Friday, November 20, 2009

Hola Familia y los Amigos

It has been a couple of weeks since our last entry. Time really seems to fly by when you are having fun or it is hard to get much more than the most important things done when you are under the weather. We have had an extra measure of both occurrences for both of us in the last couple of weeks. I have been on antibiotics and dope for parasites for so long that I am now susceptible to almost everything, I am sure. But enough of that talk we do not want to turn you off before we get started.

I have mentioned previously about our part-time chauffeur Cesar, he drives a moto taxi, I would say for a living, but that would be a misnomer on at least two levels. First of it is a hard living to make working 16 hours a day with heavy competition and high overhead.

It is hard for most of us to understand some of the realities that they deal with here. If he could own his own moto he could possibly make a living. However he rents his moto from someone that has managed to get ahead and has 15 motos that he rents to others like Cesar.

Cesar pays S/28. per day ($10. USD) every day of the year (if you don’t work you still pay) plus fuel, and maintenance expense or damages. In all, it takes half of his work day to cover the costs of employment. Without having to pay interest he could buy a new moto every year. Here is the kicker and this is the reason that all the big banks from Canada and the US are here (Scotiabank, CIBC, TD, HSBC, Interbank, Citibank, BAC. Mortgage interest rates start at 12% with minimum down payments of 20%. Consumer loans are 19+% with a minimum of 20% down. Hardly anyone can qualify for a credit card that actually has credit, they are prepaid debit cards.

I am sure that one day Cesar will have his own moto, because that is the kind of ambition he has, but it will be extremely hard work to do so. We, with our North American perspective, look at it and think, “what’s the problem that is bus change.” But to put together the down payment of S/2,000 ($630 USD) for most is insurmountable.

At least 95% of the people don’t have money to keep in bank but have to use the bank because salary earners must be paid through the bank, because that is how they how to tax you, and all bills for phone, utilities, must be paid at the bank. All at a nominal charge, of course.

We keep a “positive” balance in our bank account in Lima and they have an understanding of our banking relationship at home. Now this part is especially for our two relationship managers at our bank in Calgary, when we come into the branch each relationship manager in the branch stops what they are doing and greets us and our relationship officer gets up and gives us both a KISS, on the cheek, when we arrive and when we leave. Que piensa?

Marriage is also an interesting conundrum here as well. The cost of getting married is very expensive here and the cost of getting a divorce is even more expensive. So if you can put together the money to get married and you don’t make it work and you cannot afford to get a divorce, no problem you just leave, and this happens a lot.

Here is where it gets twisted, because people can’t and won’t get a divorce it is hard to know who is legally married, who can legally get married since you can only be married to one person at a time. So to get married you must prove that you are not currently legally married to someone else. It is a lengthy paper trail of documents that are required and if you have migrated from the sierra or jungle it is almost cost prohibitive to go and get the documentation. Yes, there is no central registry.

Once you have your papers in order then you must advertise in the newspapers in the localities in which you have lived for one week notifying of your claim of legal status for marriage. If you clear you can get hitched. Many just don’t and this is the stem of so much of the social problems in the county.

Because the expense of marriage is so high, on certain occasions during the year, the Alcalde in a municipality will have a cut rate sale on marriage ceremonies but the catch is that you have to have at least 20 couples with their paper work together for “Masivo Matrimonio.” All twenty must be there to begin and you get to sit until all twenty ceremonies are complete.

Meet our dear friends Cesar, Janet and family as we experience our first “Masivo Matrimonio” at Town Hall in Imperial. (I say first because the Hermanas informed us today that we are helping them organize for another Masivo as we have 11 couples in our area that need to be legally married in order to join the church and there are another 5 in Imperial)

Cesar and Janet are two of the happiest people on the planet and we were so privileged to be a part of this day. They asked to to be the "testigos" or wittiness's. As they call us their padrones we could not refuse.

This is part of the extended family including Grandma and Grandpa. The precious little ones are Cesar's and Janet's. Town hall is the back drop.

This is a view of the inside of the hall where all twenty couples and special guests were assembled. The halls outside were filled with other well wishers. The youngest couple were about 17 years old and the oldest couple were easily in their seventies.

We performed our official duties including three sets of finger prints. Everything here has your official finger print, or it is not official.

Skipping back to another big event in our week we traveled to Lima with our Hawaiian (son)/ Elder Tanavasa as we said hasta luego. Elder T. helped us in so many ways and has left a huge void in our lives that we will now have to fill with our other missionaries. Aloha, we love you.

We also said hasta luego to our dear friend Elder Fuentes as he was transferred to his new assignment. Elder Fuentes is a Peruvian missionary and is serving an outstanding mission.

Elder Boulton, on the left, was shipped off to Lima for his new adventures. We miss him as well as we have had the opportunity to share some very special experiences with him.

On Saturday we had two very special baptisms. The first was this beautiful spirit her name is Kiara Lipon. She is the first in her family to be baptised and after the next masivo her parents will follow her.

Guess who, Cesar was able to baptized on Saturday as well. Believe it or not but this is actually the happiest day of their lives, so far. Checkout the precious little girls.

What does this picture have to do with anything? If someone reading our blog knows David Comb in Calgary you have to get him to look at this. This is the typical, actually it is an upscale, tire shop in Lima. It is totally out doors, requires two people to operate, and the business desk is just out of sight. It is a white plastic table with two white plastic chairs. Beautifully simple and simply beautiful.

This is a new family home evening group that we have started. The familia Valbin are in the center of this picture, family of six. We have loved them back into activity in the church and have very high expectations for them and their family

We went on a little excursion on Monday to a zoo in Quilmana. Most of the exhibits were, as you can see, not living. It saves on maintenance and would make PETA very proud of them.

El Torro!

We also went of a hike in the hills near the zoo. As you can see nothing grows in these hills, nada, nunca.

This also gives a perspective of the massive size of the hills, and the are just the foothills of the Andes.

What trip to the zoo would not be complete without a picture of the kids riding on a not so real elephant. The zoo did have some live animals but the pictures would not make PETA as happy with the Peruvian Zoo keepers.

Well, this brings us to the end of another chapter of "YOU ARE IN PERU NOW." Thank you so much for taking the time to share in our experiences and we value and cherish your feed back.


Los Gringos en Canete


  1. You sound like you've adjusted very nicely to Peru and all of its nuances. Don't you wish you could help everyone with both their spiritual and physical needs! You're both looking good! I'm surprised you haven't been able to kill the parasites yet! During my mission, I had parasites, but it only took 3 or 5 days of medicine to eradicate them from my body. One positive side effect is they help you to lose weight, not meaning that either of you have any to lose. !Que el Senor sigue bendiciendoles!

  2. I love you. You are doing a great work. The blog is super. Get well! I worry about you. Being skinny is no fun if you feel crumby. I wish my banker liked me that much. I wonder what it would take in Idaho.

  3. doug and deb what a great missionary you two are to the people in Peru. You will remeber this all your life. Just one thing deb, you are in peru and things sound so interesting you could never get that disorganized in Canada. Enjoy it and cherise it. So much of the world is like that and we have it so good here. You won't want to come back. Remember what i told you... Young missionary's are one way and that is why they have you guys. What a truly great experience you are having. Arrividerci Mike Bezona