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, March 27, 2011

A breathe of fresh air


 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)


Thursday, March 17, 2011

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


 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
 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!


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."


Tuesday, March 1, 2011



 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,