Saturday, October 31, 2009

Buenas Family and Friends,

I was reading the C.I.A. intelligence report, of nearly useful information, that there are more than 17 million cell phones in Peru with a population of 33 million people. There are easily 500 place to buy a cell phone in our little area and because they are all on a pay as you go plans there are thousands of places to add minutes to your phone. It is actually a career path that many follow, on every corner there are four to eight people with yellow vest that sell minutes for your phone. A person walks up to them gives them 5 bucks, they dial a number on their cell phone and download minutes to the customer or you can pay them .50 centamos and you can make a call on their phone.

Cell phones that are out of minutes can still receive phone calls so many people carry the cell phone without minutes as their mp3 music player and if they want to talk to some one they go to a pay phone and call the person and tell them to call back. Payphones are everywhere, four or five per block, except where we live it is a twenty minute walk to a pay phone.

I mention all of this because in the land of muchos phones I can't get one. Because I don't receive a bill from a Peruvian company they don't believe I will pay.

Ironic, I have a bank account with a balance(most don't), have my legal residency certificate, and I am willing to pay six months in advance(which many can't) and as soon as I bring in my utility bill with my name on it they will gladly sell me a phone. Oddly, we have to pay our utilities in the name of our landlord because the utility company wont recognize us either. YOU ARE IN PERU NOW!

Aside from that we are alive and living large in Canete and having amazing experiences in our service. Some of the experiences that we have happen to us so frequently that we forget to stop and be grateful and give thanks. Frequently we find people and they will ask how we knew to be there then. Usually we don't know how or why either, Dios sabe.

Our second week here we went to a small coastal resort town (Cerro Azul) to prove to ourselves that we could be at least a little independent in our movement without the missionaries protecting us(interpreting for us). We ventured out with a prayer on our lips and in our hearts that we would do someone some good that day. We managed to get where we were going by mumbling a few words and charades. While waking down a dusty roadway we came across a group of men conversing on the side of the road as we greeted them with friendly "buenos dias," which was wrong because it was in the afternoon, one of the men noticed our missionary plaques and ran over to us. He started to talk so fast we had no chance to understand, we explained that we could not speak very much if any Spanish. That did not stop him and he pulled us to his restaurant and sat us down and went to get his book, which thought was to be his Book of Mormon, and brought back a Santa Biblia. We really did not communicate very well, we gave him one of our brochures (it was the salesman in me when in doubt give them a brochure) and tried to convey that we would have some missionaries that could speak the language come back and see him, which we did ask them to do. They didn't.
You will see in our pictures that we have gone back to Cerro Azul and we took all the missionaries for our Preparation Day. We found Marcos and we finally have been able to communicate with him and we now know why he was so excited. He had not seen the missionaries for 15 years, he had joined the church up north as a young man and moved to work in the south where he and his wife (with child on the way) now live. Tonight we will making our 4th visit to them and will be teaching them with the Hermanas in there home in Cerro Azul. I don't know why we just did.

We had another similar experience on Friday in town named Asia (ah-see-ah) which is about 40 miles from our home. Why were we there, we just were.

These are Elders Grossman and Fuentes with a phenomenally intelligent young lady named Pamela at one of our baptisms held that week. Pamela is so afraid of the water that it took ten minutes to convince her to step in to the water then three attempts to get her complete immersed. She really took a liking to Hermana Whitney and was disappointed that she would not be able to attend her confirmation the next day.

Elvis has left.... No he hasn't this is Elvis and we have been very privileged to attend discussions with him and the Hermanas (Lebeau and Mendoza) in the picture. Elvis is 23, a great fellow, and has a desire to go on a mission in one year.

Here we are in Cerro Azul with the whole district of missionaries. Here we at the very end of the pier. Just to our left a pod of dolphins were playing and big waves were breaking behind us. Yes, I wanted to go fishing. There was guy fishing on the pier and not even he wanted to catch a fish as bad as I wanted him to.

We hiked to high advantage point above the town of Cerro Azul. In the summer this is a very active place we are told and there are many surfers. We saw a number of Australian flags flying on apartment balconies and surfboards on the decks. Note long pier at the top of the picture, the ocean end is where the previous picture was taken.

