Reintroduction

8/4/2011 -- A good friend of mine told me several weeks ago that I should continue blogging my life, not necessarily for any of you that happen to read this, but for me. So my goal with my new start is to reflect on things that have happened, how they've changed me, and how I can apply what I've learned to the future. Feel free to follow along or whatever, I got things under control even if no one ever reads this.

First post is something like half done, expected time of arrival: 1 week.



Monday, December 27, 2010

Costa Rican thoughts.

12/26/10

 It's the day after Christmas, and you know what's really weird? This year didn't really feel like Christmas. We had the meals and the family get together here in Costa Rica, but there something about living in hot weather that makes you feel like you're in an eternal summer. Sure it is a bunch cooler here than in Peru, but it's still in the 60s, no where near a good winter temperature.
 That made me question, what makes a 'good' Christmas? I'm in Costa Rica for Christmas, and that, for some, makes a perfect Christmas. I'm even down here with family and once again, for some, that makes the perfect Christmas.‎ Then there is the gift part of Christmas, giving and receiving. Does that make a good Christmas? Ha. No idea.
 For businesses, Christmas is a time to rack in some profit, for churches, it's a time to wrangle up everyone for a special service, for families, it's a time to spend together, for students, it's a time to recuperate, for kids, it's a time to get presents, for parents, it's a time to live up to your kids Christmas dreams, but for Anthony... Every year it's a little different. This year, Christmas is a time to catch up and reconnect with people I haven't seen in months, a time for starting school applications, and a time to chill and relax in a 'modern' environment.
 As much as I enjoy the modern comforts of life, living without them has really shown me the joys of a 'simple' life. We are chasing after technology to make life easier, but ya know what, life is super easy without all of that. It's just a matter of your definition of easy, that's all.
 I guess what I'm trying to say with this is much simpler than I'm making it out to be. What if I did mission work with my life? Just a thought, but a possibility indeed. As much as I love technology and computers, it sure is nice living without them sometimes. Yes, I am looking at getting a degree in Software Development, but something my dad told me (paraphrasing) is that God gives you talents for a reason and there is no reason for you to ignore them. If you're good with computers and love programming, then do it.
 True stuff. So there you go, that's what I've been thinking about this break. I love working with my hands, and it's tough to do that back in the states. I am coming back, don't worry about that, but I can't make any promises about how long I'll stay. I have a list of things I need to do before I do anything crazy with my life: get a degree and find myself a wife. A wise person tells me that I should have a degree and I do believe that my mom has reason to tell me this. As to the getting a wife part, a companion in life is always appreciated. Someone to share dreams and enjoy life with.
 We'll see what happens with life. But ya know, my life is like this blog post, it has a purpose, but is kinda helter skelter. Ha!
 Costa Rica is super awesome! My grandparents have been kind enough to put me and Jonathan up and to feed us, so my costs have been pretty low thus far. They are pretty awesome! We've gone for a super scenic drive throw the valley and the next day went driving up Volcan Irazú, which is the only place in the world you can see both the Pacific and the Atlantic. Unfortunately that is only true on clear days.
 But the Sunday of traveling to get here was absolutely crazy!! I just remembered that I didn't post that in my last post. It's a story for the ages!
 Our day of travel started out about 6:15 am when we walked out the front door of the house we're staying in at Km 38. Jonathan and I walked out to the road and across to buy some coconuts for breakfast and what a great breakfast it was! We waited for a taxi to drive by, which took as long as it takes to eat a coconut. The taxi driver took us into Pucallpa and dropped us off near the airport, so we took a motokar the rest of the way.
 When we got to the airport, we were informed that our reservations had been canceled. No idea why, but they had. So we had to purchase another flight on the spot and get that all figured out. In doing this, the lady that was helping us thought that we were making our return flight together, and at the time we weren't. So I had to wait for 20 minutes while she figured out how to change the reservations. But she finally got it figured out and we hopped on the plane at 9.
 We landed in Lima on time and collected our bags to head to the counter to check in. The guy guarding the line asked us for our vaccination records, and lucky me, I missed the memo about having to bring it with me. So I told him I had a copy on my computer, but he didn't like that, so he sent me to the little clinic in the airport to get my vaccination "re-certified".
 I showed up in the little clinic and showed the doctor the copy I had on my computer, she didn't care much about that, telling me that I needed to have the original faxed by my doctor. So she gave me the fax number and pointed me up to the phone and internet cafe upstairs. I had a brilliant idea, and decided I was just going to print it out real quick and use that, so I got up the stairs and asked the attractive girl running the counter if she had a printer I could use. Smart me, I guessed the word for printer and got it wrong. She had no idea what I was talking about, but after explaining myself as best as I could using my limited Spanish vocabulary and hand motions, she nodded yes and pointed my towards one of the open computers.
 I made the file transfer with my thumb drive and had a copy printed out in just a couple minutes. She charged me 4 soles and I was off with my copy.
 The line guard liked it, but when I got to the counter, my copy was shot down. The attendant said that I needed the original copy, but with my copy I could go get mine "re-certified". I still had no idea what that meant, but I went back to the clinic as directed. The doctor questioned my copy, but after I told her that my "doctor" had just emailed it to me, she agreed to give me a Peruvian copy for 35 Soles (about 12 bucks).
 So with my Peruvian vaccination copy in hand, I was able to pass through all levels of vaccination screening and get my boarding pass. The lady working the counter didn't even have time to explain the boarding pass like usual, because me and Jonathan had 30 minutes till boarding by that point. So we ran through the terminal to get to the airport tax and security.
 We made it through in time and were at the terminal with time to spare. Jonathan grabbed some lunch, and we sat and waited for a few minutes before boarding and take off.
 We took off on time, but 35-40 minutes into the flight, some guy had a mild heart attack. So we had to turn around and fly back to Lima, not even kidding.
 By the time we got back and sat around for half an hour waiting for who knows what, there was no way we were going to make our connection outta Panama city. We had no idea what was going to happen, but on our descent into Panama City, the captain informed us that the connection to Costa Rica was at gate 19.
 As soon as we landed, Jonathan and I booked the half mile to gate 19 only to discover that it was the wrong gate. We asked the gate attendants, and they pointed us to gate 22. We hurried back to that gate and got our boarding passes reprinted and had 10 minutes to relax before we took off.
 When we landed in Costa Rica, we discovered that they had lost our bags, so after waiting in line for an hour or so, our suspicions were confirmed and the baggage claim dude gave us a little receipt and told us to call in the morning.
 We walked out of the airport just hoping someone was there to pick us up, but since we were two or three hours later than planned, there was no one. What do you do when there's no one to pick you up in a foreign airport and you don't have a number to call?
 Well, ha, I eventually remembered that they lived near a school, so I asked one of the taxi drivers if he knew where the school was, he didn't, so he called his Papi and his Papi knew. The thing was, that he wasn't an official airport taxi driver, so we had to walk with him away from the airport and wait for him to bring his taxi around. That was pretty questionable, but he was our only hope.
 We got in his taxi, and he took us to where he his Pap told him the school was and it was not the right school. We informed him of such and then he spent a good 20 minutes asking everyone he saw if they knew where the school was. No one had heard of it.
 His Papi eventually looked it up on the internet and called our taxi driver back. We were on the wrong end of town. The guy explains that he doesn't have time to take us there, but has a friend that will.
 So he drops us off with his friend, who is an official taxi driver and who takes us straight to where we need to go. The thing is that my grandparents house has a nice big metal fence complete with a big wrought iron gate which is set away from the house. We tried shouting a couple times, but we didn't think it looked that good to have two young guys shouting at someone's gate at 1 in the morning.
 So I figured that the guard of the school would be able to help us, and we walked up the school to talk to him. We told him who we were and asked if he would call my grandma for us. He was extremely skeptical when he called her, but he told us she'd open the gate, and finally we made our destination.
 That was quite the adventure, and the next day the airport dropped our bags off at the house, so it even ended well.
 Other than that whole fiasco, Costa Rica has been pretty sweet. We're headed out to MonteVerde today (12/27) and then the beach on Sunday! So we have ourselves a good vacation. Been able to catch up with a buncha people via the internet, so that's been pretty sweet.
 And something else that is pretty much awesome, is that my hard drive in my laptop came up with an error a couple weeks ago, and so I talked to Dell over this break. They are gonna replace the hard drive while I'm in Peru! They have an office down there, so it's convenient and won't cost me a dime! That is nice!
 Keep me in your prayers, even though I am on vacation, anything could happen and prayers are always appreciated. So keep doing what you're doing, whether it be school, work, or whatever else you might be doing.


Paz a usted,
Antonio

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Last week to vacation!

