2015 second LAMA Mission trip - El Carmen, San Juan Bautista, Ica, Peru
Also you may click here for photo gallery. (many more pictures than are shown in blog)
1 Oct, Thursday - Today was 'catch up on the blog' day for me. Also Abel came by mainly to get most of his tools that he had here, now that he is pretty complete after 3 years on this job. I had one major glitch with electric on the third floor that we could not find where the tubes were going. He helped me with that so I think that problem is behind me. We have some busted up tarrejeo (stucco) work on a column in the front in our search for an electrical box. He says he will fix that when we next get him over for some tarrajeo, which we will be doing I am sure in the near future ... not a major repair that can't wait till another day.
Working with Abel has been a great experience. For such a young man (still in his 20's) he certainly has all the makings of the best general contractor I have ever worked with in the States. We will continue to tap his skills going forward AND will certainly have his name on the list for the new Missionaries for any emergencies they may run into.
Made a trip to Ica in the afternoon to exchange some mirrors and a faulty white board that had a warp in it. We also made our first bunk bed purchase for the mission. Poor Leche and his little station wagon. I should have gotten a picture of our load on his roof coming back to the mission. Across from the place we bought two pairs of bunk beds was this odd little shop that was just taking in a large set of cages of live chickens, nearing the end of their business day. In the neighboring cages were ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs and puppies (3 young ladies were adoring the puppies and interested in taking one home). I know that people eat duck, chicken and even guinea pig down here .. I was hoping that puppies weren't on the menu too! ;-) The really unusual scene was looking in at the shop keeper who was solding something behind the counter with a glass display of all sorts of electronic gizmos you would see at radio shack or something. A boxed up 'smart TV' of significant size, some large speakers, etc. Just never saw a combination store like this before ... ;-) Anyway, always love what you find around the corner down here.
Got back to the Mission and there were, of course, some of our local youth ready to help us unload. Of course they wanted to stay after and enjoy the mission. Lots of energy here! ;-) Victor was here playing the guitar and getting Ramerio to practice a solo .. now that will be interesting if we have that in our near future to watch. Two of our 'angels', Ariana and Lucerna, did a lot to help us unload our purchases. Then 5 other kerids showed up and we had a regular buzz for a few hours downstairs. Will have to assemble the beds in the morning ...
2 Oct, Friday - Victor was here most of the day. Wanting to finish up the 3rd floor, we instructed him to focus on painting those doors. I guess its efficient to paint ALL doors when you do it, so he gathered the 11 doors from both floors and started painting them. Problem is he ran out of paint after the first coat. We will have to get some more in the morning.
Lily spent time stitching up some curtains for the 3rd floor and I assembled the bed for the same. Finished up both curtains and bed on the 3rd, we assembled a bunk bed for the 2nd floor. Did some work on installing electric showers on the 2nd floor and resolving an electrical wiring issue on the 3rd. Fun fun fun ... late in day we had 13 nino's over while I wrote a little on the blog I am surrounded by youth playing games on our two tablets, one extra laptop and my cell phone ... We should be having English classes instead I just told Lily, but it is Friday night. Perhaps we will resume, week after next, we get the Missionaries down here.
3 Oct, Saturday - Headed off to Ica today to get more paint for Victor, as well as a few pieces of lumber for another closet. While we are at it, we thought of getting a few mattresses for the two bunkbeds we setup yesterday. Well, we arranged for our welder, Miguel, to be our 'taxi' and his little car was all we had so off we went for our 30 minute drive north (now more like 45-50) with our four mattresses on the roof!! ;-) (Yes, that's Lily in the front seat.)
Got back and hustled everything into the mission, including getting the four mattresses up to the 2nd and 3rd floors! Phew. And we have many more bunk beds to get yet!!
