Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Saludos desde Los Whitney en Cañete

We have had a relatively full two or I guess now it is three weeks since our last blog entry as we have had opportunity to face some of the realities of life in Cañete and Peru. We are enjoying pleasant daytime temperatures of 30C or 86F which ever you prefer and although it cools off a bit at night our solid brick and concrete home/oven retains all of the daytime temperature. We no longer complain about cold water because it would now be nice to have some as we really don’t need to turn on the electric shower to have a warm shower. I sometimes feel like a Saskatchewan farmer because no matter what the condition is, something else would always be better.

For those of us that don’t like our Canadian Health Care here is a little relato of health care in Peru. Three weeks ago our friend Cesar developed a hernia in his lower abdomen and had to be taken to emergency at the hospital. They confirmed that he had a problem, gave a prognosis, and quote for the procedure that was necessary. He then had to contact his health care provider which informed him that he was not cover for another 30 days. The hospital/medical profession solution was to send him home because he was taking up space in the hospital and he clearly was not a paying client.

His employer, although sympathetic, would not help him financially but offered him light duties for 30 days until he could qualify for coverage. The first night back at work he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital where they said come back when you have the money and we will fix you.

One might argue that socialized medicine is not as good as private etcetera, but you can’t argue that here, because people can’t afford the kind of health care that you are used to so the system can’t offer it either.

Back to Cesar, tapping what resources available to us plus local ingenuity Cesar was able to have his operation the next day. (he is recovering nicely at home now) We visited him in the hospital a couple of hours after the operation he was suffering a lot of pain but the big difference was that it would go away.

Here there is somewhat of a belief that air that does not move is stagnant and makes you sick therefore the hospital is essentially open air. Who knows, maybe it is better because it certainly is the same as being at home. Sufficeth it to say that it was other than a sterile environment.

To help cover a portion of the expense his family and friends held a benefit luncheon, which a common practice here, where tickets are sold for the meal. Sopa seca, which is a delicious spaghetti preparation with a piece of cooked chicken, was the menu for the day. The proceeds of the meal covered about 25% of the expenses.

Cesar managed to pop a couple of stitches and had to be fixed up a little but is recovering well and with a little bit of luck will be back to work on March 1.

Last week on Monday night President called and said he needed our help. One of our missionaries was going to have to go home early, in fact he had only been in the field 4 days. He asked that we pick him up at his apartment at 6:30 the next morning and ask him to pack and bring all of his belongings with him. He said that he would not be told that he was going home until he was in Lima. We were to escort him to the office for an interview with the president was all we could tell him. It was hard thing to do knowing what we did and knowing that there were going to be some even harder days ahead for this young man and his family.

We stayed at the office most of Monday hoping that maybe things could be resolved and that we would be taking him back but finally around 3:00 President came and told us we could go home that the missionary would be on the plane home that night. The president has had to send 6 other missionaries home in the last month and it is taking a toll on him as well.

I gave most of the Branch Presidents a break from our usual training session and asked them to make appointments with menos activos families in their respective areas for us to visit. These are always richly rewarding experiences for Debbie and I, we always feel so blessed when we get into the homes of the people. At the same time it is the best to put into practice the training and teaching we do with the leaders. The Branch Presidents that we work with are men of such strong faith and have desire to see the work move forward in their area but often feel like they are slipping in the mud. When we take them out visiting they get so energized it so much fun to watch it happen.

Valentine’s Eve we went out to dinner with Juan Carlos, Adriana, and family in Asia it was a ton of fun and you will never guess who forgot to take the camera. On Saturday nights the place is packed with people and entertainment. Sorry about the no pictures all I can say is that it was good company, good food, and a good time.

We do have a few pictures and a little commentary for you, so here it is:

This a picture of the Zone the night before changes, we are missing one of our favorite missionaries Elder Zea. Zea had to ship out earlier in the afternoon to Lima as this was his final move he served his full two years and was going home with honor. From the top left: Elders Walker (ZL), Bearnson, Novoa, Servan, Garay (transferred to Lima), Me. Front Row Hermanas Mogollon(transferred to Nasca), Whitney, and Mendoza.

The night before transfers we always have a get together with the zone, this time we had a dinner, Pollo al a brasa, papa fritas, and cake.

