Monday, September 10, 2012

New Routines

I am working in the same building as I have for the past dozenyears, but it's now called All City High (ACH) at John Marshall Campus. I'm glad I can still work close to home. But the schedule is different, and I have to be there at 7 in the morning. So, while we are still on Daylight Savings Time, which is an hour ahead of peru's time (though we are technically stil in the same time zone) - I cannot call Levi for devotions before I go to work. He needs the sleep - and 6:00 am here is 5:00 am THERE. I have to wait until we "fall back" and then i can call him at 6 and have some time on the phone with him before I have to leave for work by 6:45.
So, I occasionally try to call him later in the day. I get home after 2:30, which is around 1:30 there - he's usually home for lunch around 2, Peru time. But he doesn't always go home for lunch. I occasionally try to call him when he gets home from work at night - but it isn't the same time every night, and sometimes he stops to see a relative - plus, since I'm an hour later, and I've been up since 5:30 am so I can get on the exercise bike, and then shower, well, I am EXHAUSTED. So I haven't been using the phone minutes as much! AND  - I really miss our devotional time. I miss just chatting with Levi. I will have to take naps so that I can have the stamina to stay up later to talk with him.

My second job has come pretty much to an end as well - the woman I helped had to find someone to fill in for me while I was away. But I'll look for something else.

The Clothesline Art Festival was not as productive as in previous years due to yucky weather on Saturday. I can pay some bills, and save SOME towards return to Peru. I have to put my trust in the Lord that He knows what's going on. Perhaps His purpose is to bring Levi here first on a fiance visa - so we can have a simpler time getting married - MAYBE - although I think of his parents, and how much it would mean to them to be there. 

Well, I think for the tithe from the art show, I'll wire it to Levi for another couple of Breakfast events, one this month and one next.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Last Days -and Meals - in Lima

Sunday night, since they didn't have to take me to the airport they dcided to take me to a pollería. Maximo drove - there was Julia, Teresa, Jorge, Sabina, Jhibson, Ronald, Jose, and Ruth. There was some disagreement as to which "Sabor Real" to go to - Teresa insisted this one was "mas rico", while Jorge pointed to that one. Maximo got us parked near Teresa's choice (and we watched as a "borracho" - drunk - urinated in front of his motorcycle before taking off ) - only to find out, no, they didn't have upstairs dining. Jorge and a couple of the guys gleefully said, "We win, we win!" and Maximo drove us across to the other one. And when it came time to pay up, Teresa was counting out the change as the others chipped in, and I offered 20 soles but they waved it way - I was the invited gust! I didn't refuse!
The following day I spent a lot of time on the computer, downloading photos and videos. A couple of "my boys" came by, Jhon and César -as Soldados de Barro from 2006, they'd accompanied me on a mission trip to visit churches along a river. Having sat so long, I needed a walk, so I grabbed them as my ecort and we just mosied down the street. We turned at the next block and knocked on Nimia's door - bcause of course there were her sons, including Elvis, another of my "boys" who had been with me on missions. Jhon invited him to join us, but he was with his fiancee having devotions. However, they confirmed a date for tonight - apparently these 3 plus Moisés, Sabi's son, decided to take advantage of my extended stay, to take me to a pollería owned by César's uncle (which, Sabi said, was even "mas rico".) And so it was around 7:30 that the 4, plus Sabina and I, walked (yay) to the other polleria - again THEIR treat. It was just so sweet of them! And the walking did me good.
Yesterday morning, Julia called Sabi to tell her not to make breakfast, that SHE would bring something. So...I had a hamburger on one of the rolls they call "french" - like french bread in texture and flavor, but just a roll.. Then, she wanted to invite me for lunch - here at the church? or at their home? Well, I could use more walking, since everyone insited on feeding me, so I suggested her house. Sabi discussed the menu with hr, and later Maximo came to get me. While waiting, when Sabi had to go to the market, I asked to tag along, for the exercise. We passed Teresa's tailor shop and greeted her. Later, when I walked with Max, it was mostly a downhill walk, and farther than I thought, going beyond the markt. So I said that on the return trip I thought a vehicle of some sort would be a good idea. Julia made chicken with vegetables and lo mein noodles, Chinesey style - LOTS of veggies, even bok choy, snow peas, and bean sprouts! I ate all that she served, but did not ask for seconds. The portion was quite enough. This morning Sabi was telling me how delighted Julia was - that she told Teresa, "I made lunch for sister Shelley, with my whole heart full of love, and she ate EVERY BIT!" - putting Teresa jealous! (???) Well, Max and Julia wanted to keep me a while longer, going on a little paseo, but Jorge'd made other plans, so Max drove me home. Oh, I'd also had a pleasant time with their son (and mine!) Ronald, who showed me his English workbook and asked some help on translations; then showed me a world atlas and we enjoyed finding places in Peru and the USA.
In the evening, Jorge took me by taxi to a church, Vida Abundante - telling me en route that I was to give the message, so, I did a lot of praying during the ride! The church looked a bit fmiliar, and I learnd later that I had indeed been there once before in 2006. Well, Ps. Pedro invited us in his office and served cheese sandwiches and hot cocoa, and we chatted a bit before service. The music was good - anointed - and this morning Sabi told me that Jorge had told her that I gave a wonderful, encouraging message. I think it was rather brief, because the service started at 8 and I finishd by 9. I drew from my devotional reading in Matthew, where Jesus prayed in the Garden, "Not my will, but Yours". Somtimes His will is difficult, and there is suffering. Somtimes we don't understand the why's. But we can always trust God's goodness, wisdom, and love. And even if we mess up - the Father receives us back, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son. And if God was able to do His will through somone like the prophet Jonah, who resisted, how much more, if we really want to do His will, will He help us?
So, Sabi said, it may be that word was for just one person, and God cancelled my flight to deliver it.
PLUS...Back when I realized  Levi wouldn't be coming back with me, I considered changing the date of my flight to spend a little more time in Peru, but it would cost an extra $100. But since it was cancelled, I was able to reschedule with no extra charge!
So...Tonight I HOPE I will be homeward bound - to my Rochester, NY home - but it's nice to have family in other places. How beautiful is the family of God in Christ!

Monday, August 27, 2012


Well, I was all emotionally adjustd to returning home. Was having breakfast with my hostess Irma when Sabina came over saying Abi  was on the phone - I suggested she tell her to wait a bit and call back. When I got back, I waited for her call, but the line was dead, so I e-mailed her, wondering if everything was okay - after all, I would be home the next afternoon, what couldn't wait? Later was at sister Nimia's house when the phone rang, Sabina's daughter Ruth, saying Abi called. and was told to call back in a bit. We finished our lunch and headed bck. The phone line went dead again, though, so I checked the email - and she had replid that my flights were cancelled due to a hurricane. SO. Had to reschedule. She tried calling from there while I tried, with a prepaid phone card, to call the office in Lima. We were both on hold for some time - no doubt oodles of other travellers trying to rearrang things - but I got through first. So...I will be on my way home WEDNESDAY night. There was a group of folks going to make a paseo of the trip to the airport - but instead they took me to a polleria, and wouldn't let me pay anything. Being low on funds, I didn't argue!

The days in Lima have been fairly uneventful - Friday night there was an "August Birthday" celebration after the service.(at which I was invited to share the message.)They served a big vat of "chaufa" - Chinese frid rice with chicken, egg, onions, and seasoning - and cake.When they started serving, the lights went out, and Jorge produced some flashlights so we could all finish up. I met an evangelist, pastor Pinedo - and I know some Utias are hooked up with Pinedos, so I asked him about it. He didn't know any Utias himself, but he was familiar with Pucallpa. We had  nice little chat.
  Saturday there was a united church effort to do some house-to-house evangelism. One group came in the morning, and I was recognizd by some members of Ps. Alberto Saens' church. In the afternoon there was another group. I stayed behind on the computer. Sabi served me a lunch of "carne de res" (beef) from our Papito Maximo in Chiclayo, with sauteed peppers and onions, and fries. The first crew had soup and leftover chaufa. Another group came which included my friends pastors Gregorio and Juanita, and they brought their granddaughter Gracia - I couldn't believe it was she, she had grown so much! Juanita stayed behind because the munchkin was too difficult to control, so we had some time to talk a bit - mostly about some problems they had on the home front. I know they have a lot of grief right now due to certain circumstances. A bit later, some of the boys were going to get bread, and I debatd going with them for the exercise, but didn't want to slow them down. But they insisted it was all right and were glad to have me walk along with them. Besides, that way they could ask me questions about the USA and NY. It was a good walk, and I workd up a sweat in my two sweaters.When the group returnd we had bread-n-butter and tea before they all went home.