Usually we have youth on Saturdays but we have moved to Sundays. This is due to the schools changing to a 6 day schedule with plans of letting the kids out one month early for summer. This is alledgedly because of the el Nino's weather, which may bring a lot of rain and potential floods in December and the schools don't want the kids stuck in school, so a longer summer break they will get, weather and all! So tomorrow, we will get the youth .. let's see if we get a 6pm adult bible study today.
We were told that the group leaders may all need to take a shower as they leave church services at noonish, do Oansa at the Mission at 2 and return to church services at 6 so I wanted to ensure that all the showers were hooked up. This took awhile but I got it accomplished only to find out that only one leader took advantage of the showers ... drat! Was looking forward to the test on the system having 5 or so of the showers functional at the same time ... another day. Anyway, we had a great session with the kids at Oansa. Recognition, education, physical education, and more.
After Oansa, and before the kids came to movie night, Lily and I were invited to a neighbors birthday celebration. Parents of one of our ninas, we got to meet some of the extended family. Ariana's father's 44th birthday, and he had his 88 year old father present. They were all sampling different liquors, wines, pisco and beer of different vintages and dancing as well. Good thing we only stayed an hour! ;-) Got a good pork and potato meal as well but had to return to the mission for movie night. Caught a good photo of Antonio Wong, Raymundo, Jose and one other gentleman enjoying fellowship at the courtyard across from the mission.
At the end of the day we also had 'Cine' for the kids with them voting on a movie to watch. They choose Little Rascals but I only had it in Blu-ray and couldn't show it, so we had to go with their 2nd choice, Toy Story 3. They loved it and all stayed until the end. Good day, quite busy.
5 Oct, Monday - We had Victor working all day today on the doors, as well as Miguel (our welder) redoing the bannister rails on our interior stairs. We will be leaving them both for a short trip to Ica to get some items, mainly screws and hinges for Victor.
We head into town, swap a short board for one of the beds, get rid of some mirrors that Lily wanted to change the color on, do some shopping for some needed external lights and the items that Victor needed. We got back and Victor and Miguel made a lot of progress.
After dark, and some dinner, we let the local Oansa kids in to enjoy playing games on the internet for an hour. THen we head to bed .. much to do tomorrow morning before we head to Lima. We are unsure if we can return by Thursday or Friday, or will be gone as long as Monday. Bus rates are high now because of some holidays this week and we are shopping for the lowest return fair. Keep us in your prayers, as well as the safe arrival of the Sanchez family from Mexico. Might be a few days before I get the blog updated but will get on it as soon as possible.
6 Oct, Tuesday - Got a half days work in before we headed to Ica to catch an afternoon bus for Lima. Did some needed things before Oansa kids showed up on the weekend, since we were not sure of our return times. Our bus return is up in the air since Thursday is a holiday and fares are high. If we stay through the weekend and return Monday we can get a reasonable rate, other wise it's 45-55 Soles per person (regular Mon-Thursday discount frequent rider fare is about S./19, so big difference.
Anyway, I hung a white board and a few other to do items, but got stuck again on a 3rd floor complex lighting puzzle. Abel left early morning feeling like he solved the problem for me only to find out he only moved it from one light to another ... oh well, will have to work on it when I return.
7 Oct, Wednesday - However, when they land was not scheduled till sometime around 1am. Clemente told Lily that he will be able to spot their daughter as her smile struck him as quite unique. Apparently they got in a little late so they did not get to the apartment till about 2:30. We spent a little time getting acquainted but it was quite obvious that they were tired.
Letting them sleep in, we were going to run downtown to do some errands and come back in a few hours. However, nope, they wanted to come too. Especially finding out that we were going to an electronics store to get a speaker system for the mission, they were desperately interested in finding guitars since they didn't bring one to lighten their luggage.
