Reintroduction

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

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



Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sick week

1/23/11

 Home is where the heart is. Literally that would place home in my
chest, but if you think of it as the place I think about the most, then my
home is definitely back in LC. Ain't no doubt about it. This last week made
me miss home the most since I got here.
 It looked like it was gonna be a relatively usual week (usual in the
sense that we don't really plan ahead much and just take things as they
come). The only different part was the VBS thing we're doing with the niños
out at Los Mongoes every night.
 Sunday night I drove us out there and then back for the night,
planning on driving out to Km 8 in the morning with the girls to live there
for the week. The doc informed me that he would need to talk to me and
Jonathan in the morning about the week, but we figured it was just about
who'd be living where between the two of us (we'd already agreed that I'd be
at 8 and he'd stay at 38 because I was having a ton of fun chillin with the
kids every night).
&nbpsMonday morning we show up at the Doc's house to find out that he was
leaving for two weeks to Lima and here was 200 soles for each of us in case
we needed it for gas or an emergency. That was crazy and unexpected, but he
trusted us enough that he told us that he expected us to keep things
running.
 So I proudly walked back to the other house where the girls were and
told them they would have to listen to me for the next two weeks while
Jonathan drove off with the Doc to the airport. I was greeted with laughter
and a good breakfast, and before long those of us off to 8 headed out
(myself and 4 of the girls. Cecilia (the other doctora) was on vacation).
 It was nothing spectacular, that drive to 8, and I ended up taking
Hanna (discovered there is no 'h' on the end) to the post office and to do
some errands around Pucallpa (got a letter from my sis!).
 Then the campaign/VBS thing that night, and we forgot the projector
unfortunately, but the guys preaching made due without. I wasn't feeling so
great, so I took it easy with the kids, but still played Stef's guitar with
Janessa and Rachel on the Ukeleles.
&nbnsp;Tuesday I felt even a bit worse, so I sat out the morning and
reformatted Rachel's computer (had a nasty virus on it). Got that up and
completed by lunch, so the guys convinced me to help them roof the new
house. Roofing in Peru simply means that you nail on the thatch or tin
roofing that you have. They figured that even though I was getting sick, I
could hand them up the pieces of tin as needed.
 It was no problem at the time, but by that evening I had myself a
fever. I had to sit out going to VBS and just went to bed.
 Next day I felt a bit worse, but well enough to sit up and watch a
couple movies on my computer and do some reading, but by Thursday I couldn't
do anything. I just laid in bed all day trying not to move because any
movement would make my heart rate go up and make my headache worse. That
sucked, not gonna lie, but I'll say that I made it through, though it felt
like just barely.
 That was a great week, and on top of it all, the stuff I'm taking for
it (amoxicillin because it was caused by some bacterial infection) has a
side affect of diarrhea and I still have something like three more days of
one pill every 6 hours. Fun fun. I even had some kinda infection in my ear
that made me so lightheaded when I sat or stood, that I couldn't hardly walk
more than the distance to the bathroom at a time.
 Glad I got myself past that, a three day fever is not much fun. But
that was what made me miss home a ton. Big reasons were: at home, the
bathroom is like 10 steps away and at Km 8 it's something like 25-30 meters,
and it's really easy to switch out sheets at home when I'm sick, I just
throw mine in the washer and grab some new ones, but here... Let's just say
that by the time I was done being sick, the whole room stank because of my
sheets (they are washed now, don't worry). But the biggest reason of all is
the fact that my mom is at home. My own personal doctor that does house
calls. One thing about these Peruvian doctors, even Cecilia who speaks
English probably fluently, is that they go jabbering off in Spanish about
something and then just use a couple words to translate into English. So I
never know what I really have, I just have to rely on what I'm feeling.
