Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No particular topic...

Okay - so I have no particular topic or theme this post, other than to say that our life in general is kind-of random and the only topic or theme that runs congruent to everything would be ministry and Jesus (obviously).  This week's randomness includes:
Sarah's birthday... Sarah turned 5 this week.  She had a party at her school, complete with a clown and a pinata, etc.  It was fun - very different from the USA - another cultural learning experience for all of us.  By the way, jello is a staple food for birthday parties, as are a knockoff of Cheetos... it just isn't a birthday party unless these two items are present (I was told this info NUMEROUS times).
Adult ESL... Laurie has added to her already full schedule by taking on a trio of 20-something girls who want to learn English.  They come every afternoon for an hour to practice and have conversations.  One of them has relatives in the USA and wants to speak well enough to go to New York (I wasn't aware that New Yorkers spoke English :) HA!)  
Open Garage Classroom... We have finally opened the garage as a classroom and we have activities and classes each afternoon from 3-5 for whoever appears and wants to read, talk, play games, etc.
Sarah's Dance classes... Sarah has started taking traditional dance 3 nights each week.  The National Champion for traditional dance lives across the street and her older sister is the dance teacher.  She comes to our home MWF for an hour each night to teach dance to Sarah.  Sarah is having a great time!  She wanted to take ballet, but ballet is unheard of here in the mountains. So this is the next best thing, and she is happy with whatever kind of dance she can take!
Jack Sparrow's owners... If you have been following the blog, you know that we "inherited" a parrot a few weeks ago.  Well, the owners finally appeared.  Actually, they are our neighbors, but the mother works in the jungle and isn't there often.  The son is the actual owner, but he is in college in Lima and the parrot can't travel over the mountains to Lima.  The grandparents live next door and they can't really take care of the parrot well and give it a lot of attention. So, long story short, they gave the parrot to Sarah to keep.  They decided that it was in better hands with us, since we hold it every day and talk to it, etc.  PS - Jack is a female and her name was Reina (Queen).  Now what should we call her???  She answers to Jack now, and Queen Jack doesn't quite sound right.  
Miles' Wisdom Teeth... Miles had his wisdom teeth taken out in College Station yesterday.  He seems to be doing well.  It was SO hard on Billy to not be able to be there with him.  We really miss our boys!  Can't wait to see them in December!!!
Ballots... We just received our official ballots for the presidential election - oh yippie!  I know it is our duty and our right, etc... but speaking for myself - I'm just not sure what the best option is this time and voting seems like more of a burden than a privilege to me right now.  The news and info we see out-of-country makes both sides seem like loons!  I have no idea what is truth and what is propaganda.  For me, it would have been easier if the mail had been delayed (like usual) and we didn't receive the ballots in time.  Leave it to the USPostal service and the Peruvian service to get it together just in time to get my ballot to me!!!  Oh happy day...

I don't know what else to say... see, I told you this would be a random post!!!  Oreo the Cat, Charlotte the dog, and Jack the Parrot are all watching me post this and probably wondering, "What on earth does she have to say that is so important?"  To which I reply, "Absolutely nothing!!!"  Watching paint dry is probably more interesting than reading some of my blogs, but I feel compelled and obligated to post because there are people out there who actually log how many days it has been since my last post and start to wonder about my safety and health if they don't hear from me.  

Monday, October 20, 2008

Back into the Classroom

It feels so awesome to be back in the classroom!!!  I really miss that part of my life and I am so happy to be back in that role again, even if it is pretty crazy and hectic!  Because of they way our visas are written, we cannot earn a salary/money while we are living in Peru, so all of our work has to be volunteer.  It is a ministry to the schools, as they don't have to pay a salary and they get a well-qualified teacher.  So happy to be teaching:
  • On Mondays and Wednesdays, I am A SCIENCE TEACHER AGAIN!!!  Hallelujah!!!  I have 18 students in a multi-age classroom (2nd-5th graders all in the same room).  It is fantastic to again teach about vertebrates and invertebrates, animal classifications, life cycles, etc., even if it is in a different language.  I have to do as much studying as the kids do to prepare for my lessons because the vocabulary is all new to me!
  • On Wednesday mornings, I teach English at Sarah's school.  I have 22 students, ages 3-6 years old.  Preschool/kindergarten teaching all over again!
  • On Thursday afternoons, Billy and I have 2 kids who come to the house to learn English.  One is 13 years old and one is 8.  They asked if they could bring siblings or friends, so we'll see how many we have this week....
  • Also on Thursday afternoons, we have Maria.  Maria is a widow/mother of 7 children who is "illiterate" (she cannot read or write, even her own name).  She has decided to try to learn, although she is convinced that she cannot.  So far, she can write her name!!!  She is very excited with this accomplishment and we see her spirit growing with empowerment! She is ready to learn to read and write her children's names now.
It is great to be teaching again!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

You never know what might fall out of the sky...