12/22/10

 I am now in Costa Rica!! Woo hoo!! So because of this, I've had a
change of schedule and had a difficult time setting aside the time to be
able to write my blog. There ain't no time like the present!
 Usually I write my blogs on Sunday, but this last Sunday I spent the
whole day doing a crazy amount of traveling. Just about everything that
could have gone wrong, did during our travels, but before I tell you about
it, I gotta get you caught up on everything that happened the week before!
&nbpsLast Sunday afternoon, a week and a half ago, us SMs had some nice
bonding time together. Those of us that were at 38 played some games
together and spent most of the afternoon laughing together. That was a lotta
fun for sure, a good start to last week before break.
 Monday was a day to remember, at least for confirming some suspicions
of mine. Over the last week or two (last week or two before last Monday),
the A.M.O.R. Projects treasurer has been communicating with Hannah on the
specifications of his house that we are going to build for him (he intends
to move down to Peru). So Monday morning we started clearing out the area in
our grassland for a new home.
 The guys told me that the idea was to cut down all the grass, using
machetes and the weed eater, let it dry in the sun, and then burn it in the
afternoon. Great idea, except that it was a super windy day and our method
of control burning involved standing around like Peruvia6ns and enjoying the
sight. By the time we were able to get the fire under control, it had burned
about four times the amount that was planned.
 Now what this really makes me think is that the fires we had earlier
this year were due to Peruvian style control burning. My reasons for
believing this were confirmed watching the Peruvian workers burn out the
house area as well as the fact that the week there were fires, the Peruvians
had been doing some control burning. Hmm.
 Monday evening Daniel Pua informed me that I would be taking Lynn, the
two week volunteer, to the airport and I had to leave at three in the
morning. The thing was that Lynn had been staying at Km 8 so I had to pick
him up because finding a taxi that early in the morning was not very likely.
 So I woke up Tuesday morning about 3:15 and jumped in the truck and
off I went. I got to the clinic at Km 8 and was greeted by a surprised Lynn.
His flight didn't leave until 6:30 or something and I got there at 4. So I
hung out with Lynn for an hour and a half while he packed. It was cool
though, Chris, Caleb, and Cecilia (the intern Doc working the Km 8 clinic),
came with us to use internet. I napped while they surfed.
 The rest of Tuesday I worked with the guys clearing out the house area
and getting it ready to start construction. I do believe that it rained nice
and hard that afternoon, because it did one of the days... Can't say it's
super important which, but you should know that the rainy season is
starting. So it'll start raining more here in the future (well in Peru, not
here).
 Wednesday morning I had been expecting to take Janessa, Chris, and
Caleb to the airport, but luckily Janessa was kind enough to inform me the
night before that the Doc had decided to go instead. He's not the kinda
person to let me know those kind of things. He just expects everyone to keep
up.
 Wednesday was a weird day. One of the Peruvians decided that he was
going to start ordering me around. So I ended up hanging out with sick
Jonathan for half the morning. I don't believe in working with the guys when
they treat me like that. The afternoon, unfortunately, wasn't much better.
Elias and I started working while the other guys were off picking mangoes.
Lucio, Elias, and I were all working on digging out a 4 square meter hole
for compost and such for the house. We had 3 tools, a pick ax, and 2
shovels, one of which was broken.
 So Elias and I started working, him with the pick ax and me with the
good shovel. Lucio came over after several minutes and demanded to have the
nicer of the two shovels. I laughed at him, refused, and continued working.
I didn't think it was a big deal because it was his fault that he didn't
have the shovel he wanted, he was the one that had been off picking mangoes
when work started, but he took it seriously. He watched Elias and I work for
a couple minutes and then once again demanded the shovel claiming it as his
own. I sensed his seriousness this time and saved him my laughter, but still
refused him the shovel. This went on for maybe 10 minutes with him watching
us work and demanding the shovel every few minutes.
 And then, he determined that it was all or nothing for the shovel and
he made a grab for the pala (shovel in Spanish). Testosterone flared and I
tightened my grip on it as he he tried to wrench it from my grasp. I asked
him to stop and then demanded that he stop, but to no avail. Now I don't
believe in settling things physically, especially with my friends. So I
released the shovel into his hands and went to find other work to do.
 Going through something like this really makes me wonder what would
have happened if I hadn't given up the shovel to him. What if we had settled
it with fists? Well according to the teachings of my mom, bads things would
have ensued. Nothing should be settled with a fight. Even if I had a good
chance of winning considering that I'm a good head taller and at least a
good 20 pounds heavier than Lucio (pronounced Lucho).
 In one sense it would have been a good thing, I would have the respect
of the other guys and wouldn't have to worry about him pushing me around
like that any more, but is that the 'Christian' way to deal with it? Don't
think so. So that afternoon I built a new front gate with Daniel.
 The next day the Doc was off to Lima to attend to some business, so he
asked me to go with him to the airport. Well actually, I asked him what he
planned on doing with the truck after he drove to the airport and he gladly
informed me that I would be driving it back. Makes me wonder if he was just
going to tell me right before he had to go.
 Thursday morning early, no idea what time, I woke up with a horrible
stomach ache. I felt like I was on the verge of throwing up. That continued
for a long time, or at least it seemed like a long time, until Elias showed
up at 5:30 wondering why I wasn't out at the corral to help him milk the
cows. I struggled outta bed hoping I wouldn't barf and explained my
predicament to him. He was sympathetic and gave my stomach a nice hefty pat
and told me to get better quick. Funny guy!
 I managed to get some sleep before I had to get up, the Doc wanted to
leave at 8, and I pulled my self outta bed at about 7:15 to see if being
awake would make myself feel any better. The smell of food turned my stomach
around several times, but I managed to hang out in the other house with the
food for a bit.
 8 o’clock came around and the Doc was walking around outside with his
kids and the dogs, and when I asked him, he informed me that we'd be leaving
at 10. Great. Coulda slept in a bit more, oh well.
 So I chilled with Hannah and Rebecca till we had to leave, trying to
convince myself that my sickness was just a mind over matter situation.
There was no one else to drive them with Jonathan sick as well, so I had to
man it up and at least try to feel better.
 By the time the Doc came around to go, I had made no progress at
feeling better, but I hopped into the car anyway. By the time we made the
airport I was thoroughly convinced that I was crazy, but life is all about
the memories you make and the risks you take.
 I had Hannah and Rebecca with me, Hannah had some stuff to do in
Pucallpa which had something to do with her passport replacement and Rebecca
was along for the ride, so we had a good time chilling in Pucallpa. Even
though this involved waiting in line at the bank for a good hour and a half.
 I discovered that the dogs of Pucallpa are really easy to make friends
with, I pet one once and he followed me around for the next couple hours.
Really makes me look forward to getting myself a pup.
 Anyway, I made it through the day fine, and picked up the girls at Km
8 at about 4, after getting lost in some back woods Peruvian village. That
little detour started when I said I knew a shortcut... Ha!
 Anyway, after breaking a little wooden bridge and getting laughed at
by a crowd of villagers, we managed to find the clinic. And when we made it
back to 38, I collapsed on my bed and don't really remember anything until
the next morning. Has something to do with fighting the fever I had, but
that sleep was sweet, not gonna lie.
 Friday I spent laying around trying to feel better, which wasn't very
successful. I started some anti parasite meds and avoided food at all costs.
I didn't feel like I should be providing the food for the party going on in
my intestines.
 So Thursday and Friday I fasted, and let me tell you something: If you
wanna make even a piece of dry white bread taste like something amazing, try
not eating for two days before you eat it. That was the best picecof bread
I've ever had in my life!
 Sabbath was just a chill day for me. Rachel's dad came and I met him,
nice guy. So we took him on a tour to go see the clinic at Km 8. My stomach
was feeling a bit better with only eating a little bit, so when we went to
eat at a little restaurant in CampoVerde, I helped myself to some fries. One
last party before we all left for our vacation.
 That week was crazy! And now I'm in Costa Rica!! Woot! I'll have to catch you up on the Costa Rica stuff later today or sometime this week because I have stuff to do! But it's nice to sit down and reminisce about last week. I put some pictures up on Facebook! Working on getting some more up, we'll see how that goes.
 So yeah, nothing too crazy in the life of Anthony right now. Really enjoying the warm showers, fast internet, and the cool weather. All are AMAZING! Even got to eat at Taco Bell yesterday! Ha! But still keep me in your prayers. Even though it is vacation, I still have a life to live and things to do. If you still have any interest in donating to the Jersey fund, it's still open for donations! Just send me an email. And if you are still wondering what to get Anthony for Christmas, send me a letter!!!!

Anthony Howell
C/O Hannah Melara & Richard Matthews
Casilla 202
Pucallpa PERU


Live strong, love strong, and be strong,
Antonio

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What's in a name?