 Other than that, the Peruvians are all even lazier when the Doc's not
around, quitting time came at 5 in the evening instead of 6 for some reason,
but considering that I was sick, I decided not to ask them about it.
 I do have good news though! Facial hair does make me look older, it
was proven last night. The girls looked through the Walla Walla 'Mask'
(yearbook basically) and laughed when they saw my picture and proceeded to
tell me that I looked like a kid in that picture, which implies that I don't
look like a kid anymore, which means that I look like a man =)
 Life's not all about looks though, I did have the new Peruvian, Ever
(pronounced ebear), say he thought I was 21 or 22. But ya know, since when
does it matter how old I look or act? I'm 19 thank you very much, and I am
proud of my age regardless of whether or not I look it. I am the youngest SM
here, and there's only one Peruvian younger than me (Elias at 18), but
that's alright. I stand beside 1 Timothy 4:12 "Don't let anyone look down
on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in
speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." Remembered that from
grade school, but looked it up just to be sure. One of my favorite verses
all the way.
 Coming home an May 3rd for sure, and man oh man am I super excited to
get myself back home again!!! But do understand that as much as I love my
home, Peru is still pretty awesome. I'm not gonna die from anxiety, I'll
make it and love it. What's really cool about my flight home, is that I'm
flying Canada Air straight from Lima to Toronto (something like 8 hours)
then from Toronto to P-town! But whats cool about that is my stop in Canada!
Never been to Canada before. And I'll actually get to fly on a plane that
speaks English primarily for the first time in a while! Not gonna lie, I
will miss the Spanish. I'm gonna miss speaking Spanish back home. It'll be
alright though, I've already got a list of things to do when I get home, ha!
&nbps;Anyway, that's 14 weeks a way, so I'm trying not to think about it
took much, but it's tough. My home is pretty amazing.
 But hey, you didn't get online to read about me blabber about my home
life, you got on to hear about Peru! Not sure if I told you guys, but one of
the girls' dad sent us a pressure cooker and so our bean cook time went from
all morning to 30 minutes. Saves a lot of gas and time.
 Interested in knowing about our kitchen? Well our kitchen is a
standard looking kinda kitchen, except about 1/10 the price. So we have this
hardened cardboard stuff for counter tops and just straight wooden shelves
(you can still see the chainsaw marks on the supports). There is also a
fridge, gas stove, a sink that is a concrete basin with a PVC pipe and
valve, a spice shelf, and a fruit hook to keep it away from the millions of
cockroaches that reside in our cooking area.
 A usual evening meal will entail (pre pressure cooker) soaking the
beans and then starting them cooking way before the meal starts, and then
starting the rice about 30 minutes before meal time. I usually grab the big
pot and throw in a little oil and saute some garlic and onions in it
before I put the needed amount of water and then the rice. If we do anything
else we gotta do it from scratch. We always use fresh vegetables. We can buy
bread, not the same as the states, but usually in rolls. Can't think of much
else with cooking, it's all pretty good!
 I would recommend keeping us all in your prayers (all 8 of us now), we
could all use it for sure. The thing that I love about having to live with
all the other SMs is that we are a family. We just kinda talk about
whatever, we look out for each other, we have fun together, and we are sad
together when things are sad. It's quite the amazing thing. That is one of
the biggest reasons that I am glad to be an SM, I'm glad that I could
experience such bonding with peers. Who says that a family needs a mature
adult? Ha! We aren't all running around like kids while the doctor is gone,
don't worry, we are all pretty mature.
 Finances for the week: I put 15 in the food pot this week, cause I was
sick for most of it, 2 soles for lunch on Wednesday, 3 soles on parking at
the airport with Hanna, and that was it. Wow. A grand total of 20 soles in
expenditures this week for me. That puts my average expenditure at: 62.5
soles a week, so for the rest of my time, I can expect to spend about $310.
That sounds a bit better than last week! Ha!
 Don't give up. All good things come from God.