This is the view to the south of the advantage point. Miles, hundreds of miles of undeveloped beach. Desert and beach.

As group we are always on the edge, this time the edge of South America.

Hermana Mendoza and Elder Fuentes whopping up something sweet in our kitchen. We went to the market for this Prep. day activity and bought chocolate (sort of) and nuts and plastic molds to make some Peruvian treats.

The delicious finished product. Note that Debbie did have pumpkin for Halloween. Even though I said no, she said yes, and we carried it back from Lima.

This picture we call love at home!

The favorite security company in Peru is DOG. DOG stationed on the top or you casa is a significant deterrent to would be thieves entering from above.

DOG at the iron gate is also extra security.

The DOG pictures and this one were taken on our recent service day where we went to assist some members by cleaning a pig pen. Which when I heard about it imagined a farm and country setting. This little chancho lives in the house and is more tame than a cat or dog.

This is the pigs roommate the duck which is nowhere as clean as the chancho.

This is the DOG security detail for this street and they are investigating the suspicious disappearance of the chicken that used to live in the chicken coup they are surrounding.

Sorry, fellas, we had pollo for lunch (Chicken).

Have a great week, we are off to a meeting with a new branch presidency for the Mala Branch, then to our discussion in Cerrol Azul and if that is not quite enough we are doing some marriage counselling in Montalban at 8:00. All in a days work. YAIPN!

Oh yeah, if you are following the blog and have not dropped us a line please do so, it is always nice to know who is reading.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hola Family and Friends,

We have spent most of our day at home today partially because of infirmities and mostly because we are waiting on our driver to come for us. He asked us to be the witnesses for his wedding which means that we need to attend the court house with him to register their intent to be married. After they register their intent the must advertise in the newspaper for a week, just in case some else thinks they are married to the person getting married. Assuming they clear that test they can pay a small fortune, comparatively speaking, and they can be married. Hence many can not afford that privilege.

I thought I would start off our installment for this week with an expert I plagiarized from our friend Betty Ann Armstrong who got it from somewhere else. It helps to give perspective to many of the pictures that we display.
I figured out where we live! This is exciting. We live in the Atacama Desert. To quote Wikipedia, “the Atacama Desert is a virtually rainless plateau in South America, covering a 600-mile strip of land on the Pacific coast of South America, west of the Andes mountains. The Atacama desert is, according to NASA, National Geographic and many other publications, the driest desert in the world. The………coastal inversion layer created by the cold offshore Humboldt Current, keep this over 20 million-year-old desert 50 times drier than California’s Death Valley”

We are told this desert extends from nearly the southern tip of Chile (furthest point south in South America) to the northern end of Peru. This is a very narrow strip of land, as the Andes mountains define the western coast of South America. The desert is the land between the western slope of the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. All of the rain that comes from the east falls on the eastern slopes of the Andes, in the “rain” forest. That completes your geography lesson for today.

Thank you Betty Ann for the quick and enlightening lesson.

This week our service/work project was on Cuy Ranch. Cuy are what we norte americanos call guinea pigs. Meet the Cuy!

There were hundreds of these peaceful little fellows in the Cuy house. They were divided in to clans which had two or three babies in each.

Hi, my name is "Dinner." Cuy is considered a delicacy in many places in South America. It appears on the menu of some of the "nicer" restaurants in town. We were fortunate to be serving on this Cuy ranch so we did not have to buy from a restaurant, unannounced it was in our Chifa rice for lunch.

Hermana Lebeau found this project for us and reported that we would be building a corral. This apparently is a pollo (chicken) corral made of adobe bricks. We carried these bricks about 50 yards up a hill and into this enclosure.

Elder Fuentes and this little helper were making the mortar, water and dirt, to hold the bricks together. While they were doing this Debbie and others were laying the brick and others were carrying bricks.

Hermana Mendoza has an infectious smile and loves to have her picture taken. Other than demonstrating that the Hermanas really carry their share of the load around here I wanted direct your attention to the square adobe brick edifice with the white curtain hanging on it. The curtain was special for us guests. You guested it, El Bano, "What no roof?" that is okay, there is no fixtures either, just an opening in the floor.