12/12/10

 Started out this blog by typing 11 as the month. Ha! Way too far
behind the times. It's the 12th of December and this morning it was hot
enough for me to take an unheated morning shower. I should be walking around
in jackets and hearing about snow in the weather reports, instead I can
expect sun, heat, humidity, maybe rain, and more sun. What a life!! I can
tell you why Europe advanced a lot faster than South America, because the
Natives down here spent all their time trying not too work too hard because
of the heat and humidity. I firmly believe that man was not meant to live in
these conditions, but there ain't nothing I can do about it. Some people
like it I guess, and it's alright when it rains every now and then, but it's
been a week since it rained last! I'm dying here! Well it feels like that
anyway. Every tried to sleep and sweat at the same time? I'm not any good at
that, even though I've been putting in a bunch of time practicing this week.
 This week though was pretty crazy. It seems like I did so much!! I
decided that I should start taking notes every night so I can tell you all
the exciting things I do around here, or at least keep you posted on any
interesting thoughts that I have (that is thoughts that I think are
interesting).
 So before I get into this week, I wanted to share a couple of
observations and the succeeding thought processes.
 First off, in all the hustle and bustle going on around Christmas
break planning, I've heard travel budgets discussed and it was making me
wonder: It is cool to spend donated money for your mission trip on your
vacation? You can probably guess my opinion, but I'll just say that people
can do whatever they want with the money they have or the money they've
acquired.
 This made me think, people give money for missions, but lot of times,
especially with SMs, they don't know what is done with the money. So I've
decided to start keeping track of my expenditures and give an approximate
expenses up until now. I believe that it's fair that those who have given me
money know what I do with it. You might be thinking that it would be really
easy for me to fudge the results, but I'll be honest. Give me a week or so
and I'll post my expenses thus far and then from here on out I'll list
weekly expenses in my blog.
 On the topic of money, one thing that is pretty predominant around
here is the use of attractive women in seductive clothing and poses to sell
things. I saw a big sign advertising Soy cooking oil and it had a scantily
clad woman posing with the big 'Soya' logo in the background. Doesn't make
much sense, but the fact that it works doesn't make much sense either. I'm
not gonna be walking through a little tienda (shop or store) looking for
cooking oil and think: Man oh man, hot women pose seductively with this
stuff. And then follow up and buy it. But as I learned in psych class,
that's not how it works, you see the sign (well a man sees the sign) and
connects the hot woman with the cooking oil so that when he sees the cooking
oil in the store and thinks hot woman, which spikes whatever hormones in the
brain, and he buys it. I, on the other hand, am too smart for such
advertising.
 Another similar example of this, is that anytime I've seen the
Peruvian version of the 'Help Wanted' sign, it always says 'Se necessita una
Señorita' indicating that they think a señorita would sell more than any
señor could. I just thought that was funny.
 Anyway, the best part now! All about what I've done this week! Woot!
Monday morning I had to take Jonathan and Chris out to Km 8 because the doc
didn't end up taking them like they expecting. So I got back from that
midway through the morning and had to go searching for the guys to find
where we were working. The tractor wasn't around, so I just followed the
tracks out back to the Caña fields (caña is a purple grass that the cows
really like and I guess it makes a good juice). We were just doing some mass
clearing of all the other bushes growing up around the grass, so it was
purely machete work. Which means that it was a lot of fun! Ha! But it got me
thinking, if I have two hands, why not use two machetes? So that afternoon
when we went back out to work, I brought along another machete and it was
not only more efficient, but more fun as well! The guys all made fun of me
for it, but what don't they make fun of me for? Ha.
 Tuesday was more work out in the Caña fields, so nothing crazy. I did
end up with some kind of sliver in my thumb, so one of the other guys dug it
out with a thorn he found. It was a funny way to do surgery, but sometimes
you just gotta do whatever works.
 Wednesday (12/8) was a holiday for 2 different reasons, it was some
religious holiday (no idea what) and the anniversary of the local
district/state that we live in. Because of this, I had the day off. Well, I
kinda had the day off.
 The guys told me to be ready to play soccer by 9:30, and so I was all
geared up, watered, and ready to go by 9, but none of the guys were there
except Erick and he didn't know anything. So I waited and Lucio dropped by
with his motokar about 11ish and took the girls to Yerbas Bueñas where we'd
be playing. I thought this meant that we were going to play soon, but nope,
Erick wasn't ready to leave. I ended up just sitting around the house until
about noon when Elias came and picked me up on his motorcycle. Even then we
didn't start playing till 1ish.
 What went down Wednesday afternoon was a big soccer tournament with 6
teams I think. We ended up playing 3 or 4 games. And guess what? I was the
only gringo playing, but who woulda known. Ha! It was fun, I was probably
the worst player there, but it was pretty fun. Got a massive blister on my
big toe because my cleats don't fit very well, but I still had a good time.
By the end though, after sitting in the sun all day and running hard, I was
ready to go back and go to bed. Which I did.
 Thursday Hannah and Shirley (the doc's wife) asked me to take them
into Pucallpa to go shopping and hit up the post office. There were a total
of 12 packages there! None of which were for any of the guys, but whatever,
no big deal. I got to experience driving downtown in a town where there are
no lanes, 10 times more motorcycles and motokars than cars, and next to no
traffic laws. It was craziness!! Then to top off the driving experience, we
picked all the people from km 8 as well to bring them back for the party.
 We got back and started cooking for our Christmas dinner. I helped out
with my favorite part of kitchen work, chopping stuff up, and then they
didn't need much more help so I chilled and played soccer with the guys till
it got dark (about 6:30ish). For supper we invited the doc and his family
over along with Lucio (one of the worker's) and his family. It was a pretty
packed room with all the SMs, the two families, and all the Peruvian workers
and we barely had enough food, but it was fun. Hannah put together a video
and slide show that we watched, but a large majority of the photos were from
before Jonathan and I got here. So I decided that I'm going to start taking
more photos of me and the guys out making memories.
 Friday the doc needed the guys to all go into Pucallpa to get set up
to be able to withdraw their paychecks (they do all get paid, even though
they try to tell me otherwise). The reason none of them can drive is because
none of them have their license, it cost 300 soles to get a driver's license
down here. So I had the pleasure of driving a truck full of Peruvians and
all the girls who live at Km 8 into Pucallpa. It was a grand total of 11
people and all their stuff in a 5 seater pickup truck. It was ridiculous,
but in Peru, things like that are possible.
 I dropped the girls off at 8 and took the guys into Pucallpa to go to
the bank. This involved a lot of sitting around and waiting, but it was fun
driving around Pucallpa with the guys, even though they did more making fun
of my Spanish than helping me with the directions. We got out of there fine
with the dog food the doc requested and made it back to 38 safe and sound.
 This Sabbath was the first time that I wasn't asked to do anything for
church, so it was nice to just chill in our congregation of 10. Right after
church I had to go pick up the girls from the other church, and bring them
back to 38. Dunno if I've explained it, but when we SMs are at 38 (our main
site) we split up between two churches. I was the only driver so I had to be
the taxi and pick up everyone.
 I then went and picked up the people out at 8, which was basically
everyone except Me, Hannah, Janessa, and Rebecca. Elias and I brought them
back and we had some really good soup and beans with rice for lunch.
Probably the best meal I've had since I got here.
 Sabbath night we had our church Christmas fiesta which meant that I
went up and rounded up the people from my church (Yerbas Bueñas literally
means Good Grass or Good Fields) and drove them out to Santa Elvita
(pronounced SantElvita) for the party. One of the ladies from Santa Elvita
made a humongous pot of hot chocolate, like the biggest pot I've ever seen
in my life full of homemade hot chocolate! It was crazy!!! They also have a
tradition of getting a certain kind of fruit cake for Christmas, it's
Patatones brand and is basically a Christmas icon around here. Pretty much
it's just a sweet bread with candied fruits in it. I just tasted a little
bit, not bad, but not something I'll be making any traditions out of.
 And that brings me to today! Well at least after trying to vaccinate a
cow with 3 Peruvians who don't know what they're doing last night. Ha! That
was crazy. This weekend I am on guard duty with Elias which means we have to
milk the cows in the morning, and I've gotten pretty good at lassoing them
cattle. Pretty soon I'll start talking Spanish with a southern drawl too.
 I saw a buncha Spiderman shirts on several of the kids last night, and
it made me think, it's a good thing that Spiderman was an American because
he'd be pretty stuck down here. There are no tall buildings to swing from
down here. Ha! Peruvian Spiderman, ha.
 Anyways, I've got my Christmas plans all under control. My Grandma
agreed to fly me up to her place in Costa Rica for Christmas! I'm pretty
sure I already told you that, but I'm excited! Me and Jonathan are gonna try
to do some surfing and just a lot of relaxing, we'll see how that all works
out.
 This week though, the doc is leaving on Wednesday and said that our
vacation officially starts Wednesday, so I probably won't be working more
than Monday Tuesday this week. That will be nice. Don't have much to do this
week other than those two days of work. Just gotta get myself ready to
vacation, but how hard is that?
 I also discovered that I can comment back on any comments you guys
post on my blog, so as of now, I promise to reply to any comments you put up
on this blog and any from here on out. There is no notification system in
place, so I can't tell when I get comments, but I will start checking them
when I post each week's ponderings.
 Keep me in your prayers please. I still miss home a bunch, definitely
looking forward to coming home in 20 weeks (just counted). Seems so far
away. Around here it doesn't feel much like Christmas because of the
constant hot weather, so I don't actually feel like I'm missing out on much.
Which is good, but I do miss this time of year. The break between quarters,
being able to see my breath in the air, chilling at home, hanging out in LC.
 I have found out the reason why they say you get less homesick after a
certain amount of time, or at least the reason I have gotten less homesick,
it's because I don't like thinking about things that make me sad, so my mind
has trained itself to not think about home as much, thus making myself 'less
homesick'. I miss home right about now though because I'm thinking about it.
 Ah well, not much I can do about that. I'll see you all soon enough.
Soon is relative.
 Wouldn't mind a letter for Christmas though! It's less than 2 bucks to
send a letter to me, and let me tell you, it's the best thing you could do
for me for Christmas (besides coming to visit, ha!). So think about that,
don't have too, but I would be a grateful person!
 "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper
you, not to harm you." Jeremiah 29:11
 Love strong, live strong, and be strong.


Peace,
Antonio

Just thought I'd list all the nicknames the Peruvians have and do call me:
Machete, Antonia, Antoinella, Chivo, Gringito, Cocoliso, and probably more,
but can't remember right now. You have to realize that they love calling my
name, they'll be walking by or just look at me and saw "Machete" or
"Antoinella", depending on the Peruvian, and nothing more. It's hilarious! One guy even calls me Cuñado, which means brother in law, because he jokes about marrying my sister! Haha!
They're good guys. Ha! Peace.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week of the Wasp

