Wednesday, May 11, 2011


April 16, 2011
So, it's 14 days until I go home! :) I'm so excited. I'm ready to get back to familiar things, places, and people. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed, drive my car, hug my parents, listen to a church service in English... There is just so much to look forward to!
But- I am certainly going to miss Peru. Even though the US is my home and that is familiar to me, Peru has become my second home. Things that used to be so strange are now normal, for this time of my life home has been here. It's crazy to think about really.
My mom is a list maker, and I don't mind lists either so I'm going to make a list of things I'll miss about Peru. Since it's clearly very hard to think of EVERYTHING I will miss about Peru I'm going to separate it into the senses: sight, smell, touch, sounds, and taste. I guess that should about cover everything. :)
-the palm trees, and all trees- those are scarce in kansas...
-the thousands of motocars that are all over the city
-beautiful jungle sunsets and sunrises
-the other SM's who have become like my family

-garlic and onions; they cook EVERYTHING with garlic and onions here :) haha
-yeah... not a lot of good smells in Peru..
unfortunately, there are a lot of unpleasant smells that go along with my Peruvian experience..
-whistles/"hey baby"'s/kissing noises from men
-rotten cheese
-dead animal
-nasty skin infections/surgery/birth smell
those I will NOT miss.

-the feel of crunchy clothes right off the clothes line (although i am VERY excited to use a dryer again)
-little grandma kisses on my cheek when i meet old ladies at church or the clinic
-firm handshakes of people when you meet them
-kid hugs

-people announcing things over a loud speaker while they drive by on a motocar
-hymns in Spanish with the whole congregation singing
-little kids singing at the top of their lungs at VBS
-roosters crowing in the morning
-horns honking at all hours

-maracuya juice and ice cream
-arroz con leche
Ok, so as I started writing this blog i realized that it was a much bigger job than I had anticipated at first so I'm going to close by sayint that this is certainly not a complete list. There are many things I will miss- too many to list or to count. Peru has been a life-changing experience for me in so many ways and one list just can't cover it all.

Monday, April 11, 2011


April 10, 2011
You know, there are some things that drive me crazy about Peru. It's true, I'm sure I've written about it. But the longer I live here the more I realize that in some things they've really got the right perspective. I'll just tell you about it...
Here, where I am living, it doesn't matter what you wear. Stripes and plaid- go for it. Pink and red- totally acceptable. Shoes that don't match with your outfit- no big deal. Your hair doesn't need to be done, make-up doesn't need to be perfect. None of that matters to them. They look beyond all of that and see the person that you are. They want to know you. I mean, I go out with my hair piled all crazy on top of my head, running shorts and an old shirt on and guys still whistle at me. haha. Ok, not the best example, but seriously- it's not important here.
Beyond physical appearances there are houses. Most of the houses in my community are made out of scrap wood and are just one big room. Occasionally they will have maybe 2 rooms, but the majority don't. The kitchens are typically outside with some sort of roof over them- they consist of a wood stove and a table or two. Most people don't have a refrigerator or regular stove and a kitchen sink is pretty much unheard of. The bathrooms are smelly little shacks in the back, and showers are a wooden frame with some tarp around it. But again, it doesn't matter. What they have works for them. It functions and they are fine with it. Even though the houses are small, they are always full of people- family, neighbors, aquaintances. In the evenings it is very common to see neighbors relaxing at one another's house, just talking and enjoying life. There is no stress that the house may not be in perfect condition or that there might not be enough room for everyone. There is always enough room when you live in Peru. :)
A personal car is a luxury here- the majority of people don't have any sort of transportation. Public transportation is a thriving business here. It's not about who drives the nicest SUV or who has the fastest sports car. In fact, most people would probably not know what to do if they did have thier own car.
Lastly, I have grown to love how people take their time with things here. No matter what it is- they don't stress about meeting the next appointment, when church is going to be over, or when their friend is going to leave the house. Schedules are almost non exsistent. If you wanted to talk to a friend they would probably drop everything for you and talk as long as you needed. Granted, there are times when the lack of timeliness is annoying, but with other things it's just so much more relaxed if you aren't always stressing about the time. It's not important. Whatever happens, happens. And somehow, things always work out.
At home people stress about everything- the clothes they wear, the car they drive, the house they live in, the friends they have, the schedule they "must" follow... But, my question is why? Why stress? Do you gain something great from stressing about everything? Do you make better friends because your shirt has the words "Abercrombie and Fitch" written on the front? Are you better than your friend or coworker because you drive the nicest car around town? Does the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your house put you in some sort of "best house" ranking? I DON'T THINK SO. I wish people at home could understand and experience how life is in the rest of the world. You have no idea how lucky and spoiled we are to live in the USA. I just want pepole to see that life is just NOT all about material things! I mean, really, if that's all life was about then what's the point? It's about people and relationships. It's about so much more than what you wear, what you drive, or where you live. It's about looking beyond all that stuff and caring about the people.
Now, here is my disclaimer- I'm not trying to come across that everyone and everything in the US is awful. In fact, I miss it a lot and I feel extremely lucky to live there. It's just that living here has helped me realize SO many things about life. You really have to experience something like this to completely understand where I'm coming from. It's ok to have nice things, but if that's all that matters to you then I'd suggest a step back and a litle change in perspective. Why do we care so much about material things when in the end none of it will matter? You aren't going to take that nice Mercedes to heaven. Your flat top stove and granite countertops aren't going either. I guess what I want to say is be thankful for what you have, reach out to others whenever you can, spend time with God everyday, and just take time to enjoy life. Everything just really isn't that important.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves creak in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
-Matthew 6:19-21