There was  joint service in the evening, with the 5 other pastors who took part. I was asked just to greet people because Ps Pinedo gave a message (yay) They served bread-n-butter and tea afterwards and gave people opportunities to share songs. It was a pleasant time of fellowship.
The next morning I asked Irma if she could loan me soap and shampoo so I could bathe, and she heated up some water and obliged me. Lima's winter is such that while it isn't as cold as Rochester's, you don't sweat much - not like Pucallpa where you want to bathe twice or three times a day! But I will be glad when I can be home and fill the tub with warm water from the tap and maybe some bath salts and SOAK and scrub myself off and change into clean clothes,washing my well-travelled clothes in a machine. And have non-instant coffee!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Another Home Away from Home

My flight from Pucallpa was delayed last night - they needed a document (not from ME) before they could take off. Like I haven't had enough document-based problems! I was tearful...In the afternoon, family arrived for a farewell lunch. Ma had prepared "pollo al horno", baking the chicken in a sauce. I had prepared a salad of chopped broccoli and grated carrot. Then Victor and Sonia arrived with little David, and took me for a "paseo" in his motokar to see the park of Yarinacocha, where there's a lake. Four-year-old David said it was the biggest lake in the world, and I had to break the news to him that I live near a lake where you can't even see the other side. Tios Armando and Teresa arrived first; others came in dribs and drabs - Erika with Carlín and their 2 boys; Marita and Benito;Kelly; Miguel with is girlfriend and son - since they arrived late, they missed out on the salad, the last of which Levi had when he arrived from work for lunch. Some couldn't make it - but the day before I'd had some special time with nephew Fritz and Abl when they came by. Ma and Pa had gone into town for some thing, leaving me in charge of the store - ma had instructed me on prices of the most commonly bought items. Fritz helped with a sale of "un sol de huevos" - 3 eggs for a sol. Later Abel helped with bouillon aand seasoning for a totaal of 50 centimos. When they arrived, Abel looked at what we had of leftover on the table - so I asked if they were hungry. Apparently they'd been up since early morning when their mother Marita had to take her grandson Andres to the hospital. So I gave them the rest of the stew Ma had made the previous day, and the pancakes I'd made in the morning. and rice of course. Abel washed up afterwards - he who does not work, let him not eat. When Ma and P returned, they asked Fritz to take them somwhere, so Abel stayed with me and we had a nice conversation, mostly him asking m4 about life in the USA. Anyway - it had been a lovely time of getting to know family. When Josué arrived last night, he sat next to me and said, "Qué pena" and got me crying, and we held haands,and hugged. Later, niece Leidy arrived from work to give her own personal goodbye, a little poem. And, when Victor arrived last night with Sonia to take me to the airport, I was in tears as I hugged and kissed Ma, Josue, and Pa. Levi arrived at the airport a bit later from work, with Josue, so I gave everyone a last hug and kiss and went to the gate. The pain of departure was somewhat mitigated when I saw Tito waiting for me - and soon after, Jhibson aand Sabina...and then Ronald and José. I was still with family, still coming "home". How beautiful is the family of God in Christ!
 Yesterday was Jorge's birthday, but they're celebrating tonight, so I'm glad to be able to participate. This morning I was invited to breakfast with Rosita, José's aunt (sandwichs of avocado!); she also wants me to come for lunch. I've been going thru my photos, editing the memory cards - I filled the two 8 g chips I'd brought - so I wanted to see what I could delete, having loaded some files to other USB data holders.
The prophecies concerning transition were right on.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


As the countdown begins to leave Pucallpa, I find myself crying on and off. This morning at church, it was the realization, this is the last service I'll be attending. It was all the more grievous, because Levi wasn't with me - he had decided to put in some hours at work in hopes of selling something. (which he did not) The pastor told me he'll be by on Wednesday for a visit. I walked to church with Papito y Mamita and Tio Armando and Tia Teresa. There was a different pastor who gave the message. Niece Erika arrived a bit late and sat beside me, and her husband Carlin sat in front of her. When service ended, I gave her a hug and again began to cry, because I got to know her and Carlin and the two boys pretty well, and would miss them. I asked aboutmaybe coming by later in the day - and here I am in the evening, having been offered internet.---- that saves me 2 soles! I waited for Papito, who was talking to some tall "gringos", and he came to me and joked that he'd been chatting with some of his paisanos. I asked him to introduce me to the missionaries, and so met Carolyn and Kim Fowler from Michigan and Arizona respectively. Kim greeted me and then went to one of the study groups, but Carolyn and I had a nice chat, hopping bwetween Spanish and English (not wanting Papito to feel left out). She told me of a house where they stayed, that offered hospitality to missionaries, and the missionary whose house it is is returning to her country, and wondering what to do about the house, wanting it to continue to be used in the Lord's work. We'll be praying about it - it may be a good alternative to invading poor Erika's property to offer breakfasts to children. And it's still in the neighborhood. But it's something Levi will have to follow up on because I'm going to be away for several months!  Anyway, Erika had Carlin take me and Papito home since mamita and the Tios had already left on foot while we were jawing.
When we got home, I went to lie down a bit - we'd all been up late last night watching, of all things, BOXING. I am not iinto sports, myself, although I can tolerate them - my Dad was not a jock, and I grew up with a male role model who was more interested in classical music, ballet, opera, and visual arts. But The Utia household are sports fans, especially since this was some championship stuff - and Peru showed out very well in every category. ANYWAY...we'd gotten to bed way late, and so I went to lay down, but was crying. Mamita came to check on me, and when she asked why I was crying I explained that it was because I'd have to leave in a few days and they were all so dear to me. She said, "Listen, Shelita, you have a home here, you have a room here, you are part of our family, whenever you are here, you have every right as part of our family. We love you and we'll miss you. And when Levi goes to the US we'll miss HIM, but that's the way life is." We hugged each other and while I wasn't able to sleep, the sniffling stopped for a little while.
Later in the day as was our custom, Papito and I pursued more scripture reading and discussion, and ended with prayer, during which papito started to cry because he would miss our times together poring over the word, and of course got ME crying again, because I'll miss him too for the same.
Later on Victor stopped by, and it got me going again as I greeted him and told him that I was glad we had time to get to know each other; and he started to cry too, saying that even though he'd been in the marines/navy and was otherwise "tough" he was also sentimental, and appreciated getting to know me too.
Then I asked Levi  if he could take me to his sister Marita's - right next to Erika's - because there's a large concentration of relatives, and on Sunday nights they're mostly home. So he took me on the motorcycle.
MEANWHILE...We've been without water again - apparently the pump of the nearby water tank serving this neighborhood broke down. We still have about half a large barrel in the bathroom, but it's hot in Pucallpa and one likes to bathe twice a day. We were blessed by cousin/neighbor Camilo leaving us a large bucket for drinking that he'd picked up elsewhere. And Erika offered me use of their shower - as I write this Levi took a run back to the house to get my towel, washcloth, and clean skivvies!
So...Never got around to having a paseo...perhaps next year, on my birthday! But I've had a wonderful time getting to know extended family here, not the least being Papito and Mamita...and resting and relaxing. Thursday night I leave for Lima.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Not Too Bored