You never know what just might fall out of the sky and land in your backyard!  Meet the newest member of our family.  This is "Jack Sparrow" (named for the pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean).  He appeared in our backyard Saturday.  We have no idea how he came to us... his wings are clipped, so he can't fly.  Our backyard is surrounded by 14 foot concrete walls, with 5 more feet of netting above that.  So unless Jack is a former NBA player and has a heck of a jump, we aren't sure how he arrived here.  Nevertheless, here he is.  He isn't in the greatest of shape - he is underweight, he has an injured wing and a cut on his foot, and he is molting (so he looks pretty pitiful).  We feel like he was possibly an abused pet - he seems to have issues with men - whenever Billy approaches him, he lets out a terrible yell or he makes a sound that can best be described as a growl.  He loves Sarah!!!  He almost purrs and coos when she is around (if a bird can purr).  He isn't very fond of his cage that we bought him.  He would rather be out of it, standing on top of it or sitting in the kitchen window.  When he is out of his cage, he "talks" to whoever is in the room.  We need to find out what else he might eat besides bananas... so far, he isn't interested in anything but bananas.  Maybe that's why he is so skinny - no one could gain weight eating nothing but bananas!!!  If anyone knows anything about Blue Meeley Amazon Parrots, give us a clue!!!  

Friday, October 3, 2008

Home from the Jungle

 Billy is home from his week in the jungle.  He went to Puerto Bermudez to teach a group of 12 how to lead bible study and discipleship groups.  This group wants to start study groups in the jungle.  The theory of multiplication is working wonders here in Peru!!!  Our team disciples people, then they go out and start their own groups, who go out and start their own groups, etc.  As far as we can tell, our groups are now in their third or fourth "generation" of multiplication.  It's hard to know, because once we disciple them and they are standing on their own two feet, we have no idea what their impact is in the world - their isn't a way to track their growth.  It's an amazing work!

The jungle held many new and exciting and "interesting" experiences for Billy.  It took 2 days of driving to get into the place where these disciples were training.  The first day was mostly on paved road, but the second day was completely dirt/rock/holes/boulders.  

In the jungle, it is not uncommon to have a scarlet macaw spend the morning yelling at you while you are trying to lead a meeting.  Nor is it uncommon for bats to fly in and circle your head while you are having a prayer service - and we're not talking little tiny Mexican freetail bats... these are giant jungle bats!  There is a village "pet" named Lucha... she is a tapir who walks the streets and enters any open store that catches her fancy for a treat - she likes bananas.  It is interesting to buy a soft drink while standing next to a tapir at the counter!

Food was "different".  Lots of yucca and rice!  One day they ate sopa de platanos (green banana soup) with fish parts.  Another day was a fish broth soup, in which Billy received the fish head.  The type of fish they were serving that day was what we know as a sucker fish - you know the sucker mouth fish that clean the sides of aquariums?  Well they come from the jungle and they are huge and they suck/filter the mud at the bottom of the river.  So Billy received the head, which was a complement to him because it is "the good part" they told him.  He picked off what little meat there was on the head and called it a day, but was informed that he left all of the good stuff - the sucker lips and the eyes are the most important part.  Not wanting to offend anyone, he did the gracious missionary thing and ate "the good parts", much to the delight of the others at the table.  "How to win friends and Influence people, by Billy Drum!"  In doing this feat, he made fast friends of several people, who then convinced the cook to make him a special type of tamale for lunch (yes, the fish head soup was breakfast).  The tamale was in the shape of a giant hershey's kiss, wrapped in a banana leaf.  It was filled with chicken, rice, corn, and a hard boiled egg.  He said it was delicious!!!  All in all, he says that the food wasn't terrible and he didn't die or bring home any internal parasites, so all is well.  Plus, he made great friends over the dinner table.  

This bug landed on the table one night and Billy grabbed it to check it out, much to the horror of all of the other people at the table.  "It will kill you!  It's venomous!"  But Billy knew better... it is really a relative of our Texas cicada.  It mimics several other things - from the side, it mimics a lizard or baby crocodile; when it flies, it looks like a butterfly; and when it lands and opens it's wings really big, it looks like an owl's face.  In reality, it doesn't even have a true mouth - it has a proboscis that sucks the juice out of plants, like a butterfly's tongue.  He and I have both had a great time teaching others the truth about this "deadly insect".

Billy can't wait to return, and he can't wait to take us with him.  He now has new friends.  One friend wants the whole family to come and he will meet us with his boat and take us to his house (3 hours upriver deeper into the jungle) to spend several days with his family.  I'm sure we will do it - maybe next year after the rainy season passes.