Friday, 31 August 2007

Founded on Faith

I still plan to introduce you to my Peru team members, but that will happen next post, because there's something here I have to share.

I was reading over the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the very first thing it says is "Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law". What does that mean? It's just a little blurb meaning the writers think the Charter is in agreement with God's laws.

But it also means that Canada is not founded upon principles of multiculturalism, or environmentalism, or peacekeeping. Canada is only founded upon those principles so far as they don't go against "principles that recognize the supremacy of God."

While I think Canadian law sure has some problems, it's nice to know that it is, at least in writing, trying to recognize who the real Ruler is.

Any thoughts?

"Sin rules until grace dethrones it." Anonymous

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Mi Familia Peruano

A few more people you must meet if you ever happen to find yourself wandering about Tarapoto, Peru:

Raquel - Actually, Raquel isn't in Peru right now; she's in the States at Bible School for four years. (After that, who knows where she'll be) She was our translator for the programs. When you first meet her, you think that she's all quiet and reserved. Then you learn the truth. I like her better the way she is :-) We were dance partners for the song "Monte de Zion". I'd belt out lines like "I don't know how to sing this song, but it doesn't matter, because the audience can't tell that I'm singing English, anyway," during the song, which would crack her up. I think we fed off of each other's energy. We'd always be laughing really hard by the end as we screamed out "FIESTA!!" probably twice as loud as anyone doing the dance. I miss her.

Margarita - Gianella's mom. We didn't really understand much of what each other were saying, but everyone understands laughter. Margarita and I really clicked. Whether she was calling me a troublemaker (travajesa in Spanish, though I'm sure that's not spelled right) for taking pictures of her house, trying to demonstrate very animatedly that there would be no water at a certain time, or telling me the names of all the parts of the dead chicken she was cooking for us were, we always ended up laughing. She knew me affectionately as Carlita. I'm really glad that I got to stay in her home...

Mariela - The youngest sister of Jean Pierre and Renato. Mariela and I made up a clapping game which became somewhat popular. When we went out for ice cream I tied one end of my magic rope to my wrist, and the other on hers, and called it a leash. She got a big kick out of that. She was sick with major headaches a lot of the time, but when she wasn't, she loved hanging out with us, and I sure loved having her around.

Melanie - Mariela's older sister. A very pretty girl. It was sometimes dangerous to go near her because we had a bit of a poking/tickling war going on between the two of us, but we were good friends. She was very eager to learn the actions to the Spanish songs we sang.

Oh... there are more! But I can't write about all of them, or you'll surely get bored. Doris would give back massages and candy to us, and Jany saved me from the cockroach... the games Heber and I played... but to be fair, I MUST mention the rest of the Fowler family (I've already mentioned Marcos).

Delwin and Techy, along with their kids, Marcos, Lucas, and Sarah were our hosts, and what wonderful hosts they were. I can't say much more than that. Many thanks and hugs to them all. I miss them so bad....

I fear you must sit through one more post of this, because I've yet to tell you about me team. After that, I'll either recount my favourite Peru memories, or get on with other posts.

Because it was so commonly repeated in Peru: "Embrace me!" - Dante, to multiple girls (he didn't want them to fall off his motocycle, and didn't quite understand why this got some giggles in reply)

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Peruanos - En Mi Corazon Por Siempre

There are a few people I met in Peru that I have to tell you about, because it feels so strange that I know these people from way far away, and no one else here can relate.

Renato - One of my adopted little brothers. He accidentally deleted all my pictures halfway through the trip, but that only seemed to break down a wall and we were better friends after that. We had some fun trying to juggle together. I taught him how to say "Come here, you nut" and got him hooked on cards. He didn't smile much for pictures, though. I had to poke him on this one to get him to grin. He gave me a bracelet as we were saying goodbye in the airport. I can't imagine how the trip would have been without him.