I've been overcoming the "nothing to do" syndrome (out of yarn and can't really afford to buy more) by helping Papito with work on the house. Yesterday we were nailing panels to the framework he put up in back, in preparation for installing the washing machine. I started by just passing the alternating lengths of wood, but then said that I'd like to give hammering a go. My parents were always good
 about letting me and my sisters feel like we could do ANYTHING we set our minds to, and I am no stranger to tools. Besides, I worried about this 80 yuear old man getting up and down off the table to reach the high and then the low parts. So, he stayed on the table and did the top nails, and I squeezed between the framework and the back fence to nail the center and bottom. I HAVE lost some weight - Ma did me the favor of taking in my white capris which were at the point of falling down. Then today, I helped Pa carry buckets of dirt into the back to level the floor. The road workers are starting anew to level our street - and this time adding more dirt, so the holes - left by motorcycles and motokars getting stuck in the mud after rains - are filled in. They're talking of rocks and sand being added come Monday. Anyway, there's a pile of dirt and the end of the street, and Ma suggested that later in the day the neighbors would be out with their buckets taking some for their floors - us included - like the leaf-cutter ants, carrying their prize on their heads.
Levi has been working 6 dsays a week at this new job selling motokars, motorcycles, tractors and such, on straight commission. The worry is that he hasn't sold anything, as good a salesman as he is. Four percent is nice, granted, but a steady salary whether you sell or not is more comforting.
I love the fresh fish - especially when Ma fries the palomitas, and their fins are nice and crispy - and fish has been inexpensive because it's the season. BUT...we're ALL getting kind of tired of it, ALTHOUGH I did make Levi a breakfast of "Pango" - first you peel and boil platanos till they're tender, then add fish on top, a bit of salt - and the broth is yummy. I prefer maduros, myself (RIPE platanos, sweeter, not starchy). Anyway, I had 100 soles remaining to me till I return to Lima (I'd loaned Sabina 200 soles) - I have a couple hundred dollars in the account in case I need to pay an additional tariff to Lan airlines on my return flight to Lima, but if I DON'T, that'll be used towards September's mortgage payment and change for the Clothesline Art Festival. Anyway, this morning Ma and I took a motokar into town and I bought two whole chickens - the odd parts (head, organs, feet) Ma can sell in her bodega. I also bought limon ( a round green-to-yellow citrus ), a red pepper, broccoli (they love my broccoli slaw), some carrots and tomatos, and fresh cilantro - I have 60 soles left, plus some change for the internet. If I have anything left by next Thurs when I leave for Lima, I'll let Levi have it. He did have a sale last night, but he won't be paid till the end of the month. Sucky!
Papi and I continue to have additional Bible study times during the day, and we are both blessed by them. It has been such a blessing to spend time in the company of this spiritual Father - and he said he'll miss me too, because he's enjoyed our long discussions.
A belated thank you to all who posted birthday greetings via Facebook - it mitigated the unpleasantness of that particular day when the bus broke down six hours out of Lima! Abi had told me she remembered some lousy birthdays, one of the worst being when she had a boil on her face. Comparing to being in the middle of nowhere, she decided she preferred the boil!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Preview of Posada de Refugio

During the previous several days Levi has been getting together with niece Erica to make arrangements for what can best be described as an introductory offer of what we plan to do in grander scale. Erica's house is on the same property as her mother's - her husband Carlin and brothers drive motokars, so there is a large paved area which would serve our purposes. Erica herself is an experienced nurse and Sunday school teacher. Levi's extended family is very supportive of what we want to do.
Erica prepares the kettle to make hot chocolate

I do my part too...making sandwiches

Erica tries to evade the smoke from the fire Levi starts
nephew Miguel behind us - dreamers

nephew Fritz and Levi watch Marita prepar hot cocoa

Levi records names and addresses of children

Fritz serves sandwiches

Toddler enjoys an apple

Of course, there's clean-up
So, invitations were made to some 30 neighborhood children, and groceries were bought - the equivalent of about 40 dollars - and early Sunday morning Levi and I rose and went to Erica's. The lights were still out - it was around 5:30 - but she responded to the beep of LLevi's motorcycle and opened the gate. Levi set about to build the fire to heat the water for the hot cocoa - They mix flour with the cocoa to give it a creamier texture! They also add cinnamon sticks and cloves, along with canned milk. I sliced the rolls and put "jamonada" - lunch ham - in them, 120 in all so in the event we had 40 children (which happens through word of mouth) we'd have enough for 3 small rolls with lunchmeat. And Erica washed the apples. Nephews Frits and Miguel together with Carlin and Levi set up chairs and benches (made from bricks and planks of wood). Erica and Carlin put up lyrics for songs and set out a small table to serve to hold Erica's Bible. When the children arrived around 8 am, Erica opened in prayer, then led in some songs with actions (I got a kick out of Levi's participation). After the songs, Erica gave a teaching about sin and salvation. Some of the children were already attended church and could answer questions very well. After the lesson, including the Bible verse from Matt. 19:14, Let the children come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of God, there were games.Then all were served breakfast, and there was enough for the accompanying mothers and grandmothers.  I took loads of photos and videos, which I hope to edit and burn onto a dvd to gain support for the work to continue and expand. We hope that at least we may be able to continue these breakfasts on Sundays; then continue to daily; then when we have acquired a parcel of land, to continue by having a kitchen and dining facility...and so on. Step by step. Levi will be looking into establisdhing an official identity as a charitable organization, and I'll be looking into church covering and support. Prayers are always appreciated! But anyway, it was a very successful first run.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Two More Weeks

In Pucallpa, that is. Well, my mother-in-law really wants to see us (officially in civil ceremony) married. Yesterday after breakfast we took a motokar downtown - I wanted to buy some fruits - stopping at the "mumicipalidad", roughly translated, City Hall. She knew I had all kinds of documents with me, and it was hard for her to accept that there was not some way we could still proceed. But we were assured that indeed, I had to get the apostille, and not only that, documents would have to be recent - in other words, the birth certificate I sent for in advance to have in time for my trip would need to be re-issued, somewhere in time to get it to me with the blessed apostille, and still have it "fresh", ie, not older than 3 months. AND the doc I already paid $50 for as well as some 24 soles, I'll have to get all OVER again. BLAH! But we still lamented that my present docs were not enough to satisfy the bureaucaracy.  This morning she complained of this to niece Erica, who said that she'd heard that a neighboring small town may be less finicky, and urged me to check it out. "But there's the 15 day public announcement?" I countered. She said, "No, they only make you wait THREE." Well...This afternoon before coming home for lunch, Leví called to say the lawyer had contacted him and had the divorce certificate in his hand - so Leví will be picking that up. That's ONE more out of the way. And I mentioned to him what Erica said, and he said, no, we may as well just wait another year and have everything ready, boom-boom-boom...
Besides the lovely paper chase, during the past 3 days Papí and Tío Armando have been extending the roof over the back of the house so that the washing machine can be installed. I helped Papí tidy up a bit, and when Carlín dropped by, he joined us in moving a barbecue and a work table over to the other side of the area to make room for the washer and for the sink to be repositioned. I've been taking pix as they went.
OH! Minina had her kittens on the 6th! Five, very distinct from each other. She's been a very good Mommy, and Papí and I pet her and encourage her. I've gotten pix and vids of the little family. She chose a box under the bench beneath the storefront window. At least it wasn't under our bed!
Tomorrow Leví will have some free time, so he'll take me shopping for breakfast items for some thirty children in the area, and Lord willing, we'll serve it Sunday morning at Erica's - not indoors, but they have a parking area for the motokars. We figure to get something initiated - an introductory thing - to give an idea of what we want to do. In the States we know the importance of a good breakfast for a child to start off at school. There are MANY needy families anywhere you go in a developing counrty like Peru. So we're going to focus on our neck of the woods: Pucallpa.
One other thing, had a nice visit from Leví's - and eventually mine - pastor, Désimo Flores, this morning after Leví'd already left for work. I appreciated his unhurried attention in getting to know me.
Pa and Josue work on addition
Father and Son talk

Kitty and Minina - near TIRES of course

Levi passes the hammer from the bathroom

Uncle Armando at work

Uncle Armando at work

with Pastor Décimo
I continue to enjoy devotions with Leví in the mornings, walks and talks with Papí throughout the day, little chats with Mamí, watching "Combate" with the family (rooting for VERDE), cooking occasionally (yesterday I introduced Leví to tuna salad - made just one can's worth, in case he didn't like it, but he did), relaxing a LOT. My Shepherd is making me lie down in green pastures indeed!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Happy Birthday?

