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, May 9, 2011

A Peruvian in LC?

5/9/11

 First off I just wanna apologize real quick for taking so long to get up this last post. I say last and I mean my last post that chronicles my adventures in Peru. I'm considering continuing my writing here on my blog for the sake of the practice, but we'll see what goes down.
 Well as of right now, I've been home for 6 days and have worked every day thus far, that is except Sabbath. That is because I came back from Peru with 41 bucks in my bank account and that's not really enough to cover insurance for my car nor pay the bills on my phone. So I have yet to pull my car outta the garage, but it is running thankfully. It took 15 minutes, but when the engined roared, it sounded like a beast! Ha! It was a good feeling, but it's still sitting in my garage awaiting insurance and new brake fluid.
 But hey, this is about my Peruvian adventures I do believe. And looking right now, it seems that I left off on the night before my birthday. So yeah, my birthday was another day, everyone did say happy birthday though, so that was cool. We tried to go out to eat in the evening, and successfully got food, but we failed at getting Jenessa to the airport in time, so she missed her flight. Though you would think that getting someone to the airport 45 minutes ahead of take off time for a domestic flight is sufficient, but not so in Pucallpa. We figured that one out the hard way. But we did get to keep Jenessa for another day, so it wasn't all bad, though I'm sure it did cost a bit more than it should have. Everything happens for a reason, right?
 Oh, and that night the truck got a flat in the airport parking lot, so I stayed at the clinic for the night and came back for it in the morning. Because of that I was absent from church for my last Sabbath in Peru. I'm gonna repeat myself here to make me feel better: Everything happens for a reason.
 Sabbath afternoon we took a boat out on the river to go see some sights, that was cool, but kinda spendy. We did get to go swimming in the river though, so I like to think that it was worth it. Other than that, we took Jenessa to the airport that night and called it a day.
 Sunday was the day that I was supposed to leave Pucallpa, but no buses droe out that day, so I ended up on a flight on Monday. So on Sunday I helped Steph and Rach get to the airport and then did some shopping in Pucallpa and was around to see Rebecca's parents off as well. That night I made it back to 38 to do some packing before I hit the sheets. Nothing too exciting.
 Monday was the day I was supposed to leave, and leave I did. Though before taking off I spent the day packing and playing with Charles and Jackie, Daniel Pua's little ones. That was a good day, but sad because I had to say goodbye to everyone there. Including my little Bandido, my kitten. I'm sure everyone is fine without me, as much as I miss them, so I don't worry too much. I'm not much of that kinda person.
 My flights were not exciting at all, nothing crazy happened. Out of that, I did figure out that there is something peaceful about traveling solo, I really enjoyed it. I saw Rach and Steph once again in Lima, so I said goodbye to them again. Then the counter dude told me I spoke good Spanish with a jungle accent. Made me laugh.
 Flew into P town Tuesday night 40 minutes early, so I had a good wait waiting for my mom to come. When she did get there, she walked right by me, which made me laugh.
 The first place I went out to eat was Taco Bell, hard choice right there, and has been the only restaurant I've eaten at since I've been back, but that might also have to do with the fact that I have spent absolutely nothing since I got back. I'm in money saving mode. Don't spend when you don't have too. I even walked by a box of Lindt 70% dark chocolate at the grocery store the other day without buying it. Sure I picked it up and admired it with my nose and eyes, but I left it there.
 Without a car, I've been having my friends come to visit, which has been cool. I've actually had a large number (relatively large) of my friends come to say hi! Feels good to have people come looking for me, ha! I also made it to the high school play the other night and saw a bunch more people there as well.
&nbps;The majority of my time has been spent working for my mom though, putting in side walk and hauling gravel. The first day I was here I went out and bought (with my mom's money) a square headed short handled shovel like the ones we used in Peru for the sake of familiarity. It looks to be quite old by now.
 So outta my 8 months in Peru, what have I learned? Interesting question. I could go on and on about all the construction techniques, survival skills and Spanish word usage that I learned, and so for that reason I would present a more direct and contemplative question:
Did 8 months serving as a Student Missionary bring me closer to God?
 And to that question I would answer yes. Explanation? As follows:
 I believe that knowing one self is better knowing God. Like a work of art or a computer program, the way it's designed reflects the artist or author.
 Hardship is was brings out someone's real personality, or at least that's what the movies all say, or is it true? Well I would argue that yes, my 'real' personality was brought out through the hardship I went through in Peru, but how would my personality bring me closer to God?
 Let me give you a more real answer to that question, this blog is something I've created. Can you see me in the words in the personality of this blog? Can you imagine me saying the things written here? If you answered yes, then thank you!
 Same way with me. God created me with my personality because he has a plan for me. If I know who I am, I am at a greater advantage to know what he has in store for me and I can better work with it if I know what it is and how it works.
 Don't get me wrong though, I do believe in the time set aside everyday for him, whether it's reading your Bible or serving, a relationship with God is a good thing, important thing! I actually read my Bible in Spanish now to keep myself in practice. Makes for an interesting experience.
 that is how things are for me, if you were wondering. Was it worth it going to Peru and sacrificing those 8 months for the experience? Well absolutely. I would go back and do the same if I was given the opportunity, that is for sure. So I'm glad I went, and I'm glad to be back.
 One thing people talk about a lot is reverse culture shock. In my experience that is a myth. To me we have two different countries and cultures and I have learned to live and to thrive in both, why would I have trouble going between the two? Not sure, but I have experienced little to no difficulty being home. The weirdest part is the timing of the sunset and then speaking English all the time. I'll admit that my first trip to the hardware store I started talking to the register lady in Spanish, but quickly corrected myself with no problems. I don't even think she noticed.
 Life is good. If you happen to be reading this wishing to have seen me, send me an email. You can't text me at this point in time because my mom had texting blocked on my phone while I was gone. And I have yet to pay it off. Working on that.
 You can still keep praying for me if you feel like it, life goes on even here in the states. My job for the summer has yet to put up an application with which I can apply, so I await that, and it's looking like I will be in Portland for school next year, but i still have to contact them about that. They are poor communicators.
 So my life resumes here in the States. And it's good to be home.

Peace,
Anthony

Friday, April 29, 2011

Burning out on FIRE

28/4/11

 I started using Peruvian style notating of the date just for the fun
of it. Kinda makes me feel like I fit in a bit better.
 But hey, tomorrow is my birthday (I will probably be posting this
tomorrow so replace tomorrow with today if needed) and I'll be hitting the
big 2-0, moving outta the teen years and on to the adult years. Though who's
to say that I'll actually be an adult? Ha! Don't matter to me, I enjoy being
young.
 In celebration, I received several eggs splattered onto my head on
Tuesday, the last day I saw our whole team together. (The egg splatter thing
is a Peruvian tradition) It was followed by a nice long walk to the shower
through a large portion of Inahuaya, the village we were in. I got laughs
and snickers, but those are what make the best memories sometimes.
 As to actual celebration, that's all been ruined with the doc having
the last clinic when he had it. I will say I was looking forward to having
one last hoo-rah with the team maybe getting Hanna to make some banana bread
or Elias to make some of his papaya juice, but this does strengthen the idea
of never having expectations, and for that, tomorrow is just another day in
the life of Anthony.
 As to the river campaign, I'd say that for being a medical campaign,
it was a success, as to the communication involved... Well I'd have to call
it for what it was, and that was a fail.
 The boat didn't leave until Tuesday night late after we expected to
leave first Sunday, and then Monday. What was funny about that is that the
Doctor flew out on Monday to avoid the long Lancha (ferry type boat for
cargo and passengers) trip (18ish hours). That right there was a slap in the
face to the rest of us, and reaffirmed what we all already believed about
the doc.
 You have to realize that the doctor gave us two decisions, the river
or the river. Not even kidding. And then with no respect for our return
dates, scheduled the campaign to last beyond when some of us had scheduled
to fly back to the States. Great team spirit there. So from the get go, no
one wanted to go up the river except the doctor and we went anyway.
 Before we even got there though, we went through a flat tire on the
truck, and since we are in Peru, no one believes in carrying a spare, so one
of the guys had to catch a taxi back to pick up the spare sitting back at
38. I went back to 38 as well to pick up the van to expediate things. Then
we figured out that the Lancha wasn't leaving till the next day, so we went
to the clinic at 8 for the night.
 The doc calls late enough that some are already in bed and others,
including myself, were getting ready for bed, and he demands that I drive
back to 38 to leave the van there and then return asap. That took me all of
2 seconds to determine that to be a stupid idea. So I suggested an
alternative: I'd drive back that night and come in the morning. The Peruvian
I talked to was stuck on what the doctor said, so he had to call the doc
back and explain to the doctor that either I was going to take the van back
and stay at 38 or I wasn't going to go. I ended up at 38 that night with
Jonathan.
 Guess what went down the next morning? The doc wanted to know why none
of the Peruvians went back to 38 to work. Logistically, it wouldn't have
worked out anyway unless the doc was willing to pay for 7 taxi fares, but it
especially would not have worked out that morning either. One of the
Peruvians actually stood up for himself and told the doctor that it was a
bad idea. Good for him.
 We arrived in Inahuaya approximately 40 hours after starting our
journey on Tuesday because the lancha spent 10 hours stuck on a sand bar. We
all just slept in our hammocks, so it was no big deal for us, just took a
lot of time.
 The doc put us right to work when we got there, which was expected,
but unexpectedly, he stuck to his word about us taking the Sabbath off and

