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Archive for March, 2010

Amazon River

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Wed 3/24

Song I like:  “Use Somebody” by Laura Jansen.

We had to get up at 5:30AM, 6AM get luggage out of the room, and 6:30AM be at the airport.  We ate a bit:  corn flakes with fresca (strawberry) yogurt and bread.  One last time for the yummy homemade peanut butter and caramel manhare.  Yup we had the caramel for breakfast on our bread.  I did remember to take pictures of our room and the facility.

Last time in Kevin the bus, the bus was named Kevin.  It’s awesome, I love that bus, al natural.  There’s no windows so the breeze just flows right in.  The windows are actually hidden underneath and you just pull them up when it rains.  We had to do the just a couple times.  I like this bus better than our regular buses.  When you look at pictures of this bus inside, it looks horrible, but it’s really not when you’re riding in it.  I think it’s relaxing!

Our plane came in late!  We first rode from Iquitos to Lima.  The plane ride was very bumpy, like a roller coaster.  There were people freaking out, but I thought it was fun.  I just closed my eyes and took it.  I loved it!  The service is really good for only 1 1/2 hour flight.  We got a drink and a box of food.  I got coffee because I wanted to try Peruvian coffee.  It was SO good!  I got 2 cups of it!  It tasted like a brazilian nutty flavor, gooooood stuff!  Then for our food we got 2 little cream cheese turkey sandwiches, M&M’s, and fruit.  Those were also good.  Yea the drink cart came around twice.  Kaitlyn sat next to me so that was fun, got to talk to her.  She got Inca Kola twice and I got coffee twice, so we shared.  Our last Peruvian drinks!  The coffee is different from America.  Inca Kola is one of Peru’s famous drinks, it’s yellow.

We then landed in Lima and we got a tour of Lima the whole day because our flight from Lima wasn’t until 11PM.  We rented a bus and had a guide.  We went to a torture museum called Museo de Inquisicion y del Congreso del Peru (Museum of Inquisition and Congress).  It was about the prison cells and torture methods.  Then we went to the Museo San Francisco (Church of San Francisco- Iglesia de San Francisco).  We took a tour of the Catholic church and the catacombs.  The bones were really weird, they were 4-5 meters deep into the walls and others were 12 meters deep.  My favorite part was the library inside the church.  It looked like a library from Harry Potter and has 1,000 books!  It had 2 spiral staircases, a small balcony, tons of old books, and music sheets.  Fantastic!The church was very intricate, the walls, paintings, murals on the walls, and even the ceilings.  Some murals were very thick just put over each other throughout the years.

We went outside and saw the President’s, Mayor’s, and someone else’s house in the middle of the plaza.  We just saw them from the outside of course.  They were very heavily armed guarded in front, so many.  Finally we got to eat!  Unfortunately we got pizza which is too American.  And to make it worse, it was Pizza Hut.  I got to order in Spanish though which was a plus!  Lauren and I shared a thin crust Napolitana pizza (mozzarella and tomatoes.  This is a note to MOM AND DAD- I actually ate one of the tomatoes on the pizza!  Shocker!  It was good too.  I only ate it because it was full of oregano and goodness.  But I only ate UNO.  Then her and I ordered dessert because we had some extra cash.  It was a chocolate one- vanilla ice cream, chantilly (sweetened whipped cream), nuts, chocolate sauce, wafers, and chocolate cookie sticks.  Ciara and Jessie got cheesecake with blueberries on top.  It was us 4 at a table.  Both were good.  The funny part was we had to eat the really fast because Pizza Hut took forever in bringing them out.  So when they did bring them out, almost exactly, our group said, “Let’s go!”  So Lauren and I had to literally chug it down.  We did finish it but we didn’t get to really enjoy it!

We went to an Indian Market next for 40 minutes or so to shop.  There were tons and tons of booths and markets.  My first purchase was a rainbow striped bag for 18 sols.  I had to bartered for it, I love bartering.  I went around with Natalie and we shopped and looked around.  We went down the street to a different market where I bought a whole bunch of 1 and 3 sol colorful mirrors for souvenirs to give out.  I did buy another bag but then when I was walking around, the strap broke.  So I took it back to the lady and she said she could either sew it or refund.  I chose refund but I really wish I would have kept it because I could have fixed it later.  I also really wanted an Alpaca blanket but it was a bit pricey.

Our last stop on the way to the airport was the beach!  Oye, vamos a la playa (hey, lets go to the beach).  We only went to the rocks part though, cool cool water, we got sprayed.  We took another cabin picture.  Then all the girls took a picture while we held our counselor, Holly, up.  We almost dropped her on her face but we caught her.