12/5/10
 First time I wrote the date up above, I wrote 11 instead of 12. Tells you how far behind the times I am, ha! Right now we don't have electricity, so I'm gonna type for as long as I can, we'll see how long that ends up being. Anyway, this week was crazy!! Keep reading to hear about it!
 Monday I already told you about, so I'm starting with Tuesday. Well actually, I don't think I told you that I got stung 4 times Monday by wasps, that was fun. Woke up Tuesday expecting to have my right eye swollen shut because one of the bites was above my right eye, but it was nothing. Just slightly swollen, not enough to impair my sight.
 So Tuesday morning, Daniel (one of the Chicos) came and woke me up at 6:55 telling me that I had to go to the airport right away for some new guy. I didn't believe him at first, but after I jumped outta bed and had the doc explain what was going on to me, I was in the truck and driving to the airport.
 I got there, expecting a new SM, and found myself throwing the luggage of a grown man into the back of the truck. His name is Lynn and he's actually Chris's (one of the SMs) mom's Fiance. He had some extra time on his hands, so he decided to come on down and help us out!
 He heard from Jenni that we were interested in getting our hands on some American goodies, so he brought with him some granola, peanut butter, craisins, and some other stuff. The craisins are already gone and we're well on our way through the other stuff.
 When we got back to 38, he was ready to jump right in and help us out, so after breakfast, he helped me and Lucio spray down the animals and then came out to the lemon fields and found the tractor stuck on some massive log. We worked on getting it out, but didn't have time before lunch. After lunch, Lynn crashed and we went back out and cut the tractor free with a chain saw. We actually ended up doing that twice because Daniel ended up getting it stuck twice, ha! But gotta have the whole experience down here in Peru! That does include trying to dig out a massive tractor with a machete and hoe twice in 4 hours.
 Anyway, we spent all week cleaning out the lemon trees. This involves cutting up all the grass and bushes around each tree with a machete and then scraping up the ground with a hoe to pull all the grass off so stuff has a harder time growing again. It's repetitive, not too hard, but still fun with all the guys. There was a total of something like 1000 trees. Yikes. That is why it took so long!
 Now Tuesday night something crazy happened, a new calf was born! Elias and I went out to check on the cow to see how it was doing because we knew it was about time for the calf to come out, and there were 2 hooves sticking out! So we shouted for everyone else and watched the calf slowly get squeezed out. The whole process took about 30 minutes or so, but what was amazing was that the calf could walk within 5 minutes of popping out. Not fair! Wish I coulda come strolling outta the hospital 10 minutes after I was born.
 Watching a birth is truly thought provoking though. The gift of life just doesn't make any sense at all. With man's level of knowledge, it's an impossible feat. It's like a computer creating another computer. The thing is that this 'baby' computer would have to have an impossibly complex operating system. Coding that would allow it to write it's own drivers, writes it's own programs with the instruction of fellow computers, and on top if this all, it would be able to independently create it's on thought processes. That's just incredible. I could spend the rest of my life writing and studying code and not come up with anything near that. Not something I think about very much, but life seems like it should be impossible.
 That was a pretty neat experience and the next day the calf was out with the cow herd running around with everyone else. Crazy stuff if you ask me.
 Wednesday I got stung another 4 times. It was ironic because I was in the midst of explaining to Lynn about how there were a lot of wasps around, and that's when I got all four stings. I'm sick of them wasps! They really like the lemon trees though, and now we gotta go back and fertilize them all. So you'll probably be reading about more wasp stings in the future. Just a heads up.
 Other than work, the girls who are staying out at Km 8 came back for their day off. That was nice to see them around again. It's like we are all a family down here, so when they leave and we don't see them for a while, it's like a reunion when they come back! Plus Rachel made some pumpkin bread and Lauren made some blueberry muffins and those were very good.
 Thursday I woke up with my left eye swollen mostly shut after getting stung on my eyebrow Wednesday. That caused the guys to start calling me Chino, ha! (Spanish for Chinese) With all the other names they call me, it was just another nickname, nothing crazy. I thought it was pretty funny though. My eye did get better as the day went on and I was eventually able to see out of it without trying too hard to keep my eye open. Nothing noteworthy really went down Thursday that I can remember. There was just four of us SMs here at 38 with the others all at 8, so it was really relaxing. Nothing to worry about and nothing really going on other than work, food, and sleep.
 Well nothing too crazy until the afternoon. It was raining relatively hard, so we went and worked in the Hangar, the massive building here on site. Daniel Pua and Elias went and worked on the tractor while Daniel Ruis and I worked on replacing some inner tubes and tires on the wheel barrows. We got the first inner tube and tire replaced and went ahead and filled it up. Unfortunately we didn't have a pressure gauge and Daniel wasn't very good at feeling when it was too full, so he kept saying "mas aire Machete!" (more air Machete!) and you can probably guess what happened next: I had the inner tube explode in my lap!! Haha! It destroyed the wheel (metal part) and put a nice big long tear in the inner tube, making them both obsolete. It was quite the traumatizing experience for the first split second, but for the rest of that second and many more, it was quite hilarious, not gonna lie!
 Friday was a good day as well. Got all of the lemon trees finished by noon, so we had a relaxing 2 hours of just fixing some of the electrical wiring between the outside lights. Though I did get stung for the 9th time that week when Laura came running away from the hive with a swarm of wasps chasing her. I'll call last week "Wasp Week" because of all the stings I received. It brings my wasp sting total to 10 since I got here.
 After lunch, I went with Alfonso and Laura into Pucallpa to buy some soccer cleats because the guys want me to play on their team with them. I was able to get my hands on a decent pair of cleats for 80 soles! (About 30 USD) The team I'll be playing on is the project team, so it's all the Peruvian workers and those of the American guys that want to play.
 But listen! We are interested in getting ourselves jerseys and shorts, but none of us have the money for it. If you are interested in sponsoring one of us, it only cost 10 USD for a jersey and shorts combo and there are 12 of us total. So just send me an email and let me know whats going down and we'll get it figured out. We play a bunch of games so they won't be going to waste, and if you want some kind of compensation for your donation (like a thank you note or something) or you need a tax deductible receipt, I can try to work something out, email me! (anthony.howell AT wallawalla.edu (replace the AT with the symbol '@')).
 Sabbath was pretty chill, just church and then a relaxing afternoon. I ended up trying to keep a young guy under control during church, that was fun! Crazy little guy loved my facial hair and loved hearing me talk English and loved being loud in church, ha! It was fun though. I look forward to having my own kids someday.
 Sabbath afternoon was pretty relaxing, and JA (pronounced Hota Ah. The evening vespers) was pretty chill and relaxing. We got done with JA early, so Hannah and I went out back of the church and picked a bunch of Granadilla! Which is this orange fruit that grows on a vine and has a slimy inside that is super good! It's disgusting the first time you eat it just because of the texture, but it has a great taste!!
 Last night I just dinked around on my computer for a bit using the internet. We now have a little USB device that allows us to use internet via cell towers! Granted it's not very fast, slow enough that you type in the URL then go do something else for a few minutes and then come back to using the internet. I figured out a way to share the connection with the Mac users down here, so they were happy to be able to use internet on their computers.
 Lent my computer to them last night, and here I am today! Went and did the weeks grocery shopping this morning. Bought all the food for 6 people for a grand total of 135 soles! (just short of 50 USD). Cheap food!! And good food. So that brings me up to now. Just chilling on my computer getting myself logged into my blog so I can post this. Can't think of anything pressing you should know, just the usual around here. Remember that if you have 10 bucks that you don't mind giving away, we could use the money for our jerseys! =)
 Keep praying for me, I know there are a lot of you that do, and I really appreciate that. I'm working on figuring out who I am while I'm down here. So far so good. Still looking forward to coming home. I miss it a ton even now. It so does not feel like December down here. It's still averaging 85-90 degrees everyday around here. I'm gonna freeze when I get home, ha!
 Anyway, miss you guys. Gotta get some other things done around here. Stay posted for more action packed Peruvian adventures!!!!!!!!


Peace,
Antwon

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hot November

11/26/10

 Man I love Friday afternoons so much. I always think that six hours of work straight is not worth the whole afternoon off, but when I get to the afternoon, it sure is! I can just chill and do whatever I like. Right now I'm writing my blog, but after I'll probably write some of my friends, take a nap, and maybe shave.
 You have to realize that as hard as I've tried since I got here, I still can't grow thick enough hair on my face besides my mustache and goatee. It's really disappointing because I told my sister I'd have a full beard for her wedding! It's 6 and a half months away still, but I'm starting to doubt my chances of success. But never fear, I will never give up and never surrender!
 I have officially had bug bites everywhere on my body. I won't go into details, but yeah. Crazy things happen in Peru, and luckily enough, they will stay in Peru.
 Jonathan's parents sent him a thermometer, and I found out that I am acclimatized to the weather here. Wow. Wednesday night I was cold, like cold enough to feel cold and to be slightly chilled. You are never going to guess how warm it actually was. Upper 70s. Like 78. It might have something to do with me riding a motorcycle for part of it, but still. I am a wuss! Haha!! I would have never thought that it was possible to be cold in 78 degree weather! At home I woulda been sweating in such weather! Well, I actually probably woulda been skimming in such weather, so no sweating. Crazy week.
 It all started Monday with nothing crazy. At least that I can remember... Oh! Yeah. I was sick Monday, that is why nothing crazy happened. I tried working, but that didn't work out so great, so I went back to bed and rested the day away.
 Tuesday I went out to work, and the guys were working on the Convi (van) trying to get it fixed. So for some reason that meant that the rest of us didn't have anything to do, so I waited for them to finish. When they did, when they stopped anyway, the Doc showed up and had to run the Peruvian guys to CompoVerde for some reason. Whatever it was just affected them, so they told me to go rest for the morning, saying they wouldn't be back till lunch.
 Lo and behold, they are Peruvian, so of course they were back in 20 minutes instead of the 2 hours to lunch. So we ended up going out to work on fertilizing the palm trees. We continued after lunch and ended up finishing them all, yay!
 Since we finished them before 6, that meant that I had to find something else to do, and the best thing Alfonso could come up with was to ride the horse. The horse still isn't used to people or to being ridden, which I didn't realize at the time. We rigged up a halter with the rope we had for the horse and threw an old pillow on as a saddle. Without the stirrups, I discovered that it is relatively difficult to get on a nervous horse. So Alfonso held the horse while I half clambered onto the horse and then swung my legs over. Next thing I knew I was laying on the ground staring up at the lemon tree. Ouch.
 We determined that maybe jumping onto the horse wasn't the best approach to teaching a horse how to be ridden, so we brought it over to the tractor trailer and had take two for riding the crazy horse. This time, instead of simply getting tossed off, I got a nice throw off from the horses buck. Laughter is definitely the best medicine for such a happenstance, and laugh we all did. I ended up just walking the horse around with a sack of fertilizer on her back for the remainder of the day.
 That night, I tried calling one of my friends back at Walla Walla. His last name is Anderson, so when he answered I pulled a line from 'The Matrix', "Ah, we meet again Mr. Anderson". When I didn't get the response I wanted, I thought at first that he was pulling a joke on me, but when the guy told me to "Get the &^%$ off" his phone, I realized that indeed I had the wrong number. Ah well.
 Wednesday was as normal as a day can be around here. For the morning I cleaned up around one of the houses and then maintained a massive bonfire. Fun! Though since it's already hot around here, having a fire doesn't help, why can't they have some kind of endothermic reaction that takes place with wood? Now that would be nice to have around here. Cold instead of heat!
 During the afternoon, I went with Daniel, Elias, and Alfonso to replant the coconut trees (tallest were about 4 foot, nothing crazy) out where we had the fires before. We planted 5 or 6 rows of 11 and that took pretty much all afternoon between retrieving salt from the hangar (what we call the massive barn/garage type building. Could probably house a blimp... So hangar is a fitting name) and driving the tractor around in the grass and mud.
 The ultimate off-roading vehicle down here is the massive blue Ford Tractor that we have. It is a beast of a machine, even with a trailer full of uprooted coconut trees! Ha! It's crazy to drive too, but fun! Anything with 2+ wheels, a clutch, and a gear shifter is fun.
 Wednesday night I set a record at the internet cafe in CampoVerde. In 12 minutes I checked 3 email accounts, posted my blog, and checked Facebook. That might not sound too crazy, but this includes reading all the emails that I considered important and saving the ones I needed to reply too! I even sent an email in that time! Ha!
 Thursday was Thanksgiving!!!! Woo! We took the day off, but I ended up working anyway, just a different kinda work. My day started at 5 in the morning, I had to help out Elias milk the cow. I love getting outta bed at 5 in the morning. It took us the better part of an hour to catch the cow, mainly because Elias really wanted me to lasso the thing, so he got a good laugh outta the deal and I got a good run.
 At seven he and I were on for breakfast, so we cooked up some food for breakfast. After that, I went into Pucallpa to go shopping with the girls. They needed the help and I figured I could get some much needed cash outta the bank too. We stopped at the post office as well, and we walked out of that place with something like 10 or 12 packages, some of which were massive boxes! Granted only one package was for me, it's still exciting to get stuff in the mail!
 When we got back, it was cooking time. One thing I don't get about Thanksgiving is that we took a day off, because we didn't want to work, but then ended up working anyway... Doesn't make much sense to me either. Oh well, the girls did most of the cooking anyway and I was glad to see them working.
 For dinner we invited the Doc and his family and the workers' families (those that have families anyway) and we had a Thanksgiving to remember! Lots of food and lots of people! By the time we finished giving thanks by eating a lot of food, I could barely keep my eyes open I was so tired. So I headed out to catch some sleep. 15 minutes later the girls demanded (notice the word choice 'demanded') that I come back and help clean up. Not a chance. I was wasted and I actually had to work in the morning. (It was a like 9:15 9:30ish at this point) So I went back to sleep only to be woken up by Jonathan and his shaving party some time later. He shaved his head! Looks crazy, but it sucked because he made a whole party out of the deal and even after I requested less volume, was loud. So I'm tired today, but Jonathan looks pretty suave with his facial hair and shaved head! Ha.
 Today was leftover day, my favorite! Seriously. I also learned a bit about sautering. All you need is a power supply capable of pushing out 260 amps, clamp cables, a metal table, and special rod things and you are good to go! The electricity (in the plasma phase) does all the work. It's quite amazing actually. Makes a bright enough light that you can't even see through the shade thing that you need to work with the stuff without staring at the brightness. I also discovered today that you can drill throw metal with a metal drill bit. Sure it takes forever, but it is possible! Ha!
 Well that brings me up to date with this. Wait! Did I tell you about the survey we had to fill out? ... Just checked and I did not, let me tell you about a survey for the administration that we had to fill out:
 It was just a normal survey, the basic "What did you like best so far about your experience?" "What advice would you give future volunteers?" The works, nothing crazy until the second half. They wanted me to choose two of us volunteers and explain why I thought they were the greatest assets and then choose two more of us volunteers and explain why I thought they had the most negative impact and then do the same for the Peruvian workers. I don't know about you, but I don't quite agree with such surveys. So I expressed my feelings about it and wrote in my own questions. I don't have much respect for an organization that utilizes such tactics in leadership. Sounds like namecalling and whistle blowing to me.
 I also have something for you to ponder. They need my parents affirmation about my Christmas plans, and the Doc said it's not because they don't respect us as adults, but because they had some kind of miscommunication between a parent and SM last year... You probably already know how I feel about the whole deal. Ha! I'm an adult, I don't need my mom's permission to go to Costa Rica for Christmas. Realize that I my mom knows I'm going and I talk to her about everything I do down here, I just don't need her permission. It was my decision to come here and my decision to go to Costa Rica.
 I guess that what it comes down to, is that I am here through my school and, in regular SDA style, they feel that they need to control us even though we are adults. It ain't nothing I can't handle, so don't worry. I just don't necessarily agree with it.
 Here I am, the day after Thanksgiving sitting on my bed typing away in 82 degree weather without even breaking a sweat. Ha! I'm gonna freeze when I get home. Right now my hair is almost dry after showering, and I'm testing out a new hairstyle! The slick back. It's getting in my eyes too much, so I started pushing it back. Makes me feel like Jason, my boss back at the pool, he always ran his hands back through his hair to keep it outta his eyes. So I'm giving it a try! Will take pictures if it works out well, and if not........ Haha! You'll just never know.
 Miss you guys! If you are thinking of doing something for me for Christmas, (or even if you're not!) I would love to get a letter from you!! My address is as follows:

Anthony Howell
AMOR Projects
c/o Richard Mathews / Hanna Melara
Casilla 202
Pucallpa, PERU

 You must include Richard Matthews and Hanna Melara on there too because they are the ones that go to the post office! Keep me in your prayers, just because I sound happy or I sound frustrated doesn't always mean that. I'm good, trying to spiritualize my experience more. That's what this whole ordeal is about. I'm here to grow as a person into the man God meant for me to be. The best way to do that is in a different environment that what you're used to, so here I am!
 I really do miss you guys. Anyone that has read this far definitely knows me at least well enough to sit through my ramblings, which probably means I know you. And I miss you. Te estraño.


Paz,
Machete (The Peruvian guys all started calling me 'Machete', lol)

11/29/10

 Alright! Typing on a freshly reformated computer! Gotta run into the internet to get some installs, so I'll be a posting this soon! But let me tell you about Friday, Saturday, and Sunday first!
 Friday afternoon was nothing special, just chill. Sabbath though, was a bit different. I was on guard duty for the weekend, so I took care of the cows with Lucio. That meant getting up early to milk them and then putting them to bed right before sunset. Nothing too crazy. This did also mean that I wasn't allowed to go to church, so I slept! Loved it. Needed that extra rest too, was up relatively late Friday night chatting.
 Sabbath afternoon and then night I spent most of the time chatting with the others that were there. Several of the girls were out at Km 8 cause the Doc wants them living out there. We have a Clinic there in case I didn't tell you before. We were up till like 11 and I'm still feeling it from then!
 Sunday My computer wouldn't boot so I spent most of the early afternoon working out solutions until I just decided to reformat. Unfortunately without the internet, it's a bit hard to get everything up to date. So I gotta download some stuff in CampoVerde to get it figured out.
 So I can't really say I had much to say about the weekend... Ha! Not enough sleep and much time spent fixing my computer. I did figure out when I'll be in Costa Rica! Leaving the 19th of December and coming back here the 9th of January. Very much looking forward to that.
 Oh! Had a half day of work because of some big soccer game this afternoon, ha! That is one thing to remember about hispanic culture is that they LOVE soccer! I don't mind, more free time for me!
&nbps;Keep me in your prayers, could use every bit that I can get. Was reading the Collegian (WWU periodical) recently, and it makes me miss everything back there. a LOT. Ah well, I'll be back to visit in May!


Peace,
Antonio

"My PEACE I leave with you, My PEACE I give to you. It's nothing like the world's PEACE." John 14:27

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Memory

 So I totally forgot to bring my blog post with me to the internet cafe.. Sorry!! I think it had something to do with having to reformat my computer today. I´ll try to get it in sometime early this week!! Miss you guys.


Peace,
Antonio

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Busyness

11/18/10
 I can't believe time has gone as fast as it has. Week nine! Though after doing the calculations, I'm about 2 weeks short of a third of the way through. That's depressing. Only if you think of it in the sense that all I'm looking forward to is to go home. It is pretty cool to think that I have grasped enough Spanish to claim that I have conversational Spanish capabilities (only as long as your definition of 'conversational' is pretty loose).
 If you didn't happen to notice, the date is the 18th, a Thursday, and I usually write on Sundays... Hmm. What's up with that? Well my friend, that is why you are reading this, to find out what I'm up to! Sit back, relax, and don't forget to try to enjoy reading this! This week is a week of happenings, hardships, and even happiness! (3 'H’s! boo-yah!)
 First off, I'm writing on a Thursday because I'm as sick as a ... Well I was going to say dog, but are dogs ever very sick? (mine was once...) Anyway, I'm pretty sick. (Got a lot of time on my hands, so this might be a bit long, but I'll try to make it interesting.)
 For the last week or two I've been having a sore throat on and off, kinda weird. This morning, .. wait, let me introduce the topic:
 Sunday! Is the first day of the week, and that's when my week started. The doc ran off with the Peruvians and took them to work out at Km 8 to get everything finished up. It was weird Sunday morning not sure if I was going or not, but I probably already told you about that. Just checked, and I did not. So Sunday morning I was laying in bed, just hoping that the doc wouldn't come banging on my door, which he didn't. Though that is probably lucky for him because I was prepared to defend my dia libre (day off), I was not going to go quietly.
 Nothing happened except my adrenaline rising, so I ended up getting outta bed pretty early and wrote lasts weeks blog. The rest of Sunday was pretty chill, figured out that the doc was planning on taking only some of the people to the clinic, just the med team. Lucky me! I'm not on the med team, so I got to work all week with just the Chicos (Peruvian dudes). Because of that, I have taken a vow of just talking Spanish for an indefinite period of time. Tough keeping true to that.
 Monday we cleaned out the Palm trees that are going to be creating some kind of fruit that we get palm oil from. That is in the future though, they are only a max of 4 or 5 feet tall.
 I was thinking about something on the ride back. Wouldn't it be weird in the States to see a massive old blue tractor hauling a trailer with 6 guys, one driving, one riding the fender, 3 on the trailer, and one riding a bike by holding onto the trailer? All are dirty, 3 machetes between the 6 of them, and they are driving down the main highway. Yeah, the only weird part about that here in Peru is that the guy chillin on the fender is a blonde American.
 Tuesday I was thinking that it would be even weirder to see the same guys all riding double on 125cc motorcycles, the American riding the back of one with a total of 7 liters of water, 2 hoes, and a machete. All while trying not to lose his hat to the wind. Ha! Good times.
 Tuesday was also the day I realized that the only difference between me and a weed eater was the body style. You can just call me the human weed eater now. Give me a machete and set me loose!
 I started keeping track of how much water I've been drinking. I do it very professionally, I have a 3 liter pop bottle that I fill up with water (no I did not drink the pop) and count how many times I empty it. So usually I drink about 7 liters of water in a day, give or take a bit. 3 liters in the morning during work, 3 in the afternoon, and approximately 1 during the rest of the day. That is how hot it is down here and how hard I'm working.
 Wednesday is the day that I officially dubbed the weather down here bipolishly ridiculous (loco in Spanish). We were out working in the field, sweating under a yellow massive ball of fire, when clouds started filling the skies. I was overcome with joy, my body was washed through with relief! Clouds meant something good! Shade yes, but lluvia (rain)! Not 10 minutes after the sun disappeared, I looked upwind and sure enough, that far away rain that looks like fog could be seen!
 I was very happy, let me tell you! But lo and behold, (this is were the loco part comes in) not only did the rain just miss us (I could see it coming down), but it had the guts to spit a bit on me and then reveal the sun again. Insolent clouds.
 Ah well, ate some good pineapples this week. Lots of Pineapple! Pineapple is really good down here and it's going outta season!! Oh! And Wednesday we also went and picked up a cabello (horse) for the project. The idea behind that, is that it's cheaper to ride a horse than it is to ride a motorcycle. I heard that and busted up laughing!! Not even kidding either! Ha! Imagine me riding down the highway montando una cabello (riding a horse)! Hahaha!! I'd need a speedometer on the thing to make sure I didn't get myself pulled over.
 All in all, considering that it is more expensive to feed one of the dogs than it is to feed one of us down here, I do believe that riding the horse is going to cost more than 9 or 10 soles a gallon.
 This week Putty's (the female German shepherd, pronounced pooty) puppies are out and about! Three cute little German Shepherd/Rottweiler puppies. Cutest things ever! The thing I love about the puppies is that they run around in a pack, all three of them always together. Found them all cuddled up in the small space under the sink this morning. Man oh man, I'm looking forward to getting myself a puppy. I miss having a dog.
 But! That brings me to today. Got up this morning at 5 to help Elias milk the vaca (cow). It was pretty cool seeing the sun rise into the clouds as it started raining, but I woulda much rather have been able to see something like that at some time other than 5 in the morning.
 Then during breakfast I started feeling kinda weird. Just a slight headache and such, but I just dismissed it as a side affect of getting up so early. So I made the executive decision that I was still going to go work.
 Elias let me drive his motorcycle out to where we were working, about 2.5 or 3 kilometers away. Driving them motorcycles is a buncha fun! Just a heads up.
&nbps;So we get out there and wait for the tractor to catch up (not because I was driving super fast, but because the tractor is slow). By the time the tractor got out there, I was just feeling awful. Headache and diziness upon standing up. Not good. So I told Alfonso that I was going to rest for a bit, which I did while they worked, but after a bit of that and me not getting any better, I decided that I was better off back at the house. I had 1 sole, so I figured I'd get a motokar and get a ride back, so I started walking, hoping that one would drive by.
 I totally did not expect to have to walk the 3 kilometers all the way back, that was not fun. I left my bottle of water with the guys, but I didn't anticipate needing it, but I shoulda brought it with me. By the time I managed to stumble back to the house, I was having trouble seeing straight, not even kidding. I dropped into bed, and spent the rest of the day in, on, or around my bed. Tried eating some lunch, but I ended up having diarrhea 15 minutes after. Lost everything.
 So here I am, a sick missionary that is sick of laying in bed, but can't do much else. I did get a package from WWU today though, that was cool. They didn't realize that I don't eat candy, so Daniel got pretty lucky being the one closest to me when I opened it.
 A song that is pretty chill and has been keeping me out and about is 'My Soul Waits' by Caleb & Sol. "My soul waits for you, Lord I wait for you... Redemption was worth the wait. My soul waits for you." Good song. Reminds me of the verse that says that good comes to those who wait upon the Lord. Not sure where it is, spent a long amount of time looking for it, but if you can, you should listen to the song. Can't look up a link for you because I'm in a internetless place, sorry!
 I'm trying to think of something really deep to say. Can't think of any good quotes or anything, but I will say that I'm changing. Gonna be a different man when I get back. Thought you should know. I still miss home. Looking forward to dropping my feet onto my sea soaked skimboard with my homies, to hearing the constant roar of the ocean wherever I go, to chilling with my mom in the evenings, to hanging out with my dad over at his place, and of course laying my weary body down in my own bed. LC, te estraña.
 Keep me in your prayers please. I can use all I can get. If you get a chance, send me an email or letter or something. Miss you guys.
Peace.