In white shirt is the lady that owns the ranch and surrounding chauka(fields) a long with her mother (not in the picture) and sister-in-law and child. Their home is made of panels made from bamboo strips with a mat of bamboo strips for a roof. most of the home is lit by skylights (hole in the roof with a screen covering the hole). Not withstanding the construction and the fact that the livestock passes through at will the home is meticulously clean.

We love these good people and they are so faithful. The yellow pail in the center of the picture is a Peruvian drink made from various fruits grown on the farm. You never know if you should drink or not because you don't know what the water source is or if it has been purified, so you make a value judgement. Guess who drank and who is sick this week.

We change settings for the next series of Pictures.

To start with the spots on the pictures are rain drops, yeah it is desert, but it is so dry that it could rain for week like this and nothing will get wet.

Let me set the scene; We had gone to meet with some families in the hills north of Imperial we started out at sunset and travelled by motto taxi, we had 5 people plus driver in the tiny little motto. The people usually walk to there home as this cost us about what one of them makes in a day. It was pitch dark when we arrived and started to hike up the hill, dirt and rock, to their homes. We stopped at the Relief Society Presidents home where we originally intended to meet. Every on the hill lives in a bamboo panel home, bamboo roof, no water, no electricity, some have a gas stove and a battery powered radio. This home was 10ft by 14ft at best and would be considered the upgraded version as they had managed to have a concrete floor.

We crowded into the area the was not taken by beds. As neighbors found out the company had arrived they desired to join in and we opted to move our meeting outdoors. A fire was fashioned and we called out into the dark that "Noche Hogar"(family home evening) was about to begin.

Nothing and I mean nothing grows on these hills so the fire was made of pieces of bamboo from someones home and some wooden children's toys.

When the word of God is taught in these circumstance by these people the principles of commitment and discipleship takes on a whole new meaning. There were others in attendance preparing a cup of soup to share and some others outside of the picture. There were also others there that you could only feel.

The lady on the end on the right is an investigator(one of four in attendance) and a very special lady. She was amazed at the joy the members and secretly trying not to be noticed as at this point as we were playing charades and she was nervous about having her turn.

This was another nervous but willing participant. What a blessing to be able to be apart of this special evening in a very humble and special place.

At the end of the evening we had to walk home, with the assistance of flashlights, through the Chauka on a well travelled trail crossing irrigation streams and bogs. We had to travel with a group of people as there are spots along the way where people hide to rob those traveling alone. Safely at home we expressed our appreciation for the many blessings that are too frequently taken of granted.

Another change of setting, this time we are on our preparation day, or as we are not supposed to call it "play day." After the missionaries finished their weekly communication home via the internet we boarded a bus for Lunauana (Loo na wana) which I thought was by the ocean, wrong again, it was in the mountains and still in our zone. It might as well have been Lunar wana as the landscape on the way there could have been on the moon.

On the way I snapped this picture at one of the bus stops. Bus stop is a misnomer as the bus stops anywhere there is prospective paying customer. (interesting marketing concept)

However Lunauana is actual a tourist hot spot on weekends and Summer holidays for the rising middle class in Peru. This week it host a famous wine festival as this is one of the places the famous, I am told, Pisco Wine is made. This us with the crew from San Vicente and Imperial in front of a very large and beautiful Catholic Church.

This part of the big draw around these parts, it is this large flowing river which is the life source for the entire Canete valley and provides the irrigation water for the fertile valley. Note the terraces on the other side of the river. When asked how old they are the answer was "really old."

The water flows from high in the Andes Mountains.

The mountains in the background are not the high moutains they just block the view of the high mountains. They white water raft here, we did not as it is against mission rules for the young missionaries. There is also quad riding, horse back riding, and swimming.

These are not the high mountains either. The mountains behind these are and they reach 19000 to 20000 feet.

Here is part of the paradox that is Peru. A bamboo shack and a satellite dish. This is back side of a road side eatery which serves trout from the river and salmon from I don't know where.