Paz, Esperanza, y Amor,
Antonio

Monday, January 17, 2011

Muchos crazy niños!

1-16-10

 This is week 17. Wow. Looking at the calendar, I've got 15 weeks to
go! Dang. Seems like such a short time now that I've made it as far as I
have. Got an email from my mom the other night, and it looks like I'll be
coming home on the third of May! I will say that I'm REALLY looking forward
to going home, but also am having a lot of fun here in Peru.
 This week made me realized that I want to have a buncha kids, or at
least live somewhere where there are a lot of kids around. I really like the
atmosphere in the Peruvian villages around here. Everyone is super friendly
to all the other people within the same village and the kids run around in
herds playing together and such. Can't say I've seen much of that where I've
come from, but I think one reason is that there just aren't as many kids per
family in the states. I'm not dissing the states here, don't get me wrong, I
just think it's really cool how close the people of each village are.
 What brought this thinking around was all the time I've spent in a
little village nicknamed 'Los Mangoes', but before I get to that, let me
just fill you in real quick about the end of my Christmas break.
 The last couple of days that me and Jonathan were in Costa Rica, we
just chilled and tried not to spend too much money. We talked to some
friends and family on Skype, made a Taco Bell run, and I picked up two new
machetes. Nothing too crazy, and the flights back to Peru were surprisingly
uneventful. In fact, since coming to Peru, our trip back to Peru from Costa
Rica was a perfectly executed day of travel. Nothing went wrong and we got
to Peru without being too tired.
 Though on Sunday (the day after we flew in), I ended up going into the
airport early to pick up Janessa, but that was cool. I enjoy driving.
 Sunday was a chill day, we just kinda hung out here at 38. Can't think
of anything that we did that was exciting other than planning for the
medical campaign that we were going to have. I did work on the Doc's Wife's
computer, but that was a failed job. She uses her computer in Spanish, so I
don't have compatible software. Woohoo.
 Sunday night, after about 15 minutes of warning from Jonathan, I had
to drive some of the girls out to Km 8 (our permanent clinic). Jonathan
decided at the last minute that he didn't want to go. So I found myself at
8, with water that runs twice a day at the leisure of the guy in charge of
the water of the little village.
 Monday was day 1 of our medical campaign clinic, as well as day 1 of
an evangelical campaign by some higher ups from the SDA church, both located
in the same little village, Los Mangoes (Km 6).
 The days this week for me were pretty busy with working in the
pharmacy, running errands, and then the evangelistic series in the evenings.
 I was the Doc's errand boy for the week, doing all kinds of things. I
went shopping for medicines, shopping for roofing, took the van and the car
to the mechanic at two different times, and picked up lunch everyday from 8.
 It was a good week, even though it was super busy. A usual day was
from about 7 in the morning until something like 10 at night. Clinic from 8
till 6ish, kids program from 6:30 till 7:30, and then keeping the kids
entertained from 7:30 till 8:30 during the adult program of the
evangelistic series. Then after we hung around for a bit and then drove
back to 8 and did all the dishes, chatted, and went to bed. So right now,
I'm super tired.
 But this week was totally worth it. The kids at Los Mangoes are all
really cool! We drove there yesterday, and as we were driving in, the all
came running out to the truck and crowded into the truck bed. It was crazy!!
A flood of kids from the village, like 20 of them, maybe even 30!
 The kids loved going for 'vueltas' (I think that's how you spell it),
little trips in the back of the truck. They'd be in the back shouting 'mas
rapido!' (faster). But the roads are so bumpy there, that it's next to
impossible to drive more than 10 kilometers an hour. They still enjoyed it,
