Monday, September 5, 2016

Fast trip to Juli and to Ayaviri

A few pictures in Cuzco

This little guy fell asleep on the job.
Sister Baker (on the left) had her missionary bag stolen.   It had her marked up missionary scriptures (which is the thing she feels the saddest about), her camera, and everything else the missionaries carry with them.  One of the items was her Carnet or Work Visa and since mine went missing too we both had to go fill out a report at the police station before we could get it replaced.
Here we are at the police station.
To get to the Police Station we had to take a Taxi.  I am sitting in the front seat and this what it looks like in the back seat.  Taxis cost the same no matter how many people you have with you.  I have seen as many as 6 big  Elders climb out of a small Taxi.  In Peru there is no concern about personal space.  Elder Wimmer (the office Elder) is coming with me to help translate and help me fill out the forms. And of course you must take your companion.

I needed my carnet number to fill out the report and the copy they made for me that is with my paperwork at the apartment is some unknown man (whoops someone in the Emigration Office didn't catch that)  so I didn't have my number, so I had to leave without being able to fill out the report.  This story will have yet another chapter.  We both had so many problems to get ours in the first place.

District Work

We were able to visit a couple of places in the District area that Elder Poulsen is in charge of, but the real problem areas are on the other side of the mission. So we decided to take a trip to visit them 2 weekends ago.  Here are some pictures I took of that trip.

One of the main intersections on our way out of town headed East, has a Park with this giant Statue.  You can actually climb up inside and look out the windows.

Making Adobe Bricks by hand.  Almost every house I have seen in the country are made with adobe.  

Two bulls get a ride in a Toyota.
I don't know why but all the buses make a detour through this town while there is a nice straight road that by passes it.  I like these silver statues.

This is what the homes and yards look like behind the walls that surround them.

A family with their goats waiting for a ride.

The back of this truck is packed with people, this is totally normal.

Here is a really well-built bridge in the middle of nowhere.  It is not for cars, it is a foot bridge made to get people from the road  over the stream and to who knows where. There is not a village or town in sight. We have actually seen quite a few of these.

Washing in the river.  The picture below is a close-up of the people on the right.  Notice the big pots of  boiling  wash water.

We passed this big, beautiful, empty, bus station that for some unknown reason has not been open since it was built years ago.  

More smiling people enjoying their ride in the back of a truck.

Elder Poulsen  is watching a community cerebration , as we drive by, with all the costumes, dancing and singing.

So it looks like Lyle reserved the whole bus for me.  Isn't that nice?  We are passing all those people squished in the back of a truck while riding in the top front of this bus.  Actually this bus line has just added this schedule to their regular schedule so  even though the bottom of the bus is full the top was not.  Usually we have to get a reservation weeks ahead  to get these front seats, but not this time. Not all of our trips are uncomfortable.

Patiently waiting for a van to pick them and their packages up.  They wait by the side of the road hoping a Combi (van) will just happen to come by and it will have room for them and all their packages too.  There are no scheduled Combi's and you can't reserve seats so you just patiently wait.  It is especially hard to find transportation in these remote towns.

Yes, we have to pass through Juliaca (it seems all roads headed East go through Juliaca) and no the road construction is still not finished.  It has been like this for years and Juliaca has more comerce than any other town in Peru.  Lots of people are getting rich here, it just doesn't translate into public works.

Some of the people here in Juliaca are rich.  Women here still wear the traditional clothing, but those skirts cost hundreds of dollars, and again the more skirts the richer you are.  How do you like their hats?  

No seat belt laws in this country. 

This is the University Andina just outside of  the city of Juliaca.  Every building on this campus has some sort of interesting architecture and is painted in bright colors.
We stay the night in Puno and take a Combi (van) to Juli the next morning in time for Church.
Some women in Puno just sitting on the curb and visiting.
Puno welcomed us with a Parade.  This city seems to always have some sort of celebration going on.  They really do have the most beautiful costumes here.  I hope the video plays for you.