we went boating and then hiking out to a hot springs. It was a good day and
I'm really glad and surprised that the doctor actually let us do it. That was
also the last day that we got to hang out as a complete team, Peruvians and
all.
 What was really nice about Inahuaya was that they really appreciated
us. They gave each of us a room in one of their hostels, they cooked for us
(We brought most of the food), and they even provided free transport from
Pucallpa to Inahuaya. It was the really nice treatment.
 On Sunday it was back to work in the clinic, I pulled Pharmacy duty
that clinic because it's what I could do. Didn't have much interest in
pulling teeth or doing triage because there are others more skilled at doing
such.
 Monday night we played futbol against a team from Inahuaya. I'm not
sure who won, but it was a lotta fun! We played on a cement court about the
size of a basketball court with teams of 5 or 6, I don't quite remember. I
played arcero (goalie) and took some hits, made some saves, but most
importantly, had fun. The girls took a turn after we finished playing and
played Volley ball with a team from Inahuaya. There were some young girls
playing, like 8ish, that were playing and they were good!!! It was crazy
watching them.
 Monday was just another clinic day for most, but for me, I got to put
my prize IT skills to work. Didn't do much, but did have a go at getting
their satellite internet working. Turned out to be a problem with the other
end, so there was nothing I could do. Next, I had a go at getting a printer
to work, but unfortunately I was without any driver software and using an
older version of Windows, so I was once again unable to be of much help
other than to diagnose the problem. I had no prescription for them to get
filled.
 I will say that having a chance at even simple problems like that,
reminded me of why I want to get an IT degree, it's what I love doing and
come on, everyone wants to be friends with an IT guy, right?
 Monday night I also discussed return plans with the doctor. He was
surprised when I told him I would be unable to afford a flight back to
Pucallpa (200 soles), but after much thinking and a couple of phone calls,
he offered to pay for one ticket between we and Jonathan, we accepted at
first, but then he also told us he would not be paying back the money he
owed us for getting the tire fixed on the truck and putting gas in the
conve. That would come to cost me 150 soles and cost Jonathan 137, I
couldn't put out that much on the ticket, not since a Lancha trip would only
cost 35 soles.
 What really got me about that situation is that later I found out that
the Mayor's wife was the one paying for the ticket, not the doctor, and he
was using that to his advantage. He would keep us in Inahuaya for a couple
days longer, he wouldn't owe us any more money, and he would make himself
look good in the process. This was all to be accomplished through slew of
hand tricks. That man is crazy.
 So after that attempted robbery, Jonathan and I decided that were
would head out on a Lancha. Word had it that there was to be a Lancha the
next morning early, so we arose with the girls who were catching a boat to
Contamana, the nearest town with an airport because they were flying back.
We headed off to the port to wait the next Lancha, and wait we did.
 By lunch, after hearing that we should expect a Lancha at any moment
for the last several hours, it was told that a lancha was coming at 6 that
evening, so we headed back into town for lunch and came back out at 3 and
waited some more. We eventually set up hammocks and fell asleep. It was
about 4 or 5 that next morning when the lancha finally did decide to show
it's massive face, and we then found ourselves en route to Pucallpa after 24
hours of waiting.
 What sucked about that little bit right there, was that was when I had
to say my goodbyes to all the Peruvian workers, Cecilia, Wendy, Loren, and
Hanna. That might be the last I ever see some of them, but I'm hoping that
proves to be false.
 Goodbyes are my least favorite things, next to going through major
transitions and I'm going through both even as I type. Tomorrow the first of
us are outta here, Sunday four more of us are gone, and then two weeks
later, Hanna and Loren, the last two, head out.
 There are positive things about it all, I mean I am going to get to
see all my friends and family back home, and that is a great thing. I'll see
all these people again, of that I am sure, in fact it's looking like it'll
be going down the end of this summer! So I'm not too worried about the whole
thing.
 I will say that I am planning on sitting down with that doctor and
having a nice chat about how I feel about what's gone down this year. I
don't plan on being a jerk about the whole thing, I just want to offer
helpful criticism. The only reason I'll be able to talk to him is because
he's abandoning the team out at Inahuaya and returning, by plane, here to
Pucallpa tomorrow. Funny guy.
 But hey, things happen that I can't control, I can just express my
opinions about them. I do think that it would be therapeutic for the doctor
if he spent the 36 hours of a lancha ride to get back to Pucallpa, but he
can do what he wants.
 In my search for help, I did find an intriguing passage from Ellen
White, "None should consent to be mere machines, run by another man's mind.
God has given us ability, to think and to act, and it is by acting with
carefulness, looking to Him for wisdom, that you will become capable of
bearing burdens. Stand in your God-given personality. Be no other person's
shadow. Expect that the Lord will work in and by and through you." Ministry
of Healing [498-499].
 Good thoughts there. Hope you enjoy them! I sure did. I do believe
that the more one gets to know oneself, the more he/she will get to know the
creator. At least that is how it's been working for me, I just have to put
out the effort.
 Will summarize all my expenses when I get back to the states!
 Hope I didn't bore you too much. Stay strong my friends!


Love,
Anthonio

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hard work

4/17/11

 This week was a week of work and I am extremely tired, not that it's necessarily a bad thing, just an observation. To put it in perspective, I've slept 25 hours between the last two nights and I still feel ready to go back to bed, so either I'm sick with something weird or I'm just super tired. Dunno.
 But hey, doesn't mean this week was a bad one. We officially finished pouring all the concrete for Kevin's house and even put a red layer on top to make it look cool. That was a lot of hauling cement and sand, but we were lucky enough that the doc rented a cement mixer, so that saved us a TON of time. Even with the mixer, it took us two days to completely finish everything.
 To reinforce the doc's image of poor communication, he failed to tell the rental place that he was going to rent the mixer for more than one day. He told us to use it as long as he needed, but told the owner that we were only going to use it for one day. So when I hauled the thing back to the rental place, the guy was demanding compensation for the poor communication. I didn't have any money, nor was I the party at fault, so I gave him the Doc's phone number and headed out.
 Though I have come to believe that the communication factor is not just the doctor. It seems to run in the culture as well. The second day of pouring cement we worked well into our two hour lunch break, I was so hungry I finally just quit because the guys just kept telling me that they were going to stop in just a little bit. That gets old after hearing that for two hours. After I stopped and took a break for lunch and got back to work, I was informed that the plan was to work until we finished and then we'd be taking the rest of the day off. I just wasn't told that, so I worked until they quit and took the rest of the day off with them. Funny how things work.
 We also had a meeting with the doctor this week, the day before he made his weekly trek to Lima. Well to be correct, I should say that everyone else had a meeting with the doctor, after half an hour of waiting for him to show, I decided to hit the sheets. He said we'd have a meeting at 8 and I waited till 8:35 after being 5 minutes late, and so I went to bed. My reasoning was that he wasn't nice enough to show respect for us, so I didn't feel like he deserved my presence, ha!
 Though at the meeting it was decided that we are going to have another medical campaign this next week up the river. And man let me tell you that I'm super excited to go on another trip with the doctor. Love spending good quality time with him, especially if he's the one doing all the planning.
 The plan is that we are leaving tomorrow and will arrive at out destination after a 20 hour trip by boat. Then we will have the normal med campaign, a day off on Sunday (Can't believe it either), and then make our way back on the 27th I do believe. Honestly though, I have no idea. Since the plans have been made, there has already been one major change, we move the departure date from today to tomorrow because the boats don't leave on Sundays.
 That's the plan anyway. I'm going to assume that we just have no idea when we'll be getting back and the doctor is just saying the 27th to sound good. Rumor has it that we are going to be receiving a free trip there, free lodging, and free food. That sounds great to me! But once again, it's not something that I expect. Working with the doctor has taught me to have no expectations and be prepared for anything. And that is what I'm doing.
 I did have one morning this week that I spent running around Pucallpa trying to find parts for the mechanic who was fixing our weed whackers. That is definitely something different about Peru than the states, if you want the Mechanic to fix your stuff, you have to come up with the parts, unless of course you go to the big fancy American type mechanic shops, but those are usually a bit more on the expensive side.
 That was a funny experience though, after going to 5 different shops, each telling me to try the next one, and something like an hour or two of walking around, I went back to the mechanic and he was nice enough to inform me that I could just buy the parts for a different model and they were the exact same. Good communication is what that's called.
 Ah well, as different as it is down here in Peru, I'll still say that I do enjoy life here a bit better than I have in the States. The things I miss the most is my family and friends back home and having an income. Living with an income really makes me put a little more value on money. There is nothing to replace each sole I spend and thinking about that is very daunting. Money is a valuable thing to have, can't lie about that.
 Life goes on down here, T minus two weeks and a day or two will my return. At this point it looks like I'll be low on cash when I get back to the states, but if you need any work done let me know, I work cheap!
 It's still looking like I'll be hitting up school for a quarter this fall, but I'm still waiting on a reply from ITT, they do seem to be extremely sluggish when it comes to replying to prospective students which is an interesting tactic for a University to have, but hey, if they don't respond or have no interest in accepting me, there are other schools and there ain't nothing wrong with taking time off to work.
 The future is a mystery and ain't no planning gonna change that. So why plan at all? Ha! Just kidding, but there is a point where you can plan too much. Don't forget about that.
 And now for my favorite part! Expenses!! Well not really my favorite part, but here goes: 30 soles into food, 95 soles into a soccer ball for the guys, .5 soles of water melon in Pucallpa, 5 soles for a lunch we had in Campo, .5 soles of juice on the way to Pucallpa with Elias, 11 soles of gas for his motorcycle, 2 soles in betting on the soccer games we played, 1 sole to a dude that watched the truck while I was in Pucallpa when I had bags of cement in the back, 10 soles on a phone card, and that's all I can remember right now. I have a list back at 38, but I'm in the airport mooching off their internet right now, so I'll leave it at that. That puts my week total at 155 soles, a new high. That brings my average up to 77 soles a week and my total is now 1078 soles spent since I got back from Christmas break. Not bad and this next week looks to be cheap because we won't have to pay for food or transport! But we'll see about that.
 Home in 2 weeks and 2 days.


