Monday, March 3, 2014

Of llamas, slugs, and chicken feet

this week:
not too much has been going on. still no major carnaval disasters but most middle schoolers shy away when i give them a stern look.  
weve been teaching the muenala family (mom dad and 4 kids) and the mom and daughters are pure gold and already know its all true and have given up everything that even remotely crosses the line (coffee, shoping on sunday, being a "dama" in a quinceñera which include having to go to a catholic mass) they also denied some jehovas witnesses that had been stopping by, so that was pretty cool. (they have been invading on our territory recently) the dad and brother however like to drink and play volleyball deep into the night, but came to a ward activity and had a good time. so were trying to work with them so they can all get baptized the 22nd.

saturday we went up this mountain to help some members harvest potatoes and blueberries. before we went up we hung out at their house and i learned how to weave belts, and i hung out with a llama that got mad and tried to bite me. 

once we went up to this sweet hut they have, the kids found a slug and ate it.

  they also gave us lunch which consisted of: FIFTEEN cooked potatoes, a chicken foot, some other mystery meat and tomatoes. its a pretty normal dish and i dont mind it too much, but after the eighth potatoe i kind of wanted to puke. we said we had to leave really fast and took the potatoes to go. this hut place is up a pretty steep mountain which is only accesible by foot on steep dirt trails. on the way down, the dust (after 3 hours of rain) had turned to mud and thus became a slip and slide. i fell a few times and my companion found it quite hillarious. but thats a pretty normal day here in otavalo.

thats pretty much it! 
enjoy the bipolar weather!
hermana harlos

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Carnaval is coming

This week:
so we found rebecca through some members..she came as a live in nanny and they brought her to church every week because she was like yeah whatever. cool story she went home to tell her parents she got baptized, and they werent to happy about it. the next day (sunday) she came to get confirmed and her dad and brother came with her. he was pretty mad, and he came with the purpose of finding whoever baptized his daughter (even though she hasnt lived at home since she was like 14 and they dont really get along). well they ended up coming late and were outside the door during the sacrament. she said he looked in the door and saw soo many indegneious, all super reverent and "something made him think" (i.e. the holy ghost) so he ended up calming down and said its your life i dont hate your decision but i dont totally support it and he left without any problems, so that was cool. 
not much else is really going on. we found a pretty cool family who thought we were the jehovas witnesses that had been visiting them, and later realized we werent the same people after they had already given us a bunch of food. but they said they are open to anything and we could keep visiting them. the dad is somewhat of an alchoholic and has another family in quito, but the mom and kids are super nice. the mom couldnt come to church on sunday because she had to go to quito to vote, but the two little girls (nicole and carol) are super cool and accepted a baptism invitation. basically all of our more or less progressing investigators (jesus, martha & joel, nicole & carol, and edwin) are just kind of stuck in the middle. progressing enough that we dont want to leave them but not progressing enough to get baptized. hopefully we can kick it into high gear these next few weeks and have some baptisms in march.
playing with the foam from "carnaval" with joel in the street
However there is a slight road block (and this is where the whole letter comes together). Yesterday was elections, and we werent allowed to leave the house the whole day after sacrament meeting) AND the 1st through 4th of march is carnaval, so we arent allowed to leave the house then either. (this saturday through tuesday)...we are only allowed to leave for lunch with the mamitas and if we have a super confirmed legit appointment with an investigator... 
..i.e. we are spending money on food to eat since we cant leave and things to do (coloring books, crafts. etc)
...i.e.  we have to try really hard to stay in daily contact with all the investigators so they dont think we hate we will see how that goes. 
i cant say i hate 4 days of vacation but after just a few hours yesterday i got pretty bored and missed missionary work.....these 4 days should be interesting. 

Editor's note: Carnaval is celebrated in several countries in Latin America, most famously in Brasil, and goes on for several days before Lent begins.  Similar to Mardi Gras, it may involve parades, costumes, shaving cream, and lots of water balloons or even buckets of water being dumped on passers by.

i also got my ears pierced today because my holes have long since closed up and they think you are in a cult if you dont have your ears pierced was a pretty sketchy spot in the meat market, but they lady was nice and gave me a bottle of rubbing alchohol to help clean them so they dont get also costed 4 dollars which is nice. 

jill sent me home made pajama pants (i dont know if you gave her the idea or what) and they are absolutely amazing so if you could thank her a billion times i would be thankful.

thats about it today...