Then we went back to the aeropuerto.  While we waited, because we still had awhile to wait, I got a bottle of Inca Kola to bring back to America for people to try.  In Peru you have to pay an entrance and exit fee, which slowed things down.  In America that is already included in your price.  I accidentally bought Big Red gum for 11 sols, which is around $4 in US.  I didn’t think to look at the price when I bought it.

Our room- 5 girls

Cold showers

Sink/wash area

My bed

Saturday 3/20/10

We survived our first night in the jungle.  It is an early morning because that’s the time the sun gets up!  For breakfast we got this oatmeal thing and eggs.  Not the best breakfast.

We had worship then get informed that we’re going to have to walk 30 meters in the Amazon to get to the village.  Nervousness comes upon us but we have to do it.  We take the small boat over in two loads until we all get there and get sunscreen on.  The Amazon felt so gross and it’s very dirty.  It was discusting.  I started off with my flip flops on and they came off.  Luckily, they float so I grabbed them.  I start off playing the guitar which is really hard by the way because it’s hot, sweaty, and my glasses kept falling down my nose.  We then played games which I got to play jump rope.  I haven’t done that in so long, it’s fun!  While the kids played a game of Pato Pato Ganzo (duck duck goose), it started to rain, but it felt really good.  Not so good for my glasses but oh well.  We then proceeded into stories and then went back for lunch.  For lunch we had rice and beans, yum!

It was a very hot day so we waited a couple hours to go back to the village.  So we took naps and swung in the hammocks.  We put the hammocks from the boat into “our home”.  Holly, Natalie, and I did some acros.  I did a 2-high!  That’s when Mr. Perrin told us that the sun here is about 10x worse for us than in Washington.  In just 15 minutes I got sunburned.  We went back on the boat and another fish flopped into the boat!  We had a soccer game, balloons, frisbees, and face painting.  Then we gave toys and food bars away.  Hot hot hot!

We came back and had the best dinner.  Banana chips with peanut butter, noodle soup, and mangos & peaches.  So so good, fresh and homemade.  Then for the big finale, Leisel, Greg, Natalie, Jessie, and I swam in the Amazon River!!!  Yup!  We jumped off the boat we came in.  Don’t worry, there was a translator in a canoe right next to us.  We had to hurry and jump so crocodiles wouldn’t come.  I am so proud of us, it was so fun.  The reason I did it was to say, “I swam in the Amazon River!”

We finished off with worship and sang songs that had men & women parts.  While the other group went crocodile hunting, we all sat in the hammocks and sang songs.  Just random songs.  It was fun and peaceful.  Then Greg, Natalie, Jessie, and I tried sleeping in the hammocks with the mosquito netting.  It was a process.  We slept for about 15 minutes but then it didn’t work so well.  Then some of the translators caught a baby alligator and a snake.  They brought it up to us.  We got to touch them and they tied off the alligators mouth.  It was awesome.

It is so stuffy to sleep in the tents, very hot!

Wednesday 3/17

When we woke up this morning, we woke up to rain.  I love it!  We then had a long worship talk this morning when we got up and then some breakfast.  Juicy mangos, eggs, juice, and really good rice pudding.  After we went to a Special Needs School (mentally retarded).  We sung songs, told stories, had crafts and games for 4 hours.  The time was broken up though because the kids eat breakfast at 10-10:30 AM.  It was really fun and they were really interactive.  There was the Water Into Wine story, Zaccheus story, made bookmarks, Parting of the Sea story and craft, the game Red Light Green Light, Simon Says, and Shark Tag.  The kids just latch onto you and hug you.  We left around lunchtime and went and had our lunch.  Fried gluten and beans, this weird vegetable rice dish, and juice.

In the afternoon, we took a long bus ride to POPPY’s House.  This is a girl’s home for young pregnancies and abuse.  It’s out in the country, in Santo Tomas, and owned by People of Peru.  POPPY’s stands for People of Peru Project Youth Services, the crisis center.  It’s a big open place with a huge playground, soccer field, and a chicken farm.  Kelly Linfoot is there for 2 years working here.  She student taught at WWVA for Spanish and Math.  There’s also a monkey that lives there, Leo.  He’s a handful so they’re going to get rid of him.  But he’s sooooo cute!  He got into the trash and soap and stuff.  On the bus ride to Poppy’s house, I just happened to look outside and I saw a little girl, maybe 5 or 6 years old, tapping a knife on her hand outside.  I believe her mom was out there too!

