Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Activities in Cusco

Elder Poulsen has been travelling alone the past 2 weekends.  He is trying to fix some of the problems in the Districts.  It has been very challenging.  There are no hotels in these areas and so he takes a sleeping bag and blankets in his suitcase and sleeps in the chapels (which are some of the best buildings in town) and are clean.  Most restaurants are just small places that have "menu del dia" for 4 soles which is about $1.25 for soup, entree and drink and dessert.  These are small restaurants with a couple of tables and a small home-style kitchen and a couple of people running it and cooking.  The cleanliness is unknown.   The soup is always homemade with grains, broth and a few vegetables, and if you are lucky you may get a small piece of  meat and usually a boiled potato and if you are really lucky you will find two or three lima beans. The soup is good, but the entree is potato, yucca roots, rice and a small piece of meat with a sauce. It is not usually that great.  The dessert can be a piece  of  fruit or pudding.  I think we have built up some immunity because he hasn't gotten sick yet, or he is just being blessed. 

It has been hard work and his trips have not been very successful.  There are always a handful of incredibly faithful women and a few priesthood holders that are burned out with trying to run a branch with so little support.  For example, in one area there are 400 members and maybe 20 show up.  Elder Poulsen  or  President Poulsen (which is what he is when he supervises these areas)  needs to go and interview men to see who should be called as Branch Presidents and the only ones who help line up the interviews are the missionaries.  He has to go the people's houses to interview and the homes are so hard to find and you just hope they are there because it is expensive for the people to use a phone so they don't answer their phones and there are no addresses and you have to enter a gate before you can find the house, so you bang on the door of the gate and hope someone will hear you and let you in.  Then you find the house or apartment even though there is no address and if there is it doesn't make sense, you ask anyone you can find to give you directions.  Hopefully they are home and things can proceed from there. 

 He went to a home the other night and the wife was wonderful and they had this really nice, very clean house with all the beautiful Mormon art on the walls.  He spoke to the woman and she said her husband would be home soon.  That was Saturday night and the wife said he would be there at church on Sunday, in the meantime he had talked to the present Branch President and told them they would be released that day.  The man whom President Poulsen wanted to interview never did show up and so the calling could not be extended and he came home so disappointed and will have to return for another 3 day adventure in calling a Branch President for that particular area (there is another area with just as great of need).  The Mission President said to just find someone with a willing heart.  There is a 26 year-old return missionary with a willing-heart but no wife (even though he wishes he had one).  Maybe if he could work as a counselor under someone else he could rise to the occasion. Oh well, we will keep praying for miracles and more people with willing hearts.

In the meantime, I have been alone for 3-4 days at a time.  I love going to Church on Sunday though I don't understand everything that is being said, but I can feel the love that is there.  Everyone treats me with so much kindness.  The ward I go to here in Cuzco is a fully functioning, wonderful ward.  The talks, the lessons and the activities are wonderful.  My internet is super slow again so I haven't been able to do familysearch which is something I enjoy while Lyle is gone.  Instead I wandered over to the Mall to see what is going on there.  Below are some pictures I took.

One neighborhood next to us has figured out how to solve the dog/garbage problem with these raised cages in their front yards.   The garbageman can just pick it up here instead of on the ground where the dogs scatter it everywhere.

There was a big dance at the Mall for the young kids that I watched for awhile.  Dancing is a huge part of the Culture here.

Lyle and I thought this little purple van was so cute.

On their P-day some of the missionaries ask us to help them with their own family histories.  This is Hermana Corsetti and I was hoping to tie into her Italian  or Spanish line and take it back several generations.  Well she has a pretty nice family tree, but I couldn't get her back more than one generation,  but she learned quickly how to look  at new records that come in  and how to extend her line when she returns home and can get some better information. Earlier I worked with Hermana Rust who will be returning soon and in an hour we found 25 people who need their ordinances completed and I was able to show her almost everything she needed to know to continue building and extending her tree.  She comes from one of those big  LDS families and she thought that there was no more work to be done.  It was so fun to watch her excitement as she quickly learned how to do this work.  It seems like the Spirit of Elijah is instantaneous, over and over again we have seen the joy that finding even one ancestor can bring.

 Having fun with the Relief Society Sisters in my Ward

We had a Relief Society activity that I went to while Lyle was gone.  We are usually gone when these come up so I was happy to finally join them.  We are in the church kitchen making a Tarta.  Which was delicious.  Below are some pictures of the activity.  While this group was in the Kitchen, other sisters were in other rooms making crafts.  There are pictures of those crafts below.

The sister on the right was telling jokes while we were waiting for the Tarta to cook.  Everyone was laughing like crazy and the women next to me had her tablet and was using google translate to translate for me so I could be part of the fun.

The finished apple Tarta.

The finished Crafts- bottles decorated with silicon, little wooden Home Evening assignment charts. Christmas decorations made of yarn and sparkle glue. a cookie jar with a frosted type finish and modge-podge Christmas Card Santa on the side. 
The sisters were so proud of their work they sat it on the table and put it in a nice arrangement for me to take pictures of it.