11/21/10
 My official day off is today. Though, in reality, I've had the last three days off due to my illness. Can't say it's that fun. Lots of sleeping, little food, and little activity. Not something I recommend.
 I'm still going strong at trying to only speak Spanish, it's tough, that is for sure. Haven't done that much talking though, makes it a bit easier. I am going to try to head in to use the internet today. So hopefully this is posted today, but you never know with how I've been feeling. At one point on Friday I had a headache so bad I could hardly open my eyes. ouch. I've been having diarrhea on and off, so I can't each very much. That really sucks.
 Besides being sick, I am doing pretty good. Trying to enjoy my chance to relax as much as I can, not easy though. Don't have a whole lot to say, and I just realized that. I do miss home, but whats new?
 Oh! Heard a good quote! "Begin each day as if it were on purpose." from Hitch, a movie. Funny movie too.
 I'm not here to write you a movie review blog though, you are reading this to read about me or about what's going on around here. Everyone else came back from Km 8 and we are all a big happy family once again. Most of us are sick though. No one has any idea whats going on. That is not necessarily a good thing either. We have 8 pre-med students and two doctors among us. It's funny that we don't know a thing.
 One thing I have noticed, is that people who tend to a more medical background are always the type to take some kind of pill for every occasion, or offer a pill for whatever ailment I have. I think that's pretty funny too, ha. I'm not much for taking meds unless I'm told I will die without them or they are antibacterial, that's when you need 'em, at least in my opinion.
 Nothing against medical people, but I really tried to avoid a medical oriented mission for this reason. I will say that I love living with a doctor back home, but that is because my mom understands where I'm coming from. These people just pass out the meds like candy at the clinics. Yeah the meds help, I'm not denying that, but in the long run, what good does it do to treat the symptoms but not the actual reason for disease? I was reading through some of Mark and some of what Ellen White says about healing, and the Jesus says, talking directly about his followers, that "they shall lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mark 16:18). When was the last time I saw the doc pray for something other than his food? Well, you wouldn't know the answer, but I've never seen a single one of our team pray for one of the patients. It's always talk about what we can do for them, how we can use our training to heal them, how we use our power to do good. Is that how God wanted us to live and to serve? Dunno.
 Well you know whats been weighing on my mind. I try not to say too much to the others about things like that, they tend to be sensitive to my questions about their beliefs. Ah well, life goes on.
 Keep praying for me. Got an email from ITT Tech last week, seriously considering going there. We'll see what happens though. Choice of a College is a big decision. Maybe PSU, ha. I dunno. Might even take a year out and work or hit up CC for a year and work at the same time. Who knows? Not I. Whatever happens, I'm going to be in Oregon and hanging out in LC as much as I can. I'm done with leaving home for long periods of time. Doesn't suit me very well.
 I'm still open to a letter or email! And! Dude, if you guys have a simply delicious recipe that we could make down here, hook me up. We are always looking for something efferent to try. We have access to a lot of different types of veggies and fruits and spices and whatnot, so if you have something, let me know! Miss you.


Peace,
Anthony

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Burnin out, but burnin bright

11/14/10
 Some of the mistakes and misunderstandings I made in my blog:

"AMOR as an organization is not scared of legal action from volunteers or parents. The base issue is that our calls are "independent" meaning that they aren't listed through the GC. This means that your universities have full legal responsibility for you being in Peru and they do not share that with the "church". Thus, safety is always high on their list. And MUCH more so after the assault." -Jenni (SM coordinator for A.M.O.R.)

 Also the state department thing was just them offering to help evac if it was needed, but this was after A.M.O.R. Reported the robbery incident as required.

 These misunderstandings were due to the fact that the Doc likes to joke around and over exaggerate, even in serious times. So there is what is really going on, or really what went on anyway. On with the blog!

 This has been a super busy week for me. Wow wow. No kidding. Average time getting off work every night: 6:30. Time we are supposed to be off work: 6. Ouch. On top of that, last weekend the internet was not working, so my dia libre (day off) wasn't as good as it coulda been. We did watch a movie Sunday night as a group, that was pretty fun!
 Monday was like any other Monday, getting out of bed was the worst part of the day. First day of work after the weekend. Worked the morning weth Jonathan out in the jungle and the afternoon working on the hammock house while Jonathan was at his class. For the floor of the hammock house, we topped the cement/sand mixture with colored cement to make it look cool. It's a octagon shaped building, so they use red and green, trading off every other. The reasoning for that is not because Christmas is coming, but because those are the colors of Peru.
 I do realize that me writing out everything I do everyday is pretty boring, but I'm writing it for me so that I can remember everything I did down here! So if you don't like it, you can skip it and read the exciting parts.
 Tuesday was a day to remember! The morning was more work out in the jungle with Jonathan. This week nothing really exciting happened out in the jungle... At least that I can remember... We've seen monkeys, crazy insects, and gotten bit by all kinds of things, but this week seems like it was just nothing exciting. Boring! Anyways, in the afternoon I was working with the guys (the Peruvians) working on laying the mezcla (cement/sand mixture) and we had some music going on the stereo system we had found. (We were listening to Kutless at the time) One of the girls came out saying that she had called the doc and he wanted to talk to us. I thought that was kinda weird, but Daniel took the call because, as a peruvian, he can communicate with the doc better than I can. She had told the doctor that we were listening to non christian music, which, if any of you know Kutless, we weren't. That was weird. So I explained to Daniel, who couldn't understand the words, that yes indeed it was christian music and that it wouldn't be playing anything else. That was that.
 Or at least so I though, maybe 3 songs later, the music suddenly stops and I hear the girl's voice issuing a sigh of relief (will withold the name). That was strange. The Peruvians I was working with love listening to music, so they were all disappointed to hear it quit. The worst part of the whole deal was, that when she came out of the house after turning the music off (the sound system was inside with the speakers pointed out the windows, when I say sound system, I don't mean a super nice studio quality stuff) she exclaimed something about being glad she didn't have to hear that devil music anymore. Woah. Not only did she not ask me to turn it off (she called the doc) she also called Kutless devil music. I then had to explain to all the chicos that yes indeed it was christian music and nothing else. The female SM claimed that the beat was evil. Hmm. First time I've heard that one. If she didn't like it, she could have just told me so and I woulda changed it. In fact, we spent the rest of the afternoon listening to Tenth Avenue North, Mainstay, and the Newsboys. Threw in some Caleb & Sol, Casting Crowns, Switchfoot, and some of Kutless' Worship stuff the next couple of days as well.
 The next day was nothing to call home about, same ol hard work. This whole past week though, the doc has been taking a group out to work at Km 8 to build living spaces for some of the girls who are going to be living there with a new doctor that is moving here this week I believe. They have all been getting back at 8 every night, so I've been careful to keep myself occupied with the work around the site to keep from getting drafted onto that work crew.
 Thursday I had another run in with the lady SM who thinks electric guitar is devilish. This time she turned off the Peruvians' Comba (I think that's how it's spelled, that is how they say that style of music anyway. Kinda like our pop, but Peruvian style. Less synthetic sounds and more Peruvian intruments and of course Spanish singing.) and turned on some of her music. Now let me make something clear real quick, there is a time and place for church choirs and organs and I sure love that music if it's done right, but when she messes with what we're listening to while we are working (and she isn't) it can really tick a guy off. I was nice about it though, and obliged her music for a couple songs while she watched us work (realize that she is technically on the manual labor team...). I did finally just come out and tell her what was going down. We were working (the guys) and we wanted to choose our music. I said it nicely, don't worry, no flames or anger from me. She saw what I meant and I changed the music, careful to avoid devil beats.
 Thursday night Jonathan and I went with a couple of the Peruvian dudes to go chill in CampoVerde and get some food. Nothing too crazy, but one thing I learned from it all is that these Peruvian guys have a lot of chicas, girls, that they claim as theirs... Doesn't make sense to me either. One of Daniel's girls was at the restaurant, that's how that came up.
 One thing I love about down here is all the fresh fruit. I've eaten so much pineapple since I got down here! Yum yum! And the other day, don't remember which, I chowed down on some granadilla, good stuff! The inside of this fruit looks like frog eggs, or something like that, and is super slimy in the mouth, but let me tell you, that stuff is good! The avocados aren't ripe yet, but we have 2 massive trees that I'm looking forward too! We have 15 or 20 massive mango trees as well that should be ripening anytime now. Man oh man I'm going to miss all a that when I get back to the states. Good stuff.
 Friday we worked planting palm trees for palm oil. That was great because we were near a pineapple field and had several great pineapples. Fridays are really long though because we work 6 hours straight, 8-2, which is tough. When we got back, we found out that the girls had been watching movies all day. Felt great to hear that. We also got chastised for being late to lunch.. But that was due to working late. Gotta love the female SMs down here.
&nbps;Friday afternoon was better though, I got to go into CampoVerde and use the internet! First time in two weeks for that. The girls all go and use it whenever, so it wasn't a big deal for them, but I had a lot of business to attend to and didn't manage to finish it all in the hour I had online. I emailed ITT Tech, sent an inquiry about my possible summer job, talked to my sis, got some downloads done, posted last weeks blogs, and still didn't get everything done. For those of you who haven't heard much from me, I'm sorry. I've started copying emails onto my jumpdrive so I can reply to them when I'm not pressed for time on the net, but even then I only have so much free time here on site. Been typing for the last 3 hours doing this and some other emails, and I'm still not caught up. Communication down here is tough.
 Saturday was a good day. One of the Peruvians guys, Daniel, invited Jonathan and I out to his place to go to his church, so we went. His church was quite a bit bigger than the one out here, and his mom is an AMAZING cook! I'm gonna miss Peruvian food when I get back to the states. We have rice and some type of beans a lot, but let me tell you, I don't get tired of rice and beans! And all the fresh fruit, yukka, and the juices. Mmmmmm.
 Saturday evening we just chilled, watched a couple movies last night and got to bed kinda late. Ah well. I'll go to bed early tonight. My average bed time around here is like 8:30, and I'm still tired at 7 when I have to get up, that's crazy! Working too hard. Reminds me of High School swim season, I can hardly get out of bed every morning cause I'm sore and tired. It's good though, makes me feel better about myself.
 Anyways, I'm still here. Still working hard and still missing home. Called my mom Friday, makes me miss home more. Hope you are having fun wherever you are! Keep me in your prayers please. Tough times are a happenin.