So, the hours of travel from Huanuco to Pucallpa passed, thankfully, uneventfully. It was around 6 am when we arrived - we left Huanuco after 9 pm, with all the delays (as opposed to the original 7, then 8:30 that they said. Punctual my -big toe! ) We expected to take a motokar, but were delighted to see Carlin, husband to niece Erica, was aware of our coming and came for us in HIS motocar - I'd rather pay family! Papito was glad to see us home at last, safe and sound. I told him I was in time to walk with him, but he was just getting over a few days and nights of diahrrhea that left him weak. I was weakened from so many hours of sitting, so we walked slowly for about 20 minutes and built up on successive days.
Levi has taken the job as salesman on strict 4 % commission at a place that sells motorcycles, motokars, tractors, and such. He's good at what he does, but I'm hoping this will work - no regular salary. He's off on Sundays. Well, he paid Carlin, and we caught up a bit, had a quick devotion together, and then he had to go to work, but he was glad that I'd made it back safe at last. Later in the day, we were visited by family members - sister Marita and her daughters Erica (with Carlin and the 2 little boys), Kelly, and Leidi., and Victor with Sonia and their little boy David. There was singing of various Spanish happy birthday songs, and made-from-scratch cake by Mama (oh, my name was very badly misspelled, but I'm used to it...)We had some interruptions in power so I didn't blow out the candles that were used while the electricity was out! The following day in the afternoon, Ma called on Carlin to take us to the center so I could get some more yarn for us - I also bought more potty paper and laundry soap, and CANDLES, not only for us but for the bodega for next power outage. Oh, apparently there'd been an earthquake in the area on the morning Victor and I arrived. We didn't feel anything on the bus, but son Josue was telling how it was for him at work that he was wondering what in the world-?...Yesterday I finished the blanket for Levi for the chilly evenings. Next time I come, I'll bring some from JoAnn Fabrics - it's a nicer quality with more selection of colors. And I'm going to leave most of the clothes I brought to Pucallpa and bring more next year so I won't have to recycle so frequently.
Family helps to celebrate my belated birthday

Levi and I had a great devotional this morning - it was raining pretty hard so we didn't go to the church service. But we got a lot out of our study, and also had a delightfully long conversation such as we don't often have the opportunity to enjoy due to his being off working or running errands. We're going to see about starting something up at least once a week - a breakfast for needy children on Sunday mornings - while I'm still here, a slow and small start to something which we hope will grow and have a greater impact in the community. We can get support from som,e family members, but for it to grow we'll need outside help. Levi said the organization against hunger that was being run here is pulling up and moving out to another area, so there is a definite need.Papito says it's a lovely thing to birth a new work, and to see it grow. Little by little. All for now.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vicuñas, Llamas, and Alpacas, Oh My!

llamas and alpacas among sheep
Before I get into the topic from the title, let me tell about the trip back to Pucallpa. Victor and I took a cab to the station for about 10 soles less than we paid to get to Nilsa's. We'd checked one agency and they wanted 130 soles per person...tried another, and it was only 80. know the saying, you get what you pay for. The agent apparently double'sold a couple of seats, so we were an hour late taking off while they tried to straighten THAT out. We were served lunch around 3:30, and things were pretty uneventful - oh, the first two movie attempts failed about a third of the way through, then there was a movie that worked all the way, and another had been on for a bit when suddenly it went blank - and the whole bus basically shut down. BROKE down.In the dark. In the middle of nowhere. Around 8:30 at night, so we'd only covered about a third of the distance. Truth to tell, I have occasionally wondered about the what-if's of such an event, and now, I had the dubious pleasure of adding this to my experiences. It could have been worse, of course ' we could have blown a tire and gone careening off the road, flipping, or crashed, or taken a trun too fast on the mountain roads, and bye-bye. This was just a slow break-down. What got me and the other passengers angry was the lack of professional behavior of the driver and other 2 crew members - no Please excuse the delay, due to circumstances beyond our control. We will try to do thus and such - remain calm, and stay with us. No. Apparently they just kind of shut themselves in the driver section, no explanation, and around 7 or so IN THE MORNING they went off to the nearest town, about 3-4 hours away, grabbing a ride from a cab or other car, ABANDONING us with no word of explanation of what they planned to do. Meanwhile, those of us who had not bought munchies, figuring on the dinner stop on the way, had not had anything to eat since that lunch. We were in the mountains, so the night was cold - fortunately, the bus was fairly well insulated, so we were all right if we stayed within. There was a chemical potty onboard too. But really... So, come daylight, folks began to try to get a way to the next city where this particular agency (Leon - remember it and DON'T USE IT! Grrr!) was also located. As the number of passengers dwindled, Victor and I also decided to flag down a motorist, in this case, a cab, and for 30 soles EACH he drove us to Huanuco where I am now. Another cab took us to Leon where we saw some other of our fellow passengers, and collectively voiced our complaints to the management. They did not pay us back the money we had to shell out to get there, but they DID treat us to lunch - though really, a few soles is NOT 60! And we leave for Pucallpa AGAIN tonight around 7, arriving in the wee hours of the morning. But NOT a good way to run a business - again, if you're gonna travel through Peru by bus, do not take the Leon line. So there!
Now, it was daylight when we got the cab, and while the color of the scenery was kind of drab, being in the cold mountains, finishing up winter, the mountains themselves were magnificent to see. AND...I saw, YES, VICUÑAS! in the wild! and llamas and alpacas mingling with sheep! I thought, well, had we continued through the night I would have missed that, so that is ONE thing that worked for good, because Father God knows I get a kick out of such things! Vicuñas! I tried getting some pix, but I don't know how well they'll have turned out till I can review them on the computer.
Can you see the vicuña???

Victor and other disgruntled abandoned passengers
So...we're hanging out here in Huanuco until it's time to take the bus. And at least they have internet!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

ALL Things Work Together For Good...

Stuck in Lima until TUESDAY - apparently the holidays were extended to include Monday, so I won't be able to get my "Honest, I am a widow" document until TUESDAY morning. So the soonest I can get on the road will be that afternoon. I am glad the internet is open. I am thankful they have a tv with cable - but I am so accustomed to working with my hands, I can actually say I'm rather bored. Which for me is even more difficult than merely relaxing and resting. I do have my Bible and am reading more. Praying. I miss my walks with Papito and our animated talks. While Victor is a great brother-in-law, understandably I'd prefer to be spending this time with Levi. There's a nice little park nearby, and I think I'll ask about just walking around and around - it's just a block wide, with benches. Maybe I can get a vid of another hummingbird.
It's different in this neighborhood - no dogs roaming loose. I've seen specific BREEDS, on leashes - a gorgeous brindle English bulldog, schnauzer, Shih Tzu... no cats...not hearing roosters in this neck of the woods, but doves similar to our mourning doves. There's also a bird akin to our mocking or catbird that varies its song. So it's quiet, and the bed is comfortable, and though it is still winter inLima, it's even milder than usual, I think. While Victor walked me to the internet we saw a little parade form in the park, with a band playing a patriotic march. AH, but not nearly as stirring as John Phillip Sousa's! So...not much to report. I'll be offering to cook from time to time and chipping in to the larder, because we had not counted on staying these extra days. I am thankful for Nilsa's hospitality - and Juan's of course, putting up with his in-laws and in-law-in-law! I wish I could go visit folks in Villa el Salvador - but the cab fare would eat into my funds, and I need to be able to give Victor a little something more for his time away from working ( he drives a motokar). I have my bank card, which is only a debit card - I have paid off my credit debt, and don't wish to incur more. And funds are dwindling. But my God shall supply all my needs.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Good News and Bad News