Thursday, April 7, 2011


*note to my faithful readers: sorry this is late. I was sure I had already posted it!! :)
March 4, 2011
This is an ode to my mom. "Because Nice Matters" is her favorite saying and the older I get the more I realize just how true and valuable that little piece of advice is.
One thing about people here is they have no shame about asking for money- especially if you are American (or any sort of white-looking). Sometimes that upsets me because i really don't want to be taken advantage of. I'm very willing to help, but sometimes the situations are tough. Well, today there was a mom who came in with her 2 girls. The mom told us that she didn't have enough money to buy uniforms for her girls and they were starting school on Monday. She told us that for the whole uniform (skirt, shirt, shoes, and socks) it was going to be more than 50 soles per girl. We were all shocked at that price, so we made a deal with her. We asked for the sizes of each girl and we told her that since we were going to Pucallpa that afternoon anyway then we would just look for uniforms and they could come pick them up on Sunday. In Pucallpa, with the help of our friend Wendy, we found uniforms for WAY cheaper than we thought it was going to be. We found a store where it was only 14 soles for the skirts, 4 for the shirts, 1.50 for the socks and 10-15 for the shoes. That means it was only 66 soles for both girls! That's only about 25 dollars. I was so excited to find everything they needed and at such a good price. I'm so glad we could help.
Our other "project" is our neighbors the Rivas-Rios kids... There are 6 of them in the family- Diana, Jack, Raquel, Abel, Valentin, and Luanna. Home life is anything but spectacular and they spend A LOT of time at the clinic. At times it feels like we are running a daycare instead of a clinic. Their clothes are always tattered and dirty, sometimes the youngest runs around without pants on... They have really grown attatched to the 3 of us girls and us to them as well. Even though sometimes it's irritating to have them around all the time, we can't help but love them. Their dad drinks a lot and usually they have no money to buy food because of that. Both parents are abusive to the kids, and dad is not too nice to mom... Like I siad, not a spectacular situation. Well, they needed notebooks and pencils for school and their mom didn't have any money to buy them what they needed. Lauren, Steph, and I decided that we would help them but only if they would help us. (We had to teach a little life lesson too because that doesn't happen from mom and dad). The deal was they had to come sweep the from room of the clinic everyday for a week and then we would buy them notebooks for school. They did a pretty good job, the brooms are still taller than most of them so we had to go behind them and sweep again; but the point was they were learning to work for their things. We went to town and bought them their things and when we took it to them they were SO excited. Diana, the oldest, almost started crying. It broke my heart. I was so happy that we could help. Diana has so much responsibility because she's the oldest and acts as the mom a lot of the time. I just want her to feel like a kid and feel taken care of and I think in that moment she felt cared for. Oh, I just love her.
Tonight we saw our friends Graciela and her daughter Valentina, and Gino. They work in Pucallpa selling handmade jewelry on the street. We met Gino in October and see him every now and then when we're in town. He's a really awesome guy. He has long hair and super cool earrings and he always wears traditional clothes and lots of jewelry. He's super down to earth and just so cool. haha. You really have to meet him to get it. Graciela is also a way cool lady. She was the one who did the "trenzas" (braids) that are in mine and Stephanie's hair. We see her every week or so when we're in town and just stop and chat with her. Her daughter Valentina is quite the character. She loves attention and is just silly. She is usually dirty and you can tell what she ate last because it's all over her face and clothes. But she is precious. Anyhow, tonight we invited them to come eat with us and we paid the bill for everyone. It was a fun dinner, just chill. The conversation and company were very pleasant and I think it made everyone's day a little bit better.
It's stuff like this that I am going to miss about Peru. Everyone keeps to themselves so much at home- I mean I can't say I've met any friends on the street corner and then met up with them for dinner. I guess that's something I've learned here and I want to practice more at home. It's so easy to talk to people here- and I really don't think it's any different at home. Someone just has to initiate it. I'm going to be that someone. I started trying to do that last year- just being really nice to cashiers, or striking up a conversation with the person in line wtih me, or just smiling at random people. It's fun to make peoples' days better. And I really think that is one of the best ways to show Jesus' love. People remember how you treat them. It's those little things that can make a huge difference in someone's life.
Because Nice MATTERS. Thanks, Mom. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011


March 29, 2011
(I hope that "unbelievable" is spelled right. haha it looks a little bit wrong. haha)
Oh wow. Today was literally one of my craziest days in Peru. I've probably said that about a lot of things, but what happened today really tops all. Let me start at the beginning.
A 17 year old girl came to the clinic this morning around 8. She was already having contractions and was 2 cm dilated. We had known about her before and had planned on having her give birth at the clinic. We are very careful about which births we accept here because of our lack of emergency equipment. She was a big, sturdy girl, so even though it was her first child we felt that she would be ok. The ultrasound that she brought showed that everything was ok with the baby as well. So, it was all good. The girl (we'll call her Maria) was sitting outside and between patients Cecilia would check on her and make sure everything was still going well. Around 2 o'clock her contractions were beginning to be stronger and faster so Lauren and I were timing them. At that point she was having nearly 1 contraction every minute. We had her laying down in the dental room so between contractions we quickly helped her move to the middle room in the clinic to our famous birthing chair. The water still had not broken so Cecilia decided to break it. Normally,when you break the water the liquid that exits is clearish in color. The liquid that exited now was green. That's BAD. Right then we decided that we had to take her to the hospital because the risk of complications was too high to have her deliver in the clinic. Of course, here in Peru there is no such thing as calling an ambulance so I went running out to find a motocar. Steph gathered all of the items we would need and we helped her out to the motocar. Maria, her neighbor, Steph, and I piled into the motocar and sped off (as fast as we could on our terrible road). I think it was the LONGEST motocar ride of my life and I can't even imagine what it was like for Maria. The minutes felt like hours and it seemed like all the traffic was getting in our way. I was praying the entire time that everything would be ok and that this baby would not be born in the motocar. While we were driving Maria, of course, was in extreme amounts of pain seeing as though she was 9 cm dilated and we were driving on the worst road in Peru. When we were about a block away from the hospital the head started coming out. Quickly, I took off my shirt (I had 2 tank tops on) and got ready to deliver this baby in the motocar. Goodness- it still seems so unreal!! Anyway, as we were pulling into the driveway of the hospital I was supporting the head as it came out. It got stuck so I had to reach down and spread her to allow the head to come the rest of the way. Then when it did the cord was wrapped around the neck. I was able to quickly unwrap it and Steph was there to help with the rest of the body. We set the baby on top of mom and started drying him off with my shirt. The crazy thing was that he was crying right when he came out. We hadn't suctioned him or anything obviously, and he was crying! I was so happy! All my fears melted away and I had this assurance that everything was going to be ok. As we were continued to dry him the hospital staff finally came out to help. Someone came over with a clamp and scissors and that's when i realized that the cord had broken on it's own! Also a bad thing. They whisked the baby inside and I helped move Maria over to a stretcher so they could take her inside. After that my gaze fell to Maria's neighbor who had tears streaming down her face. I went over and gave her a hug and told her everything was going to be ok. Then a nurse came out and escorted Steph and I inside to wash our blood covered hands. The baby was crying and he was a bit blue, but he was ok! The only bummer was that they threw my shirt in the biohazard trash. :( That was a little sad, I was going to wash it and keep it for a souvenir. haha It was one of my favorite shirts. Oh well, I guess it was retired to a good cause. The rest of the story I am choosing to leave out to protect Maria's privacy. But I can tell you that both she and the baby are ok and now I can say I delivered a child in a motocar. Unbelievable.


march 28, 2011
Wow. I can't believe it. I only have 33 days left in Peru. That's just crazy to think about. I've been living here since August and I'm almost done. It's a bittersweet feeling to be honest. I wish I had my journal from the first few weeks that I was here so that I could compare that to where I am now. Unfortunately, those stupid pirates took it. Ugh, that still makes me mad.
Anyhow, we had yet another birth this morning. Mom was 20 years old and this was child number 2. She came in around 10:30 and was only dilated like 3 cm. I decided to go to bed because I knew it would be a while till anything was going to happen. Cecilia woke me up at 5:35 and said that she was almost ready. At 6:30 we welcomed a little baby girl into the world. She was so precious and a big girl! 3.8 kilos and 51 cm long! Also, for this birth I got to deliver the placenta. That was a new experience for me because I'm normally the baby handler. It was super cool, well I mean it was cool if you like this sort of thing. haha :) I think I'm going to be very frustrated when I go back to clinicals next year and they won't let me do anything. Maybe I can pull the "I lived in Peru and delivered like 7 babies" card. haha
On another note, I've been thinking about going home and this summer and how I'm going to feel when I get home. As excited as I am about it, I'm almost scared at the same time... I can't wait for May 3 when I walk off the plane and get to see my mom and give her a hug for the first time in 9 months. And then I get to hug my dad for the first time since December. I'm SOOOO excited. I just remember in January when I didn't think I was going to make it. I was seriously considering going home. As rough as that first part of January was I'm so glad I stayed and stuck it out. I would have missed out on so much. This year has changed me in so many ways and taught me so many things. Sometimes I'm afraid I won't "fit" at home anymore... I just hope that I can bring something home that other people will notice in me and be an inspiration to others. I don't regret my decision about coming this year, I don't regret anything that's happened. If this experience has taught me one thing, it's that everything does happen for a reason. I really think that everyone should do something like this in their life. It's amazing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


