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!