Well, yesterday Victor and I left early for the embassy, by taxi to be sure to get there in plenty of time. We waited a little while in the wrong line before an official redirected us. Pass through security...leave camera, cell phone...go into building, MORE security...then to a room, take a number and wait. "HURRY UP and wait" that is. Because you have your appointment, and you'd better be there well before time, but if they don't see you till about an hour later, THAT'S OKAY. Bad news - they couldn't do anything for me regarding my birth certificate. I have to get an apostille. More on that in a bit. Good news - they COULD give me a document, an affidavit that I am indeed a widow with nothing impeding me from committing to another marriage. Notarized, sealed, 50 dollars. Next step: to a local internet to see about the aforementioned apostille. But first - we left without breakfast, so we stopped for a sandwich and coffee. It was about 11 when we left for the internet. Bad news - nothing I can do online - I have to send the birth certificate BACK to Texas with a form requesting said apostille which more or less says, "Really, I promise, this is a real-for-real, official, genuine, honest-to-goodness, swear-to-God, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die BIRTH CERTIFICATE." NEVERMIND that I needed said document for the FIRST marriage (and have the marriage certificate therefrom) ...AND to get my driver license...AND to get my passport. is something I have to do when I get home because there just isn't time between now and when I leave to wait for things to get lost in the mail ANYWAY.
Then on to Relaciones Exteriores with the widow document so Peru officials could put THEIR stamp on it - about 25 soles ( 10 bucks). Bad news - have to RETURN for said document on MONDAY, SO, no returning to Pucallpa for the holiday. While in the neighborhood, we looked up the address of OFFICIAL translator for when I DO have the apostille, and went - walking distance from Relaciones Exteriores. The gentleman was very helpful, explaining. Of course, it wouldn't suffice for ME to translate it, no, it would have to have all kinds of stamps and seals and stickers and ribbons. So what we're looking at is a return trip to Peru some time within the next year (so my widowhood doc doesn't expire), bringing the blessed apostille together with the birth certificate (and a copy thereof, to be safe) to the embassy for THEIR seal of approval/notarization, then to the translator where it is left to be translated; return the following day (50 soles, about 20 bucks, barring more inflation);pick it up the following day to take to Relaciones Exteriores for another 10 bucks, leaving it to be picked up in a couple of days. All in all about a week in Lima.
BUT while it may SEEM to be bad news - we can't go through with a civil ceremony THIS trip - I'm accustomed to looking for God's hand working behind the scenes. We COULD have found out about all these little details in advance, had we a clue - had Levi not been working 7 days a week, he could have ascertained what I needed to bring - so...What lesson is there in this? What "working together for good for me because I love You, Lord" are You doing? Immediate: Victor and I have been able to impart some words of wisdom to niece Jhoana on child rearing; water some seed of the gospel in bro-in-law Juan; I helped Juan Carlos with his chemistry homework (at least, I HOPE I helped!); I've had this special time to get to know other family members, Victor as well as Nilsa; we've BOTH learned a lot on this trip...And I know that no experience, good or "bad" is wasted in God's economy. The wait may be necessary to ensure that Levi is with the parents yet a while, because they ARE elderly. And I am blessed in that Levi, too, tends to have a positive outlook. I was also considering the fact that, since we have no documentation of the informal marriage from last year, technically I am still a widow, and will have been the entire year, which will give me a better tax break next year...which may help with the cost of returning to tie up loose ends. But MEANWHILE...the plan is Monday to go to Rel. Ext and pick up the document, then stop at a bus station to see about getting passage ASAP Monday (leaving late afternoon); then a trip "home" to get our stuff and then head back to the station. If we pull THAT off, I can at least hope to be in Pucallpa the afternoon of my birthday. Of course, if nothing is available Monday we'll have to wait for the next bus out. One step at a time. Meanwhile, in the hopes that we WILL leave Monday, I hope to be able to treat the family to dinner on Sunday.
Other good stuff - I did a LOT of walking yesterday, and I am sure all my morning walks with Papito helped me to be able to do it - but I DID have to take aspirin as soon as we got back. Also, we got a LITTLE lost after getting off the bus in Surco, and while Victor asked directions, I sat on a bench in the park and saw a HUMMINGBIRD! It came and went a few times, and of course by the time I had my camera out and ready, it had disappeared. Hummingbird sighting is to me a little love note from God!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Bus and a Bag o' Bile

I was sweltering in my traveling clothes - jeans and teeshirt - as we waited to board our bus Monday night. Levi and Josue had accompanied us on the motorcycle to see us off. The bus had air conditioning, which was  nice. But it shut off later ( "Charapas" just can't seem to adjust to cooler temps!) We were served a dinner of fried chicken, ubiquitous rice, a wee bit of salad, and jello, with Inca Kola. There was a movie, Rebound ("Mi Segunda Vez") which I liked because it showed an older woman and younger man - only the age difference was more than mine with Levi - even better! I dozed on and off, because the seats WERE comfortable. I made use of the bathroom once - staggering as though I was drunk (train is the easiest among the 3 methods of travel: plane, bus, train) But the altitude eventually had an effect on me. When day broke, at one point a man had boarded selling something called manjar blanca or something like it - something sweet - I didn't want any, but suddenly I DID want a bag, because my stomach and head conspired to make me want to empty the contents of the former. I asked if he had one, and no sooner did he give it to me than I yarked - producing only bile, and not much, but enough apparently for the stomach to rebel against the effects of high altitude. This happened a couple of times. When around 10 the bus stopped at a restaurant, ( passengers had a 5 sol meal allowance) neither Victor nor I had any appetite (though I WAS very thirsty, having sweated so much and lost other body fluids). We bought water, yogurt, gum, and motion-sickness pills with our allowance. The pill helped so eventually I could open my eyes and watch the second movie on the way - the previous was dubbed in Spanish, and this was in English with Spanish subtitles (though sadly for those who didn't know English, the screen did not accommodate all the subtitles!) - This was Backup Plan. I like romantic comedies, so I enjoyed both features. Well, we arrived at the station in Lima around 1:30, and Victor got us a cab to Nilsa's place. It is indeed a humble dwelling, and Nilsa and her husband Juan spoiled me by letting me have the BED, though I was willing to take the sofa.We had lunch around two - cebiche and soup - which hit the spot after not having eaten since around 9 the previous night! Later, I had myself a sponge bath to get the sweat off me and changed into sweatpants and turtleneck. The temperature is in the upper 60's, lower 70's during the day - comfortable.
 Their older daughter Jhoana lives downstairs; she has a 3 year old son. At first I was of the mistaken impression that Gabriel was Nilsa's tot. Her son, Juan Carlos,helps to watch the toddler during the day, going to school at night. Victor and I made similar observations on Nilsa's rearing of little Gabriel, that she let him get away with too much - and today after breakfast, I learned that Jhoana was actually his mother, and Victor and I began to give her some iinstruction on Biblical child-rearing, not to be afraid to discipline him, for his own good. Well...Last night I invited the family to a polleria that took cards - the nene was all right till it came time to pay, then he was out of his seat and running back and forth, a real hazard...and Juan told me, "This time, I will treat YOU - before you leave, you can treat us!" I wasn't about to argue with the proposition! I slept well during the night, and breakfasted on the yogurt we had gotten, and a whole wheat roll Victor bought at the local bakery - and even a cup of coffee (instant, but hey...) Then came our childrearing lessons, and now I am at a local internet for a couple of hours. The dueña asked if I was a foreigner, and I replied in the affirmative, and gave her a little rundown of how and why I'm here. Victor was preparing the lunch during our lecture, and by the time I finish here, it'll be lunch time.
Juan, little Gabriel, Nilsa, me, and Jhoana

Jhoana nd her little boy

Juan Carlos, Jhoana, and their uncle Victor

Monday, July 23, 2012

Going Back to Lima...Posada de Refugio

Saturday bro-in-law Victor came by with Sonia and son David, saying that with approaching holidays (Dias de las Patrias) it may be difficult to get passage to Lima, so it may behoove us to go early to get them. So we hopped inhis motokar - Ma came too, and he left her with Sonia at a store (she wanted to get material for a dress to wear to the wedding!) while we went to the bus station and got tickets. Alas, more expensive than what Ma estimated, but we were going in a sleeper bus, with more comfortable seats, and a potty on board. We're going to be leaving late Monday afternoon, arriving in Lima Tues afternoon. Also changed is our hospitality arrangement. I will have the opportunity to meet another Utia sibling, Nilsa, who lives not far from the embassy - we can take a bus, so no high taxi expenses. I'll be sleeping on a couch, and Victor on the floor probably (but he was in the armed service, so he can take it!) My hope and prayer is that we can get this done all in one day, the day of the appointment, which is Thurs the 26., or at worst in TWO days. Becuase one can pretty much forget about traveling on the holidays. I know my parents-in-law want me to be able to be with them, and then there's my birthday too, which I'd prefer to spend with family, and not on the road. BUT...I place all these things in the Lord's hands. And even if I get all MY docs squared away - Levi is STILL waiting for HIS. SO...we may still have to wait either until next year with me returning and having the civil ceremony, or once we have all docs, we may send for him to come as a fiance. BUT...we had discussed that it may be better for him to stay yet a while in Peru to get a work established. This is what we discussed, our combined visions, dreams and callings.

