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.



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!

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