Monday, January 10, 2011


This is my third attempt at this post.
I'm losing my sense of humor....

The great thing about road trips is that you get to see so much.
The bad thing about road trips is that you get to see so much
that you want to take pictures of, but can't....
it all goes by too fast and even if you could convince your husband to turn the car around, the scene could be gone.
There was so much to see this weekend!

Casa Gabriel, along with some people from two churches in Quito, headed out to Chuitayo this past weekend to put on a Christmas party for the people there.
Yes, we know it is past Christmas... couldn't do it earlier, all right?
Chuitayo is a jungle village, a village of Shuar people.
The gospel has been brought to this village but there is no church, no teaching and few believers.
Casa G. and one of these churches goes to this village two or three times a year to serve.

While the others were leaving on a chartered bus late on Friday night, we decided to leave earlier and visit our friends from language school, the Tachneys, in Shell.
We left around 1:00,
encountered traffic issues,
and got there around 6:30.
But it was a great drive.
This is a volcano - forget the name - that is currently active.
The area had a suggested evacuation in early December.
Fortunately nothing happened.

This is a valley heading into a popular area called Baños.
There is a lot of cool stuff to do there (white water rafting, rappelling, hiking and biking, gondolas, etc.). But it is called Baños because of all the natural hot springs.
We had a great evening with our friends.
The next morning, we got up and headed out for our hour and a half drive to Chuitayo.

We were greeted with this:
Many, many people had already gathered in anticipation of the event.
While there were so many people, this is really what we came for:

This is Lorena:
Eric met her in summer and told me a little bit about her story.
Her mother was killed a few years ago.
Murdered, to be more specific.
They found her mom dead - and her murders had shrunk her head.

Head shrinking isn't as common a practice with the native people any more, but obviously it still happens occasionally.
In spite of the tragedy in her life, Lorena has hope.
She has found it in Christ.

A lot of activities went on.
Many games were set up to play:
With a lot of candy handed out for participating.
Good old playing:
This is Miguel swinging kids around.
Poor guy.
Once he started, he had a line up of kids wanting a turn.
He got just a little dizzy!

We had a program for the kids with singing and a message.
And more and more games.
The kids lined up for "navidades" and the adults lined up for clothes.
I think I talked about them before:
treat bags with animal crackers and lots of candy!
We also had a "clinic".
A doctor from one of the churches came and the nurse was Douce's daughter, who came for Christmas break.
They saw around 100 people.
I played the part of the pharmacist.
Chelsea brought a bunch of medicine down from the US, and we had some others from in country as well.
The doctor prescribed various things (mostly for a variety of parasites, rashes and pain).
The people brought their "prescription" to Fernanda.
I filled it and she explained what it did and when to take it.

One of the more common parasite pills:
They say "Jesus lives" - which is cool.
Might be better if it were in Spanish, perhaps?

We quickly ran out of little plastic baggies to put the pills into.
So, we improvised:
Paper envelopes held together with little pieces of stickers.

One of my really good/really bad experiences was with a sweet little boy.
He was waiting in line with his very young mother, to see the doctor.
He was fussing, so I asked if I could hold him.
(Please note: this picture was taken after he saw the doctor and the doctor cleaned him up.
He was absolutely and completely filthy.)
I started to smile and play with him.
He immediately grabbed for my mouth.
Several times he got his hand - which was covered with dirt and had pieces of hair stuck to it - in my mouth.
All I could do was pray that God would protect me from any potential contagious type things (including whatever sores the sweet thing had festering on his precious little face)!
And God is so good.
While I did have these thoughts while I was playing with him, it didn't really bother me.
I know God is bigger than any germ.

Eric was all over the place helping and hanging out with people.

The kids did great.
Before we left they were quite nervous.
There were some tears.
There were many fears.
(and maybe some "tears for fears"....okay, I am so not funny).

To help with the nervousness over lice (which is contracted in these environments with boring regularity), I braided all the girls' hair.
And we prayed and talked about it all.

I was impressed with them.... for being more timid, shy kids and for their first time - they were really in there. Mia, Cade and Lucy (Cade especially) took a while to warm up. But once they did, they were off and running.
Maddy had little girls attached to her right away.

Mia, in the background above, had a few girls clinging to her as well. You can see by the picture that she was a little nervous, but she did great, too.

Cade played a bit of soccer with the boys there.
And he even busted out a few of his moves when the Casa G. boys had their break-dancing performance.
Yes - as in busting out a few moves in front of all those people.
Oh my yes!
The kids all helped the Casa G. boys run the games as well.

Lucy found some new friends.
They ran around, chasing each other, and playing hand-clapping games.
Oh my, it did my heart good!

I want to go back -
every weekend.

As the day was over, we just started driving back to our friends' in Shell.
Eric stopped the van to show me a family's hut that he had been to in the summer (this was one of the places they had come to).
While we were stopped, a boy knocked on our window.
He asked where we were going.
We told him.
Then a lady came up and also asked.
She asked if we would take this boy and his brother to another village about 15 kilometers away.... their home.
They had come all that way for the party (15 kms is a long way for them!).
Sure, why not!
So they hopped in and we drove them home.
Here are Yilsen and Carlos.
The first picture I took of them was without the sunglasses.
Carlos felt blinded by the flash.... I think it just surprised him.
He probably never had experienced it before.
So Eric handed him a pair of sunglasses, and soon Yilson wanted a pair too.
They thought it was all pretty funny!

We dropped the boys off by some sign on the road and they walked on down to their house.
On Sunday afternoon we left the Tachney's and headed for home.
Well, sort of.

We got about 10 minutes away and came to a stand still.
A long long line of cars.
All stopped.
The girls and I decided to get out and see what was going on.
I'm sure we walked close to a mile to the start of a line.
I asked a guard there what was going on.
Seems that there was a landslide going across the road.
One man had already been waiting 5 hours in his car.
The girls and I walked back
(man did we get a lot of stares.... I don't think that town has seen a lot of families with three blonde girls).

We turned around.
There was another way home - just a little longer.

While the other way was longer, and we had a much later start than we hoped, the drive was fantastic.
Such incredible scenery.
The reflection of the toilet paper roll on the dash board just adds to the beauty, don't you think?
(side note: toilet paper - DON'T leave home without it, unless "drip dry" has appeal)

Here was a little "roadside café" - closed, but there none-the-less.
Beautiful clouds over the mountains.
The valley of the jungle.
Absolutely incredible creation.
God is amazing!

The drive was pretty curvy and crazy - lots of rough road and hairpin turns...
But nothing like it was a few years ago, apparently.
We got home slightly after 9:00 p.m.
Not bad.

Especially when we heard the story from Casa G and the churches.
We had tried calling a few times to warn them about the landslide.
No one answered their cells.

Turns out they were there shortly after we left.
They waited until 1:00 a.m. (we left there around 3:15 p.m.).
At 1:00 they started moving, only to find out that a truck got stuck.
So they found a place to stay and slept - but only for a few hours.
At 5:00 they tried again.
A different truck got stuck.
Finally they turned around and went the other way as well.
They all got home yesterday at 2:30 p.m.....
completely and utterly exhausted.

I'm so glad we have our van.

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