Anyway, we spent the day downtown getting an auto gasket (for one third of what they wanted in Ica for it) and finding the electronics store we needed so that we can get the acoustics issues resolved at the mission for video sing along, movie night, and actual preaching leadership. We found a great portable unit for about 800 soles (rougly $260) and also got an audio amp and two small speakers to mount permanently in the downstairs meeting room. The portable unit had a stand and two wireless microphones ... now we just need two guitars!!! ;-)
8 Oct, Thursday - Well we committed for return bus on Friday, paying an arm and a leg but didn't want to wait till Monday as the Sanchez's would miss one weekend with the Oansa kids. So today, we did a little touristing, taking the Sanchez family for a walk down our WiFi road in Miraflores that ends up at Larco Mar, the obligatory tourist visit which is a multi-level cliff hanging shopping and restaurant center.
After that, we took a little longer walk to the north finding a utility payment office to catch up on the Miraflores bills but today being a holiday, no luck. We did show them some tourist shops and ended up on the east side of Miraflores, just east of the express way, and showed them where regular people on a budget eat. Got a very filling meal for basically S./6, or $2 or in Mexican currency (I'm learning) about 30 pesos. Night and day difference between Vivendi yesterday and some of the tourist restaurants at Larcomar. Good to know where the bargains are, even in Miraflores!! ;-) Our waiter was some Italian kid who spoke fluent English, Spanish of course and his native tongue .. He's been in Peru for 6 years after doing a personal tour of the Americas and seeing a lot of South America, liked Peru and decided to stay. He thought it was interesting how crazy they get for football (soccer), even worse than Europeans ... and Peru's team is always dead last in South America! ;-)
Prior to meeting this interesting Italian, we popped into a new 'laundrymat' that just opened and the proprietor asked if he could help us IN ENGLISH! Got into his story a bit in that he was TURKISH, another tri-lingual fellow. His wife (or girlfriend, we didn't ask) was also running the store with him and also spoke fluent English. She said she met him in Turkey and decided to keep him. ;-) So he's been in Peru for 5-6 years, the laundrymat is only about a year old. First one I've seen. 11 soles per load (roughly $3.50) which seemed comparable to US rates, so not sure how well they are doing but great couple, enjoying life in Miraflores.
We had our handyman, Arelio, come by about 5 pm to square away some jobs he completed (doors, electrical). We also bought from the grocery a traditional Pollo, Poppas and Inca Cola dinner to take back to the apartment. I know, I know, seems like we are always eating! ;-) The next morning we had a very early bus to catch.
9 Oct, Friday - Got up at 4:30 am, had some simple sandwiches and got out of the apartment by 5:30am to get to the bus station in plenty of time for our 6:30 departure. We had 9 bags to check for the five of us. Lily achieved 'frequent wheeler' or whatever it's called for all the bus trips we take, but since two of our 9 bags were actually boxes (yesterdays purchases) they were considered 'shipping parcels' so we had to still pay S/.15 (about $5), minor amount. And off on our 4 hour bus ride. However, there was some major international banking event going on with motorcades and all sorts of blocked highways and blocked on ramps which added at least another 30 minutes to our estimated time before we would get to Ica. Anyway, we were off ...
Got to Ica about 12:30 or 1. Victor was working away, having also worked with the kids here on Thursday. He was excited to meet the Sanchez family as well as the new 'toy' we brought him for audio speaker and wireless microphones that will be of benefit with working with the children as well as adult services. We usually have Joses' wife have a meal for Victor while working but she has taken ill apparently in our absense. While praying for her healing this presented a delimna for food but we worked with Mahruha, on short notice, to cook for all six of us a good meal.
Looking forward to installing new speakers and wires, I discovered a few more tubal blocks ... will have to wait till Monday to discuss with Abel about. Hopefully he can bring his compressor.
We had a few of the kids come by in the evening, Julio enjoyed getting to know them. Two of them, Mariana and Carlos, worked through the dance routine that Victor has been teaching a batch of them and Julio tried to keep up himself. Good bonding experience!! ;-)
10 Oct, Saturday - Busy weekend with the Sanchez's getting used to their new living quarters and new country, and new village and new city just south of us. First weekend with the Sanchez's at the Mission and they dove right in.
