Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Guinea Pig Lunch

We are on our way out the door to go up to Quito for our little gringito bus holiday - but I threw this together so you could have something to look at while we are gone.
You can see by the way I look in the video that it's a good thing we are going to have a break - I really need it! Even Mark, the work-aholic, said last night he needs to have a rest for a few days - it's been a hard month.
See you on the flip side guys!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Joanna's funeral

We have just had an experience that we really didn't expect to have in Ecuador, nor did we want to have it, but have it we did so I hope you don't think I am crass telling you about it.

Today was Joanna funeral and very sad it was too. Actually it started last night when we went to the WAKE - of course this is not something we do in NZ so that was altogether new. Really it just involved going to the KH where Joanna was in her coffin and paying our respects. Today the coffin was still open (well there was plexi glass over the open bit) and when all her little class mates filed in and then up to the front to see her - it brought tears to all our eyes, even Mark. After the talk which Agenor, our PO, handled extremely well even using the Catholic Bible at one point - as a lot of the Morocho's extended family are Catholics, we went with G to the cemetary. We weren't going to go but it seemed rude not to when we were offered a ride. I am so glad we did as the cemetary was very interesting. There are some graves underground but mostly they are crypts stacked on top of one another. G explained that this is where the poor people go and it costs about $4.00 per month for the family. If after 4 years they can't or won't pay anymore the body is taken out and cremated and the crypt reused.

Once we got to the place where Joanna was to be placed - the coffin lid was reopened and it seemed that the non witnesses wanted their turn. They crowded around the casket, crossing themselves and touching the plexi glass. One lady started saying stuff really loudly - I of course couldn't understand what she was saying, but it was to do with ancestor worship. It was then Agenor had to step in and ask her to please respect Homero and Nancy's beliefs - he had to use a couple of scriptures to calm her down but she did and apologized, which as Mark pointed out would never have happened in NZ with a maori funeral. It would have just about caused a riot! Agenor went round and gave her a hug which was very sweet of him. So then the coffin was closed and slid into the crypt and a worker was there with a hammer and nails to seal it up. The saddest thing I heard was little Josue (her brother) ask "Donde estar Joanna?" (Where is Joanna). Of course we know the answer to that one - she is waiting in Jehovahs memory, having proved herself faithful even to death, for the wonderful hope of the resurrection.

On a brighter note - we are off on an adventure tomorrow with the Willis' and Andrews. We are flying up to Quito for 5 days and 4 nights so we are really looking forward to that - it will be nice to share the experience with our Gringo Friends and be tourists for a few days.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I was going to post a blog today about our fantastic day out with Mark and Becky but sadly we got home to the news that little Joanna has just died. Of course we are very upset about this news but feel that as she was a very sick little girl and there was really not much hope, then it is good that it has happened quickly. Now she is sleeping and out of pain, waiting for Jehovah to resurrect her back into the loving arms of her family. She died faithful, having made a personal stand against having a blood transfusion, at the tender age of nine. Her parents can be very proud of this faithful little witness of Jehovah.

While I am on the subject - I would like to thank the friends back in NZ who wanted to help this family so far away. Along with donations we have already received -Alice and Terry, with the help of Antony, Rebecca, Ann and others - held a garage sale yesterday to raise funds and while it is now too late for Joanna - the family no doubt will appreciate their support. It is testimony to the fact that Jehovah's Witnesses truly are a worldwide brotherhood.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

English Study

Here is a picture of Frances, my one bit of normality each week, as we study in English. She is half Puerto Rician and half Dominician Repuplic, brought up in the States and married to an Ecuadorian! She speaks spanish perfectly but does not read it so yahoo - I get to study with her is english. Had a problem this morning with the opening prayer when I faltered many times because I kept wanting to say a spanish word instead of english so I am in real trouble now - I don't know one language and I am forgetting the other! Help I am loosing my identity!

Friday, November 21, 2008


You will notice there has been an addition to the blogs - your reaction. Please tick one of the boxes - it will let me know whether you like the post or not. All you have to do is move your mouse over whichever reaction you have and click - simple stuff!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Here we are waiting for the other members of our GA group (Gringos Anonymous) - but only the 6 of us turned up today. I am worried that the others will forget the 12 step plan because they missed the meeting today so we may have to round them up for an emergency meeting.

12 Step Plan: (some of the steps following have been submitted by my kiwi friend, Alice - thanks buddy - I needed the help!)
*Step 1: Admit you are a Gringo and pretend you know no spanish (or in our case - don't pretend, it's true
*Step 2: Always smile - even though you are so frustrated you could burst-always remember you are in South America after all
*Step 3: Say "Claro" at every opportunity
*Step4:Learn to love soup - you will get it at every meal
*Step5:Carry an umbrella everyday - not only do you need it for the rain - but you will need it for the sun too.
*Step 6: Hang out with an awesome group. Which of course all Testigos de Jehova are, whether gringitos or Ecuadorian!
*Step 7:Have a great pair of walking shoes, or at least be prepared to have your shoes resoled every other month
*Step 8:Never trust little old ladies especially ones at a gate carrying a big stick!
*Step 9:Start writing a book "Life in Ecuador for Dummies"
Although trials may seem tough,Jehovah looks after you and the food is yummy!!!UMM???
*Step 10:Have a good Par-tay now and then with great friends - This will stop you going around the bend!
*Step 11:Accept any corrections to your incorrect pronunciation, graciously - and laugh at your mistakes, cause you will make a lot!
*Step12: Make sure you keep in touch with family and friends back home. In other words no matter what it costs - the internet is a must have

So the following pictures show what you get for Almuerzo (lunch) for a whopping $2.90
Soup and juice - a main dish - in this case spagetti cabonera and some sort of sweet - today's was cheese and cane sugar syrup - quite delicious and just what you need after a long morning in service.
By the way notice the popcorn in the soup - they actually serve a bowl of popcorn on the table - and everyone always puts it in their soup - it is really good too! I will be taking that tradition home with me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Progress maybe?

