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!