March 19 thru March 25

Oh campaigns. It’s always the same. We work until we feel like we’re going to pass out and then we do it again every day for a week. It’s great, and honestly for some crazy reason I really like it. I love knowing that we are able to give people something that would normally be difficult or impossible for them to get. And even though sometimes I could literally collapse in exhaustion or frustration I know that it’s all worth it.

This particular campaign was fun because we had about 16 more team members. Dr. Matson and a group of students from Eastern Virginia Medical School were here helping us. Five were med students and the rest were public health students who were doing a study in our community. The med students worked in the clinic with us all week seeing patients.

Here´s how it went- we would see 100 patients in the morning and 100 in the afternoon. I was the boss of the pharmacy and unfortunately, a lot of the time I found myself in there alone! It’s a scary place to be too- don’t be fooled. My stack of prescriptions would slowly grow and the more it grew the more people I had staring at me thru the pharmacy window. They would just crowd around and stare and me. And heaven forbid I step foot out of the pharmacy- as soon as I did I would be accosted by the herd of Peruvians awaiting their medicine. “Senorita! Senorita!”they would shout at me. I got to the point where I would go out, give the meds to the correct individual and turn right around and go back into the pharmacy completely ignoring the calls from everyone. Eventually, when other people were done with their jobs I would have more help in the pharmacy which obviously made things go a lot faster. Every day this week I worked thru lunch and one day I got there and there was not even a kernel of rice left for me. That was a sad day. Haha. Most days we worked until 7 o’clock and then I had to clean up the hurricane that appeared to have happened in the pharmacy. Two nights of the week we were up half the night with women in labor. We had 3 births in total this week. The only word that I can use to describe the week is crazy. Everything. It was nuts. The third birth happened in a car. The woman was on the way to the clinic and the baby’s head was already on the way out. By the time they got to the clinic and told Cecilia the shoulders were already coming out. She literally got to the mom just in time to catch the baby before it fell on the ground. I have no idea how we made it thru this week- God was definitely there giving us all extra strength to keep pressing on.
In the evenings we would have worship and that was amazing time just to wind down. We sang and laughed and shared stories- that was probably the part of each day that I enjoyed the most.
Each campaign inspires me. It makes me love my work here more and it helps me understand how important it is. Granted, there are people who take advantage of it and there are people who are very rude and that make me angry. But then you have the sick kids or elderly- the people who really do need our help. There was a woman with basal cell carcinoma on her face and if it wasn’t for Dr. Matson catching it and paying for her to have surgery then she would have died. Now she has another chance at life. We saw a man with an extremely awful infection in his ear- without us he may have lost his hearing and possibly his ear. I feel so great that I get to do just a small part of Christ’s work by “healing” the sick. Not that we were working miracles, but that we were able to help how we could to make someone’s life a little bit better.
Even though this was possibly one of the longest and hardest weeks of my life I am thankful for each experience, for the people I met, and for how God showed me his strength.


March 16, 2011

Since I have a tendency to forget things unless I write them down I guess I should write all these stories before I forget them. :)
So on the 12th Warren Cowgill, a friend from church, came to visit Steph and me. He had been in Cusco for a mission trip and since he was in the same country he figured he should stop by and say hey. We were very thankful for the visit. :) He was only here for 24 hours but it was a good time. We showed him all the sights, took him to our favorite ice cream place and also drug him with us on our weekly market run. I think the market was a bit of a shock to him. I guess it would be to anyone who hasn’t lived here and experienced it before. It’s a messy, crazy experience. Anyway, that afternoon we took 2 motocars to get to the airport and by the time we got there he realized that somewhere along the way he lost his iPhone. Bad deal. Steph and I told him that we would go back and look for it and if we found it we’d come back to the airport. I told him to pray and cross his fingers. I was praying the whole time. I knew it would be a bad deal to lose something like that in Peru, but I also knew the chances of us finding it was slim. Nonetheless, we asked our motocar driver to take us back to look. He was convinced that it had fallen out of Warren’s pocket in the other motocar. Unfortunately, neither Steph nor I remembered what our first driver looked like or what his motocar looked like. As I was praying Steph spotted a group of 3 guys in a motocar on the side of the road huddled over something. As we drove past, I turned around and there it was! They were all messing with Warren’s phone! We were so excited as we drove back to the airport with the iPhone in hand. God can do ANYTHING.
Next story- I’ve mastered the art of making perfect rice. Yes- it’s a big deal and it deserves a story all of it’s own.  I’m just so proud of myself. Haha. Steph, Lauren, and I were making supper for the guys and I was determined to make my rice perfect and impress them. So- now I’m going to share the secret. Here’s how it went down- I cut up cilantro, onions, and garlic and put that in the bottom of my pot with a little oil. I let that sautee a little bit and then I put in 6 cups of water (because I had washed 6 cups of rice). I let that boil and added some more oil and 4 spoons of salt. Once it was boiling I added the rice, covered it and turned the heat down to about half-way. After 10 minutes I stirred it and after 20 minutes I turned the heat down again, uncovered it, put a plastic bag on top of it, and covered it again. I let the bag work it’s magic for about 5 minutes. Then PRESTO! I had perfect rice. I was very delicious if I do say so myself.  and the best part of it was that all the boys were very impressed and they ate it all. They told me I had successfully made perfect Peruvian rice. :)
Last story. Last night we literally had no food in our house- just oatmeal. It was Jonathan, Erick, Daniel, Steph, Lauren, and I, so we decided to go into town to go out to eat. Erick told us about this little restaurant that he had been to for lunch one day and it was good and cheap. We went there and it was AWFUL!! They served us cold hard rice, cold chicken, and cold potatoes. I was so mad. I didn’t eat any of my food and they didn’t even offer to make us new plates. AND it was 27 soles for all of us and all the food was awful! Ugh, terrible. But, after that we went to our favorite ice cream place, La Muyuna, and that made everything better. :) After that, we went to the plaza and walked around for a little bit, then the 3 of us girls decided that we needed to ride the ferris wheel. Let me tell you about this ferris wheel- there is a little ghetto carnival place right off the plaza called “Mundo Feliz.” The ferris wheel is right in the middle and the little cart things are hot air ballons and each and every joint of the thing is held together by big rusty nails. Haha. Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it really does look a little sketch. Anyhow, we wanted to ride so we paid 3 soles for a ten minute ride. The first 3 minutes we spent laughing hysterically. I really don’t even know why, but it was really fun. :) After about 5 minutes things weren’t as funny anymore and by 7 minutes we really wanted to get off. And to top it off the little man who was running it fell asleep! Each time we went around I tired to wake him up, but all to no avail! We were trapped on the ferris wheel! This of course, made us laugh again and eventually he did wake up. Our ferris wheel ride turned into a 15 minute adventure, which is a LONG time to be on a ferris wheel. Haha.
Oh, Peru….

