Wednesday, July 25, 2012
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.
Monday, July 23, 2012
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 toLima, 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!
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.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
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 journal, some in English, but I went to Spanish except when I don't know the word. Thus I manage to keep track of memories.
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
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 oth...er day from Iquitos, participating in an Expo at a local fairground, in tourism (since he knows English). Levi picked him up from the airport onhis 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 inGod'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
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