We had walked about three miles back down the mountain to get to this point and we found a photo opp for the crew. Finally a bus came along that was not full, it stopped and we stopped walking.

We hope you have enjoyed this weeks edition of Whitneysinperu and until next time, Love from us to You!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hola Family and Friends

We will start this episode by telling you about the pictures that we don't have that we wanted to show you.

Last week we had to move the Capilla in Quilmana from the rustic location (that we showed you in the previous weeks instalment) to the new location which we will have to show you at another time(because we don't have the pictures anymore).

The members from the Imperial Branch and the Quilmana Branch turned out in full force. furniture was moved cleaned and set up in our new 2nd floor "Casa Capilla." Partitions were manufactured, lights hung, and pictures placed. It was work and everybody helped. While the chapel was being readied the others were preparing to take care of our more temporal need and were preparing a traditional Peruano meal.

The new chapel does not have a kitchen but that would really not make any difference as many of the home don't either and everyone still gets fed. A make shift fire pit was arranged with bricks and quickly a wood fire was burning and water was boiling. Chickens were cleaned in the only sink there, vegetables were cleaned, and lunch was on. We are still debating exactly in what order all the comida was prepared but it was delicious. Oh yeah, all of this was done on the main street of town. Some time I think that it is possible to stand on too much ceremony.

Trust me the pictures would were awesome and told a much better story but my camera, back pack, clothing, scriptures, and other various hard if not impossible to replace possessions had a change of ownership when some crook decided to rob us while on the way to Lima last Friday.

Our motto here in our district is "You are in Peru, NOW!" and this was just another one of those moments.

We are having some really great experiences as well as we immerse ourselves in serving other people. Our Spanish is coming but not as fast as our impatience would like it to. We have the other missionaries come and tutor for and hour several times a week when they can.

Last week, on preparation day, we went with the missionaries from Canete and Imperial to meet the missionaries in Mala for a fun activity of a photo scavenger hunt. It only took a couple of hours and was a fun diversion from the labors of everyday. We down loaded pictures of that before our unfortunate turn of events. Here they are with our commentary.

This was our starting off point and the little blue and green mottos in the picture are our most usual form of transportation. We sometimes think that there are two of these units for every person in Peru, unless you really need one then there are two people in very one.

This is Elder McAllister, and the first item on our scavenger hunt. This is also the typical pollo (chicken) vendor. Who says you need to refrigerate chicken.

Fish did not live in fridge before they died why after. These fish are caught about four kilometers from Mala in the ocean.

These are exactly what they look like and a considered a real delicacy here in Peru. Which is good because the eat everything except the hair. Nothing goes to waste. More open air marketing, they say that nothing ages the meat more than hanging in the heat for a day or two.

The smiling police officer was probably the trickiest picture to get as they are hired for there ability to not be nice. However, when Debbie stepped up next to him he was all smiles. The picture of us, we are standing on top of a house that is built in to a hill overlooking the city of Mala

I guess it easy to tell who was taking the pictures as here is Elders Boulton, McAllister and Hermana at the gate to a cemetery. I must tell you about Elders McAllister and Boulton, they actually live in tent like the forts we all used make as children made of blankets and clothing. It is on the roof of a building and if you look at the positives, it allows them to have a sun deck, fire pit, solar clothes dryer, and view to the ocean on the west and mountains to the east. Elder Boulton said to me the other week, "if you consider that being in Peru is like a 2 year camping trip, you just have to tough it out, you will be okay."

This was not part of the scavenger hunt but I could not resist taking this picture. Look carefully at the 3rd floor upper left of the picture. It is an ingenious structural feature, a cantilever. You just use long bamboo poles extended of the side of the building and then pile heavy stuff on them.

This is where we had lunch together. Note the sign on the roof. Pollos al Cilindro. The chicken is cooked in a cylinder.

Here is the cylinder out front of the restaurant. Consider the convenience of this, this restaurant is attached to the Chapel.

Pollo and papa fritas for all. From the left: Jurez, Leon, Zea, Boulton, McAllister, US, Tanavasa, Mendoza, Lebeau, Fuentes, Grossman. These missionaries are the cream of the crop and very deserving of a little R.&R.

