Sunday, April 26, 2009

Full Weekend

We have had a full weekend, and it doesn't stop here!  Yesterday was Dia de la Familia (Family Day) at school.  All of the families went to el campo (the country) for a retreat day together.  We played all kinds of games - kind of like field day in the USA.  We ate picnic lunches by the river, then played more games.  Had an AWESOME time with the other families from the school.  Got sunburned, of course.  Started the day out freezing and wearing sweaters and coats, in mid-day had to shed everything down to t-shirts and played in the river because we were burning up, then had to put on all of the layers again when the sun dipped behind the mountains.

Today, we went back to the country to Cochas Chica - a small rural community of less than 3000 (looks more like 300 to me).  Almost all of the families in this town are artisans.  We met a family in Cochas Chica a couple of weeks ago when we were visiting the area.  The whole family is Christian and they started a church in the middle of town.  They asked us to come and have lunch with them and talk about how to start a children's program / sunday school, and also to talk about some adult education / bible study things with them.

So out we went at noon today.  When we arrived, the whole family was there preparing to make pachamanca... a traditional Peruvian meal cooked in a pit in the ground with hot rocks.  We helped make humitas (sweet tamales), place all of the ingredients in the pit (potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, chicken, lamb, etc.), and spent the next couple of hours chatting and learning about gourd carving.  Pedro carves bible stories into the gourds and uses them to tell the stories and witness to others about Christ.  The food was great, the company was fantastic, and we have been invited to become part of their family... our family away from home, they said.  We visited their church and were invited back for a service Wednesday night - to teach and to share and to help them find new ways to learn the Bible.  Great day!

Tomorrow, it's back to Cochas Chica (after school and after Billy works with the Compassion kids) for a birthday party.  We have been invited to join in the celebration by another artisan family who is custom-carving some gourds for our mission agency.  Guess what's for lunch???  PACHAMANCA!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Marketing is NOT cross-cultural!

We laugh A LOT about the names of things / products here, because they FOR SURE wouldn´t go over in the USA.  
  • chocolate candy named "Crack"... do you think we will get stopped in customs if we bring home a suitcase full of "Crack" in May?
  • Bimbos... not only the name of bread, but also a hamburger joint.  I´m thinking that they might be a great sponsor for a drill team or a halftime show.  Can´t you imagine the shirts with the sponsor´s name plastered across the chest?
  • And don´t forget the Bimbo snack product "Kranky" yogurt bites.  I always think of yogurt as a peaceful product, not a cranky fit-throwing snack.
  • Apocalypse...  a bus company.  Not sure that I want to ride the mountain passes and pray that I survive the narrow roads, landslides, and giant falling boulders while riding in a bus called The Apocalypse!
  • Lay´s potato chips... when pronounced in Spanish, it is "lice".  Anyone for a big bag of lice for a snack?
  • Horniman tea...  enough said.  It is the leading brand of tea bags here.
I´ll keep you posted on other brands as I find them  :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The List

 - By Laurie   Okay - so I'm a list person.  I get it from my mother.  She is a list person to the nth degree!!!  She even writes things like "get up" on her list, just so she can cross them off.  I'm not that bad.  Most of the time, my list is in my head - I just don't have too much on it these days and I can keep up with it in my head.  But sometimes, I get overwhelmed or too busy or too stressed and I have to write it down.

But this is a different kind of list.  Many years ago, I made a list and I kept it in my Bible.  It was a list of life goals and things I hoped to see or do in my lifetime.  The list was fluid... it changed and morphed and some things fell off of it as I matured.  Some things actually happened and I was so surprised!  It isn't a list of things that I set out to make happen.  It's just kind-of a list of hopes and dreams and "somedays".

When I was in language school, one of our assignments was to write a list exactly like the one I already had (so I was really happy that I didn't have to create it on the spur of the moment - but I did have to translate it and present it in my class).  I found out that it is amazing how you can sit next to someone in class every day for 5 hours, plus eat with them, plus serve in missions with them, and really not KNOW them until you read their list of hopes and dreams.  I found out a lot about my classmates and missionary peers that week.  Because somehow it isn't just enough to read the list... you have to discuss it and justify your hopes and explain the "whys" behind your feelings. 

So today, I pulled out my list and was looking to see how it has changed in the last year.  Here it is... maybe there is more to me than you thought, too...
  1. visit the Galapagos Islands
  2. sail on a tall ship
  3. write a book
  4. go to high tea
  5. visit Africa / safari
  6. ride horses on the beach
  7. a deep desire to be in medicine / health care
  8. backpack in the Andes
  9. visit the lost civilizations
  10. ride in a horse-drawn carriage
  11. take a horse-drawn sleigh ride at night in the snow
  12. learn Spanish and become FLUENT
  13. live in the Amazon jungle
  14. go to the Kentucky Derby in a big hat and fancy dress
  15. be a published photographer
  16. see a horse give birth to her foal
  17. work for National Geographic
  18. eat in a cafe in the Mediterranean / France / Italy
  19. see the paintings of the Old Masters (Renoir, Monet, etc.)
  20. visit the great cathedrals of the world
So that's where it stands right now.  Some things have been marked off over the years, others added.  Some things seemed really silly and self-centered when I looked back at them from years past.  Some things on my list today seem like impossibilities, given my current situation and all... but so did other things that I can now look at and smile and say "Thank you for allowing that one to come true, God.  I never expected that!"    

Friday, April 10, 2009

Random photos of interest

A giant beet statue!  I never dreamed I would see that!

Carnero en palito... literally translates to "lamb on a stick."

Llama rides at the fair.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Semana Santa - Holy Week

Okay - so we have some questions and concerns about Holy Week here.  For example:
  • On Palm Sunday, we were approached by many vendors who were trying to sell us palms. Not a big issue - it's Palm Sunday.  However, the palms were woven into the shape of ears of corn???  The weaving was AMAZING, but why ears of corn?  They were also selling bundles/sheaves of wheat.  Hmmm...  Upon asking about it, it seems that it has something to do with sacrificing harvest items/blessing the harvest, and fertility.
  • Beginning on Palm Sunday and lasting all week, there are tables and tents of vendors selling bread shaped in the form of a baby.  In fact, it is called "baby bread" in Quechua.  I also asked about this and was told again that it has something to do with fertility.  I'm not quite sure what Christ's Last Supper, Crucifixion, and Resurrection have to do with fertility.
  • Not being able to give up on the baby bread thing, today I asked one of the vendors, "Why is the bread in the shape of a baby?"  Okay, now hold on to your pants because this one is going to blow you over...  her response, in her exact words, was "It's a tradition for Holy Week to honor, you know, Mr. What's-His-Name, for Holy Week."  WHAT?!!  MR. WHAT'S-HIS-NAME?!  Oh, you mean JESUS?!!!!!  I promise, no lie, that was exactly what she said.  And her booth was set up directly beside the church!  Ask Billy, he was there!
Remember the palm crosses that we make/receive for Palm Sunday every year?  I've made many a palm cross!  Today, while walking on the street, I ran across a palm vendor who was selling palm crosses for 1 sole (30 cents) and they were so beautiful that Sarah and I had to break down and buy a couple.  AMAZING!  And there were much bigger, better ones than these, but we went for the normal size.  Cool, huh?  Can you imagine making a basket full of these to hand out during Palm Sunday service?

Okay, that's all for now.  I'll continue my quest to learn more about Holy Week here and report back to you.  In the meantime, I'm going to go and pray to Mr. What's-His-Name and thank Him for the sacrifice of his life for mine.