The people are celebrating the transporting of another miniature Virgin idol statue to it's church. 

This took me awhile to get used to, but it is so normal here.  The men just find a corner.  Afterwards they ran to catch up with the the parade. It was as if they never left.  Lyle said this is a result of too much beer at the celebration.

Blind and crippled this man puts out his hat for people to put money in.  

Okay, I admit, we love staying in Puno because that is where Pan Rico is.  Here are their signature cakes. That is fresh fruit on top and some sort of whipped cream topping.  They are in a refrigerated display.  They are very popular and sell super fast.     The bakery goods are not as sweet as they are in the United States and that took some getting used to.  We just didn't go to the bakeries for awhile until we found this place.  It actually has cinnamon rolls.  They are not the soft, covered in cream-cheese kind we have in the States, they don't even have raisins, but they have a slight citrus taste as well as fresh cinnamon.  Yummy, Rico Pan is always our fist visit when we arrive in Puno.
Well, after an 8-hour bus ride a night in Puno and an hour Combi ride we arrive in Juli.  It is one of the branches in one of the districts Elder Poulsen is responisible for in his new calling.  There are three branches in this area south of Puno, and only one has a Branch President.  There just isn't any one to call as a Branch President.  The District President that lives in the town furthest South right on the boarder of Bolivia travels to a different branch each week trying to build and strengthen the members.  He is amazing, and doing great work, but they really need leaders in this area.  Trying to find solutions for this area is Elder Poulsen's greatest concern right now. He also has another Branch in a different area that he visited this weekend where the Branch President has been in for 7 years and he is totally exhausted.  We are not in Utah any more, there just isn't the support these wonderful men need in these remote areas of Peru.  They just get totally worn out and when they are finally released some of them become less-active.  It is so sad to watch that happen.  I am sure this is not the only place in the world that this happens.

 Here are two of the stalwarts in Juli.  We were not able to get his familysearch account to work while we were there but we were able to enter a couple of generations for his wife and we found ordinances for them to do.  Hopefully we will be able to get his account open next time we visit because his mother's ordinances are ready.  They will be going to the Temple in January.  We are trying to piggy-back our family history work with Lyle's district work, it has it's challenges but we are trying to figure out how to make it work, I will have to do a lot of the family history work on my own because he is so busy with other responsibilities when we arrive.

Three friends visiting in the Park in Juli.  Check out the manicured hedges.  There are all kinds of animal-shaped hedges in this park.

After the harvest, the farmers burn some of the stubble on their land.  It is an offering to the "land god", they hope their offering will ensure a good crop next year.
When I looked at this picture, it reminded me of what happened a little before we reached this area on our way back to Puno from Juli.  I was thinking a lot about the sheep headers I saw as we rode through the Altiplano and this area.  You can see them carefully watching their sheep.  It reminded me of all the parables of Jesus about sheep and shepherds.  Both men and women are shepherds here and I was thinking about how much you would care for each of your sheep if you had raised them from a lamb and were with them day in and day out.  I wondered if the sheep had names and if they came when they were called by their shepherd.  I was thinking of this when suddenly from a field on our right side a herd of about 20 sheep started running straight for the road, right in front of us. There was a "thump!" and a "bump, bump" and we knew one of them had been hit.  We were in a Combi full of farmers and shepherds and they were all so sad when we looked out the back window at the sheep sitting in the road with broken legs, alive but unable to move.  Every one started to ask, "Where was the Shepard?" their concern was genuine.  To loose a sheep was a real tragedy for a poor farmer.  Then someone said that a llama was keeping watch, there was no Shepard.  Sometimes a llama will bolt and the sheep will follow.  The passengers were saying what a shame that there was no real Shepard, a real Shepard would not lead the sheep astray.  Do you see any analogies in this true story? It kind of shook me up for awhile, the sheep was sitting up dazed but looking around and unable to move because of his broken legs.  Lyle wondered why the driver hadn't used his brakes sooner and pressed them harder.  We talked to someone later who told us a couple of combies had actually rolled killing the passengers because the driver tried to brake hard and turn in order to miss a sheep.  Our driver was just showing more concern for us than the bolting sheep. Someone told us that the llamas can jump out of the way but the sheep cannot.