Monday, February 17, 2014

Rebecca's Baptism

cutting up the questionable innards
I met a cuy
i swear the pots get bigger at every activity

this week:   
i got a little sick tuesday through saturday, mostly due to just being sick, but also because we were helping this lady get ready for her son to come home from the mission, and she gave us some pretty questionable yahaurlocro, and i dont think the large chunks of innards were cooked all the way. it was kind of a bummer, but i wasnt too bummed to lose a few pounds. the nurse said if it doesnt get better i have to take a stool sample and send it to a clinic, but once i actually got around to buying the pee cup, i felt better. who knows if it was all psychological or what, but im feeling better now and am back to eating normal (at least by ecuadorian standards).

 monday through wednesday, we were with hermana wright, one of my white friends, while she was waiting for her first daughter (the first brand new missionary she will train) to arrive. it was cool to be able to speak in english for a few days.

this is you sleep in a trio.
 you have the two normal beds,
 and then some plywood in
between with a mattress on
 top...i.e. super bed.


thursday we went over to one of the rich mamitas and we made a ton of chocolate chip cookies for the baptism on friday. her family used to live in spain, and she said her kids havent had any cookies since the moved back a few years ago. needless to say they were all VERY excited to eat the cookies. basically the whole ward is obsessed now and i have a feeling ill be makeing them more often.
on friday the zone split, but we actually had our first zone meeting together (the two new zones) anyways because no one had phones yet and no one knew where or when to meet. but starting next week we will be officialy zona otavalo norte. as the reigning kichua queen of the zone, i was delgated the job of coming up with a new catch phrase. before, it was otavalo manda shinlli kanchi, which means we are the strong/hard of otavalo, and now (with the help of alot of mamitas) we came up with otavalo ñaupama shuk shungulla maki purashun, which means otavalo norte, working with one heart and one hand....or something like that. translating between 3 languages gets a little confusing.

 that night we had rebecas baptism. while we were setting up for the baptism we found a few kids that had come in the gate and were "washing limes to sell.." these kids are between the ages of 9 and 11. two are brothers, and the other one is another friend. they started asking us questions about why were we in the church, and why were we filling up the bathtub. we explained about baptism, and ended up giving them a tour and the first lesson. afterwards they were like yeah come meet our parents. so we went by and introduced our selves and set up appointments for the next day. the two brothers ended up coming back later for the baptism and told us they wanted to get baptized.  we went to go teach the other kid and his mom who are evangelicals, but one of the moms sisters just got baptized a few months ago in another ward, so she was pretty open to the whole idea. they accepted baptismal invitations, but said they couldnt go to church yesterday, but next week for sure. wellll during lunch yesterday, our mamita told us that the mom of the little boy is acutally the lover of one of the excomunicated members in the ward and he fathered the boy that we found washing limes. to make things even more interesting, said ex-member is the boss of the girl that got baptized last week, along with the rest of the family who are 100 percent active. needless to say, we dontknow if shes going to end up getting baptized, or the son...but were going to see what we can do about it. the other two kids have a bunch of family members who are members in other wards, but the mom said basically that shes catholic and she wont change. but she is down to give permission for her kids to get baptized if they want to so we will see how that goes.

Rebeca's Baptism

the baptism went well, and during her testimony after her baptism rebeca was totally crying and it was the most heartfelt testimony i have ever seen. she was so prepared, i feel like we didnt even have to teach her. 
yesterday at church we all went in anaco because the stake presidency came, and after lunch our mamita taught me how to put it on alone. its actually a very lengthy process, and it takes alot of practice, but im learning little by little.
 then after church we went to go see a couple that weve been teaching. hes less active and shes not a member. they got together pretty young and have two little girls. shes thinking about getting baptized but cant get baptized until they get married. they have some pretty strong marital problems, so we are working through that hurdle first. anyways, the family that they live with (i think the mom is the aunt of the husband of the couple...or something like that) are members who are pretty active but they attend the other ward, even though they are in our boundries (it happens alot in otavalo because there are so many chapels). in the middle of the lesson, the 4 elders of the other ward came to teach another non member that lives in the house...even though its in our sector. i wanted to hit all of them, but i resisted the urge and went on our way after our lesson. 90 percent of the manual labor in otavalo is people working in the flower planations up in the mountains. apparently almost all the flowers exported come from these huge plantations since its like perfect growing conditions here. anyways the family gave us a few of the "leftover" flowers that they get to take home after valentines day and i cannot express how perfect these flowers are. thats pretty much all the news for now, and were working on finding new investigators to get baptized in march, so we will see how that goes.

i also realized i have a slight shopping addiction here in otavalo ( least more so than before) so to justify my shopping i got super artsy this morning and took a bunch of pictures of all the things i have bought. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

