Friday, November 29, 2013

Huh, the turkey was a little, say, different...

Paula is excited to cook Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow for the office and the adult Family History missionary couple across the hall.  What?  You did Thanksgiving on Thursday?!  How quaint.  We do things a little differently here, like Thanksgiving on Saturday.  That's because no one has heard of the holiday, mostly because the Pilgrims only made it to Cuba or something. 
Anyway, Paula mixed her famous rolls,
and baked a great pecan pie.  It should be noted that one has to bake such a pie at very low temperatures; at 11,000 feet, things boil more rapidly, and would bubble over.
Lily, our housekeeper, was excited to let Paula know that she had spotted early Christmas turkeys at the store, and scored one.  However, when Paula was getting it ready, taking things out of the inside, she discovered something that's usually not included with the euphemistically named 'giblets.'  I heard her surprised exclamation clear back in the euphemistically named 'office.'
She kept digging, and discovered other treasures to delight any good Peruvian Thanksgiving table.
I'm sure she'll figure out a delightful presentation for the extra, uh, items.
We hope your Thanksgiving dinner wasn't too boring.
Dave & Paula

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Things unique to this Mission, mostly

Most Missions don't have an oxygen tank in the office.  And, if they do, they usually don't have two oxygen tanks in the office.  We do.
We have now had several missionaries, adult and young, who have suffered from serious altitude effects, and even several who have had to spend time in the hospital because of it, or who have had to get to lower altitude - fast.
In the culinary theme, we boast of having pachamanca.  Preparation begins with the heating of stones over a fire, and the meat is then placed on top. The fire is covered with grass and earth, and the resulting oven is opened up after around an hour and a half. Usually, a large quantity of meat is cooked, perhaps a whole sheep, to serve several people.  Or, you just leave the pile of dirt, and head to the closest Pizza Hut.
 It is reported to also be quite tasty.  Minus the dirt.
We have tocosh.  This will be important to those of you who happen to like potatoes that have been placed in a mesh bag of grass, covered with stones, and left undisturbed for six to twelve months. Once fermentation has occurred, the tocosh is dried in the sun and stored for future use.  Tocosh is claimed to contain penicillin (along with who knows what else), and it is said that once you get past the stench, it is quite tasty.  OK....
We also have cuy.  Isn't it cute!
Also very tasty!
Most Missions have a 'Mission Home.'  We have boxes.
Does your Mission have Soviet-era Mil MI-17 helicopters at your airport (your only airport)?  Didn't think so.  Wimps.
We'll keep you posted as we discover more uniquities in this, the Peru Huancayo Mission.
We hope that your airport gets some cool camo-colored helicopters soon, too.  You wish.
Dave & Paula

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Smells like dirt and cut grass... must be - Paula!

When we came to the Mission in June, a local house had been rented for the six missionaries that work in the Mission office, big enough to house missionaries coming in for leadership training, sick ones, etc.  It's a very interesting house, with an outside spiral staircase, strange rooms, etc.
Paula noticed recently that the gardens hadn't been taken care of in a while.  What?! 19 to 25 year old single males not caring for the gardens?!  Say it ain't so!
She happily bought some implements at the local Maestro store (the Lowe's equivalent) and when we had some free time this afternoon, she went at it.
 Gradually organization began to be restored.
Weedwacker?! Hah! This small patch of grass had met it's match - Paula with some shears.
Yes, that's a swimming pool, and Yes, it's empty, and No, I have no idea who in their right mind would have installed a non-heated, outdoor pool in Huancayo, and No, the missionaries can't fill it.
So Paula had a great couple of hours puttering in someone else's yard while I worked on my laptop and kept her company.  She had a big grin getting back in the car to go home, and smelled happily like dirt and grass clippings.
We hope that your spouse is as easily and cheaply entertained.
Dave & Paula

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Mission Presidents' Seminar

Twice a year, we leave the Mission for four days for a meeting with the other 29 Presidents in the South America Northwest Area, which includes Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
This year, folks flew to Cusco, where we ate too much, and got to visit and sympathize with our friends serving in those countries, about half of whom are from Latin America, and about half gringos.
 Paula got to be warm for a couple of days, so for her the meeting was a success.
The specific location was in a lovely valley near Cusco, with surrounding mountains, a few capped with snow.  And we ate too much.
But, as with everything, it was eventually back to reality, to face new challenges back in Huancayo.  Somehow, the plane was able to take off.  Did I mention that we might have eaten too much?

And by the way, that pretty valley had great cell phone reception, unfortunately.
We hope that you can have a wee bit of time in your schedule to recharge the batteries.  And we hope that your cell phone coverage doesn't reach you...
Dave & Paula

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm going to try and not get sick

We really haven't had time to do much investigation of doctors and hospitals here in our part of Peru.  So far, the few medical problems have been dealt with OK.  However, I saw a sign on an adobe wall today that advertised, "Hospital Carrión!"  This was not reassuring.
I got looking around, and it was true!
Putting the words "Hospital" and "Carrion" on the same sign did not bring up good mental images. 
Doing a little research, however, I learned that Daniel Alcides Carrión was a real person, and in fact is considered the father of modern Peruvian medicine, having done pioneering work in vaccines in the 1800´s.  
We hope there are no big, ugly birds waiting around your hospitals either.
Dave & Paula