Saturday, March 27, 2010

A March Adventure

One of the really enjoyable experiences we have in the mission field is traveling to the missions to meet with the missionaries. Presidente and Hermana Chipman invited us to visit Mission Peru Piura, a 1 1/2 hour plane flight to the north. They asked Dad to speak in zone conferences held over two days. Unlike our experience in Trujillo visiting three different cities in the mission, these two conferences were both held in the same chapel in Piura.

Piura, incidentally, is desert, a Humboldt desert, dry but with high humidity. When it rains, it floods, so the roads are unpaved, rutted, and a 4WD is absolutely necessary. Earlier this year, the rains turned Piura into an island. Food and water was airlifted in.

Sister Chipman asked me to talk for 10-15 minutes about managing stress. Dad also examined missionares with ongoing medical concerns and visited three clinicas/hospitals to establish good relationships with the providers of health care.

One of the really fun things about these trips is seeing the missionaries we knew well in the CCM. These missionaries show such growth from the CCM greenies to hard working, faithful, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed missionaries.

Dad and President and Hna. Chipman talked with an Elder who had suffered with an infected, ingrown toenail for a long time. Dad dianosed the problem, put him on an antibiotic, and prescribed treatment that will keep him from having surgery.

This is one of my favorite shots. What you cannot hear is the "unos, dos, tres" repeated over and over. We didn't know who to look at next. So what we have here is a picture of missionaries taking pictures of us.

Dad is missing from this picture because he was talking with an Elder who had drawn him aside for a "consulta, por favor." This is one zone. The other zone is taking pictures of us.

Finally, only in these small cities like Piura and Trujillo, do we have to walk down stairs to exit or climb stairs to enter the planes. It's OK if it is not raining. Passengers can enter and exit from a door in the front or in the back of the airplane. This security officer didn't like my taking a picture of the plane. I smiled at him and took his picture which seemed to please him and I got the plane. On the day we flew back to Lima, the humidity and heat were overwhelming. We were dripping, really. The waiting room was not air conditioned. Overhead fans gave some relief but not nearly enough. I wet paper towels to wipe our faces and foreheads and the back of our necks. What a relief it was to enter the back door of the plane and have a cold mist coming from underneath the overhead bins.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Few of Our Favorite Views

There is really no subject or theme to this blog. These pictures are just a few of many we have taken when we are out and about--going to the missions for clinics, walking to the grocery store, or looking out our front window.

The sunsets have been spectacular this past month because of the clear skies in the afternoons and the incoming coastal clouds. Our apartment faces east, but our wall-to-wall picture window in the front room faces northwest so we get some wonderful views of the setting sun. We didn't know the sunsets could be so beautiful because, for the first five months we were here, the sky was overcast with heavy clouds. We are ten miles by crow flight from the coast. In the daytime we see only roof tops and trees from the window, but wouldn't you agree with me that the sunset is reflected in the water? Look at the lower half of the picture. Stuart says we can't see the ocean from here. I say we can!

This picture is a study in advertising. Betty Ford had no influence here when it came to highway beautification. Not only is every flat surface used, but look up on the cerro behind these stores. Because it never rains in Lima, the dry, brown, rocky cerros make a perfect billboard for products, politics, and love letters. Not too far from this cerro is another one with a huge perfectly proportioned heart and the initials of a couple of lovebirds.

These narrow stores are filled with antiques--massive crystal chandeliers from some old Spanish Lima mansions, loose crystals, china, silver, estate jewelry, massive dark furniture, ship mastheads, old paintings--treasures and junk. The antiques are not cheap. One wonders whom the owners cater to. There are at least ten stores side by side. We wandered in and out of every one of them. One smelled so bad we just looked from the outside. Others were quite inviting. The fascinating thing is that some go right into the rock cerro and we wondered if they hacked their way through the rock to extend the length of the stores.

Where ever there is unoccupied land, someone can build a shack of wood, bricks, tin and even cardboard. When enough houses have sprung up on a cerro or on flat land, the city will provide electricity. Some areas do not have plumbing. What we think is fascinating is that his homeowner has a satellite dish. This up-and-over-the-mountain drive, by the way, is one way to reach the La Molina area other than the crowded Javier Prado. The highway offers sweeping views of two different distruitos which flow one into another--La Molina, Surco. If Javier Prado is too crowded the taxi driver takes the mountain road.

Last Saturday we walked to the grocery store on La Molina, a street which runs perpendicular to Javier Prado. This flowering bush had just begun blooming or maybe we had never noticed it. It looked like a Hawaiian plumeria which has a wonderful scent and is used in leis. This flower has to be a relative of the plumeria, but it has no scent. There was a perfect blossom on the ground. I picked it up and tucked it behind my ear. It stayed lovely for three days in a little vase.

The entrance to this house has such charm. It is one of few houses not behind a tall stone, adobe, or iron fence. This entrance is the fence or wall. You can see the house farther back. The cactus is the cactus of choice here. Kept short it is used as a bordering plant. Look how tall the cactus grows. We haven't seen a blossom yet, but most cactus blossom. Also, this ochre color is a favorite color here for houses, businesses, even stone fences.

This is the side of the house, another landscaping idea. The picture doesn't show the white plastic chair where the vigilante sits. He had stepped to the curb to talk to someone in a car and was quite suspicious of Dad and me as we took pictures of the cactus and the flowering bush across the street.

Monday, March 8, 2010

One Good Turn Deserves Another

About two months ago one of the North Mission office Elders told Dad his hearing was diminishing--he could hear very little of what was going on in the office. Dad diagnosed an ear infection and excess wax. As soon as the Elder's infection had cleared with the antibiotic, he told him to buy olive oil and put the oil in his ear twice a day to soften the wax. The plan was to wash out the wax the next week. The short story is the ear was difficult to clean out. Over three weeks Dad syringed his ear. The office Elders got into it. Every one of them had to have an experience with the otoscope. I was so entranced by the drama of washing out Elder Ortega's ear I forgot to get out the camera. So this is an after-the-operation picture.
In the meantime, Dad noticed his hearing was diminished. I had noticed he wasn't hearing much and wondered outloud if he needed another hearing aid. Dad figured he had excess wax building in his ear. Elder Steed, who is the finance secretary and probably a 3rd cousin, took a look after Dad showed him what a normal ear looks like. Lo and behold, he had excess wax. One week the Elder whose picture is above washed out Dad's ear which took several washings. The final washing was done by Elder Steed just last week. Some of these Elders have told Dad they want to go into medicine.