Friday, March 28, 2008

Technologically advanced

One of the signs of developing 3rd world countries is the acceptance and implementation of 1st word technologies. Today, I saw this demonstrated first hand.
Peruvians are very resourceful and continue to amaze me more and more every day. I saw a gentleman today who was delivering furniture. Instead of carrying the furniture on his back, like other lesser devolved countries would do, this man had fashion a custom three wheeled furniture transporter!

Featuring a remarkable blend in technology of adequate transportation space, combined with low drag from only three wheels, this man had not only achieve a low carbon footprint (something highly sought after in 1st world countries) but had also solved the problem of maintaining his slim figure by fashioning an ingenious direct drive system that was self powered. A slim figure by the way is HIGHLY desirable in 1st world countries, even more so than low carbon emissions.

Security for the transportation module was simplistically brilliant. Any potential thief would have to be extremely physically fit to out run the Police in their "High carbon foot print" 4x4 vehicles. To top it all off, I also witnessed the very latest in "adaptive new technology use". Two computer mice were used to secure the vehicle from rolling away while the transportation module was not attended. What better way to not only make a fashion statement, but also provide the ultimate in home PC security. Everyone knows, with out a mouse, your sunk trying to navigate about the latest 486 desktop PC here in Peru.

For those of you unfamiliar with the 486 computer, 1st world countries have found the following uses for these multipurpose machines: They are adequately sized to be used as targets for various calibers of guns at shooting ranges, ideally suted for placement in most modern landfills, serve as excellent dust collectors in many basements, and one or two have even been spotted in museums of technology and history. A few users have had occasional operational problems with this most recent of technologies. After all, it's there to HELP you and make life SIMPLER. However, your mileage may vary...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Done with language school

This past week I finished my Spanish language studies! After almost 9 months of classes, I am done! I do feel fairly comfortable talking with people and doing the things that I need to do with my Spanish, however there is always more vocabulary to learn.
For a while there, I was really worried about my Spanish level because it was not perfect. I finally realized that it would never be truly perfect and that for the type of job that I have, I do not need to be very articulate. It would be something different if I were a pastor or if my job was teaching at one of the SAM bible schools. So I am content and looking forward to begining my flight check out process in April.

On a sadder note, the day I was leaving Arequipa, the father of my host home mother died. He had been living on the first floor of the house along with his wife for a number of years and in the 9 months I lived with the family, he had been to the hospital 4 different times. Then, this past time he had been there for about 3 days but was doing OK. He could still talk, was making jokes, and had a very sharp mind. However, the years of smoking finally caught up with him leaving him bed ridden. As we were driving to the airport to catch my flight to Lima, we received a call that they were doing CPR and we should come quickly. I went on to the airport and the family went directly to the hospital.

The funeral was a day later on the 25th and I was not able to attend because I left for Lima and am still here presenting my paperwork to receive my Pilot license. Two months earlier we had celebrated his birthday. After blowing out the single candle, he announced to the family and friends gathered around that his one wish was that we would all see each other again in Heaven.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Being Sick

For the past 10 days or so, I have been sick. It all started Wednesday evening at our SAM yearly conference. Perhaps 50 people all living in close quarters for a week was just too much for my system. I recognized the dry scratchy throat symptoms setting in so I went straight for the bottle... of water that is. Trying to catch the thing on the uptake only resulted in making frequent trips to the men's room, always an adventure in a new location at night while trying to hold back the sea.

By Friday I was feeling quite tired and congested as well. Thankfully the conference was over and I had the weekend back at my host home to recover. Or so I thought. Saturday the family went down to the beach, a 3 hour bus ride, and a change in elevation of about 7500 feet. While riding the bus in Peru is generally not a terribly pleasant experience, this trip was even more memorable. By the time the bus arrived at its final destination, I couldn't hear a blessed thing as my ears were plugged up tight and I was asking people if the ringing in my head bothered them. Thankfully after 8 hours of sleep and and an equal number of trips to the bathroom, I could hear again.
I have to segway here and say that I have learned Peruvians are very helpful. If there is a problem, they don't hesitate offering a solution. So here are some of the solutions that I was given to cure my cold:

Drink lemonade.
Take flu medication.
Suck on candy.
Stick something inside your ear to "pop" your ears and relieve the pressure.
Sleep on the ear that is plugged up the most.
Rub menthol on your chest and feet before you go to bed.
Drink hot tea.
Drink hot water with honey mixed into it.
Take hot showers.
Take cold showers.
Wear a jacket.
Wear socks.
Don't get wet when it rains.

Anyways, by Monday I had begun to have headaches during the day and I was talking through my nose as well. Naps in the afternoon did not seem to help and on Wednesday, Advil could not even touch the roaring headache I had. It hurt to put my head below my waist. It felt like someone had a bicycle pump inside of my brain and was attempting to inflate a 10-person life raft in record time. The only thing that helped was keeping a very low profile at home and not moving around a lot. Well, expect for the trips to the john (I was still drinking plenty of water).

Finally 2 beakthroughs. I received an e-mail from one of my supporters who is a nurse and she pointed out the color of a person's phlem can tell a lot. I knew this as I had been quite facinated by the kaleidoscope of colors I had seen emitting from the two holes of my personal FFF (far flem flinging) nose. My nurse friend (thanks Rachel) tipped me off to the idea of a bacterial infection but it was not until Friday morning that fellow SAM missionaries (thanks Tim and Hannah) at language school looked at me and sad quite plainly, You need antibiotics.

Suddenly the light when on and without hesitation we headed out to the pharmacy around the corner. After a 30 second "consultation" with the lady at the counter, she gave me a 5 day supply of antibiotics and a nasal decongestant. The price by the way was $7 total.
After 3 days I can happily say the "little drummer boy" inside my head has quite his double timed beat, and my FFF nose has resumed a somewhat normal production rate that only rivals the GDP of a small 3rd world country instead of the previous 1st world phlem which at its height was adequate for greasing tractor wheel bearings. However, the one constant still remains... retracing my well worn path to the head every few hours due to my continued affinity for water.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Some things are in English

The hard part about learning a langauge, I find, is that words in english and words in spanish do not sound the same. DUH!! But some times you get lucky and learning new words does not take that much effort. Here are some examples.

Dune buddy = Tubular

Masking tape = Scotch

Flash = Flash

Internet = Internet or En Red which literally translated is "in fishing net"

Full (as in, the parking lot is full) = Full