The tall white girl in anaco

 rebeca our investagor with a date! (also in anaco)
this week:
not too much happened. weve been teaching rebeca regularly (our investigator who has a date for this friday) and she passed her interview yesterday so that was fun. its pretty funny because we have two rebecca perguachis that we are teaching, and i was joking around one day and said what if they are both named rebecca maria perugachi campo. ( everyone in otavalo has the last name of campo, lema, perugachi, saransig or burga...and all latinos have at least one maria or rosa in their name) well it turns our they are both named maria rebeca perugachi and they live side by side....when we told our district leader that we had two new investagators and they had the same name he didnt believe us at first but he finally realized it was real life. we were also teaching two deaf people (seperately) but one moved away and we havent been able to find the other one who is named jesus but thats a pretty typical ecuadorian situation.

i put on my anaco on sunday and it is literally the most comfortable thing in the world. you wouldnt think that a sheet held up by a strip of fabric would be comfortable but i really like it. and thus i am buying more. it also really helps us get people to talk to us. apparently old indegenous people think its interesting to see a Young White girl in anaco.

changes were yesterday and hermana Aquino
 this is Elder recalde. hes from paraguy and has been in my district
 my whole misión (we got transferred together). buttt hes going home
 this week so we had a very oficial Exchange of a tie and some pictures.
 apparently elders give everyone their ties when they are done to remember
 them....i dont know what im going to do with the tie but oh well
and i are staying together here in otavalo, but they Split the zone and so now no one knows who is their zone and or district leader. we got shirts made as a zone so that was a fun trip to the lake.

every year the misión does this thing where feburary is super strict and its supposed to give you alot of baptisms in march. "febrero de fe, milagros de marzo" and so now we cant have any activities on p day or listen to music that isnt found in general conference. kind of a bummer but theres only a few weeks left and hopefully well baptize a few more in march.

thats about it for this week.... 
hopefully this baptism goes through!

Monday, February 3, 2014

The lost sheep in lock down

sucks to be peyton right now. i was very surprised to hear that the seahawks were even in the super bowl. any good commericals this year?
and how was the snow? its still a toasty 75 degrees here and i will be in for a shock next january stepping off the plane. only 10 and half months left! 

after the waterfalls last week my bug bites decided to swell up and be huge and i couldnt walk for a few hours because my ankles were so swollen, but the swelling went down that night and im back to normal. then on thursday i got a little bit of  a cold and been sneezing like crazy, but that also has gotten better. 

the lost sheep

so we played a game where you tie a balloon on your ankle
 and have to pop the other peoples....the ward really liked it.
on friday we had an giant family home evening at the church. the idea was there are 4 sheep (the missionaries) and you have to look for them (looking for less actives). numbers 1, 2 and 4 are easy to find but the 3 is difficult (the black sheep) and i got chosen to be number 3. in the church there is this super crazy security room with like a pad lock and its  kinda like a vault. well we decided i should hide in there. so i was in there and i had the light on and a bunch of the 10 year olds saw the light on and realized i was in there and tried to figure out the pass code and in the process put the place on lock down. there were sirens going off and the padlock shut off and no one could open im siting in this vault room, playing with a soccer ball and everyone else is freaking out and the bishops wife was crying because they thought i was locked in forever and i was going to die. 10 minutes later the lock reset and they got me out but it was still a pretty funny experience. thats pretty much the highlight of my week.

this is the bishop using the 19 in 1 tool
you gave me for christmas, he was
 very impressed i was so prepared
for a white sister missionary.

other than that weve just been teaching people like normal and trying not to get mauled by the rabid dogs. we have a baptism the 14th which is exciting too....

as far as the food goes, we got fed a soup called yawarlokro twice this week. its a normal soup, but with sheep and cow innards (heart, lung, spleen, etc.) and fried blood. its not too bad, but its better not to think about what you are eating when you eat it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

An ox in the mire (or a cow in this case)

This Week:
buying anacos are pretty expensive....the cheapest ones are like 30 and can go all the way up to 120 depending on the fabric. its pretty hard to find anacos that are also long enough for me..BUT theres a market near our house on saturdays and i found anacos for 4 dollars!  i realized a few minutes later that they are used, but for 4 dollars i dont really care (yes mommy, i am turning into you) but i went home to wash them and one of them has a weird smell when wet. so im gonna wash it again and see if i can get that taken care of. 

a view of the not so stable wooden scaffolding

on friday we did a service project for a part member family. they asked us to help them build a concrete roof as they are going to build a second floor on their house. so we show up at 10, and they give us a chicken soup for breakfast. we went and helped them cut vegetables to prepare for the lunch, and waited for the pulley system and concrete mixer to arrive so we could start working. when we got there there were about 20 other people there, mostly family and i figured okay, 36 people is a pretty good number for a job like this. 