Peace,
Anthony

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Time

4/10/11

 Time moves on with or without us. Something I've always found
interesting is that's a topic hit upon time after time within Science
fiction, traveling through or controlling time. We've mastered traveling
through the other three dimensions at our discretion, so what's stopping us
from going back in time to stop the rise of Hitler or going forward in time
to bring back inventions of the future? Well one would hope that
intelligence would stop a person from doing any of the above, but is it
possible? I think current evidence suggests that no, reverse time travel is
not possible for humankind. I make that judgment based off the fact that I
have yet to see or hear of any time traveler within my life time.
 The Bible does state that, in a sense, time travel is possible for
God. I say that in the sense that God exists outside our four dimensions,
making it a simple step to travel through time. But then we're told that he
is all knowing, all seeing, and present everywhere. According to current
science, that suggests many more dimensions than just a simple four. So does
he even have to 'travel' through time? Interesting thought.
 No idea, that just struck me as I made my opening statement. I've
always been interesting in the fiction side of science, stuff like the
Stargate, Hyperspace travel, aliens from who knows where, futuristic multi-
planet societies, the what-if side of things. It's been a while since I've
had a good dose of science fiction, I'll say that I'm looking forward to
doing some reading when I get back home, if I have time anyway. It'll be a
while before I'll be able to read and understand Spanish books, I've
discovered that from reading through the Bible in Spanish, and I'm really
grateful that an English translation is included.
 But hey, moving on to life in Peru, things are going well. The doctor
got back on Friday after telling us he'd be back the two days before, funny
guy. It's interesting how he manages to consistently fail to communicate
very well. One day I was told that I'd be going to the airport at lunch,
then before I left I was told he was coming that night so I had to be ready
to leave at a moments notice, but he still didn't come till the next day.
What can I say?
 We've been working on the Ong house this week, so I've been doing
everything from helping out with the septic hole, to leveling the dirt in
preparation for pouring the concrete floor. Nothing all that exciting
really, just work.
 On Thursday, both of the girls that live here at 38, Jenessa and
Hanna, both were out at 8 for the day and night, so the Peruvians designated
me as the 'chica', which meant that I made refresco (drinks) and the food
for them (I don't say that in anyway to sound sexist). That was fun, though
for Thursday supper, we went into Campo to eat there because none of the
guys wanted to wait for me to cook for them, but it was good because I do
enjoy the fries that we can get in Campo.
 We're working on getting team jerseys for all of us, and right now I'm
just waiting on everyone to put in their 20 soles (7 bucks) so we can go
order them. They're just going to be cool looking soccer jerseys with
whatever name and number we want to put on them.
 It's been a good week all in all, spent some good times with the guys,
got to go to a different church yesterday, and today is a real day off and
my body is aching. It's a good feeling when work makes my body tired and I
have time off to recover. That is what I'm enjoying right now and it feels
great!
 I don't recommend sending me anything at this point unless you don't
want me to get it. T minus three weeks till I'm outta this place and it's
looking like I'll be back next Januaryish, but still haven't talked with the
doctor because he's only been back since Friday.
 As to expenses, this week was a low week, which is a good thing. A sol
saved, is a sol earned. I forgot 4 soles of papaya that I bought last week,
so I'll through that in this week, and then only 20 soles in food, 2 soles
to Elias for gas/food when we went into Campo on Thursday, 1 sol to Lucio
for his gas (he let me drive his Motokar!! Scariest thing ever, ha!) had 2
soles of papas fritas (french fries) Thursday night, made two soles playing
soccer and lost one (3 games). Oh, and then Monday the girls had a girls
party, so me and a couple of the Peruvians went into Campo for food, and I
spent 8 soles on a plate of Peruvian chicken just to say I ate chicken here
in Peru. So that brings me to a week expenditure of 36 soles, or about 13
USD. My total is now sitting at a solid 923 soles, or 330 USD, averaging 71
soles a week, about 25 USD. Not bad, not bad. I'm gonna have a look at my
bank account this afternoon so maybe I'll throw in an estimate of how much
I'll have leftover after I get home... Early reports put my money closer to
zero, ha! But hey, we'll see.



Peace, hope, and most importantly, LOVE,
Antonio

Sunday, April 3, 2011

One drink, one family, one punishment

4/3/11

 Well it's officially the month of my birthday, which also happens to
be the last month that I will be here in Peru, and that's crazy to think
about.
 It's got me thinking about what's changed about me since I left home
almost 28 weeks ago, and the list is quite long. I will refrain from going
into details, but would like to touch on some cool things that have changed
in my appearance because I do want you to recognize me when I get back.
 First off, I haven't cut my hair since sometime before I left and I'm
not even sure when that was. So I'm able to put it back in a pony tail by
now. I think it looks pretty sweet, but it sure is a lotta work, don't know
how the ladies put up with it! But hey, gotta do it at least once in your
life, right? Well maybe more than once, who knows.
 The reason that I'm actually able to grow my hair out is because I can
grow some sick facial hair now!! Well sure it's only a goatee and mustache,
but I gotta start somewhere. I have now had facial hair for roughly a year
and don't see it coming off any time soon. Sure I can't grow much other than
around my chin and upper lip, but my hope burns strong! My dad can grow a
pretty sweet beard, so even at 19 and being unable to match him yet, I have
yet to start worrying.
 Other than that, I'm quite a bit tanner than when I left, been putting
many hours out under the hot Peruvian sun. I also think I might have grown
slightly.. Not completely sure about that, but Jonathan and I measured
ourselves the other week and I was just a slight bit taller than he was,
like half a centimeter or something. Who knows, because I don't feel any
taller. Within the first couple of months of being here, I lost something
like 10 pounds, but now I've gained it all back so I'm back up to 80ish
kilograms.
 Just a heads up on that, now on to my exciting week!
 Crazy things went down this week, can't lie about that. The doctor
restarted making his weekly pilgrimage to Lima for who knows what and has
yet to return from this last weeks trip. So with him being gone, things have
been pretty chill around here. Too chill for some.
 The guys all got paid this last week, so we went out to celebrate as a
group and one of the guys ordered a beer. Interesting. I was offered some,
and refused, not a huge fan of the smell of beer. Three of the guys at least
tried the beer, the perpetrator drank the most.
 This presented a very intriguing conundrum. What do you do in that
situation? First off, the guy that ordered is of legal drinking age, even in
the states, so what he did was legal, plus AMOR Projects is technically not
a religious organization, and we were having an independent celebration, we
weren't officially associated with the project at the time. The problem is
that unofficially we are know as an SDA group and we have that image to keep
up.
 So what does one do?
 Well I told him how I felt about it and let him be. If he wants to
drink, well who am I to stop him?
 The Doc got wind of what went down, which I expected, and so we had a
team meeting about the whole ordeal and everyone was punished. The
punishment: suspension of our planned trip to Tingo Maria for this week.
 The reasoning for punishing everyone was interesting. We were cited us
as a family, so we do things together and receive punishments together.
Plus, since only one of us informed the doctor of what went down, we were
all at fault.
 Like I said, interesting situation.
 It brought to mind some interesting questions: does an independent
organization have the right to dictate what it's workers do outside of work?
The Peruvians are just workers, they have not signed any statement of ethics
like us SMs. Yes we were in a group of purely people from the project and
yes everyone knows that the gringos live at Km 38. I dunno, all I have to
say is that if I was running the place, the orderer of the beer would have
been fired long ago, and not because of his actions outside of work.
 Other than that, Jader's family moved back up the river. So I got to
hold my little name bro for the last time last Sabbath, but I'll be back, so
it's just the last time for now. That was sad, but I did get to go hang out
with them when I took them out to their sister's place.
 When I dropped them off, I had a group of guys, guys that I didn't
know, offer me some kinda drug in liquid form. That was actually a funny
situation because I had 5 Peruvian dudes offering me this dark liquid and
telling me how it was going to put hair on my chest. The oldest of the group
even was saying that he wanted to see if this gringo (me) was an hombre
(man) or a señorita (girl). Made me laugh, but it was fun talking to them. I
didn't drink any, in case you were wondering, just chatted with them briefly
and waved on my way out as one of the dudes came running out shouting for me
to try some, ha! I had a good laugh about that.
 During work, we worked on fixing the driveway, bricking in the sewage
hole for the Ong house, building the rafters to put up the roof, and I did a
bit of cultivating. So it was a lot of dirt hauling, brick hauling, and
swinging around the weed whacker. Nothing too exciting this week, and it
looks to be the same for next week.
 So on to my week's expenses! Starting with the good: I won 2 soles
playing soccer, two games in a row. Last Sunday I put out 1 sole in a
motokar, 3 soles using the internet, and then 14 soles on dinner (ouch).
Then during the week I put out 5 soles on dinner in Campo, 5 soles of gas to
get me and Elias to Pucallpa to check out the shirts we're looking at
buying, then the 20 soles for my shirt (haven't bought it yet). And
yesterday, Hanna and I walked most of the way to church because of a fuel
shortage in the truck, and gave the motokarista (motokar driver) a sol
between the two of us, so 50 centimos from me and then I put in 50 centimos
to the offering. And! I found 50 centimos on the way to church as well, so
that covered the motokar for me.
 That brings my total to 76.5. Not bad, I thought it was going to be
quite a bit higher. My total is now: 887 soles for an average of 74 soles a
week. If you want to convert it to dollars, it's about 2.8 soles to the
dollar. I don't really feel like doing that right now. The big question now,
is how much money do I have left in my account, and is it going to be
enough? I sure hope so! Ha!
 I had a extensive conversation with Daniel Pua (one of the Peruvian
workers) last night about life, love, and success, and one of the things
that I found intriguing, is that he purposefully tries not to get to close
to any of the missionaries down here because they are only going to be
around the 7 or 8 months and then they leave. Makes sense and is based off a
personal experience on his part, but it's sad all the same. One of Jader's
girls, Sharoly, told me that many missionaries have said they will return,
but none have. That was after I told her I was coming back. So I'll just
have to prove her wrong because she doesn't believe me.
 Well life goes on down here, I miss my family a lot right now, which gets me thinking, the biggest reason that I would have for not moving down here is my family in the States. I'm not gonna lie, I'd miss them like crazy. This is the longest period of time that I've ever been away from my mom and I miss her. When I finish growing up and officially move out, it's gonna be a bit difficult to get used to. Dang.
 Just a parting thought, love your family like crazy.