and I even got some of them to direct me to the copiadora (copier) to make
copies of our little chart things we use for the patients.
 Something that I thought was hilarious, is how much they loved my
sombrero (hat). I have this tan full brimmed hat that I picked up for a play
in high school and I use for work, sun, and the rain. The kids loved wearing
it, so from the time I got there, till the time I left each day, I would see
it on at least 15 different heads and I would have to ask to get it back
from them when I left in the evenings. Now my hat hardly keeps it's shape,
but it was definitely worth it because the kids love hanging out with me and
they love my hair, ha! I'm probably gonna be bald by the end of this next
week. They love running their hands through my hair, and after running around
in the dirt all day and eating, their hands are pretty sticky. Oh well,
there are worse things in life.
 So I really enjoyed this last week, even with how busy it was, and I
look forward to hanging out with the kids every night this week. And that is
why I wouldn't mind having a bunch of kids or living somewhere with a bunch
of kids around, but hey, no idea whats gonna happen in life and living in
Peru has taught me not to worry about tomorrow. Who needs strict schedules?
Not me, at least while I'm in Peru. This week I know I'll be at Km 8 working
there during the days and then going to the meetings in the evenings.
 The transition back to Peru was quick and the hardest part was
probably living at 8 without running water, but even then, that ain't
nothing compared to how some of the people live around here. Stepping off
the plane was crazy because it was relatively cool in Costa Rica, and here
I'm in a constant sweat.
 Something else I just remembered: The kids in Los Mangoes really want
to learn English, and so there is a possibility (I'm hoping that it's a high
possibility) that I will be an English teacher. The great part about this
opportunity, is that I wouldn't be teaching in a formal setting, so I would
be able to do it how I wanted to, I wouldn't have to meet a certain schedule
or keep to a certain curriculum, and I would get to chill with the kids
there a couple times a week. We'll see what happens though, the Doc liked
the idea, but the manual labor team has a lot to do these next couple
months.
 We are building a house at Km 38 for the treasurer to live in, and
then also building a house at Km 8 for a group that's coming with an
American doctor/teacher (Dr. Madson. He was here earlier this year to see
what this place is all about. I think he's from some University in
Virginia). On top of that, we have plans to build a 200 ft internet tower
here at 8 for the treasurer's wife so that she can work from here. We'll see
how all that goes.
 Well stay strong all of you, life goes on whether you want it too or
not.
 This last week has made me realize that I would love doing stuff like
this with my life, but I would definitely do it independent of any
organization that tried to control me or stood for things that I didn't, but
that should be a given with anything.
 So I'll catch you all later, I'll let you know next week when I'll be
home because I should know by then. Oh! And my finances for the week, here
they are:
  15 soles on sunglasses, 25.10 soles on copies for the medical
campaign, 3 soles on a bottles of water (had little errand boys for that),
30 soles on the food for last week, 12 soles on coconuts, 6 soles on parking
at the airport (two different trips), and 14 soles on dinner last night with
all of us SMs. Wow, lots of money there with a total of 105 soles (about
$37.5). I do want to say that sunglasses, coconuts, and dinner are not usual
expenses for me, but other than that, most others are relatively usual.
Airport parking happens more around breaks when people are leaving and
coming back.
 So there you go! At the rate of 100 soles a week, that's 1500 soles
for the rest of the time here ($535). I am trying to lessen my spending and
do expect not to spend that much everyday, but we'll see what happens.
 Have fun wherever you are and don't work too hard! Peace.


