town. It’s about 10:00 p.m. Electra is just closing it’s doors, this store is similar to Leons (on a much smaller scale). Has a bit of everything. We tried to get in but they were just closing. There were a couple of people that we tried to let us get in just to have a quick look. No luck, but they did bring out a couple of flyers for us to look at, and told us to come back tomorrow. Not knowing if the people that we were going to rent from would sell us any of their furniture we needed to get prices for everything. The Elders headed off to their apt. in Imperial and we went to look for a place to stay. But the question was, do we stay or go back to Lima and come back tomorrow with the Pres and his wife. They decided to leave us in Canete. ALONE ! And thus the reason for the ice cream ! The Pres. found a place for us to stay. Although this place has a no star rating because they don’t rate in the “ – “ side of the scale, the bathroom was…better than I had thought it would be. The Pres. did take us for some dinner. We were tired, hungry and just a bit in shock. After dinner we were dropped off and told, buenas suerte ! “good luck” There was a casino below the room, and some kind of fiesta going on in the town square just ½ block away. I am thankful for earplugs. Although we slept on the least amount of the bed as possible, they were twin beds, there wasn’t much sleep. The next morning we got up showered and packed our stuff and put everything on the beds. We decided we could do this and went out to look for breakfast. We did a lot of walking. Not too many places open for breakfast, that looked real safe. So we found a tienda (store) and bought 2 – 4 pks. of ritz with cheese and 2 bottles of water, went to the town square where Doug had his shoes polished and we ate our crackers. The Elders came to the Hostel to help us get all of our stuff to our new casa. We got to the new place and waited about 20 min. and the wife of the owner came. She was mad, and raised the price of the rent. We could not figure out what she was so upset about, then I figured it out. She thought that all 6 of us were moving in. She would not honor the agreement that her husband had made the night before, this took 2 hours before she would give us the key. We finally got it all worked out and they wanted a contract, we said no, but we want a contract saying you will not raise the rent again. We got that. In Peru once a landlord has let a tenant into the rented property they can not evict them. It’s a law. The owner has no rights! So we pile all of our stuff into the house and we are off. One set of Elders have to go to the place we were going to rent and ask them if they would be willing to sell any of their furniture, and then meet up with us at Electra to let us know. No cell phones for the Elders here. (or us) We got shopping and found out that these people do not want to sell anything. They have a couple of houses that they rent and it was just extra furniture. So we need a bed, couch, kitchen table, stove fridge. Great this place sells it all. It takes well over 4 hours to get this transaction accomplished. Will they deliver it, yes. Today? Yes. So a truck pulls up some time later and takes the couch from off the floor, the kitchen table from off the floor and a fridge. The stove comes later. Carmen who is the sales clerk form last night looks at Doug and I and tells the Elders that she heard us talk 2 weeks ago at the fireside. She is a member. (inactive, probably due to the fact that she was at the fireside!) Our first contact with a member. We all jump into a taxi and head for our place. There is a wardrobe at the other apt. that needs to be dismantled and brought over to our place, but we have to have a man from Chincha 45 min. south of Canete come and do this. He comes to town on Wed. So we get all of this stuff delivered and they really don’t care that they have put a hole in the furniture or scratched it all up. It got delivered. So all this happened Sat. Doug and I had been able to get a loaf of bread from a store somewhere but had nothing to eat all day. The Elders left and said, your bed has to come from Chincha it will come tomorrow after 4. Great. We can sleep on the mini version of a couch and love seat. Things are smaller in Peru. The next morning we get ready for church, take a taxi and get lucky, he knows where the capilla(chapel) of the Mormones is. We get home after and waited for our bed. We had some toast for dinner. The bed didn’t come. We slept on the couch again. If I were to lay down on the couch I would be too long to lay between the arms. Monday, it’s preparation day, so the Elders come into town to discover that we have no bed. We all go into Electra and after 2 hours they say that the truck it was coming on broke down and they sold our bed to someone else. But it will be here tomorrow. The Elders went to help us get some supplies, like food. So we go to the “Pibe” market, it is a very sad and small version of walmart, oh who am I kidding it isn’t even close but it is all there is. We get some milk off the shelf, cereal, spaghetti and a couple bags of spaghetti sauce. They sell nothing fresh. We then go to the market. This market is well, it is hard to describe. There is a lot of stuff for sale here. This market is huge, it is outside and it is far from “Costco”. They have meat and meat “parts” but no one knows for how long they have been hanging around the flies and the dogs, and the dirt. I think you get my picture. Although Doug was getting so hungry he actually asked if I would consider buying meat from there. (hunger does funny things to your mind) We do not buy any food from this market. There are insecticides for killing all of the living things in our house that moved in. We do buy that. Doug bought some silicone and he is going to fill in all of the gaps around the windows. Hey, I am happy we have windows. No bed, but we have windows. Building standards in Peru, do not exist. We took the Elders to lunch because it was their preparation day and they really were not having fun and did not get to e-mail home. We felt really bad about that. We know how important it is to have internet access. Tues. the 8th David and Erica Herrick, Doug’s cousin and his wife were in Lima. They were on a tour. We really wanted to go to Lima and visit with them. But we knew that our bed would be coming and we also had a zone meeting. We are very sad that we did not get the opportunity to visit with them, and our bed did not come. The member that works at Electra felt very bad, she called a friend and asked if they would lend us a new bed they had just bought. That didn’t happen either. So we made our bed again on our mini furniture. Speaking of the internet. We tried several different applications and then found a guy that came and installed a receiver on the roof Friday morning, it is all very suspicious as we pay our neighbour for our internet. Who knows this is Peru. It worked great that day and then nothing. We tried leaving notes with our neighbour that hooked us up with this guy, but no response. We hit the internet café, for a brief check on our e-mails. The cost, 1sole for 1 hour, that is .33 cents. Wed. our bed came ! It was advertised as a queen size, which are the size sheets that we had bought, it is a double. Well, as Elder Tanuvasa says: “ You Are In Peru NOW !!!” That statement is so true. We are in Peru now. This is the real thing. This is a week late and I have so much more to share, but just one last item for tonight. The neighbourhood we were going to live in that was supposed to be safe. An educated well dressed woman was attacked, her hair cut off everything stolen and worse before help came. There was a reason that apt. never came together. We are being watched over. I have another week that I want to share with you, but it is late and our days start early. May this find you and all of your healthy and happy.