Peace,
Anthony

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A breathe of fresh air

3/27/11

 Dang, it's been a while since I've sat down at my computer to do some writing. I try not to do that, but with the amount of free time I've had recently, you'd understand. We've been super busy recently and done crazy things here in Peru, not kidding.
 First off, I'm going to try to cover two weeks here because last weekend I was helping out with the clinic that was put on by the Eastern Virginia Med School team, so I didn't have time to recount my adventures of the previous week nor have I had time to get in touch with my married sister or my mom. Working on remeding all of the above even as I write.
 One idea that I've been doing a lot of thinking about recently, is the idea that everyone has a 'perfect' job. Whether it's doing a certain thing, or working for a certain person, or making a certain amount of money, it seems like most everyone I know has at least some kinda idea of the 'perfect' job. Well I've never really thought about it much, but spent the last couple weeks considering what would make the perfect job for me.
 What I've discovered is that I would hate myself if I ended up with a desk job or anything reminiscent of such. I can't sit in a chair all day and work on a computer or answer the phone, it is fun at times I'll admit, but I ain't making a life out of it. I also need to have a job that I can easily proritize my family over. What I mean by that, is that if my family needs me, I'm going to be leaving work whether it be my wife, my kids (both I've yet to get), my siblings, or my mom. Not sure if that makes sense, but in plain English, I consider myself a family kinda guy.
 So for that reason, I also really want a job that I can come home for lunch everyday. That's not because I expect to be cooked for, but I do plan on gettin' hitched to a woman I enjoy spending time with, so I'm going to be doing what I can to make that happen. Plus, I'm going to be looking for a job that keeps my body in some kinda shape, so I'm going to be needing a break from all of that, and I do love hanging out at home.
 So, for me, that is what makes the perfect job. No idea what I'll be doing, but that's what I'm looking for. How will I find it? The same way I've been living the rest of my life, figuring out things as they get to me. Or as some people like to say, flying by the seat of your pants. And that, my friend, is something I've honed here in Peru, ha! Haven't really figured out if it's good for me or not, but I like it so I see no reason to discontinue it.
 But hey, on to the things I've accomplished since you last heard from me. The week before last, the manual labor team continued working on the house at Km 8 and mostly finished it. There are only a few small things that haven't been done like putting up mosquito netting and putting in the rebar on the windows to keep out the unwanted. It's a really nice house even without all of that. Jonathan and I worked on our carpentry skills and even made a couple of tables to help out the kitchen crew and make it so that everyone could eat at the same time.
 The house itself is divided into four rooms. roughly half of the house (the divider running the length of the house) is the kitchen/dining room/living room and then the other half is divided evenly into three rooms, all of which have their doors opening into the big room. It turned out a lot better than I expected for us finishing the thing in two weeks, but Dr. Matson's team really liked it! So we were happy.
 Thursday and Friday of last week, the EVMS (Eastern Virginia Med School) team arrived numbering a total of 15. They arrived to do a study of parasites and a week of a free clinic.
 We started the clinic on Saturday, my job title for the week: Chaufer, but that basically meant that I was going to be helping out in the clinic unless there was someone that needed to go to the hospital or we needed more meds.
 There was also several groups going around the village the clinic's at and picking up stool samples to test for parasites which Jonathan and I ran into the lab every night.
 It was a crazy week, breakfast at 7/7:30, lunch when I could afford to take a break for 20 minutes and then dinner around 7-8ish once again depending on when I was around to eat. Very little free time, lots of work, and lots of people.
 I would have to say that one of the craziest things that happened was the baby that gave birth in the truck as Jonathan was madly racing to get back to the clinic before it came out! Cecilia made it out to the vehicle in time to catch the baby though, so he did good. Then Hanna and I got stuck with cleaning the bloody seat, ha, but it wasn't so bad. A new life is something to be treasured.
 Most of my time that I wasn't driving, I spent in the pharmacy helping out Rachel. Counting pills, handing out perscriptions, and answering questions. Now that I speak a decent amount of Spanish, I actually enjoy helping out with the clinics. I can actually communicate with these people, they aren't just more patients, I can distinguish personalities and make friends, which is awesome!
 I'm gonna miss this place when I get back home, that is for sure. But I'm coming back, that you can count on. I have not received an email from Jenni, so I'm just gonna talk to the doc about it and get his permission or whatever he decides to give. Yesterday I got to hold my little name brother again, little Jader Antonio. Good looking little guy.
 One thing that was really cool about the campaign we had this last week, was that the EVMS group hired several translaters to interpret for them, so I got a chance to talk to guys that were fluent in both English and Spanish. More so in Spanish, so for that reason I had fun helping them out with their English and made some good friends with them.
 Saying good bye to the group from EVMS really made me realize that this year is coming to a close. One month and the first of us are outta here. 5 weeks and I'm out too. Don't get me wrong, I love home and I love my mom like none other, this place has just really sunk some roots into me spending the last 7 months here. I've gotten really close to the group of SMs I ended up with as well. One of the girls from EVMS even told me that she was impressed with how close us SMs were. It's sad thinking about leaving all of them.
  So for that reason, I've started planning out a road trip to visit everyone the end of this next summer. What I mean by planning out a road trip is that I'm decided that I want to go and have determined that is a definite possibility. We'll see what goes down with that.
 So I'm doing good down here. Don't worry about me. I do want you to know that if you have a letter you want to send me, send it ASAP if you want me to get it while I'm in Peru. And if you have a package, well I might think twice about sending it, or you can try your luck and send it tomorrow. It usually takes maybe a week or two for letters and then at least two weeks on a package if not longer. It's just that the Peruvian postal system is not something I would consider reliable, so be careful.
 As to expenses, I'm going to be adding up two weeks here in one, but here goes: I spent 50 on food, 25 soles total on Shapibo (local indians) goods, 5 soles to our neighbor who washed my clothes, 2 solel in airport parking, 1 sole of bread, 1 sole in a motokar, and then I bought a glass of cevada (a Perivian drink) for 50 centimos. On top of that, I put 50 soles of Diesel into the truck, but then lost the factura, so until I find the factura, that's another expense. That brings my two week total to: 134.5 soles or 67.25 soles a week, not bad. My total for this year thus far is now: 810.5 (290 USD) for an average of 73.7 (26.3) soles a week, not too bad. Brought up my average a bit with losing that factura, and honestly I don't expect to find it. I've already looked, but haven't had any success.
 But hey, there are worse things in life. Though while I'm on the topic, my iPod got wet this last week and officially bit the dust. So that kinda sucks because I do love my music, but nothing I can do about it now. Life goes on and I learn that material things are no something to worry too much about.
 In case you were wondering I still do have my little Bandido, the kitten, and he's actually helping me type this out, playing with my fingers as I type. He's doing good, growing a lot, but still just a tiny little cat. I gave him some worm meds this last week as well, so I'm hoping that'll speed up his growth and I'll make a cat outta him yet.
 The hardest thing about having a animal down here, is that I know I'm going to be leaving in 5 weeks. So I can't raise him to be 'my' cat, because I'm just going to be leaving him. For that reason, I'm trying to teach him to be somewhat independent as well as socialable, and I've been relatively successful.
 I heard a cool quote last night while we were watching the new Chronicles of Narnia: "Don't run from who you are.". So I thought I'd share it with you guys, definitely something to save.
 But hey, keep praying for me. Even with 5 weeks to go, I've got a lot to get through. The hardest going to be saying good by to the family we've become down here. But hey, one of these days I'm going to settle down and stop moving around every year. That's getting old, fast. Ah well.
 I hope you are all well, and feel free to send me an email: allewoh(AT)gmail.com.


Paz,
Antonio

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A new friend, a known summer, and next to no free time.

3/13/11

 Ha! Totally wrote the year as 2010 for my date, tells you how much
I've paid attention to the year or rather how many times I write the date
while I'm down here in Peru. Funny thing that is.
 This week was about as rememberable as the day before Pearl Harbor,
can't say anything much exciting happened, or at least that I can remember.
It seems like it was just a dream in which I worked myself like crazy. On
the good side though, I can thing of two pretty major things that happened
this week.
 First off, it was a normal Wednesday (I think Wednesday), or as normal
as they get around here, and I was putting together bunk beds with Daniel
Pua, nothing crazy. Then, outta no where, I heard a little meow. So I turn
around to find myself a little white lonely kitten lost in the grass. Now
I'm fighting him for control of the keyboard. Ha! He's a cool little guy,
named him Bandido (bandit in English) with the second name of Gringito
because that's what the girls wanted to name him.
 He makes life interesting by keeping me on my toes. I'm trying to
teach him to use his sawdust litter box, but he's only successfully used it
once or twice. Other than that, he eats a lot and often, plays hard, and
sleeps a lot, but not all at night. He enjoys playing even in the dark,
which can get annoying, but he does keep me warm when he does sleep, so I
don't mind so much.
 Thinking about it more, this week actually had a monumental
circumstance come round. When the doc got back, he first when out to examine
the house at 8. Us guys were sitting around eating dinner at the time, and
we just knew he was gonna come back in and tell us how poorly we'd been
working and how much faster we needed to get things done. But! When he came
back in, he came around and shook each of our hands and told us all we'd
done a good job on the house so far. I was speechless. He also seems to have
time to work with us this week as well, which is also a first. No idea why,
but I don't mind this kinda action from the doc.
 I don't expect that you want to hear much about the construction work
we've been doing, but we are just about done with the house at 8 finally. We
just have some of the beds, a bit more walling, the finalization of the
bathrooms, and the water tower to finish. I expect to be done by Tuesday,
but we'll see what goes down.
 I feel like I don't have much to say right now, which doesn't happen
very often, though I did just realize that I have yet to inform you guys
about our upcoming campaign and my summer plans!
 Remember Dr. Matson? Pretty sure I mentioned him once or twice, but he
was here earlier in the year to check this place out and plan a medical
campaign through the school he works for, and he's also the guy we're
building the house for. So he's coming this week, starts the campaign on
Friday, in fact, for a week, which is going to be another week of craziness,
but it'll be fun. My official job title for the week that he'll be here is
'Chauffeur', so I'm actually kinda excited. If you think that sounds like a
cush job, you've never driven in or around Pucallpa, so just a heads up.
 What he's going to be doing here is pretty straight forward, a free
medical clinic as well as some kind of lab tests on local feces. Where
Jonathan and I come in as the Chauffeurs, is we'll be taking them around to
all the places they need to go and whatever else needs to be done that
involves the vehicles.
 I did figure out what I'll be doing with my summer last week, but
failed to mention it. I'll be working my first full time job! Same place as
I volunteered last summer working for the State of Washington for the
Children's Home Society of Washington and the migrant housing (Mexican)
neighborhood just outside of Walla Walla. I'll basically be supervising the
kids for the summer day program we put on, but it's a ton funner than it
sounds! Trust me.
 I'm super excited for that! And I even have a room mate for the
summer, so just looking for a place to stay. If you got something, even just
a lead about an apartment or some place we can stay, let me know!
 And guess what I found out while talking to my mom, my sister is
married now!!! Without me being there!!! I'll be at the 'wedding' but the
real thing went down a week ago. Disappointing for me, but understandable. I
was talking to Jonathan about it, and I'm probably gonna ask my wife to be
"Will you marry me soon?" because I sure don't want to have a long
engagement.
 Hearing about that just really makes me miss my family back home. Not
just my sister, but everyone. In the last 6 months I haven't sat down
chatted with my mom while working on a puzzle, I haven't taken the time to
beat my brother at a game of 21 or go skimming with him, nor have I gotten a
chance to have a real conversation with my sister. I'm dying here! Sure
looking forward to hanging with all of them again.
 Just to keep you updated, I still have no idea what I'll be doing next
year. School is high on the list, but I would still love to come back to
Peru for part of the year. Though I have definitely decided that I will
probably move outta the states after I have a degree and a woman, obviously
a woman that wants to go with me, we'll see how that goes.
 Expenses! I started writing a program to log my expenses with, but to
do it right means making it pretty complicated, so it'll be a while till I
use it. But I haven't spent too much money this week, which is a good thing.
Food was kinda weird this week, but I'm going to say that I put in the usual
35 soles for food for the sake of normality. On top of that, we went out to
eat for a total of 5 soles, I put 10 soles in the truck outta my own money
just because, I gave 2 soles to Rachel to cover part of her taxi ride on her
way to 38, and then I covered her for when we went out to eat, so 6 there.
(It was her birthday, I wasn't trying to be weird or anything) I also paid
two guys that helped us get the truck outta the mud, 1.5 each, so 3 total.
That comes to a total of 61 soles, almost the same as lost week. That brings
my total to: 676 for an ever lessening average of 75 soles a week (27 USD).
That means I'm looking at putting out 526 soles more (188 USD) so I'm
looking at being fine.
 I did just remember that I did have a massive staph (Not sure how to
spell that) infection on my leg so bad that I was having trouble walking,
but Cecilia took care of that in the most painful operation in my life. She
squeeze out all the puss by using all her might, and let me tell you
something, she ain't weak! But now I'm fine after two butt shots of some
kinda antibiotic, so don't worry! Just trying to put out the last little bit
of healing.
 So Peru is dangerous, being an SM is dangerous, living is dangerous,
and that is an interesting concept. Something to think about for you.
 A real parting thought: When God calls us to go out into all the world
to preach the good news, does financially supporting a missionary count?
Hmmmmmmmm...... Dunno, that just hit me yesterday or maybe the day before..
But hey, have yourself a good night, morning, afternoon, or whatever, and
I'll see you soon!