while we were waiting around one of the elders saw that there was an old lady trying to get her two cows out of the river/small creek/muck. so we go to help her but none of the elders wanted to get dirty so i was like well what are we waiting for??? i took my shoes off and hopped on in, trying to keep myself above the moss that had grown over the muck...well the farther out i got the more it changed from muck to muddy water and the moss got thinner. i ended up falling in up to my knees and elbows but finally got the cow out. it was pretty fun. 

by the time we got back from the cow adventure, it was time for second soup..they really like soup here. more and more peple kept showing up...each one carrying 6 three liters of soda and two cuberta (a pack of 36) eggs. it turns out in the small towns here, they invite everyone whenever anythign big happens (wedding, birth, construction, etc) and that is the accepted gift. soda and eggs. i swear by the end of the day there were at least 35 3 liters of soda...the family  in turn then gives soda and eggs to all those who came to help. so we made out with a 3 liter of a cheap version of sunny d and 10 eggs as our payment. anywyas so all these people show up, still waiting for the mixer and pully system to arrive. the machines finally get there but it takes about an hour to get them both set up and working. its like 2 by this point and its time for third soup.
the giant pots and sketchy grill set up.

because there were so many other people there to help, they gave the missionaries the job of lugging water to and from the nearby stream that i had fallen into just hours before. then came time to finish cooking. they gave a huge plate of rice and chicken and potatoes to every single person there. i have never seen pots so big. and they probably cooked 50 pounds of rice at LEAST. they decided they needed more chickens so i got to help kill two chickens, but my camera died so i didnt get to take pictures of that part =(...anyways it was definitely an interesting experience.

then on saturday a little girl from the ward got baptized (top photo) and they also cooked a large amount of rice and chicken and potatoes (can you imagine what i eat every day yet?) but not nearly as much as what was cooked before.

i also found out there is a parrott that hangs out near the church and says hola and te that was cool.

 then on sunday we were eating at our ward mission leaders house and their little girl was playing in their cabinets but no one was really paying attention to her...anywyas a few hours later we realize shes gone and we start looking for her and cant find her anywhere. turns out she fell asleep in the that was pretty funny
and today we went to some different waterfalls and i ended up falling in..again....

and we played capture the flag at a park there which was cool but there were a TON of mosquitos and i look like a POW from the knees down. 
thats all for now!
kaykaman ñuka familia!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The furry chicken

This week:
on monday we found two really cool, married families, with kids in baptismal ages and they have a car! (i.e. one in a million here) and we are working to get them to church now. for whatever reason church attendance seems to be the main roadblock here.  then on thursday we did splits with the hermana leaders, and i got to be with hermana quizhpe (one of my friends from my last zone). That was a pretty good time. we played a game where you have to use a random word during a contact,and if you dont use it you have to buy the other person ice cream. my word was alien and i used it succesfully. her word was giraffe, and failed to use it. thus i was bought delicious hand scooped chocolate ice cream by hermana quizhpe, and delivered by an overly flirty, possibly gay argentinan man.

on friday one of the less active families we have been working with baptized their first daughter. shes 8, so it doest count as a baptism for us but it was still a good time. this little girl is totally shy, and theres some sort of strike with the gas tank guys, so the water was freezing. the poor girls dress would NOT go down in the water, and she had to get re baptized 5 times. by the last time she was shaking to no end and her lips were purple. luckily the mom was thinking ahead and brought a large blanket for afterwards. 

on saturday i bought my first native blouse and belt set, and now im on the look out for the skirt. hopefully next week i can go to church in full anaco. 
                    also if you wanna say i ate rabbit in kichua its
conejota mikurkani....the more you know.

on sunday i also had a first time experience. we went to eat with our normal mamita, and about halfway through i realized that what i thought was chicken had fur on the skin and thus was not chicken. hermana chuquin would NOT tell me what it was! i guessed and guessed and guessed and she wouldnt tell me. finally when i finished they told me it was rabbit. not just any rabbit but one that they had raised (on the roof) and killed the day before. and they had another one upstairs if i wanted to go catch it. so my comp and i, the mom and dad and two kids chased a gigantic white rabbit on their room for 30 minutes, and never ended up catching it to take a picture.but i swear this rabbit was almost as big as rebel. 


then today we went to a crater lake called mojanda that is 3,700 meters above sea level (about 12,000 feet) and i thought we were going to die scaling a small mountain in a sketchy 12 pasenger van. but somehow we made it out alive and then went and ate mexican tacos in ecaudor....basically my life doesnt make sense, but its okay. it doenst have too, im a missionary.