Me en Mi Casa the little place we call home.

Yes "la decorator" lives here too. Note the splash of color (bowl of candy) and art on the walls.

This is the more practical side of our home. I know it looks like a stove but it is much more than that, it is also our water heater for our clothes washer, hot water for washing our faces and dishes. It also functions as furnace, and towel dryer. By the way if it looks like there are bars on the windows, there are and no, not to keep us in.

The master suite comes complete with a bed and closet.

Check out the huge electrical switch in the bathroom. Building inspectors take note. This is a 250 volt power switch for the electric shower head. The first time I used it I made the mistake of moving the shower head while the switch was on. Shocking, note to user don't do again. The positive side is, it is instant hot water and only runs out when the water does or the power fails.

Take care, and we are livin large in Canete!


d. & d.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hola familia y amigos,

We are only a week late with this instalment of our adventures in Canete Peru. In Peru we are actually early as nothing happens on time or on schedule. Even Mormon Standard time is early, if you get my drift.

This group of people are very important to us. We are very fortuneate to spend a lot of time with the Hermanas Labeau and Mendoza and the Familia Macha. We really love these four people. Pedro and Carmen and I visit families every week and until this week Hermana Lebeau went with us as my interpreter. Debbie, Hermana Mendoza(or Hma. Cure) and Jessica Macha would visit investigators.

Mi casa es su casa! This welcoming picture is Debbie at the door of casa familia Whitney. This is one of the nicest places in Canete and when you consider that we call it home it is the nicest place in Canete. Truthfully there are not many like it out side of our little enclave. Take note of the object on the top our home on the left side.

Here is a close up of nerve central. This high tech instalation is my internet access point. It is fastened to a broom handle and wired to a piece of scrap metal that the installer found on the roof. The protective coating is the plastic bag that the device came in. I know that this sounds a little flimsy but I have reinforced it with black elecricians tape and a very secure basal wrap of precious duct tape. The cabling is spliced together extension cords and a single 30 foot run of cat5. Not in view are the five bricks that are providing balast and holding it in place. I buy my internet from a neighbor for the equivalent of $17 USD per month.

This is us saying goodbye to Hermana Cure who just completed her three month extention to her mission. She lives in Lima, loves the gospel, and is a fantastic missionary.
Elder Saavadra was transferred to week to become a trainer in Lima. He and his companion have provided many hours of service to us and although we had a little language barrier we communicated spirit to spirit very well. We miss him but know that he continues to serve well.

Elder Martinez and his companion (below) were the missionaries in Quilmana and were moved to new assignments in Lima as well. These are two fantastic Elders.

Elder Lopez was the branch President in Quilmana. He and his companion (Above) were sent in different directions. We loved working with both of these young men. Their families can certainly be proud of them.
(now from Debbie)
Slip slidin’ away, slip slidin’ away… thanks to Paul Simon for that little bit of a song. It fits perfectly. Not like our sheets. We had believed we were getting a queen size bed so when we bought our sheets we bought queen size. When we ordered our bed from Electra we still believed we were getting a queen size bed. \e got a double. These sheets were not going to stay on this bed. So I got out my straight pins, needles and thread and went to work. I put a large pleat down one side of the bed, and hand stitched it on the top and then the bottom. It took me the better part of one day to do that. There will be no pictures as it is not pretty. Well, that helped a bit, but it was still coming off the mattress. So today I got busy and stitched elastic under all 4 corners. I want to thank Marilyn (Doug’s sister) for making me skirts for my mission and leaving a lot of elastic on them. I brought the extra elastic with me, and I am happy I did.
We had done laundry one morning and the dryer was broken so that night Doug and I were ironing our sheets so we could make our bed. Now that is a first, we all know how much I like to iron.