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


February 28, 2011
Yesterday was an exciting and busy day and surprisingly I wanted to blog last night, but after 2 episodes of House and writing a letter to Mitchell I ran out of time. :) So, here's the news.
We were at KM 38 for Sabbath and all of us were planning on coming to KM 8 in the morning because the guys are going to work on the house for Matson this week. Dr. Matson is coming in 2 weeks and all of the construction he wanted done still stands unfinished. So, like most projects here they have waited until the very last minute to work on things. Typical. Anyway, we were in the truck on the way back and because of all the rain we've had recently the road to our property at KM 8 is an absolute disaster. Because of this, we decided to take a different road- the "back way". It ended in tragedy. The truck got stuck in the mud and we were towing the trailer with a load of wood on it and so that was stuck too. It took about 30 minutes of pushing, pulling, and grunting to get the truck out. The trailer however was still stuck in the mud, so we had to carry all the wood about a block to our property! It was really heavy and the scorching Peruvian sun was beating down on us. Talk about a morning work out! After we got all the wood off of the trailer the guys had to pull the trailer out of the mud themselves. It was pretty impressive. It will never cease to make me laugh at how things NEVER go as planned here. But, everytime things get messed up we just keep going, doing things a different, usually harder way, but everything gets done miraculously! haha :)
In the evening our rottweiler, Peely, had her puppies! At about 6 in the evening she had her first one and by 7 o'clock she had 3 little puppies. Two girls and one boy. I was worried because one of the puppies was noticably much larger than the other two. I thought the little ones were going to die. They couldn't seem to find their way close enough to mom to nurse. The big one however found the food right away. Then today my fears came true- on of the little ones died. :( I hate the "wild", it's so sad. I don't like it when little baby animals die and there is nothing I could have done to help!
Now, for a little short story- Our constant source of laughter around here is our little cockapoo (cocker spaniel/poodle mix) puppy Maggie (or Dragon Breath, or the monster,Brat Pack, or Lady Gaga or whatever we happen to call her :)). She is a little mischevious thing and she's only the size of my flip flop. A black and white bundle of joy, she always keeps us on our toes. She loves to eat- in fact, tonight it looks like she has swallowed a baseball. When you're only the size of a chipmunk, the stomach the size of baseball is quite impressive. I like having a goofy little puppy around, she's good for lightening everyone's mood. She also works as a therapy dog in the clinic and in dental. We love our little Maggie Moo, even with all of her antics.
Today is the last day of February. I can't believe it! I'm so excited! Only 2 more months and I'll be home! :) As I look back on my time here I've realized that I'm not the same girl who showed up here 7 months ago. I've learned more and experienced more living here than I think some people will experience in a lifetime. I remember being so scared and nervous about everything when I got here in August. Now, all of those things are just second nature it seems. For instance, I've grown up in a family and society of planning. We all follow schedules, plan trips, plan school, plan, plan, plan... Here, I think the word "plan" is non-exsistent. And as much as I hated that at first, I've grown accustomed to it now. Things always work themselves out in the end. Sometimes I don't believe that they will, but honestly, they always do. I really understand that verse in Matthew that says "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." It just makes live eaiser when you're not always worried about what is going to happen. I'm not saying that we should drop planning things all together, because of course things do NEED to be planned. But I think what I've really learned is patience and trust. If something doesn't start right on time, then just be patient and start when everyone is there. If you get stuck in the mud, then start pushing not complaining. If someone invites themselves over for a meal unexpected, then make some extra rice. ;) If you don't know where you're going to get money to pay for meds, then pray and stop worrying. If someone finds you on Sabbath morning and asks you to do special music, then sing a hymn acapella with a good friend- everyone will like it. If you planned to meet with someone and they don't show up, then go buy your self an ice cream cone and reschedule for next week. :) Thank you Peru for teaching me how to take things as they come.


February 25, 2011
Well, honestly sensational is not the word I would use to describe my feelings or situation right now, but i really like the word so I'm going to try to make that how I'm feeling now.
This week has been a struggle for me. I just haven't felt like myself at all and it's been hard to deal with others when I don't know how to deal with myself. But, I'm not here to have a pity party so lets move on.
We had clinic this morning and surprisingly finished early! Then I made macaroni and cheese with big franks for lunch! It was soooo good!! It tasted even better here than it does at home. I miss veggie meat sooo much. Peru is not an exactly vegetarian friendly place to live. So, that was a nice treat. I am so thankful that Pastor Rich was able to bring down the rest of our Christmas plunder from UC. :) We are stocked up on some yummy food. Thank you everyone who put stuff in our boxes! :) You've made our Christmas last all the way through February and we are sooo thankful!!! This afternoon Steph and I headed to Pucallpa to run errands and use the internet. I got to talk to my parents and Mitchell, and that made my afternoon much brighter. :) My dad gave me a tour of my own house. As silly as it sounds it was so nice to see my house again! I really miss it. It was good to see that it hadn't really changed. It's hard to be here and know that everyone else at home is going on without you. I mean, obviously they have to, there is no pause button for life. But it felt good to see something familiar that was just the way I remembered it. I'm getting so anxious to go home.
Now, I'm jammin to some Selah and I think I'm going to work on my hat some more. Oh, I learned how to crochet hats this week so I'm helping Steph make hats for all of our friends around here that want one. It's really fun, I love crocheting. It's a good activity for me. :)
Happy Sabbath.


February 13, 2011
So, today was Jenessa's birthday so we went to KM 38 and had a big party for her tonight! We made our "typical" birthday dinner- tostadas and delicious maracuya juice, and Hanna made 2 cakes for her. A bunch of people were there and it ended up being really fun.
After the party we had to come back to KM 8 because of clinic on Monday morning, plus Wendy came with us and she needed to get home. Well, we left late- like after 10.. There is a new rule with the truck too and it can only be used for "emergencies" so they couldn't even take us to Campo. So...Steph, Lauren, Wendy, Wendy, and I started walking. It was super dark- pretty much only the light of the moon to guide us. Haha. There are no street lights out by where we live so i'm being serious. Of course, there was hardly any traffic- ok, there was pretty much NO traffic. Once motocar passed us going the other way and he was empty but we tried to flag him down and he wouldn't stop. We walked a little longer and then saw headlights coming behind us. We flagged down what we thought was going to be a taxi- it wasn't. It was a family coming back from a party. They stopped for us and asked where we were going and we told them we just needed to get to Campo so that we could catch a taxi to Pucallpa. They agreed to take us there but when we got to Campo there were no taxis! The man driving told us that they were headed to Pucallpa anyway and that they would be willing to take us if we would wait a few minutes while they grabbed some soup to eat. It seemed to be our only option, so we agreed and thanked them for their kindness. It was quite the ride back. I think the man was a little bit drunk.. Not too bad, but it was driving a bit erratically, and he cranked up his music till I thought I was going to go deaf, and you could smell that lovely scent of alcohol on his breath. I was praying the whole way back. Thankfully, there wasn't a lot of traffic and we made to the entrance of KM 8 safely. Usually there are a ton of motocars at the entrance of 8, even at night there are usually a few... But tonight, there were none!! So, we started walking again. It was a challenge because the road is so horrible and super muddy from all the rain. We only walked a little ways when we saw a taxi coming up behind us. They picked us up and took us almost all the way home. The awesomest part of this whole journey was that it was FREE! :) haha. So yeah, that's about it. :)


