Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Corpus Christi in Cusco

 Once a year there is a big celebration in Cusco where the Saints and Virgin Mary statues from different churches are paraded through Cusco.  It is a huge celebration that has been going on for hundreds of years.  It started with the Inkas,  The Inks would take their ancestor's mummies and parade them once a year.  When the Spanish took over they changed it to the Saints and Virgin statues.  Each statue represents a Saint or Virgin Mary with a different quality.  I think there were 16 in all but we were only there for four.  People from all over the world come to see this.

Real silver, gold and jewels.

These two huge displays have pictures of the Saints and Virgins.

This is the frame that they set the statue on whenever they pause. Look at all those boys trying to help with this honor.

Men carrying the statues.

Look at the beautiful handiwork on these costumes.

Where is the tourist?  Isn't Lyle's hat nice looking?  Thanks Elder Hasler!

Bands and Dancing in the Street after the parade.

Traditional food of the festival.  We didn't dare eat any of it, even though we were tempted by the corn cakes. We were not sure how or where the food had been prepared.  There were hundreds of food displays like this.
The streets are lined with people eating this traditional food.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Second Trip to Andahuaylas and Abancay

We went west this time to one of the hardest places in the mission to get to -  Andahuaylas.  There are no buses that go straight through, so we hired a car to take us half way to Abancay and there we took a van (combie).  The roads go back and forth up and down the beautiful mountains. This time we had clear skies and were able to get a picture of this snow-capped mountian and the valley below.

We decided to hire a car to take us to Abancay and when we showed up to to the car place they told us they would not be able to take us because the farmers were striking and had blocked off the roads.  They were striking because of they have not had enough rain for their crops and they want the government to do something to help them.   We were not sure what to do so we went to see if any buses were leaving.  Our driver called us a few minutes later to say that he was going to take us through, he said the roads were clear enough.  When you rent a car and driver, you rent the seat so we planned on paying for the whole backseat, but a couple from Argentina wanted to go too.  Lyle took the front seat and I sat in the back with the couple and it wasn't too bad.  You just need to hang on to something everytime you take one of the millions of hairpin turns, but we were not flopping all over each other like I thought we would.

Below are some pictures of how they block the road.  They put huge trees, logs and rocks across the road.  Road crews had been working all morning trying to clear a path for vehicles to get through.

Then when we arrived in Abancay there was only one van leaving because of the road blocks.  We took it and had to pay extra.  Then we had to wait for almost an hour for it to leave.  During that time Lyle had a great discussion about the bible and the Book of Mormon with a group of men that were going to be our fellow travelers.

Finally we made it passed all the road blocks to Andahuaylas.  As soon as we got out of the van a parade greeted us.  Wasn't that nice of the Andahuaylans?  Each local village or area has their own traditional costumes and dances.  Peruvians love to dance.  This parade was not as fancy as the one in Puno, but still all those handmade costumes were beautiful.

We had a little time to hang out at the Park.  We really like this city.  We were stared at a lot because of our white skin, in Cusco there are a lot of tourists, but this place is so hard to get to they do not have many North Americans visit.

Here are just a few pictures I took while in the park. They have this little boardwalk along the creek with all kinds of shops.

look-alike shopping bags

The children are so patient, this boy will wait all day with his mother while she works.

This lady is selling roasted squash, she explained how  she cooks it for 11 hours in a wood-burning oven.  Then she wraps it up in some blankets and puts them in her wheel borrow and she is off to the park to sell hot roasted squash.

She just pokes a hole and scoops it out. Lyle had some and said it was good.  It costs about 30cents, almost everything sold on the streets is one sole or 30 cents.  We just don't know how clean the food is, but this looked pretty safe and Lyle, luckily, did not get sick.

Waiting while his mother sells hot dogs at her stand. If they are not at school, the kids are at work with their moms.

The next day after the parade, the school children were in the streets demonstrating about something.  When they grow up they will make their voices heard by stacking trees and rocks in the road.  Actually, I think the teachers just wanted and excuse to get out of the classroom.  What do you think?

These dogs are in dog heaven at the market.

I have seen so many little women like this walking in and out of these tiny doors.  This is where she lives and she just sent her grandson off to school.

The Zone Leaders that set up appointments for us.  We love hanging out with the missionaries and they even get a little help on their own family history when we are not too busy.

Just setting in the park in Abancay.

This 9 year-old girl is so cute.  We gave her a my family booket with her picture in it.  She is going to have to get permission to open an account because she is so young, but she is excited to put her family tree on familysearch.

Well, we planned ahead and reserved the front top seats in this nice bus weeks ago for our trip home.  So Lyle gets all comfy in his seat when he notices that the seat will not stay upright, he just slowly falls backward.  Oh well!
Then the bus gets a flat up on this mountain road.  I sat for an hour watching people come to this stream to wash their cars, clothes and whatever else needs washing.

The bus driver/repairman and his helper washing their hands in a stream after changing the tire.  I guess he wasn't totally sure about the tire job because he drove about 25-30 miles an hour the rest of the way to Cusco.  It took forever.  Then the man next to me was from Israel and complained the whole time about the Peruvians (why can't they speak Engish like he does, he said it is the easiest language to learn, also he is Vegan and can't understand why no one knows what that means - I guess they tried to serve him yogurt for breakfast). He gave the steward a hard time about the food and service.  It was hard to watch him being rude to the steward because the people here are really meek and want to do their jobs well.
Despite the flat tire and the man next to me, it was a beautiful drive.  We are living in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

The other missionary couple and our friends (and Lyle's favorite companion on his mission in Italy) are leaving for home after a 3 year mission here in Cusco.  They will leave next Tuesday.  We are so sad to have them go.  Elder Hasler gave Lyle his favorite hat.  It kind of feels like a changing of the guard with the transfer of the favorite hat.