  1. WOW, your experience take me back to my mission, but you are in a city and I was in a village, the only white person in the village and my companion was from the area and didn't understand why I found it hard. The first six weeks is the hardest until you adjust to your crazy new way of living. I am so glad you have each other and it sounds like the Lord is watching out for you. I think the culture shock accounted for the biggest reason that I turned to the Lord early on in my mission. You realize that you don't have anything else familiar to hang on to or anyone familiar except each other! Later on I realized how grateful I was for the trial. It sounds like you are handling it all in stride! May the Lord bless you! Liana Kearl

  2. We had a member lady (let's just say she had her intellectual challenges), who lived in a house that the area book said "this house should be bombed" I thought it had been!! - she lived with the ducks & geese wandering thru for years. Neither the house nor her had been cleaned in all those years. The path thru the house was 2" lower than the rest of the floor...all trodden down bird "lime". Ah...those were the days we cherish...and so will you in years to come. In the mean time I shall enjoy a chuckle over your experiences and pray you shall find your way thru them as you forget yourself in the service of the Lord.
    Paul D
    PS - I found this great big bug (dead) in a parking lot the other day - it was about 2" in diameter with large reminded me of what you would be coming to grips with !! Ha.

  3. When you were telling about having no bed to sleep in I remembered the first night I got to Paraguay. I was overwhelmed by the bugs and the fact that my companion nor I had beds. Thankfully, two of the other sisters in the apartment let us sleep in their beds because they knew we would be grossed out by the bugs without mosquito nets. These are the memories, along with the families you'll meet and influence that will stay with you the rest of your lives. It must feel safe having Doug with you! !Que andan con los angeles!

  4. You guys are awesome! Sounds almost like Haiti but at least we had a nice home to go to even if we had no electricity most of the time. In Haiti we had what we called the 4 to 1 rule. If you can do something in North America in 1 hour (shopping, banking, even eating, etc) it will take you 4 hours in Haiti (or Peru). You will feel that angels are surrounding you every single day and it is a very real and tangible feeling. Once you settle in and get used to the way things work, or don't work, as the case may be, you will fall in love with the palce and the people and you will never be the same. Our prayers are with you. What an amazing adventure!

  5. Dear Whitneys... Bishop Jones mentioned you have a blog, which I was able to find without difficulty. I very much enjoyed reading your experiences to date and was edified by many of them. I wish life was a bit more comfortable for you but it sounds like you're taking it all in stride very well and being richly blessed.

    We've had a chinook this past week so winter has been postponed somewhat. Last month we went to Brazil to visit Ana's family. I stayed there only a week but Ana, Melissa & Maria stayed for an extra month (they come back next week... I can't wait to see them). The ward's been taking care of me with frequent dinner invitations and such.

    Bueno, Uds. están en mis oraciones!