Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hola Familia and Friends

There are two phrases that we hear every day, “poco a poco” and “claro.” Poco a poco (it means - gradually) is what I hear when someone is telling me that someday I will speak Spanish, but today is not the day. Claro (means – is it clear, do you get it) is what they say to me when I have that glazed look in my eyes and I have no idea what they have said to me.

Learning the language is more difficult than I thought it would be and poco a poco is how it is done. There are moments when I think that it would easier to teach 33 million Peruanos how to speak English than me Spanish. A couple of our friends here are trying learn English to see if they can learn it before we can learn Spanish.

Cesar our part time chauffeur tries to learn a new English phrase for every time he picks us up. I respond in English just to show him how it feels to not know what people are saying back to you. He will likely learn English before I learn Spanish.

Remember the picture of the 250 volt shower head water heater and gigantic throw switch from a couple of weeks back? Last week it stopped functioning properly so I decided to fix it, by myself. I took it apart and sure enough it did not look right inside so I tried a certain amount of southern engineering and it worked for another day.

The next day we went to Asia (Awh-see-ah) where there is store called Sodimac, sort of like a Home Depot Peruano style, and I bought a new element for the shower. I fixed it again, myself, I threw the switch and thought for a brief second, hey look this one comes with a built in light, a moment later it was all smoke and ashes. I quickly turned off the switch.

I thought, only a minor set back, I can find another one so I went on the quest for a new element, armed with the old part and my Spanish English dictionario, out I went and to my utter amazement I came home with another element. I was not an exact replacement but with a few minor adjustments from my pocket knife was made to fit in the socket. I threw the switch and it did not light up which by this time I had determined must be a good thing, however the water, although warmish, would not qualify as a hot shower. Since my modifications rendered the piece un-returnable and my confidence in finding a better replacement was shaken I salvaged parts from each and put together my own version and it works.

On the topic of the electric shower, because of the forward thinking in the building industry, homes come wired with about a 10 amp service. There are only 3 circuit breakers for the house which on one hand makes it easy find the one that has blown, conversely there is always one blowing. When the shower is on turning on almost anything else will blow the main circuit which is in a locked box out on the street. When I say almost anything else will cause it to blow I really mean it because when I am in the shower Debbie tries something new and sure enough it blows. To turn it on again you have to go to the Vigilada guard house at the entry to the community and have the Vigilada come with a key, unlock the box, throw the switch, lock the box and laugh at the gringos. Today it was the toaster. She said she was sorry but I still had to dress and go get the Vigilada to laugh at he gringos. Today I also bought a key to the box.

What you would rather have – a problem or a solution!

Tuesday night we had another one of those experiences that we had mentioned before, we don’t know why they just happen. We finished an appointment with a menos activos familia at around 8:00, it had been a awesome spiritual meeting, and we told the Hermanas that we were going to skip the last appointment that night. We suggested to them that they could go with the familia Macha and we head for home.

We were not in the nicest part of town and normally we would not walk here after dark. Notwithstanding we started out and should have caught the first transportation available, but we didn't.

We walked across town, about 2 kms, we don't know why because it cost the same to take the combie(mini van bus costs about .25 US) from where we were to home as would where we eventually stopped to catch the bus. We got to a certain but not specific point on the side of road and just stood there. Deb said, "what's your plan?" "I dun know" She said, "that sounds like a good plan." A minute later we noticed a man crossing the road right toward us, he walked right up to us and began to talking a mile a minute. We explained that we are still learning the language and suggested that if he slowed down it would help us to understand, so he did.

We were able to learn that the fellow is member of the church, served a mission, has a wife and three children, and lives in another town. His aged infirm parents who also are members, who had been temple missionaries, live in a nearby pueblo called Clarita. His mother who is 89 years old has been ill and had not been able to attend church in long time and it seems that no one from the church has been out to visit her. Would we please visit. We had him write the directions for us and we said we would visit. We no sooner said that we would visit and he said good bye and was gone. We don’t know why we were there, we just were.

Debbie commented, "it is funny but when we got to this spot and stopped I felt completely at peace like I had nowhere else to be than right here."

