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.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Last week to vacation!


 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
 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
 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,

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