Antonio.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

To be, or not to be...

1/6/11

 It's hard to believe that it's a whole 'nother year already. A New
year is a point that marks passage through time. It's when you realize that
in Columbus' time, they wrote 1492 and here we are writing 2011. Crazy
stuff.
 Something that has always intrigued me, is that the pass into a new
year is a time when people realize just how much time they've wasted and
make the resolutions to fix them. Why just at the start of a new year? Why
not at the start of every month, week, or even day? Well I would guess that
it's easier to do something when there are a lot of people doing it.
 But running with the idea presented at this time of year makes me
think of a couple of songs: 'If Today Was Your Last Day' by Nickelback and
'One Day Too Late' by Skillet. Both play off the theme of making the most of
each day as "if today was your last day" and tomorrow is "one day too last".
Good songs too. I like them.
 Hearing the songs and thinking the thoughts they instigate, makes me
wonder what is the best use of my time? The obvious answer as a student
missionary and as a Christian, is to serve God. Then, from that, makes me
wonder: What things in my life are simply a waste of time?
 Oh man, that is some deep stuff and opens my mind to realize that a
lot of what I do is just to pass time. Let's take watching a movie for
instance, (I love a good movie) what value is there in watching a movie? It
takes anywhere from an hour and a half to something like 4 hours (Lord of
the Rings Return of the King extended version) and what comes out of it?
Well a lot of times you see a different perspective on something
(Braveheart), or you might wish for some futuristic technologies presented
(Avatar), or you might even just think about how cool but unrealistic the
fight scenes were (Expendables). All in all, what good comes from all of
that?
 One could easily argue that there is educational content within
movies, and I would agree. The Ocean series (Ocean's 11, Ocean's 12, and
Ocean's 13) teaches you how to rob Casinos, the Men in Black movies (Men in
Black I and Men in Black II) teaches you how to shoot aliens, and movies
like Jumper or The Departed teaches you that theaters do in fact charge too
much. Then you also have movies that people would say are truly good
movies, ones that are Christian and have a good theme or plot like The
Ultimate Gift or The Passion of Christ, but even then, is it truly a good
expenditure of your precious life here on earth to take the time needed to
watch a movie?
 I don't have an answer.
 That sparks another fire of thought, what does it mean to wholly be a
follower of God? To actually be a Christian?
 Before I answer that, I would like to share an opinion of mine (keep
in mind that this is MY opinion, you can believe whatever suits you): A
person cannot be a Christian simply because he/she believes there is a God.
Even Satan believes that God exists and I think that you would agree with me
that the Devil is not a Christian in any sense of the word.
 I am now left wondering: what is a Christian? In the simplest
definition, I would say that a Christian is a follower of God. This said, I
would then venture a guess and say that a follower of God is one who follows
God. If I were to follow someone, he'd be leading me, and that would mean
that I would be a patron of his words, the Bible, and I would be then be a
follower of such words.
 That, my friend, is a Christian (in my opinion). One who reads the
Bible and acts on it.
 Hmm. Just something I've been thinking about. I do realize this is
kinda in the form of a proof, but I would like to state that there is
nothing professional about this proof, this is the way my mind works. So it
is just the pathway my mind walked to reach that a conclusion.
 Well in the life of Anthony, last week I spent the week up in
MonteVerde with my Grandparents friends. Saw the cloud forest, which is like
a rain forest, but different. A cloud forest get's it's moisture from the
clouds because it is at such a high altitude.
 That was pretty sweet and was made better by the fact that Jonathan
and I were able to go on one of the zip line tours through the forest!
Imagine sailing along a kilometer long cable that starts in the trees and
flies you across a valley keeping you something like 150 meters above the
ground. It was pretty much awesome.
 On Sunday we jumped on a bus and went out to the beach at Manuel
Antonio! With my grandfather's sister's (great aunt?) daughter, Helga, (my
second cousin, once removed?) and her daughter and husband, Claudia and
Adreano (second cousins?) and their kids, Antonio and Julia (second cousins
once removed??). No idea how exactly they relate, but I just looked it up
and I think that's right, not that it matters a whole lot, but just to
satisfy my curiosity.
 Anyways, they were telling me that Manuel Antonio is the international
gay beach. Weird. One of those pointless pieces of trivia information.
 Anyway, just got back from surfing and hitting up the Manual Antonio
National Park and now it's time for some relaxation. I'm just trying to get
everything caught up before I go back to Peru. It's kinda weird though, as
much as I miss home (and you have to realize that I miss home like crazy) I
miss Peru a bit as well. I haven't been able to determine if it's the people
there that I work with, or being able to actually do something with my life,
but either way (or both) it's good that I miss it because I'm going back

even
if I didn't miss it.
 So you should know that I'm doing good, not sick or anything, just a
little bit sore from surfing. Going to the beach really made me miss home a
ton. I love the beach back home much more than the one here, that is for
sure. I'm still trying to get ITT to send me an email so I can talk to them
about attending their school, but they don't seem to have any interest in
talking to me at this point. They called my mom and she told them to email
me and I had already emailed them a month and a half ago, but got nothing.
So I'm starting to look for another tech school that is relatively near to
home. We'll see what happens.
 Not sure if I mentioned it before (and I don't feel like looking), but
the other two SM guys aren't coming back. They made the decision to stay
home instead of coming back after break. That sucks, but me and Jonathan can
pull up the slack. Keep those two guys in your prayers.
 Things I'll miss the most about Costa Rica: the internet, the cool
weather, the warm showers, and the granola my grandma makes, best stuff in
the world!
 And if you guys have some easy recipes you think would be perfect in
Peru, email them to me, always looking for something different
(anthony.howell[at]wallawalla.edu replace [at] with @).

 So live for what you believe in and be careful with those that try to
tell you what to do.


Peace, hope, and love,
Paz, esperanza, y amor,
Antonio