Thursday we gathered the Hermanas with us and we found a combie that would take us to Clarita. We gave the directions to the driver and he knew them by name and said that they have lived there forever, when we stopped he pointed in the direction of the home, told us the color of the house and said we could not miss it. He was right.

We have come to understand that when we have these experiences something very special is about to happen and we have never been disappointed.

The home was not the typical adobe hovel that we are accustomed to seeing but was more of a hacienda style, it was older but the grounds were kept and clean. There is glass window wall that is about 30 feet long that looks up the road toward the highway and as we were walking down the 300 meters from the highway we could make out a tiny figure of a person making their way across the window to the door. With tears in her eyes she cried and said “I looked out my window and saw angels coming down our road. God has brought four angels to my home today.”

We sang her favorite hymns, we visited, we prayed together. It really was a rich blessing to be there, it really made our day to make some else’s day brighter (I think there is a deep moral in that statement).

Not withstanding all the joy I could not help but feel that this was not the only reason that we had been brought there that day, it felt like there should be something more. I have mental inventory that I go through with people so see if their spiritual needs are being met within there circumstances, that did not seem to be it. Then asked, “is there anyone here that we need to teach?” I will use the picture below to finish this part of the story.

Meet the Familia Taya/ Portuguez, Hermana Dionicia and Hermano Gerardo and their granddaughter Pamela and us you know. When I asked if there was anyone that we could teach they could not think of anyone. We asked the granddaughter if she was baptised, guess what, No! When we asked if she would like to receive the lessons she said she had been waiting and already had her own scriptures. We start on Wednesday and we now know why we were standing at the side of the road.

This is a common sight. This is on the Panamericana Highway and one would expect that the guard tower would be protecting government facility or a prison. The towers are strategically placed to give sharpshooters a clear shot to any spot in the vineyard, yup, grapes. Serious business.

Oh, were having fun, it was a full moon and we are howling. This was at a family home evening this week and as our punishment for losing a game we had to stand in the middle of the street and yell, en espanol, NEIGHBORS MY PIG IS DEAD!

We had 32 people out to this home evening, in this tiny little bamboo hut. This girl is performing her penance for losing another game. I don't quite understand this punishment but I can tell you they really get a kick out of it when I have to preform it.

Every time we see a John Deere tractor Debbie says "you have to take a picture of that for Winston Bohne," Nadyne's father. Hermano Winston this Deere is for you!

This week we moved a lot of bricks and concrete from this building trying to get it into shape for use. You would not believe how we started moving the debris. I did not get a picture, silly me, it was three wheeled cart that you pedal. It was a two mile round trip. Fortunately we were able to enlist this truck and its owners help.

All though it looks like the Elders are resting they were really just getting ready to push. Grateful as we were for the truck it does not have a functioning starter and had to be push started all the time.

Preparation day was in our community this week. We played soccer ate pizza and had a going home cake for Elder Tanavasa and birthday cake for Elder Boulton.

This art work was done on the roads in Los Reyes, where we live, to celebrate the coming/or leaving of "El Senor de la Milagros." A procession of floats, bands, and priests toured our streets.

Uno mas!

This is another example of innovation in security. Notice the jagged edge along the top of the walls. It is broken glass that is cemented into the wall as a practical deterrent to stop would be thieves from clambering over the walls.

As I have been finishing this instalment tonight and listening to gunfire and explosions outside maybe it is good things we can't understand the news reports.

Until next time, We Are In Peru Now!

Los Gringos.


  1. Awesome post! The "NEIGHBORS MY PIG IS DEAD!" picture slayed me. Be safe.

  2. Thanks so much for being so diligent with your blog! I absolutely love reading about your experiences! It gives me insight into the work and Peru that Tyler hasn't given me in the past 23 months. Thanks again!

    -Tessa, la novia del Elder McAllister.

  3. We wish we could be there with you. What wonderful experiences you are having. Our life is so boring in comparison.
    I have just watched the Flames get thrashed by Chicago 7-1. You are not missing anything exciting.
    I think everyone should experience life in South America. They would all be really grateful for all that they have. We really do take so many things for granted.
    You are in our prayers. Keep up the great work. God Bless! Love, Meg.