Posada de Refugio - House of Refuge
We'll need to purchase land about 40x40 meters. To start the work, on a 10x10  meter plot we'll have a dining hall and kitchen. Of course, these will need their furnishings - stoves/ovens, refrigerator/freezer, sinks, work areas, utensils...tables and benches. Initially we will focus on serving meals, breakfast in particular, to needy children - eventually to the elderly as well. A good breakfast is essential to do well in school! But the kitchen will also serve as a teaching area - what in my youth we called "Home Ec". This way, children can learn age-appropriate kitchen skills - meal preparation, keeping things sanitary, avoiding contamination, balanced meal planning. The kitchen can also serve to prepare foodstuffs for sale to help maintain the ministry: Ma's fabulous sweet rolls and Levi's and my pizza for starters! When the dining area is not in use, it can also serve as an instructional area. Skills such as sculpture, sewing, crocheting can be imparted to women and youth so they can develop their own little microenterprises; and of course while I'm there, I can be giving English lessons, thus giving them another tool for employability. Adjacenty to the kitchen/dining hall will be the directors' residence - me and Levi - and little by little we'll begin to take in homeless children. Eventually the property will be developed with other buildings to raise, nurture, and educate - academically and with practical skills - homeless children - and eventually down the road, elderly people as well. There are family members who can contribute to staffing, who can help run things when Levi comes to the States where together we hope to be able to raise extra support from the Christian and philanthropic community.

Meanwhile....Life goes on tranquilly here in Pucallpa. Last night I treated the parents, Levi, and Josue to dinner at a "Chifa" (Chinese restaurant.) There's a street here in Pucallpa that is full of Chifas. We dined at Monodo.I had eaten lightly during the day, having yogurt and a piece of the pizza Levi had prepared Saturday afternoon to sell. OH! That reminds me - after getting our bus tickets, I was telling Victor that, since we'll have the extra time in Lima, I could have my hair colored there. He said, "But Sonia knows how to do all that!" So, we stopped by the house, dropping Ma off, and I grabbed my Nice 'n' Easy, and went to their house where Sonia colored me for a fourth of what I would expect to pay in Lima - 5 soles! Meanwhile, I had abandoned Levi to making the pizzas by himself - which he'll have to get used to doing anyway once I leave...Okay, back to Sunday, earlier that day, Tios Armando and Teresa joined the parents in visiting at Manantial, where Levi had dropped me off since I was ready and he was not...he joined us a bit later, and stayed for the extra discipleship class, so I walked home with the folks - only about 7 minutes, and God in His grace left some clouds in the sky so I wasn't baking in my pale gringa skin. For Lima, I'm packing warmer clothes - winter continues there. If our return is delayed, I may contact my "family" in Villa el Salvador so as not to inconvenience Nilsa too long. They want to meet Levi, but they'll have to settle for his brother for now!

at the Chifa
Now to get to my emails...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


The rain of the previous night brought the temp down so I changed into sweatpants, a turtleneck shirt under my teeshhirt, and a sweater. Levi seemed to adjust well though, so I told him he'll have no trouble getting accustomed to the climate in Rochester, which he calls "mi tierra". The cold helped the swelling in my ankles to subside. Although I did not go to the bathroom the twelve times Levi claimed during the night, I did go frequently, and lo and behold this morning I could see my ankle bones! They say it's supposed to continue cool for the next several days, 11 celcius - though with the sun shining, I have doffed my sweater and also the turtleneck. My morning walks with Papito are paying off - he commented that I am walking more "ligero" - lightly - and we even did a little jog on one pass...and we walked 40 minutes rather than 30. Then Mama had compassion on me and walked with me to cousin Palomino's internet - it's just 3 blocks - since Levi is out and about again: another try with the lawyer, an attempt at the Immigration office here in town to see if we can avoid the Lima trip (which I doubt because that would be CONVENIENT!) And he also has to get his address changed on his DNI (national identity card) - it's still the Iquitos address!
Levi reported last night that Victor was indeed willing to accompany me to Lima, that there's a relative in the Peruvian Air Force where we can stay at the residence near the embassy, and we may even be able to get a discount on the trip with another relative who has a busline, IF he's available at that time. Pray it is so! Funds are being consumed oh-so-quickly, because I chip in for everything, and Levi has been unemployed. He is leaning towards the sale of motorcycles which gives pure commission of, I believe, 4%. We'll see. Today we are going to sit down and go over plans for what we want to do here, as a ministry, specifically, a home for children, educating them not only academically but also to prepare them to work. I'd thought of being a foster mother once upon a time (and learned that my own mom did too) but Ansel's health -physical and psychological - was not conducive to it. Such a ministry will be perfect for when traveling hither and yon gets too difficult, and I can release that spirit of adoption over needy kids. But we need to do some planning.
We had a nice conversation as we awaited sleep last night, getting to know each other better, sharing about our past experiences. I treasure such opportunities.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Son of a Glitch!

I am so glad God knows what's going on, and has everything under HIS control. Levi went downtown yesterday, STILL doesn't have papers he's waiting for, which require an additional step of sending them elsewhere for signing. At my request he checked at city hall to see if what I had was serviceable - but as my Dad would say, "But NOOooo" - the documents are fine and good, BUT I also need to have official translation and notarization of the consulate  - in LIMA of course. So, we talked about options. I was pretty sure I was going to need an appointment - that I couldn't just waltz in and ask them to handle these "tramites". And when I arrived at cousin Palomino's cabina today and went directly to the embassy website, sure enough, I have to make an appointment. Well, I've made one for next Thursday so I can give my bro-in-law Victor time to digest the request: at Ma's suggestion, since I don't want to travel alone, she said he knows Lima and has an uncle through his wife with whom we can stay. We can take a bus, travel the 24 hours, spend night at uncle's, and go to the appt. the next day, then skeedaddle out of there right after and back to Pucallpa by bus. Ugh! But I certainly can't swing one airplane ticket, much less two. ANd the embassy charges $50 per thing they gotta do, so I figure at least $150 - my birth and marriage certificates, and Ansel's death certificate. If Levi also has all his papers by then, we still have time to put in an announcement and have the required 15 day wait before the civil ceremony. If, however, he still faces delays on his side, well...we'll wait. We're not alarmed, because GOD is not. And while we are eager for him to be able to come to the states, he suggested that it may serve better anyway if he stays behind to get a work ESTABLISHED, so when he DOES come, he can have photos, "Look, this is what we have in place" and gain support as well as people who want to come to work with us. Perhaps once everything is established, THEN he can come and spend some time in the US. These are thoughts. We're praying and waiting.
Meanwhile, it has been unusual for me to relax and spend time with my in-laws. Sunday Levi and I went to his church Manantial de Vida. He dropped me off first, then went to get his youngest daughter, Saraí, so she could have some Daddy time. She was also allowed to come over for a bit yesterday. We gave her the last couple of pieces of pizza. This morning someone called to see if we had pizza, but we haven't done any baking since Saturday. As it was, we had 2 unsold pizzas which we chipped away at. Son Josué was more than happy to help out in that!
Last night I woke to the sound of rain starting on the calaminas (corrugated steel roofing) - it built up until it was like the sound of static turned to the highest volume. There was also lightning, though I didn't hear much thunder (maybe the rain on steel drowned it out!) It was relaxing though. I love the sound. The rains cooled off the day, and they say it's going to be chilly the next few days. I'm comfortable unless I sit too long in the breeze - then I want a sweater. There wasn't enough rain to impede my morning walk with Papito. And I plan to do my arm-strengthening exercises, using a couple of stones as weights. I think Papi and I have influenced Levi - who was acquiring a bit of a tummy from the pizza and sweet rolls - because he went out for a jog this morning.
I am experiencing some swelling in my ankles which has not let up - not unusual for me in the summer ANYWAY. But prayers are appreciated. Other than that, my systems are functioning well. I've been drinking boiled tapwater, rather than consuming bottled water. Fresh oranges, fresh grapefruit, little bananas....I've enjoyed cooking from time to time. Do need to go to the market for some kind of meat as we're about out of fish. I also want to get more yarn - I'm not used to not doing anything with my hands. Yesterday I completed a color pencil drawing of the mango tree in front of the house - been a while since I drew "from life."
I occasionally see various relatives - Papi's brother, Tio Armando; his wife, Tia Mercedes; Levi's niece Erica's husband Carlín, who often plays chauffeur to market (in fact I will probably enlist him because he may remember where I got the yarn last time)...Oh, he gave Papi and me each a big broiled chicken breast the other night - Mine I used to make sandwiches for me, Levi and Saraí on Sunday, that's how big it was. Here at the cabina, there's cousin Palomino's son Tony and his wife Leici. They have a black dog - could be lab mix, by her personality. While waiting for a cabina, I was scritching and rubbing her ears. She didn't object at all!
I've been maintaining my hournal, some in English, but I went to Spanish except when I don't know the word. Thus I manage to keep track of memories.
Carlín and his motokar