February 12, 2011
I got the call. GG died late Friday night.. She just fell asleep, she wasn't in pain. I just can't believe she's gone. My family didn't even make it in time to say goodbye. I know she loved Jesus and I know I'll see her again but it doesn't really ease the pain right now...
I want to go home so bad. I feel like I don't even know what to do now... No one understands. I'm thankful for everyone here and for the hugs but I want to be with my family so bad it hurts. It's not fair that I have to go thru this alone here. I feel so lost and alone. And confused almost... I can't put a word on it... I just miss my family more than ever...

Lauren and Hanna told me something tonight that did help... God never asked us to be strong enough to go through things like this on our own. He's always here. ..... It's still hard.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. -Revelation 21:4
I can't wait for that day.


February 11, 2011
Where to start... It's Friday night and I'm tucked into my mosquito net for the night. I'm listening to some music, I just read a great devotion, and looked at the picture of me and Mitchell that acts as my bookmark. It made me realize once again how much I miss him. It's A LOT. I'm really missing my family a ton right now. My mom called me on Wednesday night and told me GG was not doing well at all and they didn't even know if she was going to make it through the night. My family flew out to Cali to say their goodbyes, I haven't heard anymore from them yet... And here I am, stuck in Peru. I can't do anything. This is the third family member that has died since I've been here... I haven't gotten "the call" yet but i have this feeling that it's coming all too soon... I just don't even know how to feel or how to grieve here... There is not a time or place. I mean, the other SM's have been/try to be supportive but it's just not the same. All I want to do is be with my family.. I miss them SSOOOO much. May first could not get here soon enough... My parents always tell me I'm strong and I can do it and I need to stay focused on my work here but it's so hard. I feel lost and helpless.. I can't really even find the right words to explain how I feel...


February 10, 2011
Sometimes I really don't understand God's plan. I don't know how much more i can handle.
Last night I got a call from my mom. She told me GG (my great grandma) is not doing well at all, and she wasn't sure if she'd make it thru the night. I knew that she had been a bit weak lately and my parents told me that she fell on Monday but i just didn't expect her to go down hill that fast. She's always been so strong. I just always saw her as one of those people that you think is invincible. She's 96 and amazing. And she has always been so supportive to my mom and it kills me to think that my mom is really left with no one now... No parents or grandparents... I just feel so lost and helpless here. i can't be there with my family, I can't say good bye, I can't even grieve here... When i came back into the house last night after I had talked to my mom everyone was there and they immediately saw that something was wrong. They all just sat with me while i cried. Everyone was quiet, but I felt amazing support from them in that moment.
I just feel so weak. I want to go home so bad and I've been trying to have a good attitude about staying here and then this happens... This is the third family member who has died since I've been here. My friend Driska (who was more like a grandma to me) died just a couple weeks after I got here, my uncle died just a couple months ago, and now GG. I just don't get it. I don't even know how to explain how i feel.... I feel like I don't know how to grieve because i've never had the time to do it. Life just goes on and you have to go on with it. It's not like things will pause for you while you mourn the loss of a loved one. I hate it. I hate having to act like I'm ok. And I don't even know how to act. I feel so lost- I'm not ok but i feel like I'm supposed to be. I just don't know.....
On a completely different note, I did assist in a cool surgery today. There was a man with a tumor on the inside of his thigh and we removed it. It was pretty high up, so we were working in a "personal" area if you know what I mean.. I'm grateful for my work this summer- it got me accustomed to many things. So anyway- we made the first cut on the tumor and Cecilia squeezed it and a bunch of NASTY pussy, fatty white gunk came out. I mean, there was a lot!! And let me tell you- it smelled horendous!! I'm going to be blunt- it smelled like rotten period smell. Sorry, but it's true and it was awful. Cecilia and I both has masks on too. Ugh. GROSS. After the inital cutting and squeezing part Steph and Jonathan came in and watched and helped us.Cecilia cut the capsule out and then we sewed him back up. There are soo many things that I have done here that I never thought I would experience. I guess that's the beauty of being an SM. :)

Monday, January 31, 2011


January 30, 2011
So, if I could pick any place in the world to be sick it would definitely not be Peru!! I’ve been sick since Friday and it is now Sunday and I still feel miserable. Friday night I had a fever of 102.5, then Sabbath I just felt awful all day. I woke up this morning feeling a bit better but I think I pushed it too much today and now I feel yucky again. I’ve been feeling dizzy, nauseous, and having diarrhea. It’s all just very pleasant. NOT. I want to be home so bad. I don’t have my mommy here to take care of me and I have to live in this gross scum hole and I don’t feel like I’ll ever get better! (side note: I don’t hate Peru, but our backyard right now is pretty much like a swamp scum hole because we’ve had a lot of rain lately.) And so every time I have to do business I have to trek thru the swamp to our oh-so-disgusting outhouse. Ugh, don’t even ask me about it. Haha it’s SOOO gross. Then after I’ve lost all I’ve just eaten/drank then I have to trek back to my bed and try not to slip and fall in the slime. When I get back to my bed I to fight the mosquito net and the slowly lay down because I’m about as strong as a piece of spaghetti. And when I lay down I still feel dizzy and nauseous. Feel sorry for me yet?? Haha
Ok, I’m done with my pitty party. But I’m serious about the whole don’t get sick in Peru thing. IT SUCKS!! So needless to say I don’t have a lot to share with you about the past few days… I mean I figure you probably already know more than you wanted to about my ailments.
Living in Peru has taught me enough things that I think I could fill a book. I can’t even begin to explain it. I was reflecting on my experiences yesterday in order to keep my thoughts occupied with something other than my stomach, and I decided some things. This has been the hardest best year of my life. I would not trade my experiences for anything, but I would not do this again. Nine months is a lot longer than some people think. Every student missionary has a VERY DIFFERENT experience so don’t compare yourself to others or expect your experience to be anything like theirs. IT WON’T BE. Pucallpa, Peru is a lovely place with lovely people, but I do not want to live here. I enjoy delivery babies and starting IV’s. I enjoy learning Spanish and practicing with local people. I don’t like living in dirt all the time and I’m really tired of our DISGUSTING outhouse. (have I mentioned that it’s disgusting?!) Different people bring different elements to a team and when you have to live with the same people for 9 months straight you learn that you need A LOT of patience. You also learn that there are some really great people who were just as crazy as you for doing this for a year, and it’s fun because you bond with them in a way that no one else will understand. I have learned to become flexible, flowing like water, thru every situation. And yes, it’s still hard sometimes. When you do this you learn soooo much about yourself- perhaps some things you wish you hadn’t learned… God is bigger and stronger than anyone or anything. And I’ve learned that I’m a lot strong than I thought I was…
And there are many more that I could put on my list, but I think that will suffice for tonight. Plus it’s about time to visit that wretched outhouse :(