Peace,
Antonio

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A New Antonio

 Well this has probably been the longest and my least favorite week since I got here, but you know weeks like these happen, so I'm not down and out about it. Some week among these 7 months has to be the worst, and it's kinda lookin' like next week is gonna be worse, which means that last week wasn't so bad. Weird logic.
 Among the last 7 days something happened that just blew my mind. It was one of those things that will probably only ever happen once in life, but something that only needs to happen once.
 I do believe it was Tuesday morning, I woke up to the sound of a woman in labor, a most unsettling noise at 4 in the morning. Being half awake, I didn't worry much about it until about 5:20 when Cecilia (the med student who's working the clinic at 8) came knocking and asked me to run into CampoVerde to pick up some meds. So I found myself banging on the locked front door of a 24 hour pharmacy at the crack of dawn, just hoping that someone would answer.
 After waking the pharmacist and getting the goods, I made it back to the scene. I didn't actually watch the birth or anything, I went over to the other house and got started on breaking the fast.
 Lo and behold, news of the newborn reached my ears and I went over to investigate. It was a little boy, Jader (pronounced Ha-dare, a beast of a Peruvian worker) and his wife's little newborn. The first question whenever anyone sees a newborn is the same all around: "What's his name?".
 Well they were expecting the baby to be another week down the line, so they didn't have a name prepared. I, joking around, suggested that they name the little one Antonio. And ya know, for once in my life, someone took my joke seriously. They responded by saying that they liked that name and were considering it. By the time I walked out of that room, full of the new baby's family, it was decided that they would name the baby after me. Wow. I just didn't know what to do about that. There is now a little baby boy with my namesake in this world. That's pretty sweet and I don't expect anything to top that anytime in the near future.
 That got me thinking, why would a family name their kid after a friend of theirs? Because they like the friend and have a lot of respect for him. Ya know what really got me, Jader told me that if his baby was a boy (he's already got three girls) he was going to give him a nombre fuerte (strong name) and now his little boy is named Jader Antonio. You have to realize that Jader is probably the strongest person I know. This guys put six full length Peruvian hard wood 2x3s on his shoulder and walked briskly with them. I struggled to carry half that, but let me tell you, I tried hard to match him, but failed.
 Giving his son his name and mine just says something crazy. I'm trying to explain it here, but I feel like I'm coming up short. He's basically telling me that he thinks I'm a strong man in the most sincere and personal way he can. He gave his son my name because of me. I have the perfect word for it too: wow.
 Thinking about that makes my week not sound as bad as I was thinking when I started, but let me explain what went down before you or I jump to any conclusions.
&nbps;This week was pretty strong week. I learned two big things this week, the first of which I just conveyed, the second has to do with the kind of woman I want to marry.
 Sunday night I found myself in one of my least favorite circumstances, one that I can't explain in just a sentence, but maybe a short paragraph. Sit tight.
 Shirley (doc's wife) came over to the house to talk to me about extra work that she wanted me to do. It was relatively late, already dark so probably 7ish, and it was me, a couple of the girls and a couple of the Peruvians. She told me that I would be loading wood every night to be ready to leave every morning at six. The thing is that we don't start work till 8 and it takes maybe half an hour to get to km 8 where we are working... Didn't make sense to me, so I explained how I felt to her. I pretty much told her that it was a crazy idea and I was going to extremely tired after this week. Her argument was that she has kids to deal with and was going to be working too, so obviously I could do it because I'm a young guy (I saw her working for one morning this week). Interesting argument if you ask me.
 I then explained to her that my body has limits and pushing them too far can be dangerous. I should've seen it coming, but she told me that I would have to ignore my limits for this week and the next.
 There is only so much that a person can do, you have to realize that we were doing hard core manual labor 8 hours during the day, and I would get off at 6 to drive half an hour back to 38, eat, load wood for an hour, and then go straight to bed. So I was waking up so tired I could hardly walk as I got outta bed.
 So there I was, my cards on the table begging for some kind of give in what she needed to do, when the girls told me to "Just do it Anthony." (No I am not breaking any copyrights with Nike). It wasn't said in an encouraging way, it was more like they were just tired of hearing me discuss the issue with Shirley. I want you guys to know that I firmly believe (<- key words: firmly believe) that every man has his limits and every man should have complete control over his free time.
 I conceded and took one for the team, but made the walk back to my room with that alone feeling. It was then and there that I realized that the most important thing I want in a wife is that she's supportive. Something that feels great, is when us guys are playing soccer and there are people on the sidelines cheering for us. Those people are usually Jader's family and some of the girls if they decide to come, but I will say that Jader lucked out with 4 women in his family that will all scream his name in the middle of a soccer game.
 Well other than those exciting instances, we've just been working like crazy on the house at Km 8, with a week left, we have yet to pour the concrete, finish the inside walls, build the beds, and build the doors and windows. I'm having my doubts if we'll have it done by Sunday like we need to, but we'll see how it goes.
 Ya know, something else I was thinking about this week, being an SM is all about growing closer to God, at least that's what people say, and it's that way if you make it, you just gotta put forth the effort (well in this case, I have to put forth the effort). One thing I've found, is that figuring out who I am has brought me closer to God because I know my strengths and weaknesses and know how to better use myself for God. Getting to know myself has helped me get to know God, if that makes sense. I just thought I'd mention that in case you guys were wondering what was going on in the world of Anthony's relationship with God.
 As to my expenses this week, it's been pretty usual. I forgot 15 soles last week, 5 soles towards food and 10 soles of a phone card. So I'll add those to this week. Other than that: 35 soles for food, 2 soles towards eating out and then 1 sole towards that meal because the tab didn't all add up, 2 soles of bannanas, 2 soles for parking at the airport, then 2 soles I lost in the apuesta (bet) on two soccer games we lost, and then I dropped a sole in the hands of a beggar next to the bank after I withdrew some money. So that totals out to 60 soles for the week, a little more than last week, but less than the average! In total, I've now spent 615 soles (220 USD) for an average of 77 soles a week (27.5 USD). So I can exxpect to expend 615 soles more (220 USD) for a total of 1230 soles for this part of the year. Not bad, I'll definitely make it at that rate, and have enough to get myself home. I'm not for sure on the last part, but it's looking that way.
 One last phrase of wisdom I'd like to leave you with, something my bro says a lot: "Go big or go home."


Peace,
Anthony

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Communication?

