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
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
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.
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 09, 2012
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.
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 05, 2012
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.
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.
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