with Victor at bus station
Well, Levi and I will take some time to draw up some detailed plans for what we want to do here. We may both end up taking out loans to get things started. My hope is that I can do so, considering other financial commitments like the van and the house. Prayers are always appreciated.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Odds and Ends

Ma showed me her hand washing technique, but after one or two bits of clothing, she chased me away so she could do it more quickly, arthritis notwithstanding.
I continue my morning walk-and-talk with Papito, and Levi said he appreciated that because his father LOVES to talk about the Lord - as do I - so the 30 minutes back and forth in front of the house go quickly.
Foreman Varela arrived the other day from Iquitos, participating in an Expo at a local fairground, in tourism (since he knows English). Levi picked him up from the airport on his motorcycle after delivering pizza, and brought him by the house. He gave us news from Iquitos, including how the property Shepherd's Heart and the Koinonia community helped with so much was also affected by the flooding earlier this year - the high brick wall fronting the property was under so much water, he said, you could only see a few centimeters of the top of it. The flooding has receded, but Iquitos is having a lot of problems. Welcome to the Amazon Basin!
Yesterday Levi's pastor from the church Manantial (for short - I'm sure there's more to the name) stopped by to visit. This pastor drops in on Papi from time to time for HIS wisdom and council. Anyway, he told Levi that there was a men's meeting that night, so after delivering Ma's sweet rolls, he borrowed my Bible and went.
When he came home, his head was hurting terribly - a severe pain he experiences at times, that scares him. I prayed for him, and told him if anything happens to him, I'd do what I could to continue to help the family. Perhaps better tech when he arrives in the states - EVENTUALLY - will help. We had a good long conversation last night - don't always have the opportunity, because despite being unemployed, he is VERY busy. BUT he has now FOUR job offers, and is seeking the Lord as to which, leaning towards one in motorcycle sales, because the man is a natural salesman, with good people skills. But there's also one at a hardware store - the skills for which could be used at one stateside. All prayers are appreciated!
We're getting closer to having documents - Levi got a call from the lawyer and will meet with him Monday. While he's at it, he'll check at the Municipalidad (like city hall) to see if what I brought is sufficient, if I need signatures seals, translations, or what - if indeed we can DO this during this trip. But nothing is wasted in God's economy, and I treasure the time with his parents, and getting to know other family members. Carlos (aka Carlin) for example, married to Levi's niece Erica, is a motokarista who has driven us to market a few times. Yesterday we called on him, and made first a stop at the bank, then at a dentist so Levi could get an appraisal of his teeth (he needs some extensive work done), then for pizza ingredients, and finally - a MATTRESS! Yay! This morning my hip didn't bother me when I got up to go walking with Papi!
We did run into some problems - Ma's 2 small ovens died, so she's using the new one I got, and has been using her gas oven - but of course, more gas is used, so this morning mid-bake, we'd run out, so Pa had to call the company, llamagas, to get another tank. Levi arrived in time to pay the 30 soles for it. But we're under way again.
Minina the cat seems to be due to have her kittens any day. She loves to cuddle up in Papi's sandals - it's so funny to see. I got a picture, but my battery charger doesn't seem to work HERE, so I may have to buy some cheapy AA's, ESPECIALLY if we DO manage to pull off a civil ceremony. Details of THAT also need to be discussed - Levi and I were leaning towards something very simple with not many people, but of course, traditions, large family...but he's been unemployed and I'm on limited funds. Hm...Can one elope???? Ah well...Trusting in and waiting on the Lord.
Other interesting notes...While sitting and watching tv last night I felt a drop on my arm, and saw something whitish and wet. Looked up to the rafters - didn't see any bats or birds. Ma said it had to be one of the little lizards that crawl about the walls and ceiling. Great. Lizard kaka!
Also, a large butterfly flittered into the house and hung around a while, and the parents said the traditional saying is that they're harbingers of visitors. I told the butterfly, "You're late! I'm already here!"
Minina in her favorite spot

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bats and Breads...

Levi is up to his elbows in "masa" - dough
Believe it or not, it got pretty chilly last night - Levi hogged the blanket, so I covered myself with my sweater.Yesterday morning Levi and I got ingredients for pizza. Today was a busy day! This morning, I got up around 7 and joined Papito on his walk. By the time we got back to the house after a half hour, Levi and Mama were already elbow deep in dough. We made 3 pizzas and then Ma made 2 pans of sweet rolls. Levi had orders from 8 people, but sold all 16 slices from the first two pizzas, and may sell the other 7 (I had to try a slice - ground beef with bits of ham and red pepper - and stuffed crust- esquisito!)tonight. Someone from the health department came by to check on mosquito breeding grounds - dengue is a dangerous possibility, so she made sure there was no standing water on the property. We have a mosquetero at night, and while I did bring repellent, the skeeters here don't seem to like foreign food. Plus there are cute little lizards, toads, and bats to eat the bugs. One bat fumbled into the house the other night and seemed desparate to get out - poor thing landed exhausted for a moment on top of one of the pots on the stove. But then it found its way out via the back where it wasn't roofed. But I can JUST IMAGINE some readers, not JUST females, shrieking about it.
Well, I'm here at the internet to do a search for a pastor that Levi knew in Iquitos - anyone who can help us hook up to Robert Schadler of Benton Harbor, Michigan, 'twould be appreciated. He'd been very encouraging to Levi and had spoken to him of coming to the States, ministering in music, but circumstances didn't allow at the time. Levi gave his "manchita" Foreman a call to see if he knew the pastor's last name, because, Levi didn't remember it. With internet, I am confident they'll re-connect. Trouble right now is slow connections!
The fishmonger was by this morning with Corbina, a kind of bass - we got 2 kilos for 20 soles. Do the math - that's about 4.5 pounds of fresh fish for 8 bucks. Ma fried some up for lunch. Oh, so delicious!
Tomorrow I have to have Ma show me her technique for washing clothes. Josue bought her a washing machine to give some relief to her arthritic hands, but as yet it isn't hooked up. She's been so sweet, washing my stuff, but I really don't want to burden her! Well, I'm still waiting to see if I can get a phone number here...all for now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sweet Rolls and Pizza