Jean Pierre - The elder brother of Renato, and another of my adopted brothers. He learned rather quickly that I'm big on hugs, and would always give a little laugh when I went in for one, but would give them to me anyways. We were a bit like student and teacher, helping each other learn how to speak and read each other's languages. It must have taken him upwards of twenty tries before he could remember the letter "y" in English (I was teaching him the English alphabet in this picture). I think I'll always miss him.

Marcos - My youngest adopted brother. He has fuzzy hair. Although only eight years of age, a capable translator for all of us monolinguals. The day we were going to leave he asked me "Where will you be now, tomorrow?" I said probably still in airports. Then he asked "What about tomorrow tomorrow?" I said probably in Calgary, or thereabouts (VTI Lodge). Then he asked where I would be after that. Still Calgary, said I. And he asked again, and another time for good measure, before I stopped and asked a question of my own. "Marcos, are you just trying to get me to say when I'll be back in Peru?" He looked rather sheepish and nodded with a "yeahh..." My heart melted.

Gianella - My adopted little sister. She cheats at cards, so you have to watch her, but she's so awesome. Almost every night when I got back from Delwin and Techy's, she would ask me if I wanted to play cards. And after we were through playing cards, or on the nights when we didn't play, we would get involved in some bizarre "conversations" (mostly about pterodactyls, octopuses, and whether there was running water or not) that would have everyone laughing. I was crying by the time I hugged her goodbye at the airport. She broke down and started crying, too. Man, I love her.

Dante - A good friend. We enjoyed many thumb wrestles together (almost all of which I won), and some games of hot hands (I didn't fare so well with that). With him being an almost English speaker, we were able to have some real conversations, too. He took me on a few motorcycle rides through the city, which were lots of fun, despite me burning my leg on the second one. Here's a picture of him after Diane and I painted him up with achiote. He brought sunglasses to the airport, anticipating that he would want them to cover up his tears when he was saying goodbye to everyone. I was crying pretty hard, too.

For fear of boring you, I shan't list any more today, but there are many more people that I must tribute before I can put Peru posts to rest.

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value: rather it is one of those things which give value to survival." C. S. Lewis

Friday, 17 August 2007

Terremotos Galore


It's ironic that almost as soon as I get home from Peru, it's rocked by these massive earthquakes that haven't been a problem in that area for years.

It turns out it's a LOT worse than was originally reported. There have been several earthquakes with tons of aftershocks. The original earthquake was felt even as far north as Tarapoto, despite the epicenter being closer to Lima. Hundreds of people are dead. At least none of my friends, but some of them are pretty worried because another earthquake is being predicted.

Please pray.


Father Mulcahy: Good news, everybody, no more wounded!
Potter: Thank heaven.
Father Mulcahy: And the Manager thereof.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

The Ganso is Still Home...

1) A scenic shot of Peru 2) Some girls I spent a lot of time dancing around with 3) My host family and me - Juan, Juan's mom, Grecia, Margarita, me, Gianella, Jany 4) The red truck we rode everywhere in 5) Performing "Light of the World" 6) Me and my fuzzy-haired Marcos

And so my list continues, even though no one has commented on my previous post yet.

In Peru:

24. There is no such thing as a clothes dryer. Gotta love clothes lines - out of windows, on roofs, in carports...
25. The windows don't have glass, just a screen.
26. While in Peru, if you leave a belonging out in the open, it is no longer just yours, it is now ours. This includes water bottles.
27. The guys all smell good - that is, they all wear the perfect amount of cologne.
28. Actually, Peruvian guys - even the young ones - are just preppy in general. Fourteen-year-olds taking combs with them when they go out? Not often in Canada.
29. While we're talking about guys, they're much more open, emotionally, in Peru. Also quite charming, and much more forward. (Some pros, some cons)
30. Gringo is not an offensive term in Peru, simply the term they all call you by. Nevertheless, correct them. Gringos are American. We are Canadian, and therefore Gansos (geese).
31. Ladies, make like a bag of apples and don't respond in any manner to the multitude of whistles and catcalls issued forth by the Peruvian males.
32. When it rains, it goes "BOOM" and starts to pour, instead of starting light and getting heavier.
33. Every village has a plaza.
34. Every plaza has a large decorative water fountain in the middle.
35. The water fountains never have any water in them.
36. Unlike Alberta, Peru is not rat-free.
37. The Spanish word for cockroach is cucaracha.
38. Geckos on your roof and walls are actually kinda cool.
39. The dirt in Peru is not clean dirt, unlike in most of Canada.
40. Peruvian timekeeping is always late. Always. Arrive late, leave late. Count on it.
41. There is no such thing as hot running water. Shower in the cold. If there is running water.
42. The milk is all "whole". It's ok for cereal, but tastes gross otherwise.
43. Peru is people/relationship oriented, unlike Canada, which is work/goal oriented.
44. It starts to get dark at about five in the afternoon.
45. It hits about 35 degrees (Celsius) at ten in the morning.
46. The garbage truck comes on whatever day it feels like, whatever time of day it feels like. (Like a thief in the night, to turn it into an object lesson) Always be ready for the blaring horn announcing the approach of the garbage truck!

