Monday, February 29, 2016

Family history in Andahuaylas and Abancay

 Feb. 22, 2016
    We headed to Andahuylas, Peru to meet with the missionaries for appointments with their new converts and investigators and reactivated members to set up their accounts and find family temple ordinances work.  That sounds pretty simple, but getting there is the hard part.  A helicopter could get there in about and hour, but driving there is another story.  It took 4 hours to get to Abancay and there you switch modes of transportation and have another 4 hours to Andahaylas.  It is a gorgeous ride but it is back and forth, back and forth up and down the sides of mountains with hairpin turns at each cross to the next level down or up.  We are lucky that the new road between Abancay and Andahuylas is finished.  It is well done with gutters and nice smooth roads.  The problem is that it rains and the sides of the mountains that were cut for the roads, start moving and mud and rock slides are common.  Our friends the Haslers said one time they counted 450 slow-down places on the 4 hour trip because you had to drive around fallen rocks.  They said that everyone just gets out of their cars and start moving the rocks if the road crew (that works 24/7 to keep the roads clear), are not there.  They said one time the rocks were falling and someone got out of the car and watched the rocks fall and yelled "go" when the rocks stopped, and "stop!" when they started to fall again.  It is a "dodge the rocks" game.  The people here just take things like that in stride.  They are so patient.
     On our way to Abancay we hired a car to get there.  It is faster and you can take breaks if you get car sick.  The problem was that our driver was sleepy and there were a couple of times we had to figure out how to keep him awake.  We even had him pull over and bought him a Coke he was grateful but we never saw him drink it.  In fact, we don't know what he did with it - we never saw it again.  Anyway, we were told by everyone that the car is the best way to go even though it costs a lot more, but after having that tired driver (I think that is unusual, they are usually good drivers, even if they do drive too fast sometimes) I decided we would try the bus next time.
I thought this stone work on this apartment building was cool.  See the animals made out of stone on this wall?

This is a nice church it even has a sprinkling system even though it rained every night we were there.  We like to meet the members at the Churches if we can.  We seem to get better internet there.  Peru's internet in general is hit and miss.

This family was so sweet.  She worked hard on her account.  The baby is 2 months old and his name is Dieter (in honor of Pres. Uchtdorf).  There was a boy in Abancay named Joseph Smith, he was 10 years-old and stayed right with his mother as we set up her account.  I think he is ready to have his own account he watched and learned so much.

This is my new friend Nancy.  We had so much fun together working on her family history.  She loved that we had the same name and wanted to get a picture of us together.  She was so excited about familysearch that she was asking us how she can become a family history consultant.  She is the pension for the missionaries.  Pensions are women who cook for the missionaries.  They do not get paid for it, it is just a way to serve.  That means that they have to shop and cook for the missionaries every day.  These men and women that do this for our missionaries are wonderful.  They work hard to keep our missionaries healthy and happy.

This is Felix a new investigator.  He did not want his picture taken but we like to put a picture in their My Family History Books.  I told him he was a handsome man and I liked his picture.  Later, I found out the rest of the story.  He was with his cousin and they are investigating the church together.  It seems that the scars on his face are because he was beaten by his father so badly that it has left scars and misshapen bones.  He is such a humble, sweet man and it is heart-breaking to hear his story.  His cousin is a handsome man and I am sure Felix would have had the same good looks, if  things had been different.  And yet,here he was trying to do family history work for his parents and grandparents.

We just love the missionaries!  These two really worked hard to help us and to love and care for the people they brought to us.
 So we went to Abancay after Andahuaylas in a combi (large van).  The guy next to us got car sick and threw up into a plastic bag and just threw the bag out the window.  We also played a little "dodge the rocks" but it wasn't too bad. When we decided to return after working in Abancay for 2 days we decided to take a large bus, we hadn't gotten sick on anything yet so we thought we would be fine.  When I got in the bus look what was hanging in the front.  That is a bunch of plastic bags used by the passengers for car sickness.  I wondered where the guy on the combi found the plastic bag, I guess all the combis and buses come fully equipped, they even have rubbing alcohol to wake up anyone who might faint after getting sick.  I guess they use it like smelling salts.
emergency bags

looking out the bus at the passengers getting ready to leave

So the lady in the blue jumped up as the bus was leaving saying " my friend, you have to wait for my friend she is in the bathroom!"  The bus was already 15 min late in leaving, so the bus driver told her he would not wait.  Then we saw the lady in the red running toward the bus with her little bag of chicken soup.  She had decided to get a last minute snack.  They just tear a hole in the bag and slurp up the soup.  We were getting nervous as the smell of that soup mingling with the other smells in the bus threatened our security about not getting car sick.

 I wish I could get a picture of the road we traveled.  The switchbacks are so tight.  Here are a couple of pictures I took out the window.  It really was a beautiful drive.  The bus took a lot longer than the car would have.  We stopped at a fruit stand at about half way.  The men all ran about 10 feet behind the bus to relieve themselves and the women just scattered to any bush they could find.  Then they came back grabbed a bag and bought some fruit to put in it.  We had no bags and another couple hours on the bus, I was worried.  The mother with 4 kids got out at that stop and she put them all one by one under a water faucet and bathed their heads and hands they came back on the bus all shiny clean.  We did have the guy behind us throwing up and that was after all the bags were gone, I didn't dare turn around and see how he was dealing with that problem.  The last hour of the ride a man got on and told us all about nutrition and how to fix your aliments.  He said he was not there sell anything but by the end everyone knew he was there to sell.  So there you are a captive audience to a snake oil salesman with the guy behind you throwing up, and you have to remind yourself that this is just another adventure in Peru.
Yesterday we had a fireside in this rented church.  We had a lot of interest but after trying everything we could not get internet except  on Lyles computer with help from a Bitel.  Everyone rescheduled to come later this week to the family history center where we can almost always get internet.  
 Oh, I didn't mention how after all the travel and the work to get set up and working with everyone's schedule, either the internet or familysearch kept crashing on us and we couldn't get everyone in to familysearch.  We just are grateful for the ones that we were able to help.

Now, there are days when we don't have appointments and days when I have not had internet at my apartment and we decided at the beginning of our mission that we would not watch TV while on our mission even when we are travelling and staying in hotels.  So what do we do when we want entertainment?  We set a chair in front of our bedroom window and watch what is going on outside.  It really is interesting, especially watching this building being built.  Those are buckets and pulleys that they use to get cement that is mixed on the sidewalk below up to the floors above.  Sometimes they just use the pulleys to get supplies up to the floor and mix the cement there.  Lyle who has worked with cement is fascinated in the whole process of building in Peru.  They are master builders and have been for centuries, but here they have to use their ingenuity to build because they don't have money.

We watch the workers mixing cement by hand, but actually this man is doing the brick work so this is his mortar, there is no rebar holding the bricks in place only the cement mortar.  And if this isn't entertaining  enough you could spend the day figuring out how the electric wiring works.  
If you want to get elected in Peru, all you need is a paintbrush and paint and paint any surface you want to.  You can also use a billboard.  With more than 15 parties running (no 2 party system here) that is a lot of graffiti and it is so sad because they cover up so many beautiful rock walls and buildings.

These are just other street views from our window.  We live in the nicer part of town.  We boil our water even though the water here is supposed to be treated.  No toilet paper in the toilets-you know the rules.  We are careful about where we eat and I put a little chlorine in the water when I wash my produce.  The average wage here is $250.00 a month.  A tour guide that speaks English can  make about $1000. to $1200. a month.  We are in a very different world here, we are learning a lot and are glad we can serve these humble, patient people.

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