Friday, July 31, 2009

I promise not to...

This week has been a practice in patience and a lesson in trust. We have been working to enroll children in the new Kuyay Talpuy education center that will open on August 10th. The purpose of the Kuyay Talpuy school is to make education available to children who do not have the economic resources to attend school in Peru, to get them off the streets and out of the fields, and to witness to their families by loving their children. There are LOTS of these children out there (over 25% of children in Peru are in this situation - the percentage is higher in our area). In trying to meet the families and find these children, we have been met with distrust and fears that we didn't expect:
  • People who don't trust us to feed their children lunch each day because we might put chemicals in their food and poison them.
  • People who are afraid that we are part of a child smuggling scheme and we are just trying to steal their children and send them to other countries.
  • People who are afraid that we are just trying to gain entrance into their lives so we can steal their livestock.
  • People who are illiterate themselves, and so are very afraid of the forms that they are signing.
  • People who are afraid that we are from the government and are trying to find out what they might be doing wrong.
And so we have had to be very patient. And we have had to literally promise not to poison their children, steal their livestock, sell their children, etc. Slowly, step by step, we are gaining some confidence. At first, we only signed up 2 children in one day. Then 2 more on another day. It seemed that we would never fill the classroom! But then we enrolled 7 one day, and 10 the next! And we realized that the children are our focus, but we will also be ministering to their families through the LOVE that we show to them and to their children... step by step, they will see that we are trustworthy and that we aren't to be feared and that we were sent by Christ to love them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ridiculous things that we wish we had...

We don't miss a lot of foods from the USA, but there are a few things that we have missed over the past couple of years and we are slowly finding ways to bring them into our lives in Peru (okay, I am perfectly aware that this is a ridiculous list of items, but it's the truth):
  • Ranch dressing... there's no such animal here. One day I found a bottle of liquidy stuff that was labeled as ranch dressing, but wasn't even close to what my mouth had in mind. THANK YOU JESUS for allowing someone to come up with the idea of Ranch dressing in packets/envelopes! I bought some dry mix while we were in the States in June and it is so wonderful to have real ranch dressing for dipping my veggies now!!!
  • Kool-Aid... again, no such thing here. I, myself, am not such a giant fan of Kool-Aid, but Sarah and Billy are. And I have to admit, there is just something about drinking a glass of Tropical Punch or Cherry Kool-Aid that really feels very American and homey.
  • Any drink mixes... I know, Kool-Aid is a drink mix so this is a little redundant. But a recent short-term mission team left us with two containers of powdered Gatorade and I will be eternally grateful. They also gifted me with several left-over mixes of those little single-serving mixes you dump in a water bottle... don't know what they are technically called, since they arrived on the scene post-Drums-in-Texas a couple of years ago. Yummy!!! I really love the Lipton Green Tea on the Go!!! And the lemonade flavor really made me realize how much I miss Country Time lemonade (not as good a fresh lemonade from our own lemon trees in Costa Rica, but really yummy still.)
  • Tacos... we have found one place that has something they call tacos, but they aren't, really. And that restaurant is 10 hours from Huancayo, so we won't be making it a habit to eat there. We did bring back a few taco seasoning packets, which is better than nothing.
  • Blue Bell... enough said!
  • I really wish I could figure out how to make something similar to a Cherry Limeade or a Cherry Lime Slush or a Lemon Berry Slush from Sonic... que rico!
Maybe I'm just hungry...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Crazy week