I have just become aware that a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit Peru today. It lasted over a minute, and some buildings in Lima were damaged, and some towns around Lima had blackouts. Tsunami warnings have been issued. Tarapoto, where I was, is a fair distance away from Lima, and so my friends are almost certainly ok, but it scared me a little bit. Heber, the wonderful guy who cooked for us lives in Lima, so it'll be nice if I can find out how he is...

Quoting our host missionary, Delwin Fowler, on how to eat: "God created hands before He created forks."

My mom had to remind me to eat my chicken with a fork and knife today. Apparently I've become more Peruvian than I first thought :-)

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

The Ganso is Home...

1) Blowing balloons 2) Margarita and the chicken 3) Margarita and the ingiri 4) Raquel and I 5) Jean Pierre and I 6) Some girls and me... it was at a program. For those fives, I only remember the names Adriana and Geraldine.

I have returned safely from Peru! Did you miss me? There is so much to tell that I don't really have any idea how to go about telling. Therefore, I shall start with a list of thing about Peru that are obviously foreign to Canadians:

1. In Peru, don't flush your toilet paper. Put it in the garbage.
2. In fact, don't even expect there to be toilet paper. Bring your own.
3. Do NOT drink the water!
4. The fruit juice is actually fruit juice, not sugar-water.
5. You kiss strangers both hello and goodbye, but you don't actually have to kiss - just go cheek to cheek and make the sound. And only on one side of the face, not both.
6. Houses tend to lack walls and roofing in some places. It's all very open.
7. It's chicken and rice to eat, everyday, for as long as you're there....
8. The dogs and the chickens enjoy running about the street - watch your step.
9. Pedestrians have no right of way on any streets - I say it again: watch your step!
10. Do not wear socks on red wax floors, unless you wish to have pink socks.
11. As long as you're in Peru, you can hug a kid without having to worry about getting sued by the parents.
12. Some Peruvians can live without running water - but heaven forbid that they be without cable TV!
13. Peruvian kids are almost all extremely outgoing, yet simultaneously terribly afraid of being on stage.
14. You can ride everywhere in the back of the truck! Just not actually on top of the cab.
15. Speed limits are either non-existent or entirely ignored.
16. A stop sign means yield.
17. Motocars or motorcycles are the choice modes of transportation.
18. In addition to rice and chicken, you eat a lot of ingiri - known in English as plantain.
19. Back to chicken - if you desire to eat a chicken, you must first hack off its head and feet.
20. The rain gutters are predictably HUGE!
21. The Peruvian educational system expects a lot more from the kids than the Canadian or American ones do.
22. Black tarantulas will kill you. Brown ones only severely injure.
23. Soccer is called football.

That's good for now. I'll continue the list next post. It's good to be home, but I miss the people so bad....

To quote a friend from Peru, because it's funny:
Vikki: Ah! Smell my hand! Pepe sprayed cologne on me - now I smell like a man!
Dante: (smells Vikki's hand) Hm - smell like man. (smells Vikki's hair) Mm - smell like woman.

More on Peru soon!