January 26, 2011
So- I have worms, parasites and now foot fungus!!!! OH GROSS!!! I can’t believe it. I hate feet anyway, but normally my feet are clean and cute and now I have foot fungus! Goodness, what is Peru going to do to me??
I need to pray for patience. Sometimes I think I get frustrated too quickly, and I need to work on my attitude with that. Living here has made me realize sooo many things, it’s good and depressing at the same time. It’s very interesting to see all of the things that I want and need to work on. Haha. Day by day, with God I can make it better. It sure is a challenge tho in so many ways. First, you have to admit that you have a problem with something. You have to say, “yeah, I could work on that a little bit.” And then you actually have to put it into action. Not just say that you need to work on your patience, but that you really NEED to PRACTICE it. That’s hard. Sitting around all day and making a list of things that you can improve on is the easy part. The hard part is changing your habits and making it happen.
This morning I was reading in Matthew 25 about what you do to the least of these, you do to me. It hit me that I have a really good opportunity living here to do that. Sometimes I lose that focus I feel and that makes me sad. For instance, yesterday we were excited that it was raining because in a way that means another day off for us- or at least an easy day. It’s just more convenient for us. When I thought about that it seemed so selfish to think that way. I don’t want to lose that focus of always being excited and willing to help others whenever; convenient for me or not. I want to be excited everyday to help people, because if Jesus was standing right here wouldn’t we behave that way? Wouldn’t we be on our best behavior all the time? Ready to do anything he asked?
Just another thing to think about…
As hard as this year has been for me, it’s also been a really great year in a lot of ways. I’ll talk about that more later- my computer is about to die and I’m tired. Haha

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


January 21, 2011
“Girls, the baby!!” were the first words I heard this morning at 5:42. I felt like a fireman being called to a raging fire! It was pouring down rain and when Lisbeth got to us she was already have 7 contractions in 10 minutes! We brought her into the middle room in our clinic which is Cecilia’s office where she sees patients. We have a large black “birthing chair” (for lack of a better name :)) that we got her seated in and as comfortable as she could be at that point. The next thing to do was to get an IV started. Since I’m the nurse that’s always my job- so I got everything ready but every time I was about to put it in she would have another contraction so I had to time it just right to catch her between contractions. When I finally timed it right I did get it in on the first try- thank goodness! :) Then we got out all of our supplies- which unfortunately wasn’t much. We had an emergency birthing kit so we had the bare minimum, but it ended up working just fine. Lauren bolied some water and by the time we had everything out and ready Lisbeth was about ready to push. I’m sure it seemed like an eternity for her, but it went really fast for me. After 4 good pushes we had a little baby girl in our hands! I rubbed and patted her little back while Lauren suctioned out her nose and mouth. Finally we got a good strong cry out of her. I was so happy! We were so blessed that everything went as well as it did. Then I helped Cecilia clamp the umbilical cord, then she cut it. Lauren and I gave her a little bath and got her dressed, then handed her off to dad. I helped Cecilia deliver the placenta and then she taught me to make sure that it was all completely intact and there were no pieces missing. It was so awesome!
This whole experience was just so impressive to me. Lisbeth was sooo strong thru the whole thing- she hardly screamed at all. If it was me I think all of KM 8 would have heard me. Haha. We didn’t have anything fancy but we did well with what we did have and God’s hand was definitely with us. I was so excited to be able to experience this here- I haven’t even taken my OB class yet at Union and I’m already helping deliver babies. That rocks. :)
Going thru this experience here in Peru made me realize something much deeper as well. It made me think about how much excess we have in the US. We have anything and everything you could ever want to make this process “comfortable.” But for centuries, this is how women have done it- and in even worse conditions than our clinic! And somehow the human race is still here. Wow. Now, I’m not saying that I have anything against hospitals and the cleanliness and comfort of the US. I grew up there, it’s all I know, and I’m definitely having my children in the States. BUT, I think it’s a good reminder for us to think about all that we HAVE in the States. It’s not only what we have to make child birth bearable, it’s all the other “things” we have at home to make life easier and more comfortable. Look around your house and think about all the little things you have. How many of those little things could you do without? Yeah… pretty eye opening if you actually think about it. I realize that more and more every day I’m here. There are so many things that I’ve had to do without this year and I’m still alive and kickin’. Just a little something to think about.

Monday, January 17, 2011


January 17, 2011
Sometimes I wonder what I would be doing if i was at home right now. I think about my friends and what they’re doing. I think about my family doing their thing without me. I think about my boyfriend half way around the world. But then I think about where I am. How cool is it that I get to live in Peru for a year? How many people who are 20 get to do that? Not many that I know of. Instead of having to worry about the crazy politics and gas prices at home I get to spend time with 7 other missionaries here who are all wonderful people. I have no class schedule to follow, no tests to study for, and no homework. I am treated like an adult- sometimes more than I think I deserve or can do. I have the opportunity to live like a local here and truly experience the culture. I get to take bucket showers every day and eat rice and beans more than I care to. I get to do laundry by hand when our washer quits working. I’m learning a new language. I get to do VBS in an extremely poor village where there is no water or electricity. And the kids there LOVE all of us with everything they’ve got. I get to have a year of summer. :) I don’t have to see the magazines with all the stupid celebrity gossip. I only get to internet about once a week. I’m learning more about myself every day. I’m learning more about God and how great he is. I get to go out to our yard and pick some fruit and make smoothies whenever I want.
Granted, there are still some really, really, hard days. Sometimes I miss my family so much it hurts. I think about Mitchell all the time and I can’t wait to be back with him. But here I am in Peru, and that’s pretty rockin’. I’ve made it to January 17. Wow.
This has been the biggest adventure of my life and I know I will miss it when I leave.
This isn’t something that has been easy. I haven’t loved every day here. You know about last week- all I wanted to do was go home. When we were robbed on the river I didn’t know if I could stay here the rest of the year. When my uncle died I wanted to go home more than ever. It’s not been an easy journey by any stretch of the imagination. But I know that God has carried me through every day that I’ve spent here.
And here’s the other thing- it’s all about perspective.


