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)


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