Sunday, November 23, 2014

Living in Peru, #26 - Water #2

Admittedly, we live in one of the nicest, if not the nicest, houses in Huancayo.  It was bought as a shell to be the future mission home, and about eight months after arriving, we moved in.
Most dwellings here have a water storage tank on the roof, to give water pressure during the very frequent outages of the city supply.
For aesthetics, our big (5,000 liter) supply tank was placed under the driveway, with pumps to maintain pressure to house.  Nice idea, but simplicity seems to be key in this part of the world.
When the water shut off, I went to the pump house to reset the switches one more time, but found the pumps to be operating.  However, there was no pressure on the gauges.
So, I opened the cover on the tank.  The enormous thing had disappeared, replaced by mud and water. When the local Operations and Maintenance men came to inspect, they realized it had sunk about 18 inches, rupturing all connections with the pumps.
So... with no one in this region qualified to work on such stuff (!), they called the guy up from Lima (!).  As per normal, he took the bus, but was delayed for 12 hours by a multiple-truck crash in the snow on the 15,745-foot Ticlio Pass.
When he finally arrived, he did what he could, but has to return tomorrow to continue the effort.
Meanwhile, we are hooked directly to the intermittent city supply, and we keep our fingers crossed when showers or toilet flushings are needed.
All of this just in time for my sister Mary Anne and her husband Charles to arrive in a couple of days. We wonder if guests are just bad luck for the water, or what.
May the wind be at your back and your water supply function, too.
Dave & Paula

Thursday, November 6, 2014

No, I can't sell you that.

When you go on a trip, there must always be an offering to the Gods of Forgetfulness.  One only hopes that the required offering is small.  Like a sock, not your suitcase.
Sister Henderson bakes her now-famous brownies for various meetings with the missionaries, to their delight.  
She baked over two hundred big ones for the present series of Zone Conferences, but we forgot and left the brownies for the next conference in the second hotel of the week-long trip.  The Gods of Forgetfulness are vengeful.
One of the Secretaries called the missionaries there to pick up the big container (known as a "Tupper" in Peruvian Spanish) from the hotel.  He called later to make sure it had happened.  The Elder confirmed that they had retrieved it, and that, "there were LOTS of brownies!" with the emphasis on "were."
OK, one problem solved - we'll get the (now empty) "Tupper" back.
However, we were left with finding something to replace the brownies for the Zone Conference.  I did what any good mission president would do.  I turned it over to the Assistants.
There are a fair number of baked good stores in Peru, with yummy-looking offerings.
In the first one they came to, the Assistants made a quick count and told the proprietor that they would like to buy all of her cakes.
"No.  I can't sell you all of the cakes," she said.
"Why not?" replied the Assistant.
"Because then I wouldn't have any cakes to sell," stated the proprietor.
"But, but, that's OK, because you are trying to sell your cakes, and we would like to buy them, and we will pay you for them."
"No.  I won't sell you my cakes."
Thinking this must just be a cake-merchandising anomaly, they proceeded to another cake store.
"We would like to buy all of your cakes.  Full price."
"No, I can't sell you all of my cakes.  Then I wouldn't have any cakes to sell."
"But, don't you see?  If we buy your cakes and give you the money, then that's great for you!"
"No, then I wouldn't have any cakes for other people to buy."
It was no anomaly.  Believe it or not, a third cake story gave the same story.
So they tried an ice cream store, offering to buy 60+ units of frozen confection.
"No, I can't sell you that much ice cream."
"Do you mean that you don't have that much ice cream?"
"No, I just can't sell you that much."
"Why not?!"
"Because I am busy."
"But, but, there's no one else in the store!"
"You can call the manager."
"Why don't YOU call the manager?"
"Because I'm busy."
The frustrated Assistants finally found a cake store that understood the basics of capitalism and bought enough cakes for the Zone Conference.  (This is just a third of those in attendance, but they look happy, no?)
We hope that you have better luck either a) finding a cake store that will work with you, or b) explaining economic principles in Spanish.
Dave & Paula