Thursday, June 23, 2016

Happiness and Sadness

We had a really great Zone Conference with these amazing missionaries.  Our Mission President has faithfully served his 3 years and is preparing the missionaries for our new Mission President who will be here the first of July.  All the missionaries were feeling sad as each person was personally interviewed for the last time by President Harbertson, including us.

President and Sister Harbertson have been incredible leaders in this mission.  The missionaries just love them and so do we.  We will also be sending home 20 missionaries at the same time as President Harbertson leaves, as they finish their missions also. Some of them we have become very close to. We will really miss them. They have taken good care of us from the moment we arrived, They are the ones we work with the most.  The missionries set up our appointments, they translate for me, they help the people we are working with enter in all their information into familysearch, The missionaries cry with the people as they find their beloved ancestor's records with the hope that they will no longer be the only members of the Church in their family, they hug and giggle with the people as they print out the ordinances for their family members that they will be going to the temple for, The missionaries also  help set up firesides, help with the technology, they suggest hotels and places to eat, they give us directions on how to get to where we are going, we follow them into small homes with dirt floors and meet and get to know the wonderful Peruvian people they love and care for, so when they leave we are a little sad.

Fun with Our Daughter 

Our daughter came to visit with two of our Grandchildren and boy did we have fun!  We set up our own schedule and so we just arranged our appointments for the days we were going to be in Cusco and the other days we visited a few of the most famous places here in our mission.  The first stop was Machu Picchu and on our way we visited a little place where the people demonstrated how they dye the beautiful yarn that they make their woven fabrics from.  It was fascinating to see the plants and minerals that are native to Peru that can make such vivid colors.  The woman below is washing the alpaca wool to prepare it for dying.  There is a plant they crush and add water to that cleans the wool to a beautiful white, and then they dip it in the prepared dyes and dry it then spin it by hand with a little wooden spinning top.  They showed us how they put the yarn on the looms and then we watched them weave the intricate traditional patterns that they have weaved for hundreds of years.  

We spent the night in Aguas Caliente after a lovely train ride through the mountains and along a clear, gushing river.  The view from the train was beautiful.  In the morning we rode the bus to Machu picchu.

What can I say?  I really don't have the words to describe that place.  I can see why so many people have it on their bucket list.  It is simply beautiful, tranquil  and shrouded with mystery.  There are no written records about how this place came to be or about the people who lived here or even what happened to them.  There are many stories, but that is all they are.

   Not many children come to Machu picchu, there is a lot of walking and climbing and these two kids were real troopers.  It was so fun to share this magical place with them.

As I said, there are very few children who come to this site, but there was one little boy that became fast friends with my grandson.  The people are so gentle and kind here.  There are not very many extroverts, mostly just quiet, thoughtful people that do not try to get a lot of attention for themselves.  This quiet thoughfulness is reflected in the children, and was demonstrated by this little boy (see his arm around my grandson?) and the children below at church.

 My granddaughter felt a little bit scared going to Primary in a different ward with strangers that didn't speak her language, so this little girl took her by the hand and walked around with her after church.  Not a word was spoken, yet the kindness made my grand daughter feel totally comfortable.

A Visit to the Jungle

Puerto Maldonando is North East of  Cusco and is the Jungle area of our mission.  We spent a couple of days there, even sleeping in a cabin under mosquito nets one night in the Jungle.  It was so fun. Usually it is super hot there, but there was a cold spell last weekend and it was really pretty nice.

 We boated down the Rio Madre de Dios River and spotted caimen (alligators).

 We boated to Monkey island, where we were able to see the monkeys in their natural habitat and feed them bananas.  By the way, did you know that bananas are native to India and the ones we find here were brought here and all over the world from there?  So monkeys don't naturally eat bananas all the time, but these monkeys sure enjoyed the treat.

Our guide and boatman helping us on the boat.

The next day we visited this beautiful National Reserve  named Tambopata and walked through the Jungle seeing beautiful birds and Butterflies and even some wild pigs.  Usually it is a muddy, wet 1 and 1/2 mile walk to Lake Sandoval, but it was dry this time so we didn't have to wear the boots provided by the tour guides.  I can imagine what it would have been like in drenching rain and mud up to your ankles.  We felt fortunate for the warm (not too hot), dry weather.

Lake Sandoval

This turtle had a butterfly on it's head.

A giant otter.   We had a great tour guide that patiently waited until we were able to spot not only this giant otter, but his whole family.  It is very rare to see one, let alone the whole family.  We also saw a lot of  birds and a giant black caiman that swam under our boat.

.I wonder why our tour guide is laughing while they are harnessing my husband up for the zipline.  This zipline goes over the jungle canopy and then you stop on a tree hut landing and go on another zipline - very scarey and very fun. 

The canopy walk.

The zip line landing before getting on the next zip line.  This zip line is not for the faint hearted.  

Jungle women washing in the river

boating down the river

Sunset over the Rio Madre de Dios with a very beautiful bridge that is only five years old and helps to connect Peru to Brazil.  Peruvians have been building bridges for centuries but with hand woven ropes instead of steel.
We also visited old town Cusco and some of the Museums, We had a super fun couple of weeks enjoying this amazing Country of Peru with some of our family.