January 13, 2011
My body is completely exhausted! I laid down tonight and I finally felt my whole body relax. I must be all tensed up during the day. Haha. Campaigns are exhausting, but very rewarding at the same time. I love being able to help so many people- it gives me a sense of purpose and that feels good.
I know I’ve said this every day- but I’ve literally given hundreds of shots this week. I think I’m the best ampoule breaker ever. Haha. Nearly all of our shots are in the glass ampoules that you have to break the top off of. I’m an expert. Haha :) I’m learning so much about meds and I’ve had so much practice with my medical Spanish. I think this whole experience is going to help me so much with my job- and that’s really exciting to me!
I feel like my mind set has gone in stages this year. When I first got here I remember hating it and wanting to go home. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it. But then the other SM’s showed up and we got about a month into it and I started feeling better and I decided that this was my new home for a little while and I could make it. I was good for a little while, and then some traumatic events happened in my life and I began to question why I was here. And I began to want to go home again. This semester it seems to have started over again. I made it through break and was very happy and it was so refreshing to see my dad. Then after that was a horrible week of just struggling to make it through one day without crying. I just wanted to get out of here and go home so bad. This was just last week! I actually almost thought I was going to go through with it. But after this week I know I can’t leave. Our group is so small as it is, and if I left I know I would feel bad and guilty. I’m not one to quit things in the middle. I’ve done a lot of thinking about this… I fought with myself all week last week. Not that I’ve completely and perfectly changed my mindset in one week, but this week was much better and I do feel like I can make it now. I mean, it’s already the middle of January so I only have 4 months left. I can do that. Also, I’m so thankful for this group of SM’s- I know that God put us together for a reason.


January 12, 2011
Here’s my discovery of the day- in Peru they push EVERYTHING to the limit.
Some examples:
-the capacity of cars and motos; they pack as many people as they can into whatever vehicle they are driving. 4 on a motorcycle, 25 in a pickup truck, 9 in a 5 person taxi.
-how far you can drive on literally no gas; if the needle is on “E” that means we can at least go another 20 KM.
-the rules of sanitation; I mean really, who needs to wash their hands before giving a shot or doing a surgery? A little dirt never hurt anyone. (or a lot of dirt.)
-the number of people we can see in one day at a campaign; 250 is really do-able, I mean I can totally fill prescriptions in the dark.
-8 missionaries can do anything that a group of 20 can do; we don’t need to sleep.
-2 buckets of water is definitely enough water for 13 people to shower with. No worries.
The point is, life here is crazy. But, to be honest, I really feel adapted to it. Now I’m in those packed cars and such. Stuff doesn’t really surprise me anymore. :) It’s just part of life now.
Clinic was chaotic as usual- we had soo many shots that we actually ran out of syringes. I gave a lot of baby and kid shots today- I really hate those. Even though campaign weeks are exhausting there is something I really like about them. Somehow they are invigorating.
Today I think I got to the point where I decided that I’m here for 4 more months and it’s go big or go home. I’ve got to keep goin, but I feel like I can do it. Granted, I still have hard days or moments where I really want to go home, but I know God is really helping me through each day.


January 11, 2011
Prayer. It works. I know the Lord helped me thru this day- and every of course. But, I felt the extra strength today and overall I just felt so much better. My thoughts were so much more positive as compared to last week. I was really considering quitting and going home last week. Seriously. But now, I think I can make it. I’d say that’s an improvement. :) It’s also really encouraging to me to look back to the beginning and see how far I’ve come in so many ways since then. I can’t even tell you all the things I’ve learned since being here and I know I will learn more in these last few months. I’m on the downhill slope. I know there are going to be things I will miss about Peru.
4 months and 4 days until I go home. :)
4 months and 20 days until I see Mitchell. :)
Yes, this is the downhill slope and I can do it.


January 10, 2011
It’s that time again, for another big campaign. I like campaigns, but they are exhausting! The campaign is at KM 6- in a small village called Los Mangoes. Oh, and the kicker this week is that we have to keep the clinic at KM 8 open as well. So that means that Cecilia and I are going to be working in the morning at KM 8, then we have to make lunch for everyone and take it to them at KM 6 and then we all work there in the afternoon. AND we are doing VBS every night on top of everything else. It’s going to be crazy.
Today was the first day so as usual we started late. We had to go make copies of our patient papers and we needed 700… That’s a big number. It took an HOUR! But, we are in Peru, and things always start late so it all ended up ok. :) The morning went well, and our friend Wendy (a girl from the community at KM 8) is helping us out with triage this week so that’s definitely wonderful. She is also helping us make lunch every day. She’s just super. :) This afternoon I think I gave about a million patients a shot- it seemed like every prescription that came thru needed a shot. But, it’s good practice and I really like giving shots so I’m not complaining.
I think working alone at the clinic this week is going to be good for me- it’s a good chance for me to speak Spanish without having any help. Haha. That sounds funny, but I am feeling sooo much more confident than when I first got here. I remember our first clinic and how incredibly terrified I was about everything because I had NO IDEA what to do. Now, it’s all like second nature. I’m not scared to talk to people anymore and I know so much more about the meds and how to explain things to people. It makes work a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable. When I first got here I never thought I was going to be able to understand a whole sermon, or have a conversation, or answer questions… I just felt so intimidated at first, I just didn’t know how it was all going to happen! But it did!!
So, I guess I can say things are looking up, and I’m trying to work on my attitude. I’ve been praying a lot, and I at least tried to pretend I was ok today. It actually worked for most of the day. I felt better today than I did last week. Little by little, day by day things are getting better. Thank you, Lord.

Friday, January 7, 2011


January 6, 2011
Today marks the day 2 months before my birthday. Yes, I start celebrating a good month before my birthday so I thought I could tell everyone that my birthday is 2 months from today. We gotta get ready. It’s a big one. :)
Well, as I’ve said things have been hard for me lately. I woke up this morning and I didn’t want to come back to KM 8. I don’t even know why really- I just didn’t want to. I got here and tried to put on a good attitude and clinic just seemed really long today. I was a little frustrated about that and some people were a bit grumpy today so that didn’t make things any better. But then Hanna came to visit us and brought some packages so that really made me happy. :)
This afternoon we did some house to house visitations just to say hi and let people know our clinic hours and we also had to get some data for Dr. Maxson when his group comes. I enjoyed meeting and talking to the people but after we did the visitations I felt really discouraged. Our community is fairly large and the work that needs to be done needs a group of at least 20 people. We just don’t have the man power to be able to accomplish everything. That is discouraging to me because I do want to help these people and they deserve to have the best. I just don’t know what to do. I feel like we need a leader with enthusiasm here with us to guide us in the right direction. I feel like all we have right now is 4 tired girls trying to seem excited about something that we are not that excited about because we need so much more energy and man power. I just feel so inadequate and unprepared to tackle this.That’s another hard thing about this year- our group is so small, yet so much is expected of us. It really begins to wear a person down very quickly…
This evening we went and Hanna and I played volleyball with the locals and that was really fun. I was feeling so down before we went but once I got there and started playing I really enjoyed myself. I think it got my endorphins going and really just brightened my mood. They play every day so maybe that can be my outlet… And it allows me to meet more people and get to know them in another way. And I like that.
I think this whole process of me trying to sort out my feelings and my attitude is going to be a long ordeal. And I think it’s something I’m going to have to pray about and consciously work on every day… Please continue to pray for me. I appreciate it.
Now it’s time for Silly Songs with Larry… or just another random thought from Rach. Whichever. :) haha
I just want to say, that I cannot wait to go home to a place where people don’t stare at me like I’m from outerspace. I’m so tired of being the blonde white girl that stands out from 10 miles away. When I walk anywhere people just stare. Sometimes I’ll be standing somewhere and people will just look at me. It’s like they are studying me and trying to figure out what kind of life form I am or something. Middle aged men think it’s entertaining to whistle at me and try to get to me to pay them some sort of attention. Then there are the younger guys who also whistle extremely loud and shout every phrase that they know in English. For example, today the phrases were, “I love you”, “Hello, how are you?”, and “You are so pretty.” And then, if I ever look at them many times I will see them with a girlfriend or wife at their side! What kind of men are these?! And how do you love people like that?? I just get really tired of being the center of attention and discussion. I would like to trade places with them for just one day and see what’s so special about the gringa. I just don’t get it.


