October 12th marked 2 months! Pretty weird how time feels on a mission. Earlier this week a member of the branch asked for help with her laundry because she hasn't been feeling well. Her name is Hermana Maximina and we visit her frequently. Her husband, Hermano Raul, is a less active who we are currently trying to reactivate. They are one of the poorer families I've seen. If El Niño comes I am pretty sure their entire house would just wash away. My compañera and I sat on buckets and washed their family's clothes out in the hot sun. It was real work!! We were probably bent over scrubbing clothes for well over and hour. Once we had finished scrubbing and rinsing and rinsing again I couldn't stand up straight for a good 20 minutes. The women here in Peru are REAL housewives! They'll just walk to the backyard garden, pick some platanos from the tree and at the same time chop a turkey's head off...20 minutes later they'll have a meal for their entire family....all without an actual kitchen. Also, if you ask an older lady here how many children she has the number is almost always somewhere around 13 or 14. I'm amazed by these women! After hanging up the last shirt on the line Hermana Maximina had prepared us pescado frito and yuccas. It's become on of my favorite meals here (though to them this is only a snack) When I eat my fish I steer clear of the skin, fins, and head so I have not yet become one with the Peruvians.
Later in the night we went out and knocked doors. It's a mission rule that every missionary has to knock doors from 6pm to 8pm every day. We knocked on a door and in the front room was a family sitting in plastic chairs gathered around a tiny, barely functioning TV. When they saw me their eyes lit up and immediately demanded that I come in. Venga! Sit down! So my companion and I started to teach The Restoration and my poor comp. couldn't get their attention. She was at the best part in the lesson about Joseph Smith and the parents were too busy shoving their kids towards me to greet me. In Piura it's a cultural custom to greet everyone by "kissing" their cheek, or in reality pressing your cheek to theirs and making a kissing noise. I swear, parents teach their kids how to greet people before potty training. I'm completely used to it now except for the ladies who give me a big sloppy wet one right on the cheek and it takes everything in me just to let their sweat and spit dry there instead of wiping it off. We finished our lesson and were getting ready to leave. So I kissed the mom and the daughters and then stuck my hand out to the dad (handshakes here are like shaking a dead fish) and the next thing I knew I was getting a big sloppy kiss on the cheek from this dad. I was taken so off guard that I just froze and couldn't remember a single Spanish word. I only made it 3 weeks in the field without a kiss from a guy...NEVER AGAIN!
|Hermana Helen is the girl wearing red|
|Our pensionista's son and their dog Tomas|
I never knew how hard it would be to coordinate with people to set up a time for each lesson. I've learned that nothing ever goes to plan. It's also difficult that I'm a North American. I attract a lot of attention. People are so eager to have us in their homes but they never have a real desire to learn about tour church. So we end up wasting time with people that only want to hear about the US. Some nights we'll be knocking doors and the little kids in the streets will follow us around. I remember one time I knocked a door and a man answered. I started introducing myself to him and turned to introduce my companion and saw that we had an army of little kids standing in the doorway with us. "Hi, I'm Hermana Ingram and this is my compañera Hermana Apeña and these are our 14 latino children." I actually started to laugh because I couldn't help but think how ridiculous we all looked. People are constantly wanting me to speak English to them and I get a kick out of it because I can say whatever I want and no one understands. One thing that's difficult and also really sad is the lack of education here. I am still so surprised at the amount of people we find who are completely illiterate.
|I love my zone!|