A family or group of friends harvesting potatoes.  Notice the ox on the left.  They are tethered together at the horns and are pulling a plow.  

We were sitting in a Park in Puno when these two smiling missionaries came up to greet us.  The one on the left had been here less than a week.  We had 25 new missionaries arrive.  It has been so fun to meet and talk with these a bit bewildered, yet so excited to finally start my mission missionaries. They will be speaking Spanish fluently in no time and they will love their missions and they will cry when they leave.  We have witnessed all of that in our time here.

Just hanging out on the main shopping street in Puno.  We had to wait for the 10 pm bus to take us back to Cuzco.  Yes, we took another night bus.  We didn't want to spend the money for another hotel night and waste another day on the bus.  It wasn't as bad as the last bus because the ride from Cuzco to Puno is pretty straight,  not the winding road from Puerto Maldonado to Cuszo we took last time.  We arrived in Cuzco in great time and even were able to sleep a bit.

I couldn't figure out what this concession in the park was all about, but they pay to paint coloring book pages.  There were a lot of people doing this.  Can you see Smurf on the front easel?  I wonder how old these coloring book pages are.

And Another Trip to Immigration

So I was able to find a tiny piece of paper with my carnet number on it, yeah! The office Elders took me to the police station again, filled out the forms and found out I needed my passport to take to Immigration, so I walked back to my apartment from the mission office grabbed my passport, signaled a cab in front of our apartment told him how much I was willing to pay, told him where to go and hopped in  - and I did it all by myself!

 While I was waiting for the Elders to show up to help me I studied this mural across the street. It depicts the history of Cuzco.
I can't believe I am standing in front of this office again.

Elders to the rescue!  The sisters are right behind them.
 Well, we go to the office with all our documents and Sister Baker gets the Okay everything is in order, go downstairs and get your picture taken again and wait 10 days.  They look at the receipt for the fee we paid when we went to the police station for me and the numbers at the bottom are a little blurred.  "Sorry, you have to go back to where you paid the fine and have them fix this."  I did not get the Okay.  I couldn't believe it.
Ride back to the office.

To be Continued...

They always have the most beautiful flowers at the District and Stake Conference.  They had two like this one on both sides of the pulpit and a huge gorgeous one in front.  At the end of the meeting, there is some kind of tradition where any one can come up and take a flower out of the arrangement.  Well this time a couple of people tried to stop that they took he two small arrangements away and tried to hide the large one in a closet, well they were not fast enough, so the big one had a couple of long stem red roses taken out, so I didn't take a picture.

One Last Story - sorry this blog is so long

Elder Poulsen felt he needed to visit the Branch President in Ayaviri (one of his districts).   Saturday night he got on a bus headed to Sicuani so he could take a Combi to Ayaviri the next morning for Church.
So I attended the Adult Session and the Sunday Session by myself, a member of the Seventy came and it was great.  Lyle returned later on Sunday and told me this story.  I just have to include it.

