They are driving like this! No wasted
space ever in Peru!
Other products you can buy at the market: wood products, souvenirs, any type of clothing (shirts, skirts, socks, underwear, bras, all kinds of shoes, flip flops, etc.), toys, party decorations, wrapping paper, jewelry, watches, fresh flowers, dried flowers, craft making products, all kinds of foods; birthday cakes, grains, fruits, vegetables and fresh meat. The meat is not packaged or refrigerated. It is all just sitting out on counters, like many places in Europe. The meat market and smells a bit. You can find anything there. Chicken feet, chicken guts, cow intestines and utters, hearts, fish, shrimp, octopus, lobster, squid, pork, pork head, beef, tongue, chicken and more. I try to avoid it, but it seems to be right in the center of everything. You can also get smoothies, pastries, Peruvian dishes, empanadas and drinks. The market is very interesting, very hot, and stuffy, but it is something you need to experience when you are in Peru. It is like a maze and very hard to find your way around. There are no signs or directions.
It's a pig's head and I am not sure what else!
When Eric and Brian came for Christmas, we went to do some shopping at the market. A popular item for kids here in Peru is a crude type of wooden top. After watching two boys ages 4 and 6 play with their tops and throw them down expertly on the pavement, Eric and Brian decided that they wanted to buy one. So we found our way to the wooden products and they both bought a top. The fun part was when they tried to use them and found out it was not as easy as it looked. All of the Peruvians loved watching the Gringos trying to get the tops to work. The top has a string wrapped around it that has to be placed correctly and unwound properly in the way it is thrown down in order to get the top to work. Several men came by and offered tips and advice about how to work the tops. It was pretty funny. I think my boys are still trying to figure out how to work them!
Last week I had an interesting experience with an hermana in the mission. She called me because she had a cold sore on her lip and wondered what she could do to help it get better. I suggested a cream that she could buy at a Pharmacy. So she went to buy the cream and the person attending her told her that she needed two other medications. She bought the medicines and then called me to make sure they were okay. I had never heard of them before, so I told her I would do some research to see what they were. I looked around and felt a little uncomfortable with them. I called Dr. Bart, our area medical advisor and asked him what he thought about the medications. He said they were not appropriate for a cold sore. So they sold her two medications that would not help her in any way. Pharmacies are a little different here. So are the laws regulating them. I advised her that she probably should not take them!
I had the opportunity to help teach Jose and Liseth and their two daughters, Daniela and Joseline. The lesson was on the creation and the Word of Wisdom. What a great thing to teach! The whole family has a baptismal date now for April 25th. The plan is that Jose and Liseth will be married on April 25th. In Peru, in order to help more couples get married, they have group weddings that are much less expensive and less paper work. They are called "Matrimonio Masivos", (massive marriages.) So they will be married in one of these ceremonies and then be baptized the same day. So far, they are doing very well, attending church every week and all the many activities of the church. Last Sunday, I saw the girls and it was the first time I had seen them in dresses. They looked so nice. It has been so amazing to watch them progress. There has especially been a great change in Liseth. In the first lesson, she did not participate at all and acted as if she was not very interested. But that has totally changed. She is very engaged and participates in all the discussions now.
The lesson on the Word of Wisdom went very well. That day as I was studying and preparing, I felt strongly impressed to share the experience of my brother Bobby with throat cancer. He was diagnosed with it when he was only 39 years old, which is highly unusual. Basically, I shared that he was healed and his life spared from a horrible cancer and brutal treatment that included painful radiation, chemotherapy and a tube in his stomach for nutrition. He was unable to eat for aobut two months. Every time I read the last verse of the Word of Wisdom, D&C 89:21, I think of him. It says: "And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them." Bobby has lived the Word of Wisdom all his life and was totally worthy of that blessing. I bore my testimony that the promises and blessings of the Word of Wisdom are true and we all felt the Spirit and were very touched by the truth of this scripture. Liseth said, "It really shows that God exists, doesn't it?" Sharing past experiences in Spanish is difficult for me and something I am working on, but the Lord truly blessed me with the gift of tongues and they understood the meaning of the experience through the Spirit.
A fine group going home!
