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.



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 seƱorita (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