Feb 5th President and Sister Manning came and the Familia Jones came to visit us and took us to dinner at Il Piloto. Elder and Hermana Jones are a new mission couple from Malad Idaho and will be serving in the Nasca/Marcona district about 4 hours south of us. It was a great to meet the Jones, they are choice people with a tough assignment.

One of the things we really enjoy doing is meeting in peoples home and teaching them how to hold there own family home evenings (noche de hogar). We do this once or twice a week, this particular familia you will hear more about next time as we will be Padrones at their wedding next week. Here Debbie is preforming her castigo(punishment) for losing at a game. She is singing, the funny thing is she is singing in english and is singing "I guess I will just make up the words because I can't remember them and nobody knows what I am singing anyway." She got caught.

Last Blog we introduce Ray that we challenged to be baptized while teaching with the Elders in Mala, well this is his baptism day and we are walking to the ocean where it will take place.

Making our way to this spot where we hoped to have a little seclusion for this sacred event, awesome isn't it!

Well did not end up being as secluded as we had hoped for but it was perfect just the same. Ray's older brother performed the baptism and Elders Servan and Bearnson were witness and lifeguards. Look who is in bare feet.

They had a little trouble, okay a lot of trouble, having a successful baptism and someone on shore thought that a little coaching was necessary. She was only about 1o seconds from going out and showing what to do.

On the fifth attempt they were successful but when I said that the Elders were lifeguards I really meant it. A huge wave swept Ray away and the Elders had to go to the rescue.

You can't even have a baptism in Peru without a kid trying to sell you something frozen. These three entrepreneurs say a group gathering and brought their chests of Popsicle like things hoping to make a few sales.

This one of those "guess what this is" pictures. When we got in to the bus to go to the playa for the baptism this was hanging from the rear view mirror in the bus. Consequently it was hanging right in front of Debbie's face. The Santa elf is easy to identify but the chicken foot hanging in front of his face is the trouble part of this picture.

I don't know how many people this will have an impact on but if you know about ISO Certification you might have an interest. This banner is hanging in the Soyus Bus Station in Lima. Soyus is certified and current. We have a lot of experience with Soyus and all I can say is that being ISO Certified does not make you a great company it only means that you know why your not a great company.

And this little piggy went to market! Not the two on the moto the chancho is in between the two guys. This picture would have been better from the other side but for some reason we could not get the taxi driver to pass them on the should of the road, if we did not want him to he would have.

Juan Carlos and Adriana had a week of holidays so on preparation day we went to Paracus with them to do a little sight seeing. If he knew I was going to put this picture on the Internet I don't think he would ever have opened up the umbrella. This at the board walk at the beach.

This boat is the twin to the boat that we are riding in when I took this picture. We took a tour to the Ballestos Islands. They are billed as the "lesser Galapagos Islands." A lot of very interesting wildlife reside on the islands and millions of birds. So many birds that they harvest bird droppings.

Meet Edgardo the tour guide and operator. To many people he is known as Obispo(Bishop) Aguilar. We had never met before however when we arrive in Paracus a young man selling hats and protection for vehicles noticed our name tags and told us he is a member and the his bishop is one of the guides. When we got on the boat Obispo helped me down into the boat, he noticed the plaque and with a slight tremor in his voice said, "Elder" I responded by saying Obispo. He stopped and asked, "how did you know." I responded, "we just know these things."

This interesting marking in the hillside is known as the "Candelabra" and it's origin is not sure. The right hand side is similar to early Incan designs found in the Mountains and may have been made first and the rest of it is said to have been made by Pirates as a land mark. In any event it can be seen from 15 miles out to sea and has been used for more than 400 years. It carved in the hill and is more than a meter deep and when it rains the outline turns yellow.

Ballestos Islands. They several very interesting natural arches.

Millions of sea lions


Lazy sea lions

We found it humorously interesting that they were living quarters on the island for the workers that come to harvest the bird droppings. But I guess if that is what you do all day sleeping there is not big deal. The islands smell very offensive.

We had just passed through this arch and I thought that it made an awesome picture.

Yea, we all bought the hats from the young man at the pier, Octavio in front left, Juan Carlos, Adriana, Debbie, and Douglas. There is nothing like a day on the water, the only thing missing was a fishing pole.

We finished our outing with a fantastic seafood meal in an ocean side cantina in the little fishing village of La Mina in the Paracus National Reserve and this finishes this installment of WE ARE IN PERU NOW!

Les amo mucho!!!

Los Whitney