Most of Saturday we dealt with a lot of little things, getting some fine tuning on the apartment living details for the Sanchez's, my doing some different small projects (I have plenty of them around the mission) while Victor continued his painting. Victor stayed through for the evening adult services, with his wife coming up to join him and we are glad that they were both here as Cesar who regularly comes to run the service did not show up.
So ... we did an improptu adjustment on our regular Saturday night adult bible study and made it adults and kids, and let Julio Sanchez lead as our new resident Missionary family leader.
We had great worship time, with Victor surrounded by many of the youth doing gospel sing alongs. Victor later led us in prayer and introduced Julio. Julio did an excellent job, giving his testimony and speaking on what it means to be a Christian. We had a great service!
11 Oct Sunday - In the morning we headed to town to enjoy church services at El Shaddai Communidad Christiana, with Pastor Martin Laos. Got to introduce the Sanchez's to him and his wife Cotty. We did a little shopping at Maestro and the market.
We then headed back to join Victor who was already at the mission for the youth Oansa meeting. We had a lot of awards given out to the youth for hitting many milestones. Please click on any photo and see others in the Gallery. On our way back, I was able to photo a welcome to El Carmen sign that my brother in law had put up since he moved down from Lima a few weeks ago to offer his suggestions and to assist where he could. A welcome sign is definitely 'welcoming'! ;-)
Anyway, we also got the Sanchez's tucked away in their special 3rd floor apartment. The first night they left a window open and got a bit chilled. The second night they closed it but did note that the weather is certainly different here, very hot in the afternoons as we get closer and closer to summer, but very cool in the evenings requiring blankets.
I think this was their 3rd night at the mission and even got them internet way up there tonight ... great weekend overall at the Mission.
12 Oct, Monday - let me think ... what did we do .... hmmm. Well, I do believe that we initiated the hanging of two final 'large' (95 cm) doors for the two dormitories, custom made by Abel and Cesar. I continued to work on some lighting, showers, and other issues. Ah yes, we went to the hospital to see a friend Jose's wife who is suffering from Psyrosis of the Liver. Jose had come by last night and was very distraught, having been married for 40 years as the doctors have not been very optimistic in their forecast for her. We prayed with Jose and spent a few hours with him, committing to visit Maria (his wife) today. The Sanchezs, also having met and prayed over Jose yesterday over this event, wanted to come as well. Bad news was when we got there, that no one under the age of 15 was allowed up to the patient floors so Yareni had to stay with her daugher in the lobby.
Victor was already there, having developed a close relationship with Maria who cooks lunch for him daily while he has been working the last month or so painting at the mission. He took us aside and told us a witch doctor just left, apparently invited by some of Maria's extended family (brothers, sisters). Jose is a lonely Christian in his family who is surrounded by non-believers. Personally, I told Lily later, if she was laying in a hospital bed and her brother sent a witch-doctor, I would chase him away with a fire extinquisher!
Julio, Victor, Lily and I spent a good amount of time with Maria. While there, there was an Indian woman in the next bed that was very interested in also receiving prayer, so while Victor, Lily and Julio (even Jose) spent time praying with her, I continued to hold Maria's hand praying in English.
After leaving the hospital, we did a walk to Maestro, not too far away, to pick up a few items. However, since we could not raise Leche for pickup, we had to give up the items that a personal taxi station wagon convenienced us to desire to bring back to the Mission (lumber mostly) and be satisfied with the items we could carry. We took a short taxi to the center of town and then a collectivo back to the Mission.
