So, I’ve passed 7 months in Peru. Where has the time gone? In just over one month, I’m going to Puerto Maldonado and I will see my Daddy!
In the past month, we have had a stellar fabulous watermelon eating contest. I had this great idea that the Peruvians should be introduced to this great American tradition. They should be able to say that they have gorged themselves on one of God’s best fruits. So, I bought 5 of the most costly watermelons in Peru (a. because of their size, b. because fruit from the coast is RIDICULOUSLY expensive in Iquitos). It was well worth and a ton of fun. Callie and Pastor Abietar were the winners.
The barrio that Ana and I work in (Gabriela Nunez) is the daughter of Iglesia Central (basically, Iquitos 1st Church of the Nazarene). They are planning on constructing the actual church building in November, but before they can do that, there needs to be a level foundation. So, Saturday we hauled sand to the sight. Let me paint that picture for you: We woke up at 6 am on a Saturday morning, got in our work clothes and gathered 5 of the Extreme Team GIRLS to head out. We were supposed to be leaving at 7, so at 7:30 we were ready to go. We’d forgotten that we all needed to bring something to carry the sand in, so we asked Hermana Magna if she had anything…. So Llerson grabbed some…basically they’re gunny sacks. Those plastic-y, big, white-ish, sack/bag things (aka potato bags)...Anyway, that’s what we brought. Then about 10 people climbed in the back of the pick-up, 8 more inside the pick-up and we headed down to Puerta Masusa. There we met the leader of the church plant in Gabriela Nunez and he took us across the river. I forgot to mention that we brought our lunch supplies with us. Bowls, cups, spoons, knives, 4 water canisters (the ones that you put upside down on that plastic thing and you can squeeze the little handle thing and get water out…) and a GIANT pot.
Upon arrival, we precariously climbed the bank, and carried everything to the future church site. When I say that we precariously climbed up the bank, what I mean is, the river level has dropped significantly in the months that we’ve been here. Now the bank is a steep 8 foot mud slide with some stairs half-hazardly carved in. It wouldn’t be too bad if it was dry, but because this is the Amazon RAIN forest even in the dry season it rains, so…it’s a muddy slippery mess. And the boats can’t get very close so you slip around till you get to the steps….It’s an adventure every time! Pastor Antonio, Ramon, Llerson, Lider, and two other men, Elisa, Wendy, Callie, and I made up the sand carrying crew, and Ana, and the other women stayed at Gabriela Nunez to make lunch for us. There were also about 10 boys from Gabriela Nunez that joined in on the fun of carrying sand.
Now, I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting, but I thought that we were going to be carrying sand from the bank to the site…but what we were actually doing was getting back in the boat, and going to the other side of the river. There was beautiful sand the color of the Oregon Coast, and we scooped it into our sacks and various 5 gallon buckets, and returned to the bank of Gabriela. We had a lot of sacks to fill, and a lot of sand to bring, so some people thought that we should fill the sacks to brimming to make fewer trips. The downside is that sand is heavy. So when you have these giant sacks, filled with sand, it is back breaking, excruciatingly hard. Add to that the heat of this sun. We had a hay day let me tell you.
The second trip across the river, we decided to fill the boat instead of just the sacks. Good idea; still a ton of work. At 12, we stopped for lunch. The lovely ladies were so sweet, and made us some piping hot rice and chicken foot soup. There were enough chicken feet for everyone to have at least one. Mmmm, hot soup when you’re already stinking hot. Perfect combo.
It was, all in all, a great day though.