"In all things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive it." Matt 21:22

"We have this confidence in him: if we ask anything according to his will, he will hear us. If we know that he hears us, then whatever we ask, we know that we will receive." 1 John 5:14-15


Peace.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Occupado

11/12/10

Been super buys guys. WIll get a more updatyed post soon as I can. Missing home like crazy and I accidentally posted some miss information in a previous post. Stay posted for what was wrong and what is right. Miss you guys.


Peace,
Anthony

11/7/10
 It's crazy to think that I've now been here for 6 and a half weeks. Wow wow. Halfway to Christmas break! Just got all those plans figured out. Headed up to visit my grandparents in Costa Rica! Pretty excited about that! They were gracious enough to fly me up there because right now I can't say that I'm very rich, but I do have enough money to get myself where I need to go, and that's what matters.
 This week seems like it was just another week around here... Can't think of a whole lot that happened out of the ordinary.. I guess that we had Monday off, and that was super nice! Tuesday Jonathan and I worked clearing out the coconut trees instead of the other trees (Tawarine.. or something like that). Right now they are about a year old and aren't expected to have coconuts until they are 10. Fresh coconut milk is the best! Had some while we were up the river.
 Not sure if I mentioned it before, but I was approved by the doctor to drive the project truck, so Tuesday I took advantage of that and took the visiting doctor, Dr. Madson, to the airport. Driving here is a lot different because the cops don't care how you drive here. So everyone drives crazy, and to fit in, I gotta keep up. Which is fun, but also dangerous. Don't worry about me though, I learned to drive in the states, so I'm a safe driver, at least compared to the Peruvians.
 Also on Tuesday, Hannah and Janessa made a trip to the embassy in Lima to get Hannah a new passport because it was stolen in the robbery on the river. So until Thursday we were two people short, which is weird because there is only 11 of us. I think we are about a 12 hour bus ride from Lima, maybe 14.
 Oh! And last weekend, on of the cows had a calf! First time I've seen and carried a calf. I was also put on grass duty for the mother, so Lucio (one of the Peruvians) and I took the tractor out every day and cut down some more grass. During this times, I got to drive the tractor! First time for that as well. Made me think of a song, actually, “My Big Green Tractor” by some country singer, and I think that's the title, could be wrong. But he sings “I'll take you for a ride on my big green tractor” Ha! The only thing is that our tractor is blue.. Oh well.
 Wednesday I did the same work as Tuesday, cleaning around them coconut trees. There are quite a few of them, so it took a while. By Friday, we had them all cleared out, fertilized, and even planted new ones where some of them had died.
 Thursday was more work, as usual. Jonathan was spending the afternoons in Pucallpa at a lab class to be a lab tech for the medical team. This meant that I got to work one on one with one of the Peruvians, which means that I did a lot of Spanish talking this week! My Spanish is improving, still not fluent, no where near, but better than when I got here! This is good.
 One thing that can make me annoyed or make me laugh, is the doctor's communication ability. Thursday night, it was about 8:45 or so, already later than I'm usually up, I was working on Rachel's computer (it's got a nasty virus) just about to hit the sheets. Elias, the youngest of the Peruvians, came in and was telling me that I had to drive to Pucallpa at 9:20 because the doctor said so. The Peruvians have this on going joke about telling us to do something because the doctor said so. I explained this as best as I could to Elias, and he just told me to go talk to the doctor. So I did, totally expecting the doctor to laugh and call Elias a liar. He didn't, but agreed with Elias telling me that I had to go pick up Hannah and Janessa from the airport.
 That was one of those times that his communication made me laugh, because of course I'd go pick them up. I love driving! So I rounded up Rachel, Stephanie, and Lauren and we road tripped to the airport. It's 38 kilometers, so we got back about 10:30.
 Driving at night in Peru is a nightmare! Very few of the drivers are polite enough to turn their brights off when coming at me. That got really annoying, and I probably ended up flashing something like 80-90% of all oncoming traffic.
 Friday was a day to remember. I relaxed all afternoon! There comes a time when you just need to take a break from life and relax and do whatever you want. That was my Friday afternoon. Without a care in the world, I did some studying and worked on Rachel's computer. That was beautifulness in the form of time. Nothing to do all afternoon, just chillin. I need more days like that around here.
 Sabbath was crazy! There are two churches that the SMs go to down here, both small (20ish at one and 30ish at the other). For this last Sabbath both churches got together and spent the whole day together. So we had one massive church service followed by a Peruvian style potluck (everyone brought food for themselves). After the food, we watched gifted hands (movie about Ben Carson) in Spanish. (I've now watched 2 whole movies in Spanish) That was a cool movie, though I didn't follow all the dialogue, but it was still good. After that, we did the evening vespers/youth group type worship service. That was a relatively long day, but fun because I got to hang out with the kids all day. I kept trying to talk to them in English though, and that didn't work so well. It was difficult to actually communicate because they're not very good at understanding that even as an adult, they speak better Spanish than I.
 Last night, some of the girls went to a Quinciniera (girl's 15th party, however you spell it) I was going to go until I heard that it started at 7 Peruvian style. So I stayed back and did some reading and hit the sheets early. Got up this morning and heard that it started at something like 9 or so and they didn't get back till 1 this morning. Ouch. Glad I didn't go! I feel great this morning after sleeping for 12 hours!
 There you go, my week 7 in review. I will say that I still miss home like crazy. I'm so looking forward to coming back end of next April, but it is still fun here. I realized this week that I am actually starting to kinda like it here, not as much as home, but more than when I got here. That is good. Even liking Peru continues at the present pace, there ain't no way it'll overtake my love of home. So Don't worry!
&nbps;Haven't cut my hair since I left, so this week I started slicking it back with a bandanna when I work so it stays outta my eyes. I'm letting it go to see what happens by the time I get back. I will probably end up cutting it for my sister's wedding though, but it depends on how it looks and what she thinks. My facial hair is getting a bit longer as well. Working on growing it all out! We'll see how it goes, so far it's still a bit scraggly, but getting better. Be prepared for when I get back! I will be a different person!!
 Miss you guys. Keep in contact!! Peace.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Future?

11/1/10

 Rabbit Rabbit to you all!! I need the luck, ha! Anyway, just wanted to let you all know that the last week has been super busy, and that is why it took me so long to put up a post. Last Sunday we had a clinic instead of a free day (dia libre), and then on Thursday, our new free day, the electricity was out when I went into CampoVerde to use the internet. So I was stuck and unable to post anything.
 Good news though!! It sounds like the treasurer is going to be for sure moving down here and for sure is going to get us internet!! By next February, so I'm super excited for that!! Can't wait!
 On Friday, the local Peruvian workers convinced us to go play soccer with them, so we did, and let me tell you something, these guys are bred to be good at soccer! Ha! There was no chance for any of us, but it was still fun! My team ended up winning, so I earned myself 4 soles!! That was fun.
 For this weekend I was on guard duty. This, even though it's called guard duty, means that I can't go anywhere over the weekend so that we always have someone on site. On top of that, it means that I had to milk the cow, cut grass for the cow, and wash the truck. So I like to call guard duty, the weekend worker. I did get certified to drive the truck though! And the doctor let me and Jonathan take the motorcycle into CampoVerde yesterday! First time driving a motorcycle, and, man oh man, it is a ton of fun!
 Saturday night we dug out the projector and watched a movie projected on to a sheet. It actually worked too, until the ipod speakers we were using ran outta juice. Fun times.
 Today is a holiday down here in Peru, so we have another dia libre! Which is great considering that I'm still sore from playing soccer. So I'm relaxing just typing away and listening to music. This is the life! Makes me miss home.
 Many of you are probably wondering what I'm planning on doing with my life. Yeah.. Me too. I got to talked to my mom about it yesterday, so things are looking better than before, but I'll lay it out for you:
  Basically I have 2 options based on my skill sets, interests, and my personality. These are: IT work, computer support type stuff, and Social Work/working with kids. Two very different things, but they do have something in common: I like both!
 Reasons I would do IT work: I love working with computers. Even down here in Peru, I've been putting in at least ten minutes a night studying for my IT certifications for when I get back. I love it. With IT work, I would make more money, that is for sure. I would also be able to have that well defined line where work ends and home life begins, that would be extremely nice. I want to be able to easily prioritize my wife and eventually kids, above my job. It would be, in my opinion, much easier with IT work.
 Social work, aimed towards the children aspect of the job, is more towards the service aspect of the career spectrum. It's more of a lifestyle than a job. When I say social work, I should clarify a bit and say that I'm looking at working with kids. Maybe I should just teach? Ha. No idea here. That would be fun for sure.
 Let me tell you what I think would work out the best at this point in time. I can have a career in IT without a degree, so why not get a degree in whatever, social work or teaching or something, and take some IT classes where I can, but focus on getting my IT certifications. That is my genius plan to take over the world. No idea how to implement it though. We'll see how everything works out though, you will be hearing about it all. If you have any advice, throw it out please!
 Keep in contact! Peace.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Finally! A new post!