This is one of the truly beautiful arts the women do here.  This is a knitted sweater that this woman is just finishing.  I see women everywhere knitting or crocheting the most beautiful sweaters, hats, scarves or blankets.  There was a woman two seats down working on a beautiful crocheted table runner, I wish I had gotten a picture of that also.

Everyone was hands on during the mixing of the Tarta, and of course the little girls are wanting to be part of the fun too.

The sister on the left is due in about a week.  She is a wonderful, faithful young wife and mother.  This will be her third baby.  I love seeing the young families in the Wards and Branches, they are the future of the Church in this area and they are doing an incredible work in their homes and wards.

A mother teaching her daughter how to separate eggs.
A busy night in the family-history center in our Stake Center.  Most of the people are doing indexing becasue there are so few records available on line for Peru, but Lyle is working with a Hermano on his family tree and they found some names and he and his wife were so excited they want to meet with us again and find even more names tonight.

Zone Conference with the Missionaries. Here are the sisters waiting for birthday cake.

Some of our Elders

Serving Birthday Cake

At Zone Conference we celebrated the 21 birthdays for the month of October.  Here are the cakes and the birthday missionaries.  We sang in both languages.

Some of the youth in our Ward playing volleyball.  The Church put basketball courts with the standard hoops in all the Churches here, but I have never seen that played.  Instead the courts are used for Volleyball and Soccer.
The building that is going in across the street is at a dead stand-still and has been for months.  These three dogs have moved in though and seem to be enjoying the view from their balcony.

Everyday this woman comes out of her house to enjoy the sun.  She is just across the street from our apartment.
I have no idea how old she is but she can hardly walk, as you can see she has a crutch.  I see her out of the window of my office and wonder about her life as I wonder about all the lives of the people here in Peru.  


  1. Hola Poulsens: Every new post takes us back a year. Sadly, only a few apartments have figured out how to elevate garbage out of reach of the thousands of dogs that roam loose in Cusco.

    We know those Hermanas at barrio Inti Raymi, the Hna who is knitting is the esposa of Presidente Carrasco. She graciously gave us some of her handknit items, and we treasure them. If Elder Lyle has to pack along his sleeping bag, we're guessing he's out to visit Ayaviri or Lampa or places like that. Luckily we were able to make day trips there, as there were no hotels (at least ones we would stay in), and we really couldn't bunk down with the elders! We still recall and laugh about the "stealth" hotel in Espinar, where the is no sign on the street or building, and the ground floor is under construction, and if you walk up to the 2nd floor, there is a check-in desk - with nobody there. Eventually somebody does wander by so you can get a room. We were lucky that it was shirtsleeve weather all the time we were there - except that we arrived in a rainstorm, and the taxi driver ripped us off for 12 Soles to drive us 4 blocks.

    For those us used to the orderliness of the grid system in Utah, addresses in Cusco and the other cities and pueblos are almost unfindable. That is why we traveled with the missionaries, who nearly always knew or could find the place we were looking for. When we did find it, chances are that 4 - 5 apartments were inside of 1 street door! If we were lucky, knocking on the (usually metal) street door would start a dog inside barking, then eventually someone would come out, and hopefully they knew which apartment we were looking for.

    We watched the building across the street being built from the ground up. Looked like they were gangbusters on it for a while til they got the 2nd floor poured, then it looks like it is stalled. No matter how much they build, there will still be rebar sticking out the top, in case they want to build another floor someday. We are praying that no bad earthquake hits Cusco, or there will be a lot of those buildings that collapse. Have you had any earthquake warnings? We had a couple, they sound alarms and everyone in the stores is herded outside, and if you are in your apt, you are supposed to leave. After a while, people just wander back in. For the earthquake alerts we had, the epicenters were either off the Pacific coast, or else deep in the jungle, 400km from any city, we could never feel a thing, but at least they have an alert system that works, albeit after the event.

    With each photo of missionaries, we know fewer and fewer. Hna Corsetti had been in the mission about 2 months when we left, we got to work with her in her first area and she is delightful.

    Hope you are well. You are really a blessing to the mission, the missionaries, and the people of mision Cusco.

  2. Hello Nancy and Lyle,
    It's so wonderful to read about your adventures, we miss Peru! We understand the frustrations working with the districts and pray continually that they will catch the vision. We are keeping busy working with the Spanish branch and as ordinance workers in the temple once a week. We've also been doing upkeep on the house, a never ending project! Our grandkids are excited for Halloween and I saw Christmas candy on the shelf with the Halloween candy this morning in Walmart, I mean really!! Our new granddaughter is due the week of Thanksgiving, we're getting excited for that. We were just talking about our next mission and what we would like to do, we can't believe we have been home 5 months already! Time is flying by.

    What a great blessing you are to the people there and the eternal associations are going to be incredible!
    We love you, pray for you and miss you. Los Hasler