After we came back, got washed up, then immediately went to VBS.  The story tonight was Jesus in the Boat, a cross craft, and a balloon popping game.  Tonight  I played the guitar with Mr. Ireland.  These bus rides to the VBS are very bumpy because most of it’s a muddy, pot holed road.  For dinner we had a yummy potato dish, warm fruit soup, and juice.  Then a worship thought and shower.

I sat outside because it was a nice cool evening with a warm breeze.  Natalie was doing Acros, talked, practiced guitar.  Lauren, Ciara, Greg, and Jessie came out and we ate trail mix while talking to Mr. Perrin and Mr. Ireland.  Mr. Ireland then taught us some Tai-Chi!  Then just good ol’ bedtime.

3/16/10

In the morning in the Lima airport, we couldn’t just drink the water.  It was bad water, so I had to buy one from Starbucks to wash up with.  Our plane to Iquitos left at 6:20 AM.  It’s only a 1 1/2 hour flight.  You want to know what I did during it.  I slept the whole way.  I even missed the food and drink cart.  I heard it wasn’t very good though.  What I saw of Iquitos on the plane when I did wake up was vegetation and forest.  We arrived at the airport and Paul Opp, the director of People of Peru Project, met us there with Kevin, the bus.  People of Peru own the bus.  It’s a rustic bus with no air conditioning but just open.  I love it!  When we got there, we got breakfast and then got to shower and take a nap!  For breakfast there was eggs, bread, homemade peanut butter, manjar (dulce de leche), and juice.  I got room #4 with Holly Luce (the girls counselor), Lauren, Ciara, and Jessie.  Oh it felt so good to be clean.  Afterwards we had a run down of the place and instruction from Paul.

We took a tour of the Belen district neighborhood, still in Iquitos.  This is the lowest, dirtiest part of the city.  In the Amazon Rainforest, called the Floating City.  We took the Mototaxis (motocarro).  Lauren, Freddie (a translator), and I took one.  Those cars are pretty scary because they weave in and out of traffic going as fast as they can.  Don’t get me wrong, they are so so fun!  You can’t stick your hands and arms out the window because otherwise they could get chopped off.  All the buses and mototaxis get right next to you on the road.  They don’t really use the lines or stay on their right side of the road or use the speed limit.  They pull up right next to you within inches.  It’s really scary on the road but oh so fun!  There aren’t any regular cars in Iquitos which surprised me.  The mototaxi (motocarro) is a light vehicle that has a “carriage” at the back for 2-3 people and it costs around 2-4 sols to ride.

So we got to Belen and started our walking tour.  We went through all the markets selling anything and everything.  There was trash piled high in the middle of the road and underneath the ground.  Belen stinks VERY bad.  All of a sudden it instantly started to rain heavy and hard.  It was like that for about 30 seconds and then it went away.  There was the meat market with just the meat sitting out in the open with flies crawling all over them.  They had plucked and headless bare chickens just piled high.  I have to admit, it was disgusting.  We turned down a market row that was the medicine row.  All the venders have a cure for anything whether it works or not.  One vender had a lot of items.  One was alligator blood that cured something the vender demonstrated.  She rubbed it fast against her skin and turned into a hard white seal.  Then she had a snake head in a jar simply to attract people to her store.  We headed down farther to lowest Belen and saw kids.  They just swarmed to have their picture taken.  What you do is take their picture and then show them it.  They love it.  We saw part of the river and it had trash and muck in it.  There are public restrooms right next to it so all that restroom stuff goes into there.  Kids actually play in that too.

When the Andes Mountains melt, that water floods Belen every year.  So people have floating houses or their house is built up high on stilts.  It’s all very gross.  We then raced back in the mototaxis.  To me, it’s like a roller coaster riding in them.  Lunchtime now- we had beans, rice, and juice.

We then went to our VBS program at a little Iglesia Adventista church.  It really just looked like a barn, but it still had benches.  Lauren, Jessie, and I did our story and craft that night.  It was The Fiery Furnace with making lions masks as the craft.  There weren’t very many kids there but it was the first night.  Two little girls came up to me afterwards and gave me a hug and a kiss.  On our way home, kids would ride on the back of the bus.

Dinner was just upon us now back at the facility.  We had vegetable empanadas, bread, and juice.  Not very fond of the empanadas.  It is our first night sleeping here, very different.  Earlier when we took our naps, we saw a tiny lizard in our room.  They are good though because it eats all our bugs for us but I was informed that it will probably crawl on me during the night.  Not pleasant.  I took a shower again just because we get so dirty, sticky, and sweaty!

Buenas Noches!