13 Oct, Tuesday - Abel & Cesars did a wrap up on the two large doors that they started yesterday. Also got them to assist me with the speaker wires in the front room as I was having trouble threading the tubes for the wires. As usual, Abel makes it look so easy ... I think that's 6 now 'assumed blocks' that he was able to work around with his fiddling with the tubes from both ends ... I guess if you do this stuff often enough, you learn all the tricks. Anyway, the wires were pulled! Excellent! Now we can have built in audio sound on the ceiling for all video projections, controlled by a small audio amplifier we picked up in Lima a week ago. Julio later in day helped me install the speakers and then we also installed 4 mirrors on the 2nd floor bathrooms. Did a couple other chores, really appreciate his asking about what 'projecto's' we will be working on today. Fun working together, even though we're both 'mono-linguists'! ;-)
Later in day, the local youth came by (a daily thing) wanting to play games on the internet with our tablet and laptop. This time Julio saw an opportunity and with Yareni they turned it into a great impromptu bible study with the kids, after first doing some sing along. Loved the interaction with the kids, the kids acceptance of both Julio and Yareni, as well as the patience and great bible exposure that was shown on an unscheduled basis by the youth. Of course afterwards, they all still wanted to play so we gave them 45 minutes to do so.
14 Oct, Wednesday - Today, was our first day with no contractors (no Victor, Abel or Cesar). Julio and I did some miscelaneous 'projecto's' around the mission, working on hanging things, an attempt to build a small built in table in the office to free up a portable one we are using, however we ran out of wood.
A few electrical items, we did resolve some 3rd floor lighting tasks together. Good day, and an evening of the kids stoping by to play games again ... the Mission is always lively. And of course, an opportunity to turn them to the Word with another short improptu bible lesson, prayer and sing a long. I think we need to get a few more laptops and tablets and we might have two dozen kids involved! ;-)
Had a great session with the kids of the village again tonight.
15 Oct, Thursday - Had another day of small projects, Julio pitching in almost all the time to assist. We did some wiring work on external lights. Have to time that during the daytime to not be working when the sun is glaring down on you.
Julio was volunteering as usual, and since he installed an exterior light on the 3rd floor yesterday, had a simple one for the first floor to give him as I initiated work on a pair of 2nd floor lights. He finished the 1st floor install rather quick, so he efforted to pitch in with me while I was up on a two story ladder trying to figure out another wiring puzzle. Lily had him fashion some umbrella on a broom handle (should have gotten that photo) to put over me from the 2nd floor window, and that silly looking scene as well as the perplexation of the wiring problem had me postpone it till the sun was lower (fancy way of saying i gave up). h
However there was one more easier to wire external light on the 2nd floor to install that is accessable 'mostly' from inside, and as usual Julio volunteered. I did get a few shots of him doing this rather difficult to access installation. We couldn't put a ladder up from the outside since there was a stairway immediately below, and nowhere to stand it. But got it done .. what a trooper! Now he can claim an exterior light on all three floors that he installed! ;-)
I started to work on another wiring puzzle in the front of the mission, but the youth showed up for a synchronized dance practice and had to quit. Of course, I didn't just quit, I caused a short first and shut off all the lights and music before deciding it was time to get off my ladder and come inside! ;-) Victor didn't make it up for the rehearsal but two of his helpers from El Shaddai did to coordinate. After the practice one of them engaged Romario (our hyperactive nino) in a sing along. I think he has him getting ready for a solo .. Lily got some video of it, so I will try to link it here when I get it uploaded.
Anyway, after the kids went home (about 5:30) they were back shortly after (6:10 or so) to ask about using the laptop, tablet, camera and cell - all four internet devices they have mastered playing games on. It's actually funny to watch the games that the ninas pick versus the ninos. Anyway, Julio and Yerani both tried to engage them in singing and bible study but after 8pm we decided we all just wanted to send them home and all head to bed ourselves. Long day but productive.
This is part 3 (October 1-15,) of the blog for this specific Mission trip, second one for 2015. Click any of the below date blocks to go to any of the parts of this blog:
Also you may click here for photo gallery. (many more pictures than are shown in blog)