The water causes some challenges for our missionaries. They get mosquitos bites and they get infected. One hermana has had terrible infected bites and then she fell on her knee and had a terrible huge scratch and that got infected too. Stomach infections and parasites cause problems also, even though the pensionistas use only bottled water. At the beginning of the month, two missionaries went to do service and were very hot and thirsty. They had not brought water with them and they were offered water that they knew was probably not filtered. One missionary declined drinking the water, but the other missionary drank it and thought he would be okay. He got violently ill; diarrhea, throwing up massive amounts and a temperature of 106 degrees. When I found out, I sent him immediately to the hospital. He ended up being admitted for one night where they had to keep his temperature down and keep him hydrated with an IV and medication. He was doing better the next day, but I don't think either of those missionaries will ever drink unfiltered water again!
Parasites cause problems like stomach aches, nausea and diarrhea. Some missionaries have stomach issues for their whole mission, but they refuse to give up! Other issues: There have been dozens of ingrown toenails. Usually they are infected by the time the missionaries give in to getting treatment. We have dealt with lice and fleas on many occassions and dog bites too. It is amazing to see the sacrifices missionaries make and their dedication to the work. They just keep on going no matter what.
The sweet fruit of sacrifice and diligence!
Yesterday we interviewed two missionaries who are serving in a very small town, of about 6,000 people and the whole town is without running water. The water main to the pueblito broke. A big truck with a tank comes with water about once a week and the water is rationed. The missionaries only get two buckets of water every two days in order to bathe and flush the toilet. And they say it looks and smells terrible! After their interview's, we brought them to our home to take a shower and have a bowl of fruit loops with cold milk. That is a real treat for our missionaries! I think they felt a little revived and rejuvenated. They were hoping the water would be fixed when they returned to their apartment. Everyone please keep your fingers crossed!
Gorgeous views of Chota!
Last week was challenging for me. It was extremely busy and I also got sick. We had our Leadership Council on Tuesday which is an all day meeting. Mark had three meetings with stake Presidents that night, then for the next three days we had interviews with 28 missionaries a day. In the midst of all of this, I had another bout with diarrhea and severe migraine headaches. Then, also, Wednesday night, while Mark was at another meeting, our water filter in our bathroom broke, so in the midst of everything else, with very little time, Mark was trying to fix the water. One night it flooded our bathroom. We kind of felt like everything was against us. At the end of the week we were exhausted and Mark had to leave to go out of town for two days. He went to a small branch named "Chota" to call a new Branch President. As we talked when he returned home, I told him the good thing about last week is that this coming week has to be better!
President at work - every six weeks!
The Board. Where all change happens.
There are so many things I have learned to be thankful for that I totally took for granted in the past. Some of these include: clean water, windows with screens, insulated windows, carpet, beautiful floors, painted walls, comfortable furniture, air conditioning, heating, nice fabric stores, backyards and front yards, (the kids here play in the streets), paved roads and clean streets. There are so many foods I am grateful for: Any kind of lettuce, baby spinach, fresh milk, creamy yogurt, cheddar cheese, whole wheat bread, croutons, canned soup, sour cream, cottage cheese, lemons, to name just a few. On Easter I realized how thankful I am for white eggs. I love the beautiful colors of dyed Easter eggs, but there is only one kind of egg here: brown. You cannot color a brown egg! Eggs come in one size and one quantity: 15. I am thankful for holidays, special days, decorations and all the fun traditions we have in the United States.
Homemade ladder. He was way up there.
Easter was pretty special for us because we did get to focus more on the true meaning of the day. Everyday, the week before Easter, we had the opportunity to read about the events in the Savior's life and follow His course to Gethsemane and Golgotha. Our beautiful Easter Book, made by our sweet sister-in-law Eileen, made it easier to visualize all the events. What a week it was for the Savior! I tried to imagine what it was like for Him to know for so long ahead of time the ordeal that He would go through. There are many things in life that I dread doing, but nothing in comparison to what he was going to experience. It is the first Easter that neither Mark or I had one piece of Easter candy, but amazingly, we still felt the same joy of the triumph of His Resurrection. What a blessing to have the Spirit of Peace from Conference fill our home. We have so much to be thankful for and it is all made better through the Atonement and the Grace of Jesus Christ.