10/22/10 (the dates here represent the day that I wrote this entry)
 Wow wow. This week has been a busy and crazy one. My week's theme song is 'Some Beach' by Blake Shelton, look it up on YouTube! Don't have time to grab you a link, but you should listen to it! I chose it because it's tough work here and makes me dream of my beach back home.
 It's a ton of fun here, and I'm starting to get used to it, but honestly, there is no place like home. I miss home a ton, but I'll make it through the next many months, if only just barely.
 This last week was my first full week of actual work down here. 8-12 and 2-6 every day, except Fridays it's 8-2. I will say that working out here can be quite discouraging. Jonathan and I are working on a project out in the woods independent of the Peruvian workers, and for some reason they are all convinced that Jonathan and I don't work very much... Not sure why, but I think it has something to do with Wednesday when they came out and helped. They worked super fast, but did a poor job. Jonathan and I on the other hand work steadily and get the job done right. Something else that makes it tough is the girls. Anytime we come back a little early (I'm talking like 5 minutes) or leave a bit late, they always get after us for slacking off, but they don't have to work all day like we do...
 Anyway, had to get that off my chest. Life is relatively good here though. The food is usually good, especially recently with the Project treasurer and another doctor here visiting. I have also discovered that a lot of work requires a lot of sleep, but the schedule is not conducive to getting a lot of sleep unfortunately. As a result, I'm pretty tired all the time, but am working on a fix to the situation and it looks like next week will be a lot better in the area of time spent sleeping.
 Sunday night the doctor had a meeting with all of us guy SMs to inform us that we needed to be more flexible, more dedicated, take more initiative, have more integrity, and be leaders. That was a weird meeting. He said that he'd never had such laid back guys before and he needed us to change this or he would have to send us home. It would have been funny, except that he was being serious. Examples he cited: the girls did most of the leading, the girls worked even when they were sick, and us guys didn't contribute nearly as much as the girls. (If you can't tell, there is this slight friction that exists between the guys and the girls SMs, I call it slight because we are working on amending it and coming to a compromise.) I will say that, in our defense, the girls have been here longer than us guys, up to a month longer, when he talks about the girls working he's referring to them hanging out with the Peruvian workers while they work, and us guys don't contribute as much because we are trying to catch up on our sleep most of the time. I will admit that I do need to dedicate myself more, but it's not something that is easy to do. I'm working on changing my ways and becoming more a part of the project, but it's tough. I have a hard time agreeing with the way a lot of things are done around here, but the doctor did say we need to be leaders... So maybe I need to suggest a change in some places and make compromises in others.
 Monday was a crazy day. It rained very slightly over our lunch break for maybe 10 or 15 minutes at a time. So when it started raining again at 3:30, Jonathan and I didn't worry about it and kept working because we figured that by the time we walked out of the jungle and back to base, the rain would have stopped. (We also wanted to prove our newly found dedication) By the time we figured out that the rain wasn't about to stopped, we were drenched, so we just kept on working, shouting at the rain as we went! What was funny, is that in the time it rained, we got more done than we had all day. That was cool, the only thing that stopped us from working, was a massive lightning bolt that landed something like 20 feet from us. That was probably the most frightening thing in my life! There was a incredibly bright light and a soul shaking thunder clap, in that instant I thought I was dead, not even kidding! But we made it out alive, so don't fret about us! We are safe and sound and even now I'm relaxing in a dry house listening to the thunder and rain batter the house.
 Tuesday was the day that I got to get up at 5 and cook breakfast!! Woot woot. It was fun as early as I had to get up. One of those things that you have to experience at least once in life. Though in the next 6 months I can expect to experience it once a week. That was a long day and I slept well that night, especially after being up later than usual.
 Wednesday was the day that I experienced ants in the pants. As funny as people make it sound, there is nothing funny about having little critters running up and down your leg biting as they go! Ha! Not something I plan on repeating. In the future I'll make an effort not to place my feet on an ant nest for extended periods of time. Other than that, it was an ordinary day. Well, Jonathan and I went into CampoVerde and picked up some super cheap bread! We got a grocery bag full for the equivalent of a dollar, not bad. It was lower quality bread than you get in the states, but it sure tastes good after a hard days labor!
 Thursday was yesterday, and yet it seems so far away. I can't remember much about it, other than I went to bed early and it rained a slight bit over lunch. It seems like it rained over every lunch break this week, ironic that it rained so much when I didn't have to work. The thing around here is that when it's raining, we don't have to work! So I like rain.
 Today Hannah came out to work with us, so Jonathan and I had some company for the morning at least, she ended up leaving early to head back. It was good though because we got more done than we would have otherwise! What sucks about Fridays is that we work 8-2 with no break, so when 2 comes around the stomach growls are stomach roars. Luckily, we took some bread out to sustain us, which was good because when we came back for lunch, most of it had already been eaten. So we didn't get much grub, I'm looking forward to dinner!
&nbps;One thing I've been working on, is memorizing some verses in Spanish. Right now I've got part of Psalms 23 down. Great verse, so that is my verse of the week. 'Jehova es mi pastor, nada me faltara.' 'The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.'.
 Oh! And I love to hear from you guys, it helps a ton with the homesickness. Just because I'm not around or I haven't talked to you since I left, doesn't mean I don't exist! Please leave a comment, send me something on Facebook, email me (allewoh at gmail.com replace at with @), or you could even write me a letter! My address is as follows:

Anthony Howell
AMOR Projects
c/o Richard Mathews / Hanna Melara
Casilla 202
Pucallpa, PERU

 You must write all of that to make sure that it can be picked up at the post office! And if you feel so inclined, you could even call me if you have an international phone card! (011-51-61-79-0888) That is the number you call from the States to call the satellite phone that we have here. You can't always get through because a lot of the times it's busy or broken, but feel free to try and make sure to ask for Anthony. We are 2 hours ahead of 'Home' time (Oregon time, after Oct 30 we'll be 3 hours ahead due to daylight savings) so keep that in mind when calling please! The main reason I posted that number is because I keep forgetting to tell my mom, so here it is mom! Love you.
 I'm off to take a nap though, I look forward to hearing from you! Peace to you all.

10/28/10

 I'm already in week 6 of my stay here in Peru. That is crazy to think about! The last couple of days have been super hot unfortunately, really makes me miss the coolness of the coast back home. Man do I miss home too. I'm sure looking forward to going back home, that is for sure!
 The last 2 weeks, we've had the treasurer of the project down here, and that has been a relief to have another A.M.O.R. Project leader down here other than just the doctor. It's tough working under a Peruvian as an American because they have such a different mentality of what it means to work or to serve. During a meeting with the doctor, he was telling us what service meant, and I can quote him at one point saying “You do what I tell you to do.” after I made a comment about making my own decisions.
 Having the treasurer down here made a difference because the treasurer wants us to have a good experience so they will get more SMs down here next year. In years past, they've had more guy SMs than this year, last year there were 12 guy SMs and this year only 4. That says something about the way the guys felt about the whole experience. I will say that even though it's tough down here and yes the doctor is not someone I enjoy working for, I don't believe in running away from my problems. I may have done so in the past, but not any more. I know my values and beliefs, and I'm willing to stand up for them. I won't be coming home until the end of April/early May unless I get sent home or I need some kind of medical attention that I can't get down here, but I hope for neither.
 Friday night Jonathan and I called up Michael and spend 34 minutes and 17 seconds working on getting him to get his rear in gear and to get down here. Sounds like he will! But if you see him, remind him too!
 Saturday was like any other Sabbath here in Peru, breakfast, church, lunch, then part of the afternoon off, and then evening church. I wanted to take a break, so I took the evening church off. Saturday night we were informed that we were doing a clinic Sunday morning at 7, wasn't so bad because the doctor promised another day off which is today! (Thursday) So we went and ate some french fries in CampoVerde and then hit the sheets.
 Sunday we drove out 15 kilometers on this junky dirt road to a little village out in the middle of no where. Funny thing is that they had internet! Ha! Out in the wilds of Peru with internet, that was crazy. Anyway, I worked in our pharmacy again counting and handing out pills to the patients seen by the doctor. That was a quick day for some reason, not sure why.
 It rained hard during lunch, and after Caleb got the truck stuck in some deep mud, so they found someone to pull them out. After the Peruvians helped get the truck unstuck, they demanded payment for their work. Another side of the Peruvian mentality that I've discovered.
 Monday I was super tired from working on Sunday because we had to get up so early, but I trudged the 20 minute walk out to where Jonathan and I were working and put in my hours for the day clearing out around the trees that mark the property line. The property line is 3100 meters long, so for the morning we walked out as far as we could, clearing out the trail as we went, then walked back. Even after 2 hours of walking and clearing, we still didn't make it the whole way. It's gonna take a while to get that job done.
 Tuesday I worked with Alfonso, one of the Peruvians, working on some projects back here on site rather than out in the jungle. In the morning we built a door for the cow corral, both dog proof and cow proof, and in the afternoon we worked on roofing the hammock house with thatch roofing. Thatching a roof takes a lot of time. We buy thatch in 2 meter long sections and then put them in in rows using the distance between a Peruvian thumb and fore finger as the distance between each row of thatch. That doesn't sound too complicated until you realize that we are putting this on a circular Peruvian roof. It has a base diameter of something like 7 meters and is probably a good 10 meters tall, so it's tough to get the thatch wrapped around the roof frame. So far it's taken probably 3 days of full work to get two-thirds of the way up the roof, getting faster as it goes though.
 Wednesday Jonathan and I went back out to work in the jungle, and really made a good time of it. In the morning we took out a pineapple and a guanabana, which is some kind of fruit that tastes really weird, with us and enjoyed them for our second breakfast. After lunch we saw some freaky looking bugs, they looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. A crazy looking jerky worm that burrowed into the dirt, a quarter sized flying saucer with legs, and then some unidentified brown bug/lizard thing that I didn't manage to get a very good look at. On top of all those weird things, we've probably seen at least 10 species of ants out here and spent most of our working hours picking ants off ourselves. It is crazy!
 That brings me to today, my day off! I had to explain at least ten times to Daniel, one of the Peruvians, that today was my day off and he didn't need to come banging on my door to tell me I was late for work, but wouldn't ya know, Daniel came and woke me up to tell me I was late for work. Ah well, I had things to do today anyway.
 Unfortunately for the last week there has been a phone card shortage in CampoVerde for some reason, so I wasn't able to call my sister on her birthday or talk to my mom recently, but that problem has now been solved! Some of the girls went into Pucallpa yesterday and got me a bunch of tarjetas de llamar (phone cards). It's nice that some of the girls go into Pucallpa so much because they can get me phone cards without me having to go in with them, and they can check the mail, which they haven't done for the past week and a half. I hope some of you sent me something!
 Dunno if I mentioned it or not, but the treasurer is looking at getting internet down here on site, but it's not looking super good at this point in time. It's all super expensive, but he really wants us to have it, so he's asking around and getting a lot of different quotes, so it looks like he might be getting something done! He is coming in February, so we'll see what happens with that. He was sounding like it's almost for sure going to happen for the SMs next year.
 Please keep in contact! I feel like I've lost contact with anyone back at WWU! I'm working on remedying that, but it's hard with me in Peru.
 Peace to you all!