2/26/11

 In sync with last week, this week was another week of poor communication, and I expect next week to follow suit. I'll give the Doctor a break because he's in Lima, but still, it's not outta character. Though this week I did find somethnig about the Doctor that I respect, and that is the woman he chose to marry.
 Shirley is amiable where he's tempermental and approachable where the Doctor is isolated. I discovered this when she asked to have a meeting with us SMs and actually listened to the problems we had, even when I detailed the problems I saw with the Doctor. After hearing this, she didn't get angry and refuse to talk about things, she nodded, thanked me, and asked the others if they had any similar problems.
 The problem that I outlined, is something that's turned out to be quite the complex situation. The Doctor wants us to work the next two Sundays (our free day) in a row and then take off those two days in the future sometime. Now that's not a bad proposition, the problem was his presentation and reasons for needing us to work these days.
 Dr. Madson, a state side doc from some med school, is coming in two weeks and bringing with him a whole group of med students that will be doing a buncha work down here. We come in because he'll be living with us for the time that he is here (two weeks I think). We don't have the facilites to support him and his group, so he gave us money to build him a house in Km 8, which we have only the posts in and a roof on. We have yet to actually turn this shelter into an actual house.
 Why? Well because we've been working on four different projects the last couple months. First came the house out back of the property, that wasn't finished on time so we just stopped working on it, then right after christmas we started Mr. Ong's house here in 38, a brick house so it's awful slow, and we started the house at 8. We'd probably already be close to finishing the house at 8, but we also started a church in Km 40 (Santa Elvita).
 We haven't finished any of the above projects. The Ong's house has the outside walls and most of the inside, but no roof, the house out back of the property has everything but a floor, the church in 40 has everything but a floor, benches, and something to protect the windows, and the house at 8 is simply 8 posts and a tin roof, nothing more.
 As of Friday, the manual labor team has dropped the church project, put the house out back on hold, and moved on to finish the house in 8. Due to the amount of information that I'm told about the projects work, I have no idea what's going on with the house here in 38.
 That was part one of the problem, poor planning made the house at 8 a time crunch, part two: the Doctor ordered us to work on our days off.
 Let me tell you something real quick, when I have a job (not even talking about volunteer work) my boss does not touch my time off. Now when I'm volunteering... All I have to say is that Doctor has some things to learn about me.
 Honestly I don't want to work on Sunday, but here's what went down to cause me to decide to work Sunday:
&nbps;Jonathan and I had a meeting with Shirley at lunch on Thursday and explained that the project needed us to work to get the house done on time and she actually took the time to ask us, almost begging, to give up our day off. I almost said yes right then and there, but knowing the Doctor, I knew that he didn't care how she got us to work, he just wanted us to work. So I asked for the afternoon to think about it.
 That evening, Jonathan and I went back to her and talked about it some more. We explained that we did not appreciate being ordered to work, we told her that if we were to work, then the Doctor would have to ask us, not demand us, to work. What was crazy, is that during this whole ordeal, she was actually blinking back tears. Now I dunno what the Doctor said to her when she talked to him, but I knew right then and there that it would be much better for her if we decided to work. So I made the decision to work this Sunday, and informed her that if the Doctor wanted us to work next Sunday, he would have to ask us next week. I did not make that decision for the Doctor, nor for me. For either of those reasons I would have said no, I did it for her sake.
 And so tomorrow starts a long week. A long week of working with the Doctor and a long week in which I expect to have a run in with him about this whole ordeal.
 This last week though, wasn't such a bad one. I did some crazy things worth mentioning. Me and one other guy succesfully put 8 large wet planks onto the tractor trailer, and then hauled them outta the deep Peruvian jungle. Now that sounds like a piece of cake, but listen, I estimate that each plank weighed between 200 and 400 lbs. So we were hauling something like a ton through the jungle where no vehicle had been before! That was something crazy.
 Something else crazy, but not as cool, is I spent probably something like 18 hours weed wacking this week, one of the few things that I can equal and even the surpass the Peruvians in skill with. I actually have experience behind a weed wacker, which sure helps a lot.
&nbps;Other than that, this week I also discovered several things about the dynamics of the Peruvian here at the Project. None of them like the Doctor and if anything goes wrong with the cars, no matter what it is, by default it's the American's fault. Makes it hard to actually drive these guys when they need it.
 Just on a side note while I'm thinking about the truck, last week I mentioned that Lucio got a 1000 sole ticket and that is false. He got a 150 sole ticket and paid a 44 sole bribe to keep himself from paying the full 1800 sole ticket for driving without a license. The thing that bugs me about it, is that the Project is making him pay the fine.
 That might sound fine just like that, but you gotta understand that the Doctor knew full well that Lucio did not have a license and the Doctor sent him into Pucallpa on Project business after forbidding Jonathan and I from driving. The reason the Project decided to make him pay the ticket, is because he drove into Pucallpa on the Sabbath to do business. That makes me wonder, is AMOR Projects associated with the SDA Church? The answer is no, it is an independent orginization that has decided not to associate itself with the church. You also have to realize that the first question the Doctor asked Lucio when the Doctor heard about the ticket, is why Lucio didn't have one of us with him. Well because the Doctor forbade us to drive. Hmm.
 Tough times and tough situations, but it's the rough grooves of a file that give a machete it's edge and the hard times in life that give definition to a man's character. So I'm not complaining, it's sure heping me find out who I am, which is my foremost goal this year and right now in life.
 So, due to all the trouble and discoordination we've been having with the Doctor, I decided to send Jenni (the SM Coordinator for AMOR Projects) an email on Tuesday detailing my opinion of the leadership around this place as well as describing a solution to the problems at hand. I believe that it is due to the direct nature of this email that I have yet to receive a reply.
 I recommended having a joint leadership about the project site here in Peru. Two men (the culture here does not accept women in leadership positions, I'm not being sexist because I know that women can lead. I grew up with a single mom), a Peruvian, not necessarily the Doctor, and an American. Both would have to be strong leaders and good communicators. The Peruvian would be mainly here for the Peruvian workers and to deal with local businesses and such and work where needed, and the American (fluent in Castellano) would mainly be here to help out with the SMs as well as work where needed.
 You guys can probably guess how I feel about the leadership I've seen down here, it gets the job done sometimes, but doesn't do much more than that.
 Well to end on a better note, one thing I'm sure gonna miss a lot when I leave is all the soccer that I get to play with the guys here. We play every day when we can round up another team to play with us. This week I only played three days because I injured my shin on Monday, and sat out Tuesday and I don't think we played Wednesday, but we played Thursday and Friday for sure.
&nbps;The thing about home that I miss the most, was really brought to my attention this week. I've been checking my email daily to see if Jenni's emailed me back, so I've also been emailing with my mom quite regularly, and that is probably the thing I miss most about home. Chatting with my mom. But I'll be back in 2 months! Woohoo!
 As to monetary spending, I didn't put out too much this week. 30 soles for food, donated 3.5 soles to Hanna so she could make banana bread (my favorite!), put out 9.5 soles to get to Pucallpa and back for dinner on Wednesday, lost 2 soles on two games that we lost playing soccer, but also gained two soles on both games we played on Friday, I put 2 soles into rice so I could make horchata, and then put 1 sole in the offering plate this morning. Total for the week: 46 soles. Not bad. Total expenditure: 555 soles (198 USD) for an average of 78 soles (28 USD) a week. So I can expect to spend 713.5 soles (255 USD) more and spend a total of 1268.5 soles (453 USD) from January till I leave. Not bad, not bad. I'm gonna make it at this rate.
 Do keep me in your prayers as well as my family. While you're at it, you might as well pray for anyone involved in my life, they all could use it.
 To really live life, you gotta give it your all. Something I've learned since getting here. Don't be afraid to be yourself, it's a lot easier to do than you think.


Peace to you,
Anthony

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Alright, so I have been unable to have sufficiently fast enough internet for the past four weeks, but I have been actively writing my blogs since. These were all written on the date listed above the actual post. I have also conveniently titled each post after it's week number, so if you would like to skip certain weeks, feel free to do so. Enjoy four posts all at once!

Week 19

1/30/11

 Dude, it's hard to believe that it's the 30th of January already. It seems like just last week I was chillin in Costa Rica with my grandparents. I guess time flies when you're super busy.
 This week was a weird week, even for Peru, I did a lot of crazy things. Went muddin with the truck, pulled the 'This is my house' card on 4 Peruvian men, and even wrote a program in my spare time.
 This week I was living at Km 8 at the clinic. The reason for working their instead of here at 38 was because I'm the chaufer for the evening VBS program that we've been doing at Km 6. The problem was that while I was sick and Jonathan had the conve (van), the van experienced several problems. As of Friday, (the last time I drove it because the doctor switched due to the mud issues we were having), the sliding door was broken and had to be tied shut or open, only 2nd and 4th gears worked with reverse working only sometimes, one of the headlights went out, and one of the rear lights was broken. Let's just say that when the Doc got back from Lima and had a look at the conve (pronounced conbe), he was not a happy camper.
 So anyway, I had to drive the garbage can on wheels (my nickname for the conve) back and forth through the mud every night. Thursday night ended up being too muddy, and Friday the doc traded me cars so I had the trucks four wheel drive, which saved us!
 Monday and Tuesday for we were just chill recovery days. Even now, I still have a residulent cough from being sick. So I just took it easy and helped out with what I could, but didn't really do a whole lot. I did take the girls to the market on Monday and then went shopping with Jonathan on Tuesday, but that was about as exciting as my days got.
 I came upon a problem while I was at 8, I didn't have all the addresses of the people I've been writing letters to. I have a tendency to try to think of solutions to problems, so I decided to write myself a program that would store, sort, and edit the contacts that I input to it. And that was what I spent most of my spare time doing this week.
 By Wednesday, I was feeling a bit better. So by the afternoon, I felt ready to go back to work. We had some kinda special lunch with some of the locals, and so I was a bit late getting to work, but work I did. I dug us a compost hole, which ended up being pointless because the rain keeps it full of water. You have to understand that we don't really have dirt at Km 8, we have a clay kinda ground. So it's super slick in the rain and does little in the way of absorbing moisture.
 Thursday I worked with Erick digging out a foundation for the house that we are building at 8. We have the basic frame and roof up (the posts and the tin roofing), so we're just leveling the ground to pour the concrete. By the end of the day, I was super sore and ended up quiting early. Laying around in bed for a week sure didn't do me much good. In fact, I was told that I look super skinny now, but that might also have something to do with the availability of food around here at times.
 Friday for lunch, we had ourselves some visitors. The pastor guys from the Evangelistic campaign came by and asked if we were cooking and when we would be done. The weird part about it was that they didn't ask to have lunch with us, they implied that they expected us to feed them.
 Now I want you to know that if I had been at the gate when they came around asking about lunch, I would have told them that if they wanted food they would have to ask for it and I probably would have asked them to leave. It's not because I don't like them or anything, I think that it's extremely rude for them to show up and expect us to feed them. We barely had enough food for us at the time, but we ended up compromising and asked them to get some bread and something to drink.
 We did feed them, and we fed them well, but I did tell them that if they wanted to do this again, they would have to call us in advance and plan on contributing to the meal. They apologized and agreed to my terms and all was well.
 Friday afternoon, the doc dropped by to pick up Hanna and switched vehicles with me so that I would have 4 wheel drive to make it through the mud to VBS. It worked out nicely, because we would have definitely gotten stuck without it.
 I got to enjoy the 4 wheel drive again Sabbath morning on the way to church (same place as VBS), and then all the way back to 38 for the night and then my day off.
 That brings you all up to speed with how things are going here. Nothing too crazy. This morning I did have to get up and deal with the dogs because the doc had the great idea of putting 3 male dogs together with one female dog that is in heat. They woke me up at 5:30 because they were fighting. And who woulda guessed? Ha.
 Man oh man do I really miss home. The whole homesickness thing only lasting for the first month or two was a joke. Do realize that I love it here, the other SMs are really making this year great for me, it's just that I love home. Hearing about my flight home on the 3rd of May made me think of being home and all the people and places and things to do back home. Sigh, at least it's only three months to go! Though I do love it here. It's just hard to explain. Bottom line: I miss home and look forward to going back home.
 Anyway, don't have too much in the way of thoughts for the week. Other than that run in with the four Peruvians who expected food, but from what I understand that is just a culture thing. Not a huge fan of the Peruvian culture, but luckily that isn't a big problem. Cause it don't matter how I feel about it, funny how those things work.
 Money usage: 25 soles for food for the week, 5 soles for the last hoorah of the VBS program, and I can't remember spending money on much else... So that brings my total to 30 soles for the week! Dang, hardly anything. My average is now: 51.7 soles a week and I can expect to expend a total of 671 soles in the remaining time. So about $242 more or less. Wow. This is good!
 Keep praying for me, I could use them prayers.


