Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week #42 Our Portable Family History Center plus things new, exciting, and interesting

To give Elder and Hermana Poulsen a heads-up on what we pack around every day, I decided to photograph and itemize what's in our bags.  I won't itemize everything here, but there are 35 individual items.  All in my bag, they weigh 11kg, or 24lbs.  So I get a pretty good workout lugging this up and down the hills and stairs in Cusco.  And this is just the basic starter kit:

 To complete it, Hna J carries her own bag of 26 items that weigh 5kg or 11lbs.  And in addition there are another 8 - 10 items that we have in our pockets or wallet.  With all this gear, we really have a portable Family History Center that contains everything (and perhaps more) that the FH centers in the chapels have.  The WiFi phone is a key component, that puts us in direct link with the servers so we are real-time into that system.  It took us a while to get all these items identified and organized, but each one of them is essential and enables us to do our work whereever we are in the mission - and we have been to some really remote places and have amazed members (and ourselves), when we are connected to their family tree and related data.

Speaking of where we go with our little portable FH Center, here's Hnas J and Gregoria on the way to a home in Cusco.  Hna Gregoria is the YW (Young Women) Presidenta in barrio Vista Allegre, and she has organized a temple trip to Lima.  We're headed to the home of one of the YW to get her family tree up to date, and to get family names ready to take to the temple next week.  We love Hna G and her family, they are so faithful, and real examples of dedication, service, and testimony.

An example of how post-Inca construction holds up over time.  The Inca foundations that remain (that were not torn up by the Spaniards) are rock-solid (literally).  Unfortunately, the structures built on top of them are not, especially ones made of adobe.  In descending order of quality they go:  Inca, post-Inca stonework, cement, bricks, and finally adobe.  There is no structural wood used here, with the exception of a very few old and well-preserved timbers.  The antiquity laws here make it nearly impossible to rebuild anything that's in the "protected" category, even recently built adobe walls that are collapsing and ready to fall onto the street.  The owners can't tear down and rebuild these collapsing walls, so they just have to prop them up and hope that a passing vehicle doesn't hit them and collapse the building (or maybe they are hoping just that).  So far, these poles have been in place at least 10 months without a mishap.

Little girls play with dolls the world over.  This little cutie has hers in a blanket on her back, just like her madre and abuelita did.  Elder Yorgasen is encouraging her running in circles through the house.

Elder Salazar gets excited for a photo with us on the street after a cita.  He was one of the outstanding missionaries of our Huancaro Feria event, has recently served as the Mission Secretary for supplies and materials.  He has done an outstanding job and will be getting a new assignment soon, as his replacement is in training.  In the meantime, he and his companion are always ready and helpful to us in our HF meetings.

Day or night, the work goes on.  My reliable tactical flashlight is helpful for map reading and making phone calls when we're out working with Hnas Wight and Salas at night.  Being as close to the equator as we are (13 deg S), the daylight hours don't vary that much, and its usually dark by about 6pm or 6:30.  We are sometimes out on citas til 9pm.  Tonight we decide to make a phone call and see if our appointment is still on, before we start a hike up some very long flights of stairs and roads to get there.  Lucky for us we called, the Hermano is out of town, and forgot to call us.

We're out with the Hermanas to meet with Hna Mercedes and her family.  She has been anticipating our visit, and has been collecting and organizing her family information for some time.  Hna J gets to enter it into Hna M's new account.  Names, dates, and places into her 4th generation bisabuelos (great grandparents), and they are now temple-ready.  Hna M re-proves to us what have we already learned, which is that anyone can get involved in Family History, and there are great rewards for those who do.

The 2 sets of office elders who live above us lost their breakfast "pension", the person who provides desayuno for them each morning, for which they are paid 3 Soles per elder per day, not a real lucrative opportunity.  Somehow they talked Hna J into making them breakfast 1 morning per week (Monday), and she really gives them their money's worth, and then some.  It's better than anything they have ever had, without question.  Elders Salazar and Yorgasen come down from the 6th floor to collect this morning's tasty meal.  Eggs, pancakes, juice, hot chocolate and a few other tasty items. 

What a collection of colorful blankets!  Hna J decides that the natural somewhat-unfinished ends need a tuck, roll, and stitching, so she's tirelessly working over each one.

Just when I think my Espanol is somewhat comprehensible, I get some unexpected results.  I thought I ordered a "limonada jarra" or pitcher of lemonade.  First a glass of lemonade arrives at our table, followed by an empty glass, then a full pitcher.  So I don't know what I really said.  Anyway, we had plenty to drink this evening along with 1/4 pollo abraso y papas fritas (roasted chicken and french fries).

My word, Hna J, that is a big spoon!  We make a Saturday trip to the baratillo (Saturday street market) with the Haslers.  There's everything you can imagine for sale here, and a lot of things that you couldn't even in your wildest imagination.  I think you could pretty much outfit an entire city here.  Food, clothing, auto parts, books, hardware, collectibles, etc, etc.

The streets where traffic is usually very heavy every other day are taken over by the baratillo on Saturday.  It covers about 3 blocks in both directions.  What will we find today?

First there's your blankets, purses and llama skins.

Next is your chickens.  I don't know how many are sold in Cusco each day, but it's a lot.  They're big and tasty, and you have seen the feet in soup, so each buyer gets a twofer:  meat and feet.

Next, got your fresh pork, any cut you like.  Sorry, it does look tasty, but cerdo is not on our list of approved food items.  It is actually on the "do not eat" list.

Fresh veggies of all kinds.  There really is a lot of good, fresh produce available here, and it seems like every week we see something new that we haven't seen before.  Some of the produce is seasonal.

Hmmm?  Any guesses?  If you thought fish eggs, you would be right.

And of course there's your name brand premium clothing (North Face, Nike, Columbia, etc), all genuine/authentic/fully licensed - and all made in the same shop just up the street from Plaza de Armas.  Evidently logos aren't hard to scan into your embroidery machine.

Any reason small or big for the senior couples to get together is all we need, and Hna Rhoades' birthday is at the top of the list.  She selected El Abrasador for its fine selection of local and traditional dishes.  It also has a Rodizio Grill-type all you can eat buffet, but in deference to the rather refined tastes of the Hermanas, us Elders decided to forego that feast of gluttony for another time.  We brought slices of cake in 3 varieties to celebrate and enjoy after the meal, each with a candle, so the actual number of candles is under-representative of Hna R's actual age, but will not go into further details except to say that she's looking younger than ever, and we enjoyed each other's company, and all had delightful, traditional meals.

For example, Elder Hasler goes with Achuras Mixta, the translation of which is "mixed guts".  Which you can distinctly see pieces of in the variety presented on this plate.  Elder H has rather exotic tastes for food and is an afficionado of the unusual.  He is our connoisseur of Cui, and will travel a long way to sample and verify claims of "the Best" in Peru.

While I will sample the achuras, I don't care for them as a main course.  I prefer alpaca on a bed of quinoa, with a side of sauce de manzana.  Doesn't get much better than this.

Hna's J and Rhoades went with the Tacu Tacu, which is a mixture of rice and white beans, with a topping of bifsteak and grilled vetetables

Time for a photo after we're finished.  Everybody had a take-away bag with enough for the next meal.  It was a wonderful lunch, and great company with great people.

Next up:  A unique find of treasure at the baratillo.  Hint - they're very old.

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