I have the reputation here I am told as a "Sneaky Pete". Of course I have no idea why - could it be that I can whip my camera out and take footage with no one knowing - in this case not even Mark as he conducts his first bookstudy. It only took Mark all afternoon to prepare the material so he is doing as well as can be expected.
We enjoyed the change - it is nice getting to know others in the congregation and they were very happy to have us join them. Only problem is it is pretty far away so we have a 10 minute walk to the bus stop - a 10 minute busride and then a 20 minute walk and now we will be having to do this 3 times a week. Thankfully our very kind Hermano "G" has been moved into that group too so he gave us a ride home tonight and will likely do the same every Monday - phew!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Didn't we have a lovely day - the day we went to Deleg

On days like today - we really appreciate our decision to come to Ecuador. Our congregation was invited to assist a neighboring congo that had not finished their territory with the tracts and when we saw the territory, we understood why! There is only about 25 publishers too so they needed help bad.
Poor old Doug had a mammoth mission when 95 or so people turned up and it took awhile to sort them out into cars but he did the job well cause we all got there (it is about 45 minutes away). The people in the villages must have wondered what on earth had struck them! Doug split us gringos up as much as he could cause he said it would look like a gringo invasion otherwise - good move Doug but why did you have to give us the hilly part???
Anyway - it was a great day although there was a fiesta happening nearby so not too many people were home except for one guy who said we were witches!(I really should stop taking my broom with me eh?). We enjoyed ourselves immensely - and by the time we got home again - tired but once again, very happy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mary had a little lamb!

Thought I would share this pic with you - it is taken right across the road from our place. This playing field is obviously used for a lot more than just football! Any green grass cannot go to waste - a good job they don't play rugby here - imagine getting a face full of droppings when you are tackled to the ground!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Coffee Break??

This is town territory!

We have nearly finished our territory with the tracts - just the really hilly stuff to go. Here we are out this morning - it was absolutely gorgeous but so hot! Of course there are no cafe's to be had so the next best thing is buying a bottle of fizz and some cups to share it with everyone- on the side of the road.

My turn to play mother!

Note the sister in the middle sticking something into her lemonade. It was a blade of grass and she was dabbing it in and out of the drink to remove the gas!(I wonder how many amoebas she also added) Interesting!

I only have a little update for you on Joanna - and the news is not good - she is holding her own at the moment but is a very sick little girl. It is doubtful that she will make it as the cancer has spread into her brain. Thank goodness we have such a wonderful hope as how you would cope in that situation without it, as a mother, I don't know. The brothers and sisters are doing all they can to help the family - a roster was taken the other night as to who could take a midday meal to the hospital for whoever is there - so that is nice. Nancy was at the meeting last Saturday and the WT was especially good for her - she even commented - it seems their faith is holding up very well under this awful tragedy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

News Catchup

Nice surprise in the postoffice box - newspapers from home!

Even though I am up to date with all the goings on at home - thanks - it is not the same as sitting down over breakfast with a newspaper to read.

Muchisimas Gracias to Lucy for sending them!

Friday, November 7, 2008

There's going to be great excitment this weekend cause
Chad and Michele are due back tomorrow - wahoo!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

1st Day Back on the Job

Susie and the crazy gringa lady from down under
(Sorry the photo is a little blurry (and not particularly good of me) but it is taken by a sister
who I don't think had ever touched a camera before
Today I was feeling much better so headed out in the morning. The first thing I wanted to do was go and call on Susie as last week I had been unable to see her. Well I am so glad I did cause if I had put it off until tomorrow - I would have missed her. She is going home to Peru! Oh I am so sad! But really it is the best thing for her and her daughters. She gave me her phone number in Peru and took mine so that if she comes back - she can get back in touch with me and she promised to contact the witnesses in Peru. I told her I would call her as soon as I could speak better spanish! Who knows we may get to talk again - maybe even at a convention!
Now here is something interesting - we were at the Gringos Anonymous Meeting for lunch today and afterwards as we were walking along the street, Kelly brought this unusual looking thing. I can't for the life of me remember what she called it but obviously it is some kind of bean. She broke it open (the woman has superhuman strength) and the idea is -you pick out the beans and suck all the frothy outer layer away. It is surprisingly refreshing and good. Creation - never fails to impress!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Oh woe is me!

It's been a quiet few days around here as I am sick. Yep I got a dose of Giardia and unfortunately it has made me pretty miserable. I guess it was bound to happen sometime as it is kinda part of life here. Hopefully I will be feeling better tomorrow and can get back into life - there is only so much sleep a person can take - problem is I can't be too far away from the bathroom.
I don't want to gross you out but I have to tell you about how you get diagnosed here. You just pack up your troubles in a sample pot and go into one of the many laboratories available. 5 minutes and $2 later you have your letter to take to the chemist and they will give you the correct medicine. I have to say - who in New Zealand would do that job for $2??? What a way to make a living eh?