Back Left : Elder Grossman, Lewiston, Idaho, Elder Saavadra, Bolivia, Elder Fuents, Peru, Pres. Manning, Hermana Manning, Hermana Nash, Elder Nash, Hermana Cure, Lima, Hermana Lebeau, Logan, Ut, Hermana Whitney, Elder Whitney, Calgary Alberta, Elder Tanavasa, Hawaiian/ Oregon,
Front Left : Elder Bolten, Riverton, Ut. Elder McAllister, Las Vegas, Elder Martinez, Calif. Elder Juarez, Lima, Elder Leon, Calif., Elder Lopez Guatemala.

Elder Saavadra, Elder Martinez, and Elder Lopez were transferred this past week and Hermana Cure has gone home after serving a 3 month extension on her mission, so we could have Hermanas in our area. We purchased a huge cake and had a transfer/going home get together with the zone on the Sunday evening.

We love all of our missionaries. They have been so good to us helping set up our home, getting internet, showing us how and where to get stuff. They tell us where to go and where not to go and what not to eat.

WE have asked the missionaries to spend one hour 5 times per week tutoring us and practicing Espanol. On Thursday the Hermanas came and gave us our first, of many I hope, Spanish lessons. Our new Hermana, Hermana Mendoza is from the jungles of Peru. Her pronunciation is different than some other Spanish speakers.

After our zone meeting last week the Elders from Mala told us about this really, really good restaurant that is very busy during the summer when everyone comes down from Lima. So we went with them after the meeting. It is very good. I had stir fried rice with shrimp. Doug had a mixed sea food plate. There was so much we both took home enough for another meal. This week we received an e-mail from Doug’s cousin and his wife, David and Erica, with a picture of them coming out of this very restaurant two weeks before. They were on a Murdock Travel tour of Peru. Go figure.

When we attended church in Quilmana (picture in last weeks blog) we met this awesome retired couple that live there, the Ayllon’s. Brother Ayllon was an aircraft electrician and they lived and worked in the USA most of there lives. Ten years in Burbank California and fifteen years in Boise Idaho and when they retired they moved home to Peru. They bought a farm and live very well here. Their children all live in the Boise area and they travel frequently to see them. They are one of only three families we know that own a car or truck and they even gave us ride. They are wonderful strong members of the church. Peru is their home and they love it here.

Along our way we see things that I sometimes wish I had taken a picture of and then I think, well, maybe it is better that I hadn’t. We were in a bus one day and in front of us was a moto, Doug says, “don’t look” well who is he talking too? Really, if you want some one to look at something for sure, just say, don’t look. Well in the basket behind the moto are 2 huge hogs, just flopping along, they were on their way to market, and who knows how long they have been in this state of death and how long until they get to where they will be …well, you know what I mean, processed. Then several days later we are on our way to Imperial and there is a truck in front of us, one cow standing the other down, for the count. The transportation of livestock to the butcher is not a matter of concern for anyone living in Peru, except me.

Here is a picture of a moto, like the one the hogs were in.
Through various means we asked our landlord to come and pick up the rent a day early so we could go. He came Tuesday evening and we paid him, we didn’t have exact change for the electric bill, he said he would bring it back on Thursday when he brings the lock smith to fix the lock to the front door, that doesn’t work properly. So we do the “Peru” wait and wait. Thursday evening there is a knock at the door, and we look at each other like, it’s about time. Doug opens the door and one of the security men is standing there and hands Doug a piece of paper. It’s in Spanish. Thank goodness for google and ‘”

Doug translated it and it said, your water will be turned off on Tuesday the 6th of Oct. because the landlord is four months behind on the account, $430.00 soles past due.

There goes the trip to Lima, we have a new priority.

So who do we call, not ghost busters? Elder Tanavasa. If you recall he is the tall one standing by Doug in the picture above. Wouldn’t you call him too?
He says don’t worry, be happy and YOU ARE IN PERU, NOW. He says that a lot. We know he will get to the bottom of this but we don’t know if we need to start looking at another place to live? The landlord has this months rent plus a months deposit. Who knows what this guy is thinking?

We could not get in touch with the Elders until Friday morning and it took them until Saturday morning to get something worked out with the home owners association that controls the water for our home. We have our fingers crossed and are praying that it is really been taken care of. Remember, YOU ARE IN PERU, NOW!

Until next time, WE ARE IN PERU, NOW!