Well, let's see...last post had to do with Saturday night. Sunday I went to Manantial, mounted on the back of Levi's motorcycle. We arrived about 10 minutes into the service, and sat in back among Marita's family. They had a guest speaker, an associate of the other pastors I'd met via Victor. His interpreter lacked experience and flubbed through a couple of places, but none the worse for understanding the gist of the teaching about family. Afterwards I went up to introduce myself to my paisano. It had started to rain during the service, so Levi sent me home with nephew Fritz in the motokar. I still managed to get baptized as I entered the house, so I took a shower with soap and shampoo. The temp dropped considerably, and I ended up changing into sweatpants and a turtleneck. Then I thought, AH! That's why the temp drop - I'd put turtlenecks and sweatpants in my carryon, while other clothes were in our dresser drawer, thinking (after all the heat) that I wouldn't need them. We watched a bit of "Cantando en la Lluvia" - hint: Gene Kelly, Deborah Reynolds, Donald O'Connor....The dialog was dubbed in Spanish, but the songs were as they were, and the dancing totally delightful. Later Levi drove me to Marita's, and at Erica's we watched the rest of "Alñicia en el Pais de Maravillas" (with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter),and then, "Encantada" - and the great thing about THAT movie was that the songs were also in Spanish. We had some good laughs. Levi went home and I spent another night in Kelly's bed, and Monday morning Carlos drove me home. I pretty much chilled - literally. It was overcast and cool - comfortable. A Rochester summer day! Levi isn't starting right away on the new job, but he'd gone for ID stuff. He also got orders for pizza. Oh! Yeah, Mama had made her sweet rolls, and Levi took them to sell. Trouble was, one batch fell on the ground (a sacrifice - we ate it, scraping off the sand); and 2 batches got burned. Not TOO badly. This morning's breakfast - "Do I want sand or carbon?" So she was making more today, and her 2 little ovens pooped out on her (glad I bought a 3rd on Sunday). Well, we got the gas oven going to finish one, and put the other in the new oven...there were 2 more batches to go when Levi brought me here to the internet. Well, yesterday he got orders for pizza too - so this morning we went into the center to pick up some ingredients, and I'll be working on those tomorrow with Mama. While getting ground beef, Levi asked if I wanted to get another cut of meat to make, say, a soup. I suggested,"estofado" (stew - his favorite) and his eyes brightened. So while Mama worked on sweet rolls, I made beef stew.  Nice to know I can still cook - Abi does most of it at the house, so sometimes I wonder if I may lose my touch. Nope. Levi's tummy seems to be expanding a bit with his gringa's cooking!  Oh, it was quite cool last night - I wore my sweater, and used a blanket. But at least I was able to sleep at home - Levi finished the bedstead and put the cushions on it. I gave him $ as a deposit on a new mattress so my hip won't grind into the boards. He has back problems too.'ll be nice to have more cushioning.So, we're getting this micro biz going. I gotta learn how to make Mama's dough. Also have to get more batteries for my camera, as the recharger doesn't work here. Poop. All for now.
sweet rolls!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday Night at Marita's

Kelly and Erica

Me and my Honey

Josue is only working till 10 tonight, and since our bed isn't finished yet, this presented a problem with sleeping arrangements. Not wanting to go to the hospedaje again (15 soles is cheap, really, but still...)...a solution presented itself. Earlier in the evening some of the family was coming in dribs and drabs. Apparently it is friendship day : Niece Kelly had called while there was still daylight, saying she'd like to take me and Levi to the Plaza to take pix and hang out. But Levi was still out - had a job interview (and starts anew Monday: 4 hours per day, Mon-Fri, in a supervisory position. Will post more when I know more, but meanwhile, thanks for prayers!) first, niece Erica arrived with hubby Carlos and sons  Gabriel and Angel. Then came Marita  (Levi's sis) with Kelly and Leidi. Later nephew Fritz. We sat around outside talking in the cool dusk. Oh, there were 2 little pieces of our ham and cheese pizza left, which I cut in slivers to be tried  (before Fritz's arrival - he missed out) . FINALLY Levi arrived with the aforementioned news of new employment. He announced he was hungry, so I whomped up some scrambled eggs with onion and ham and heated up some yucca. There arose a discussion over the ceramic animials I had brought to give the family - were they from molds? So I grabbed the plasticene I'd bought at the market the other day and showed how I made them, making a little giraffe, elephant, and rooster. (Levi jokes, "And I taught her in just one day!" Shades of Groundhog Day, "I taught him in just one lesson!") Well, we did a lot of talking and discussed possible paseos (outings). And tomorrow morning I'll go with Levi to market before church to look for pans for Ma to make her sweet rolls to sell...then I'll go with Marita's family to Manantial THIS week, and back to Alianza NEXT week, and so on...then after church around 5 I guess we'll go to the plaza. But meanwhile, there arose the problem of sleeping arrangements - but then I asked, how about if I stay at Marita's or Erica's? Kelly quickly volunteered to share her bed with me ( a double) so I got in the motocar driven by Fritz, and here I am, posting unexpectedly. Okay, it's late, and tomorrow's a busy day.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Learning to Relax

view from the bodega window of some of the goodies Ma sells
Resident Lizard Peeks from Behind Broom

Relaxing with my Honey at Erica's house

Ma prepares dough to be used for pizza and sweet rolls
I am so unaccustomed to relaxing. Not that I don't do ANYTHING. I go with Mama Marleni to the market now and then...walk anbd talk with Papito Eladio...Levi, for being unemployed, is very busy with finishing off our room, sawing wood panels by hand (in this heat!) I have made lunches frequently, while Mama makes breakfast. Supper is usually catch-as-catch-can. For instance, last night Mama got a of things for the bodega, including some snack sized packs of RITZ crackers, so I bought a pack and Levi and I spread the peanut butter (that I'd broung from the US) on them. Today Mama and I went to market twice - first in the morning we went for more toronjas (grapefruit), and stock for the bodega - about 10 pounds of onions, some yucca, tomatoes...potty paper...and seeing some local cheese, knowing we wanted to make pizza, I bought a block for 6 soles.We looked around for yarn such as I like to use for crocheting.Not seeing any, I did get some plasticene - just to show how I make my ceramic animals. I missed having Josue with us to lug things! But he is working nights. So, we took those things home, and then later Carlos - married to Levi's niece Erica, daughter of his older sister Marita - took me and Mama downtown, so I got to see the city of Pucallpa here and there. I took some videos which I will eventually try to download on Youtube, just to share he experience.
Was charmed last night by the appearance of a little lizard pooking from behind the brooms for sale hanging up outside Josue's room. And the previous evening while sitting outside chatting with Papa and Levi, saw a little bat flutter about going for insects attracted to the light. Thank God for my Mom who brought me up not to be squeamish about creepy crawly or fluttery.
The pizza, by the way, turned out REALLY GOOD. No pepperoni, so I got some lunch ham, decent stuff, and some packs of Italian style tomato sauce. Mama made the dough. She put a bit extra yeast in because she wasn't sure if it was still good. It WAS, however, and our combined efforts were thoroughly enjoyed. We even thought about selling it, 2 soles for an eighth of a pizza.
Levi had gone out just before we got back from shopping - the fellow who had hit his motorcycle from behind called to pay for the repairs. Levi came when we'd finished eating lunch, bringing ice cream bars, and brother Victor arrived at the same time to take me to visit some other American missionaries who were at his church, between meetings. So I wolfed down my ice cream and went with Victor while Levi attacked the pizza. I had a nice long visit with Marylin, and then had Victor drop me off here at cousin Palomino's internet until someone comes for me. I could feasibly walk home alone, it's only about 3 1/2 blocks - BUT not a good idea for a gringa, unescorted.
Thanks to exercises, I've been able to mount and dismount a little easier behind Levi on the motorcycle, and I think now I know how to dismount with more ease, if after placing my right foot on the ground I back up a bit to swing my left leg over the back...I'll have to do more exercises though, after today's pizza and ice cream. Oh, and I also bought a bottle of cola from the bodega to have with it!
Someone visiting with the other missionary pastor, whose family is very international, mentioned having to get a stamp from the embassy on my birth certificate, because she did. But maybe because she was of Korean parents. I don't know. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. If worse comes to worse, civil ceremony will have to wait until NEXT year. God knows what HE is doing, and that is what matters. Prayers are always appreciated. Still waiting on HIS document. We continue to be "Soldados de Espera." They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strenght...They shall mount up with wings as eagles. Or Boeing 747's. Whatever it takes.

Here is the video I made combining scenes from the paseo through Pucallpa.