Peace to you all,
Antonio

Week 202/6/10

 So last week I was unable to post my blog, and for that I apologize. We've been having internet issues down here, and when the internet was working, I didn't have my computer or a copy of last week's blog with me. Because of that I'm going to post them both this week. This one here, and last week's below.
 It seems to be a recurring theme, but I still can't believe how much time has passed since last week! If it wasn't for writing these blog posts and noting the date, I would be a lost soul in the swirling time vortex, but I'm not, so don't worry.
 This week was getting things back to normal, kind of. I worked the whole week here at 38 with the guys, but spent most of my time chauferring Lucio around Pucallpa to buy various things that we needed.
 We bought everything from a new machete and file to dog food. So I'm gonna ponder a guess and say that I drove to Pucallpa and back about 7 times this week, and then driving to Km 8 is several kilometers off the road, and the picking up kids for VBS here at 38... So I estimate I drove 6 or 7 hundred kilometers this week. So like 350-400 miles. Wow.
 With all that spending of project money for all our building projects, I came up with something that I could purchase to help my Spanish abilities: a radio! So I put out 90 soles to get a radio I could pick up the local stations and also plug my computer into to amplify my music. It was a good buy and I've heard anything from sermons to a cooking show on the radio, and all of it was in Spanish.
 Every night this week we've been having VBS which means either me or Jonathan goes to pick up all the kids (about half an hour to an hour of driving around and waiting for kids) and then bring them back for our program. With Jonathan getting sick, I ended up doing most of it.
 Other than all the driving I did this week, I did spend a full day helping out with constructing Kevin's house here at 38 (Kevin is the treasurer for the project). The house is a slow project, so the doctor put the guys to work last Sunday to speed things up. The reason that it's so slow is that Kevin wants it all contructed outta bricks which means we've been doing a lot of brick hauling, brick laying, concrete hauling, mixing, and pouring.
 Thursday when we started work in the afternoon, Hector asked me to go get two bags of concrete from the hanger and bring them back. He didn't mean all in one go, but Elias told me to do it in one trip, but then told me that I couldn't. Those kinda remarks get the testosterone flowing, so I marched off to the hangar to bring back two bags of concrete in one trip.
 Each bag of concrete weighs 42.5 kgs, about 93.5 pounds, so I was unable to lift two of them onto my back, so I had Eric help me and I staggered out of the hangar with 85 kgs (187ish pounds) on my back. The distance from the hangar to the construction site is about 200 meters, and by the time I reached about halfway I knew that it would be a miracle if I made it, so I shouted at Elias to make sure he saw me with both bags on my back. I wasn't going to give up, because I knew that I might make it, but at about 3 quarters of the way I stumbled and lost one of the bags off my back and ended up tripping over it and falling backwards, much to the amusement of the guys. We all had a good laugh, and I had a sore body, but it was worth it.
 Wednesday evening (I'm just relaying experiences as I think of them, not really in any order), I went to play soccer with the guys, and had a great time. They guys we played against weren't super good, they were just as skilled as our team as a whole, so I actually had some fun playing with the guys. We played till it got dark, and then kept playing. It was so dark that the goalie would kick the ball and everyone would stop and wait till it would hit the ground and they could hear where it was. This went on for probably 20 minutes until someone finally turned on the lights.
 We ended up winning the game, so we each won a sole. The thing about playing soccer down here, is that all the Peruvians put in an apuesto (bet) to be able to play. I lost several soles when we played in the Yerbas Buenas tournament, but actually won a sole Wednesday night, so that was cool! That and the fact that the guys actually thanked me for playing was nice. Last time I played, I didn't quite live up to their standards, so this time they didn't expect much, so I exceeded expectations and came out with 1 assist and several steals.
 VBS every night has been a lotta fun, the kids all love riding in the truck or the van. So, by default, that means they love me when I come pick them up! One of the nights, don't remember which, there were two girls (probably late teens) who were still in the truck bed after everyone else had gotten out. when they saw me get out and come around, they asked me to help them outta the truck even though they could have easily gotten themselves out. Ha! Just thought that was a funny experience. A couple of Peruvian girls asking me to help them outta the truck.
 Down here I'm doing great still. Nothing really that exciting going on, just the norm. The doc headed back to Lima till the 17th, which is nice. Things are a lot more relaxed and chill when he's gone. In my opinion, it makes for a better working environment. I will say that things do get done faster when the doc is here, but it sure ain't because the guys like working for him, it's because he pushes them super hard and has too high of expectations that the Peruvians try to live up to. So I prefer it when he's gone.
 In the realm of my money spending, I spent the most this week since I got back from Costa Rica. 90 soles for the radio, 30 soles for food, -1 sole that I earned, 1 sole of fresh orange juice, 1 sole of cervado (a drink made out of some kind of grain, good stuff), 1 sole of matches for the kitchen, and 14 soles to send 2 letters. Total of: 136 soles. Brings my average to: 72.75 soles per week. With that I can expect to spend 873 soles more ($315) and a total of 1164 soles this year (Jan 8-May 3) or about $420. Not bad, but I do expect the average to go down because I do not plan on buying a radio again.
 “[Be Holy] Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” - 1 Peter 1:13 Don't have a Spanish Bible handy, so you'll have to make due with English on that.
 Anyway, if you have anything you'd like to tell me or ask me, post a comment!


Peace out,
Anthony

Week 21

 Dude, guys. Just want to apologize for being so poor at keeping my
blog updated. The last two weeks I've just had problems accessing the
internet every time I've tried. For some reason the broadband internet USB
device that we use here at 38 won't let me log into my blogger account, so
that's been a problem. That and the internet cafe in Campoverde is now only
open for general internet usage in the evenings, so my lunch trips turned
out to be pointless. My evenings have been spent doing the VBS thing and
playing futbol (soccer) with the guys. I'm gonna get this posted TODAY
unless something super ridiculous happens. You can count on a new post next
Sunday as well, trust me.

2/13/11

 This week was an interesting week. Spent part of it being sick again
with some kinda weird stomach thing and got myself pulled over again, but
the biggest thing that happened to me this week was nothing more than
electric signals between my brain cells. Let me explain:
 Being down here in Peru has made me seriously consider doing something
like this for the rest of my life. The reasons for this is that not only is
life down here just so simple because of the living standards, but having a
job that works the body is actually respected, the fruit is amazing and
living day to day is to serve day to day.
 Well then, why not go somewhere that I already have my foot in the
door? What I mean by that, is that I'm good friends with all the Peruvians
around here, especially Elias. As weird as it sounds, I would go as far as
to call Elias a close friend of mine, even with the language barrier. What
I'm trying to say by all of this is that I am seriously considering coming
back here in the future, even in the near future like next year.
 One thing you should know though, is that I would never do it as an SM
again. Too many times did have have that title held against the throat of my
dignity. So I would come as a independent volunteer if they would have me.
 Now I'm not saying that this is all set in stone and this is what I'm
going to be doing next year, but I'm just letting you know that I'm
interested in doing this next year. I haven't talked to anyone about it, nor
have I done much looking into it, but I do know that I can get a decent
Honda motorcycle for a thousand bucks or less around here.
 So lets say I do come back next year, I've estimated that I would need
to earn 6 grand this next summer. $1000 for living expenses for the summer,
1800 for flights, 1000 for a motorcycle (I would want to buy one if I came
back), and then I figure the 1200 left over would cover me here for
something like 8 months and if I earned any extra money, then I could stay
for longer. In all honesty though, if I wasn't able to earn all the money, I
could ditch the motorcycle idea and put that towards just living down here.
 Who knows though, I could end up back at school next year and I would
still enjoy myself and have a good time. I do want to find myself a
significant other before I do anything major, but wouldn't be opposed to
finding a girl from a foreign country if it comes down to me living
somewhere else, like here, permanently.
 What I did this week was pretty fun. Monday I was working on the house
here at 38. It's super slow because we it's a house made outta brick and
concrete. I estimated that we are putting in maybe 20 bricks an hour. This
week we finished the outside four walls and started the inside walls. So
it's coming along. Played with the guys Monday evening and we won again,
which was cool. Then in the evening we had the VBS program with the kids.
 Tuesday I woke up with something weird going on in my stomach, so I
skipped breakfast and went back to bed just waiting for whatever it was to
make me puke. I napped until my stomach went crazy and then went out on the
front porch and puked in front of two of the local kids who were there
playing. They thought it was funny though, so it was all good. After that I
felt somewhat better, but not good enough to eat, so I chilled the rest of
the day away in my room.
 That night while Jonathan was out picking up the kids to bring them
back for VBS, the van battery caught fire and destroyed itself. So we had to
send Daniel out with the truck battery to get them back because Jonathan had
the key to the truck as well. So that was quite the fiasco, but we got
through it and now only have one good battery between the truck, van, and
the tractor.
 Wednesday I felt a bit better, but definitely not completely better,
so I took the day off as a recuperation day and didn't do a whole lot. That
was nice after spending a day listening to my stomach complain.
 Thursday my stomach started complaining again, but I held out for the
morning and worked with the guys out at Km 40 where we're building a new
church. We worked on putting together the rafters and then on the way back
the tractor broke down, so Daniel Pua had to fix it real quick and then we
had to push start the massive thing.
 I took the afternoon off because I thought that I was going to barf
again, so I laid my body down and napped for the lunch break and then told
the guys what was up. For some reason, Daniel (there are two Daniels, so I
refer to Daniel Ruiz as Daniel and Daniel Pua as Daniel Pua) always has it
out for me, so he of course tried to convince the others that I just didn't
want to work, but whatever. I don't care what he thinks, which is something
that he just doesn't realize.
 Friday was my morning to make breakfast with Jonathan, but Jonathan
had to run into Pucallpa early to pick up a patient that needed surgery, so
I rode into Campo with him and picked up some goods at the market and then
grabbed a motokar back. For breakfast I fried up some potatoes and made some
Arroz con Leche (rice that, for the last half of the cooking processed, is
cooked with milk. Actually very good.).
 The day was super rainy, so we didn't have breakfast till 8 and didn't
really get to work until 9 or 9:30. Even then, we just worked in the hangar
cleaning it out and reorganizing the wood in the woodshop.
 It stopped raining around 11ish, so Lucio rounded all of us guys and
we worked on push starting the tractor so we could haul some lumber out to
the church we're working on. It took something like 10 or 15 runs, but we
finally got the tractor going and loaded up the trailer with the wood and we
were off. But not before Elias agitated the wasp nest by the house and got
several of us stung.
 The tractor quit working again on the way there, so we ended up
disassembling the entire fuel system from the tank to the engine and cleaned
it out. Then we had to push start it again, yay. Ha. But it started running,
but by the time we got to the construction site, we only had enough time to
unload the lumber and prep the frame for putting up the rafters.
 After lunch, I went into Pucallpa with Elias on his motorcycle and he
let me drive in. It's a lotta fun driving even a little 100cc motorcycle!
But I managed to get us pulled over. Do realize that here in Peru, the
Police park their cars on the side of the road and just walk out on the
street whenever they see a car coming that they feel like pulling over.
Elias' soat (vehicle insurance) was expired so he paid a 10 sole bribe to
get out of a ticket. This is actually pretty standard in Peru, which is cray
compared to the States.
 When I got to Pucallpa I pulled out 500 soles and gave 100 of them to
Elias so he could get a new soat (90 soles for a year). He then dropped me
off at the taxi station and headed out to where he lives in Km 6.
 When I got back I went and played futbol in the mud with they guys and
we lost, but it was still fun. Afterwards we had a nice big 'ol bonfire for
the kids for VBS. One thing I learned after that fire is that Peruvians
prepare the wood in a fire in such a way that it is dependent on having some
sort of combustible to start it. So after 15 minutes of trying to get it
started Peruvian style, I rearranged much of the wood and it caught and held
with the use of a little gas.
 Saturday morning I took Lucio, Hanna, and Jesús (Jesús just along for
the ride) to Km 8 so we could take some benches and take Hanna to the new
church out there because she had to meet the pastor so she could tell the
board about him or something.
 It was raining, so when we got to Km 8, the mud was a ton of fun to
drive through! What sucked though, is that the pastor decided that he didn't
even want the benches when we got there. Then proceeded to give us poor
directions and not answer his phone when he told us he would. So we drove
around for 45 minutes asking random people if they knew where the church
was, but that got us no where so we had the pastor come lead us to the
church. When I finally got back to 38, it was already 11 and raining super
hard, so we didn't make it to church, but we had a relaxing time together,
Jonathan, Rebecca, Janessa, and I.
 It was nice to have a Sabbath without any obligations, and we took
advantage of that big time, and just relaxed all day. That evening Janessa
and Rebecca had a Valentine's party at their church, so Jonathan and I went
to part of it before we went to bed.
 And so that brings me up to today! This morning there was a big
gathering in Campo with some of the local Adventist churches, but I didn't
hear about it until this morning, so I didn't make it to all of it, but it
was cool. Went shopping at the market for this weeks food and came back to
type up my blog. I will be going back into Campo here in a few to use the
internet, so sit tight!
 Money-wise I spent quite a bit more than expected, but that was due to
giving Elias 100 soles. Unforseeable friendship expense, no big deal. So
between that, 50 centimos to the motokar Friday morning, 5 soles to ride the
taxi back, +1 sole for winning the game on Monday, but then the sole I lost
on Friday for losing, 30 soles for food, and then 5 soles I donated to
Janessa's birthday party celebration today. So my total for the week is a
new high at 140.5 soles. Ha, and I said that it would go down from last
week. Anyway, my prediction is that next week will be a low spending week.
That brings my average up a bit to 86.3 soles a week, or about 31 USD
weekly. At that rate I should expect to expend another 949.3 soles or about
340 USD. So even with the average slightly higher, I will have enough to
finish out my stay here, but I fully expect to have several weeks where I
spend little more than the cost of food.
 Keep praying for me, it is much appreciated even if it doesn't look
like it. I'm looking forward to coming home in May! If any of you, young or
old, are interested in coming down here and would like to hear more about
this place, shoot me an email: anthony.howell(AT)wallawalla.edu. I'd be more
than happy to help you out!