January 5, 2011
I really like our days off because we get to go back to KM 38. I really feel like that’s my real home here. We got back last night and Lauren, Hanna, Steph and I just sat and talked for a long time and it was really good. Life is so much about people you meet and the relationships you form. I love the girls here so much, it’s just so good to have such great friends and support here this year.
I made a paper chain today- it has 19 links which is the number of Sundays I have until I go home. Well, actually on the 19th Sunday I will be home!! :) When I look at it that way, 18 weeks doesn’t seem like such a big number. It helps me anyway. :) And after that I only have to add 2 more links till I get to see Mitchell!!
After my paper chain I decided that I wanted to make my famous pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Let me just say, they are not quite as fabulously delicious in Peru. Our oven is ridiculous. I hate it. Haha. I burned the first batch pretty bad, the following ones continued to get better, but in the end they all had a very different texture than normal.. Ugh- nothing goes how you plan when you live in Peru. Whatever. Haha. I also made pumpkin bread because Mom send me a huge can of pumpkin so I just had to use it. That actually turned out pretty good, not gonna lie. :) Thanks mom! I’ve really grown to love baking here even if things don’t quite turn out right, it’s a good stress reliever for me.
So, I had a great trip to the internet today. I signed into my FB account and saw a bunch of new messages and notifications. That would excite anyone- don’t lie. :) Well, I started reading and I was amazed as I read a letter from Ariel, Kristen, Heather, Mark, Mitchell, and Chris all telling me that things are going to be ok and I can do it. I was overwhelmed. I can’t tell you how it made my day just to know that I had so many people who cared enough to take the time to write to me and just tell me that they care. I cried a little bit. Thank you so much everyone, even if you didn’t write me a FB message today. Haha :) I hope you know how much it means to me.
And I want everyone to know that my parents are the best. :) Thanks for the amazing talk and encouragement and advice that you always have for me Mom and Dad. I LOVE YOU.
Well, on that note, it must be time for bed. xoxo


January 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm
The first day back at work or school from break is always hard. I really don’t like it. But you gotta do what you gotta do. I was enjoying break so much and it’s been a really hard past few days trying to figure out how I’m feeling and just how to deal with it. This year is really stretching me and many times I wonder why I’m here and what I’m doing.
When we returned back to KM 8 Lauren was there waiting with a hug for each of us- it was really good to see her again. We swapped stories about break and then headed to work. Clinic was not that eventful- just the usual ear cleanings and shots and pills.
The rest of the day was pretty restful; we just moved ourselves back in and caught up on a few episodes of House. :)
Now I’m tired for some reason so I think I’ll read a bit and then go to bed. Oh, and thumbs down to bugs inside your mosquito net! But, thumbs up to a new food I tried tonight called juanes. I’m sure how you spell it, but it’s just rice and chicken wrapped and cooked inside a banana leaf then you unwrap it to eat it and it’s yummy. Also a new drink I tried called chappo. Don’t know how to spell that either but it’s blended up plantains and milk. Before you cringe too much, just trust me- it’s good. :) Those are the foods we tried tonight at a neighbor’s house. We ate with our friend Wendy and her mom and it was really fun!
Ok, for reals. Good night. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011


January 2, 2011
Feliz ano nuevo. Wow. I can’t believe it. So much has happened in the past year. And here is another one to greet us already. Last semester was really tough for me… I’ve been having a really hard time lately. I’m debating whether or not to post my last blog. It was very honest about how I’ve been feeling lately. It was a bit strong, but I guess that’s what honest is sometimes…
I had a very splendid Christmas break travelling about Peru and Bolivia with my dad and 4 other girls. We made a lot of memories! It was sooo good to see my dad too; I just wanted to get in his suitcase and go home with him.
Honestly, I’ve been feeling really down lately. I just want to go home. I feel like I’ve lost motivation for being here and I just don’t feel like myself. It’s a bit hard to explain and I don’t think you’ll really know what I mean unless you’ve been in a situation like this.
I was talking to my parents last night and of course they willingly gave all the parental advice about how you can do it, your stronger than you think, second semester is better, and you’ll be home before you know it. I appreciate it but right now I don’t feel like that at all. Then my dad said- Rachel, you know the answer, you just have to put your mind to it and find it. You CAN do it. I was in a tearful mess and didn’t really want to hear anything like that at all. But now that I think about it- he’s right. I really do have to change my thoughts toward the rest of this year if it is going to be better. The only way I can make it is with God’s help, but it’s my attitude as well. Whew, this is A LOT easier said than done…
I’m going to make a list of things that I like about Peru-
-the cold showers, my skin and hair feel great and it’s the only time I’m not sweating :)
-the simple, easygoing lifestyle
-how people just invite you into their houses even if they don’t know you
-the endless supply of papaya
-learning Spanish
-the experience I’m getting in the clinic
-the other SM’s here
-not having to study for tests all the time
-being able to experience a VERY different way of life than I’m used to
-riding in the back of the pickup
-the Doctor and Shirley and their support
-learning to cook everything from scratch
-not being on such a strict schedule, I can be “late” somewhere, but on Peruvian time I’m early or on time
-wearing less makeup and not worrying about what clothes to wear- shorts/skirt and tank top-everyday
-getting packages, emails, letters, notes from friends and family
-learning to trust God more with everything
-the fact that it is 2.81 soles to one dollar, living is so much cheaper!
-movie nights with everyone
-playing the “social games” with the kids
-playing my uke for Sabbath School and singing kid songs in Spanish
-the fact that you never have time to say/think “I can’t do..whatever” you just have to DO IT!
-assisting in surgeries
-the super cool outfits that the jungle ladies wear- they are so colorful and handmade and awesome
-squat pots; no mess, no stress
-time to read books
-$3 hair cuts
-a full meal for $2 or less
-coffee ice cream
-maracuya juice, mmm mmm good.
-giving shots
-singing hymns in Spanish
-when the Peruvian guys make us beans and rice
-hugs from dirty little kids
-the thankful look on people’s faces after coming to the clinic and when they say God Bless You and give me a hug
-skyping my parents and Mitchell
-how it’s so easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger
-seeing about 50 Peruvians stuffed into a van, or that time we stuffed like 25 in our truck
-the green jungle all around our property
-the generous spirit of so many people here
-the support from sooo many people at home
Well, I guess there are a lot of things here that I love and will miss. That’s 43 and I’m sure there are some that I missed.
God is good and I’m going to keep praying. I want to end this year well. I really appreciate your continued prayers and support. Thank you sooo much.