The last picture is us eating cuy (guinea pig)  we had to do that before our daughter went home.  So I have officially tasted cuy and I really think I don't need to try it again.  I still keep thinking of those cute little furry pets the kids had as children.  The rest of the food on the plate is traditional peruvian food, the potatoe on the right is a freeze dried potato that really doesn't taste verry good but was invented hundreds of years ago by peruvians.  It was their food-storage.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

June Trip to one of Our Favorite Places - Quillabama,Peru

It was drier on this trip to Quillabamba, so we didn't have fog at the top of the mountain we cross over and we were able to get pictures of this beautiful mountain.  Sometimes the fog is so thick at the top of this mountain road that you can't see in front of you.  I heard a story from someone who was on the bus that goes over the mountain that the fog was so thick at the top that the driver stopped the bus and went over to a little catholic church shrine and knelt down and prayed.  He came back got on the bus and safely made it through the fog.

View from our hotel.

Another beautiful park. 

Lyle loves this these trees because of the beautiful orange flowers

There are huge poinsettia plants.

These darling girls ran up to us to have us take a survey for school.  Each girl had us do one for them.  I am sure the survey is pretty messed up when we were the main people answering questions about how we feel about National Flag day and other national holidays.  One question asked if we knew the national anthem.  We said, "no, could you sing it for us?"  They sang and sang - all four verses.  It was so fun to listen to them.

Of course the boys couldn't let the girls get all the surveys, so they came running up to us right after the girls finished their song.  Of course, we answered each survey exactly the same, they probably didn't get the information they were hoping for, but they seemed to only be interested in how fast they could finish them before they had to return to school.

If you can type, you can work.  These men sit here on the street and do typing for people.  They are not automatic typewriters and they all type with only two fingers.  On top of that, they use carbon copies which means they put carbon paper between the sheets they type which makes a copy on the back sheet.  This brought back terrible memories of when I had to type my papers for school this way.  No, there were no computers while I was in school.

This preschool teacher is teaching her students how to march. There are a couple of little girls that have just finished their march sitting on the chairs watching.

More mountain pictures from our return trip

After two days of continuous work, we headed to Cusco, these are some more pictures from our return bus ride.  You can see how much drier everything is this time of year compared to last trip.

ancient ruins

ancient stone walls

It is Harvest Time - Fall outside of Cuzco

gathering  the grain by hand

Mountain top glacier

Sunday in Calca

Sunday June 29, 2016 we visited a small town an hour away from Cuzco, named Calca.  It is settled in the Sacred Valley and the drive was beautiful as we looked down into this fertile valley.  Here are some pictures of the park in the center of town.  This is where the bus dropped us off.  We had no idea the town was this small.  We started asking taxi drivers to take us to the Church.  Most said they didn't know where it was and finally one taxi driver stratched his head and said, "hop in".  He took us directly to the Jehovah Witness Church, then an Evangelical church.  We told him that wasn't right, so he took us to another Church, which was not our church either.  Finally, after he thought for awhile longer he took us to the right church which is a rented building.
The bronze statues of the deer look so natural in this park.

We finally found the church.

They had a wedding the day before in this rented Church building.

There are only two missionaries in this area.  There were about ten people at the beginning of the meeting, but maybe 40 at the end.

Lyle talking with the members, the flowers were from the wedding the night before and used to decorate the chapel.  Every Chapel we have been to has fresh flowers brought to decorate the podium by the members of the ward or branch. I wonder what he is discussing, he looks so serious.

The two missionaries in Calca.  The one on the left was heading home in two days and it was a very emotional day for him.  This sister was baptized by him at the beginning of his mission.  Then, here at the end, he was sent to Calca for the day to replace the companion of the missionary on the right while he went to Cusco for some training.  So he was very happy to see his convert again.  He helped us with getting her a familysearch account and finding ordinances. 

This is her little boy, check out the shirt.  He was so happy when we gave him the Ipad to play with while he waited.  It has the "angry bird" game on it.

We had a great day in Calca and were able to help a lot of people with their familysearch accounts.  We were busy until evening.  When we asked one of the sisters when the last bus to Cuzco left, she told us 6:30.  It was almost that time so she told us to hurry because we didn't want to miss our flight to Salt Lake City.  Sometimes the people are told we have come all the way from Salt Lake City (because the know where that is) just to help them with their family history.  Here are some of the people we helped.

This man has such a happy temperment.  I loved working with him.  He was able to get four generations on his account (that is uncommon here) and he was still working on it when we had to close up and leave.  He was so excited to get a picture with his wife. 
Cathedral in the Center of the town, I thought the red heart painted on the door was interesting.
Old adobe walls and houses are found in every town.  I always think about the many generations families that have lived in these homes, and what their lives were like.  Doing family history gives you a glimpse of the lives of these people, the births, the deaths, the happy times, the sad times and the love each family shared.
There are a lot of these Volkswagen Beetles in Peru and they just keep running, but it looks like this one might need a little help.