Live hard, play hard, sleep hard, pray hard.
Antonio

Week 22

2/20/11

 I would have to say that this week is a week to remember for many reasons. First of all, there were a couple run ins with the police for us and secondly, every time I've tried to use the internet, for some reason or another, the internet has not been working. Weird.
 The biggest issue that I encountered this week was a matter of poor communication, a repeating theme with the doctor. (This is going to be out of chronological order, but bear with me). The Doctor came back Wednesday afternoon from his 2 week stay in Lima while we were all out working, so he came out to see what was going down. You have to realize that this wasn't a 'Hey guys! Good to see you all again, and good work while I was gone.' This was a 'Hey guys, I'm back, and, like usual, I'm disappointed with your work speed.'. It's hard to work for someone who is never satisfied with your work, especially someone that never says 'Good job' or 'Nice work'. He just showed up looking very dissatisfied and had Lucio come with him for a chat (Lucio is the jefe for this month, basically he's the supervisor and the errand boy for the Doctor).
 None of us had known how much he'd expected us to have done, nor even when he'd be back. Then, come round Thursday, he flew out once again to Lima and didn't tell a soul. The guys that took him into Pucallpa didn't even know he was leaving, and I'm not even kidding.
 Sabbath morning came, and it was probably the most relaxing morning I'd had all week, and I get up and get ready to go only to find out that the Doctor had banned Jonathan and I from driving. Neither of us knew why, all we knew is that the Doctor had told Lucio that only the Peruvians were allowed to drive. You have to realize something here, none of the Peruvians have licenses. None of them are legal to drive, the Doctor directly supports having unlicensed Peruvians drive rather than legal Americans who have hundreds of hours more experience behind the wheel. I can remember the Doctor training these guys how to drive back before Christmas, so none of them have more than 4 months of driving experience. You're probably thinking exactly what I'm thinking, this makes perfect sense.
 What's actually really ironic about the whole situation, is that yesterday one of the Peruvians got a 1000 sole papelita (ticket) for driving unlicensed. Because of this, the Doctor reinstated me as a driver (for some reason unknowned to any of us, just me, not Jonathan). With all of this craziness going on, I told Lucio that I was not going to be behind the wheel of either of the Projects vehicles until I talk to the Doctor about how I feel about the whole situation.
 Neither Jonathan nor I know the reason behind the Doc's little fiasco with driving, but we do have some speculation. There have been some things going wrong with the truck and conve (van), and we assume that he blames us. For instance, Jonathan was driving to Yerbas Buenas (local village about 3.5 Kms away) in the conve, and the battery caught fire due to having one of the connections broken because of a poor battery mount. On top of that, while I was driving sometime last week (The Peruvians actually drove much more than I did this last week), one of the lights on the dash came on and started beeping for a little bit. This is one of the lights that came on about a month and a half ago, or maybe even before Christmas, but instead of getting it fixed (we actually took it to the shop and had a mechanic look at it), the Doc decided to jimmy rig something up to get the light to turn off. We didn't ever actually fix it, we just turned the light off. So occasionally bumps set it off.
 That is all just speculation, but do know that I have no grudge against the Peruvians, I love working with them, I just think that the Doctor is not a very good leader nor a very good communicator. Many times, not just now, the Doctor seems to have something out for the Americans, nothing is ever the Peruvians' fault. So even though both Jonathan and I are much better drivers than the Peruvians (I'm saying this because it's true), we are the ones at fault when anything goes wrong. Oh, and I almost forgot that when you drive junk, things tend to go wrong quite easily.
 That's how I've been feeling about the whole deal right about now, but I'm glad to have to deal with someone like the Doctor, because it has taught me a LOT of things. If I ever end up in a leader position, I've seen what can result due to poor communication and negatively motivational leader. On top of that, I'll come out of this better able to deal with such people.
 Other than that whole deal, this week was pretty normal. We worked on the church in Santa Elvita (Km 40) and got the roof all put up. What was crazy, is that all Monday and Tuesday with working on getting the crossbeams and the roof up, I spent more of my waking time clambering around like a monkey in the rafters than I did on the ground, but it was fun. I learned a bit about roofing with tin roofing (dunno what to call it in English, but it's calomines in Spanish).
 Wednesday we cleaned up around the work site so we could put in the walls and dig it out and level the ground. That was also the day the Doc came back.
 Thursday I got to start weed wacking, and spent all day doing so, and I can expect to spend the rest of the month trying to finish up the weed wacking around here at 38. It's a lot of work and the weed eater ain't the greatest either, but I rigged up a harness outta a rope I found and it's working well enough.
 Yesterday it's rained hard enough that I couldn't really weed wack, so I went out with Daniel and worked on the church in 40. That afternoon I went with Elias on his motorcycle to Pucallpa so I could use some internet (this wasn't the first time I went searching for internet this week either, I had gone to Campo a couple of times). We got stopped by the police on the way, and Elias still didn't have a valid soat (insurance) because it's in the name of the Doc's wife, so he couldn't get it renewed, and the Police officer didn't think my license was actually valid. So after a long talk about everything they could do to us, he asked for 30 USD. I told him I didn't have that kinda money on me, and he said something like "Well we could just haul you off to the police station, it is a $600 fine..." So I offered him 20 soles after he refused 10, and he beamed, shook my hand, and told us we were clean for the day. This was proved when were coming back and they waved us on.
 The internet in Pucallpa was out unfortunately, and Hanna wasn't even at 8. We were supposed to take her some documents that she needed, but she had already left for 38, so the whole trip to Pucallpa was kinda pointless, but it was still a buncha fun hanging out with Elias. He's hilarious at times, and I can speak good enough Castellano to keep up with him. The funniest part was when we were on the way to the clinic at 8, there was a buncha mud and I was driving. Motorcycles are not good for mud, but I hoped I could make it through, and kept going. I almost ended up completely tipping the motorcycle, which made Elias laugh super hard, so he got off and kept laughing hysterically while I slowly got his bike unstuck from the mud. In the process I got super muddy, but you can't make good memories without some kind of sacrifice, right? Ha.
 This week was a good week even with all the things going on with the Doctor. I have this feeling that he's not going to like some of the things I have to say to him when we have our little chat, but I do believe honesty is important.
 I'm still seriously considering coming back next year, I have yet to send Jenny an email asking if it's even a possibility, but that's been due to the lack of internet. Last night was one of the moments that really made me want to come back, and that was just hanging out with the Puas. Danial Pua, his wife and two kids, then his sister and her husband and three kids, as well as Elias, Daniel's brother. They are all family, so they hang out together a lot, and what I think is super cool, is that they pretty much accept me as one of their own. Yeah I can't speak Castellano as well as they can, but they enjoy making fun of me and I have fun making a fool of myself. So all I can say is that I really hope I can come back again next year.
 As to spending, this week turned out a bit worse than expected due to all the driving and putting out 20 soles to have a police friend for a day, but things happen and I did spend less than last week, so things are all good. I spent 30 soles on food, 20 on the bribe, 10 soles for a phone card to call my mom, 5 on gas that I forgot to mention from last week, 9 on gas from this week (all the times I took Elias motorcycle to go check to see if there was internet in Campo), 1 sole on a mango, 2 soles for more oil in Elias' motorcycle, and the 1 sole bet on the game we lost on Thursday playing soccer. So that brings my total for the week to 78 soles, which is gonna bring my average a little lower. Total expenditures since I got back: S./509.5 ($182), with an average of S./85 ($30). So I can expect to spend another S./850 (about S./1350 total ($482)). Not bad, I do plan on purchasing a soccer ball and a Spanish/English dictionary here in the future because one of the guys said I could get a dictionary for the local dialect, so that would be pretty sweet.
 Well keep praying for me, I know it's been I while since I've been able to post a blog, but I have regularly been writing them, so they are up to date. Looking forward to coming home in May, and hope to see you all then!


Peace,
Antonio