He took the combi to Ayaviri at about 6 Sunday morning.  He said it was the worst ride he had ever experienced .  These combis in these rural areas have these little fold out seats that go in the aisle after all the other seats are filled.   He was in the back right corner seat when a young woman maybe 19 years old gets on and takes the fold out seat in front of him.  There are 4 people in the back seat and Lyle is squished, in fact the man next to him is leaning his full weight on Lyle. (You have to know first that Lyle will not even sit by strangers in a movie theater, he has me sit next to them).  The young woman has a baby on her back, so she leans forward to not smash the baby. Lyle has to hold the broken seat back with his knees so they don't slide back onto him.  There is no aisle, every seat is full.  There are 4 extra passengers squeezed in somewhere without seats. There are two babies also.  And to top it off, (this is the best part)  there are 2 bleating sheep squeezed in behind Lyle's seat and the back of the combi. Really, that is the truth! It is steaming hot, the windows are dripping water from everyone's breath. No one opens a window because it is "bad air" outside.  Lyle's knees are giving out.  It is so hot inside and everyone is wearing several sweaters and a couple of blankets.  The babies are especially well bundled. And no one but Lyle seems uncomfortable.  The passengers get let off at different places.  The sliding door is broken from the inside, so the driver has to stop the combi, get out and open the door for each passenger. It takes forver.  Finally the young woman and her baby are let off in the most remote place you can imagine. No buildings anywhere to be seen.  Lyle said she looked like a pure native with the weather beaten skin and the baby with it's rough cheeks, and she just walked off into the wilderness.  It was so bizarre.  

An hour and half later, he finally makes it to Ayaviri, only to find out he was two hours too early.  He said it was freezing and he just had to walk around for two hours trying to stay warm until someone came and opened the church.  Remember the churches here are not heated.  So from boiling hot in the Combi to freezing cold.  He was happy he went though, it was fast meeting and several of the stalwart members bore pure testimony. - he said it was beautiful.  This Branch  has been struggling for such a long time.  The poor branch president has been in for 7 years and has very little support, he is completely burned out.  The members consist of a handful of completely faithful women and a wonderful return missionary maybe in his early twenties who does everything - plays the piano, helps with the sacrament and teaches lessons in both Sunday School and Priesthood and fills in wherever else he can.  He is the meekest man we have ever met.  There are also 2 deacons. There a a few more members and that is about it. Now the question is, "What can be done to help this Branch?"  

1 comment:

  1. Hola Poulsens: It is always a joy to read and view you new posts, don't apologize for making them so long - how else could you describe these adventures? I'm guessing that the pictures along the river were at Sicuani? If you could identify the locations of your photos, that would be helpful, as we have different photos of the same places. I took nearly 5,000 photos while we were there, it will be fun to share and compare them when you return.

    Every time you have to deal with the Peruvian government bureaucracies, it is the worst. The mano izquerda doesn't know what the derecha is doing, literally, and the standard answer is to just send you back where you just were. Hope that you get the carnet straightened out before it is time for you to return. We were pretty lucky with ours, we just carried copies of ours around, and left the originals safely in our apartment.

    We got to Ayaviri and Juli a couple of times. The members there are so humble and faithful, but they struggle for lack of numbers, and those who are active have such a big load to carry. I'm sure they are earning bonus points, which are well deserved. The anomalies and oddities in Juliaca are baffling - a lot of enterprise going on, but they can't even pave the main streets. And of course they don't need much of a reason to have a parade, march, or protest anywhere in the country. The street parades are pretty colorful and lively. Dawn became an expert on pee marks left on the street: "that's a dog, that's a guy, that's a guy, etc" as we walked along. "Going Peruvian" has a new context to us now.

    In your photos, there are fewer and fewer of the missionaries we know: We knew Hna Paiz, and met Hna Baker briefly. The time goes by so quickly. In addition to good pan and postres in Puno, they also have the best Pizza (Macchu Pizza).

    We still find Family History work very rewarding, both for ourselves and the help we can provide to others. We are in St George now, and have been helping a delightful couple in their 80's who just can't navigate the website by themselves. We keep them supplied with a quantity of family names to take to the temple, Br. Clayton goes several times a week, Sis Betty can only get around on a scooter, so she's not able to go as often. We have some friends who work in the baptistry here, so I'm going with 40+ names from Dawn's family this afternoon, and they will help us get them done.

    As usual we love to see your new posts and your adventures. Remember that the frustrations are only temporary, but you will have the memories of this experience with you always - and will recall them with great fondness.