It has been a long, crazy week...
  • We returned from the medical campaign in Panao and we were BEAT! Seeing 1600+ patients in four days is exhausting, not to mention the fact that we were also translating and helping to lead the team. Took a day to do nothing but sleep (which Billy took very literally and DID sleep for the better part of 10 daylight hours), then a day to travel back to Huancayo and get ready for the week.
  • Went back to teaching on Tuesday to a fiasco. Not only had my classes not been covered, nor had my plans been taught or carried out for the past 10 days, but the entire country of Peru decided to close school because of the possibility of swine flu! It isn't a choice whether to close or not - it is a mandate from the government, punishable by heavy fines and penalty of revoking your license - teaching certificate for 6 months. So my school closed down until August 3rd (two and a half weeks). Since I was already planning to finish my teaching commitment on July 24th, my career came to a quicker end than anticipated.
  • On Tuesday night, we got the "go ahead" to move into the house down the street. We had been excitedly waiting for this to happen, and the McEuen family is going to take our old house when they arrive in August. So, we began the process of moving our stuff down the street. Two of our bible study teens showed up to help, then Maria and her kids showed up to help, then our new neighbors jumped in and helped... it was really cool! On Wednesday morning, we finished the process with the help of Maria's kids, Karina from Cochas, and Liz.
  • Also on Tuesday, two of our dearest bible study girls (really, more like two grown daughters of ours) found out that they would be leaving on a journey that will take them out of Peru forever. They have been hoping for this for over a year (and we had been hoping it wouldn't ever occur). Can't go into details, but we were devastated by the news and we pray for them and fear for their safety. After a long goodbye and lots of tears, they were gone.
  • On Thursday, Billy and Darwin and Milagros spent from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. waiting to get a contract signed by the mayor of Iscos, who wasn't even there for the meeting, then didn't show up to work all day. Also, the lady who scheduled the meeting to meet with parents and sign children up for the new education center decided not to show up and sent word that she would be available to meet again on August 5th. Billy was LESS than happy...
  • We love the new house! We don't love the hassle of moving fixtures (water filters, pumps, etc.) or of moving services (phone, cable, internet, etc.). None of this happens easily or quickly here. The plumber has been with us for two days so far, and he isn't finished yet. As he left today, he said, "I thought I had it fixed (the pressure pump), but when I turned it on, it blew up. I'll see you Monday." And that was it...
  • Billy is finally on the mend from his bout with who-knows-what last week and part of this week. The fever only lasted two days, but the cough and congestion has been horrendous for the entire time and he has been super tired. After we changed his meds at the beginning of the week, he started to improve. Today, he seems almost back to normal (which never was "normal", but...).
So here we are at the end of a crazy week and looking at the coming week... a planned transportation strike on the 21st (never pretty), meetings with the city officials in Iscos to hash out some issues with the opening of the new education center, national fiestas and parades for Peruvian independence day... it never stops, does it?

Okay - there were great things, too. Sarah has a new friend that is her same age and lives next door to our new house. The weather is fabulous!!! I didn't have to work this week, which sure made moving to the new house a much easier process. We had lots of help moving, and they did it happily, willingly, and only got pizza in return for their efforts. The new house is great and will provide us with many more opportunities due to space.

Hope you have a great up-coming week! Please pray for us to experience a smooth week, in comparison to last week. We'll pray that some our fantastic weather and temps blow your direction! :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

New Adventure

We are off on a new adventure.  We are headed to Panao, Peru to receive a medical mission team from the States and to translate for them as they strive to meet the needs of the people here.  This is new and challenging on several levels for us:
  • We will be translating for the doctors and the patients, so we will be working our brains in both directions - English and Spanish, and also in more detailed terms (medical Spanish).
  • We will be working in an area that we are unfamiliar with.  Billy has been in Panao for a day or two to help set up the pre-mission stuff, but other than that, we don't know the people or the area or the culture there.
  • We will be piloting the new database system that Ron Phillips wrote especially for this purpose... we will be logging every patient using a fingerprint scanner and typed data.  In this way, we can track patients and better monitor the medications that they receive and the doctors that they see.  In the past, there has been an issue with people mysteriously changing identities ;) and getting back in the patient line, only to receive opposing medications, etc.  Not good.  Hopefully, the new system will work like clockwork and all with be wonderful!
  • This area is relatively new to "gringos" - like the first gringos in the area were within the last 20 years.  So we are still strange creatures to this people group.  Also, we will be facing the legend of the pishtaco... an Andean legend about gringos/light-skinned people who come to steal organs or suck the fat out of children to use in American factories as machine oil.  I know it sounds ridiculous to us, but it is a very vivid story/belief in many minds here and we are hoping that it doesn't pose a problem for us.  :)  When Billy was setting up the pre-field mission stuff, lots of people hid around corners and children yelled "pishtaco, pishtaco!" and ran away.  
We'll post more about the trip when we return.  Please pray for safety and for many medical successes as we work to serve the people of Panao in the coming week.