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. :)