Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodmorning all you peoples in New Zealand - how is 2009 treating you so far. Of course we are living in the past here in Ecuador - it is still 2008!
Have a good day!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We have a winner

The makings of:
One thing I have noticed - they seem to be new clothes
on the dummies - what a waste!
I think these may be the more expensive variety -
a lot of work has gone into them just to burn!
(By the way - which one is the real dummy?)
I saw a lady comparing a photo with the masks trying to get one
that resembled the man - not sure what that was about!
Yep Alice was first on the ball with her very in depth answer (I think there was some internet searching going on): Ecuador has a very unique tradition on December 31, Ecuadorians celebrate New Year's eve with the "aƱos viejos"("old years"). These, are stuffed dummies constructed with paper, sawdust, wood and firecrackers shown through the whole country before they are burnt. Other local, international politicians and famous personalities are also characterized representing the old year. Children and women (or men dressed as women) in black play the old year's "widow" role, crying and asking for some money or candies in the streets, or from house to house for the old year's (dummy) funeral. When the year that has gone by has been a very bad year, most people and the dummy's widow kick or wipe it out before it is burned, to have a better year.
It seems that the whole place goes crazy and of course the celebrations have very spiritistic origins. These things are stuffed with the fireworks they have here which do not make much of a show however they make a heck of a bang so we may not be getting much sleep on Wednesday night!
Thunder Rockets is right - they can make you really jump!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Can you Guess?

Question for you - What are these things and why are they on every street corner in Cuenca at the moment? Chocolate fish to the first correct answer.
(All Cuecan Residents excluded from this competition)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another Gringos Day Out

We were treated on Friday to another Gringos Day Out with G and CC. At about 8.30 am Mark got a call from G saying he would pick us up at 10 - Mark originally thought he must have had an arrangement to help sort literature or something - which would have really annoyed me cause we had planned a day off. Anyway it was all good and off we went on our little adventure. We went south this time about 40 or 50 kms I guess (can't really tell as the road twisted and turned quite a few times). Eventually G had to park the van cause we could go no further - the road was being worked on and was in a very bad state. Not the best news when you have been walking up hills all week but the view was worth it when we finally arrived. None of us were particularly dressed right for the occasion(all of us had heard G wrong about our detination)and it was a little cold but we survived. It was nice to get out of town and to stop thinking for awhile about all the whanau (family) in NZ being together and having fun. For those not in the know - this time of year is summer in Kiwiland and everyone goes on vacation. We always get together with family or friends and enjoy barbeques, picnics and generally good times so being alone this year is a little strange.

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Zealand accent explained

We are always getting remarks about our accent so I thought I would post this video to help explain it. Also it will show all our American friends the difference between our accent and the Australian one!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A quick interview with one of the kids in the Congo

I hope to interview a few other amazing characters here that we have met - so hopefully this is the first of a few.
While Aliceli is an impressive 12 year old - she kind of annoyed me the other day while I was out with her! I had just placed a book with a lady who was very interested and I was asking her when would be a good time to come back next week. Before a time could be arranged Aliceli jumped in and organized for 4 p.m Saturday - which is impossible for me to get to as we have a meeting at 6.30pm and there is no way I could get all the way over to the call and back in time. So of course Aliceli is going to get the RV. That is if I can trust her to go back - they do seem to have a problem here with doing their RV's - something we are trying to show is important to do - nobody I know of has learned the truth on one visit only.
Back to Aliceli jumping in - this is a problem I have when working with the local people - they don't give me time to formulate the next sentence. Of course the other gringos do because they know what it is like to learn a new language and know if you are given enough time you will eventually find the word you need. I believe if the householder is willing and patent enough to let me get through a presentation, then they will still be patient the next time I call, so I was a bit pipped Aliceli took this nice lady from me!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Last Bookstudy

El Estudio del Libro en la Casa de la familia Mogrovejo
Well tonight was the end of an era as we had the last bookstudy! Everyone around the world will no doubt be feeling the same as us - a little sad, but kind of relieved to have a bit more time for study. We appreciate having more time to devote to our spanish and especially appreciate not having to walk out again on a Monday night - you see the BS we attended is a 10 minute walk then a 8 minute bus ride and after that another 20 minute walk away!
Our group as you can see doesn't do things by halves and we enjoyed a huge plate of Fried Rice and Avocado washed down with coke after the meeting. Then I had made a cake, banana of course - what else would you make in Ecuador? We polished that off and then were given a tipple of Cacao - que rico! Needless to say we have rolled home and are looking forward to a good nights rest.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Today we had a lovely experience that I must share with you. Do you remember me talking about Susie, the girl from Peru? She had a friend called Maribelle that had taken Susie's book and bible that I had given her - she liked them so much. Well when Susie left I had asked for Maribelles phone number and put it into my contacts but with everything else going through my head - I had forgotten all about her. About 3 weeks ago she suddenly popped back into my fried brain so I asked Michele to call her for me (it is hard enough to speak spanish face to face with someone - on the phone forget it). It took awhile to get through to her but arrangements were made for us to meet at the Market (called the Feria Libre) so she could take us to her house, as we would never have found it on our own. Michele and I felt a little conspicuous waiting at the Market as it was very busy there today and apparently a bit of a dangerous place on Sundays - we got lots of stares but no one harrased us, so that was good.
Anyway Maribelle finally showed up and off we went to her apartment and proceeded to have a very nice study with her - she really has got a good heart and had a very interesting question regarding her father, who by all accounts is a horrible man. He now has cancer and her mother thinks that God is punishing him for his past behaviour but Maribelle doesn't think God would be like that. Michele was able to answer her well but we were also studying exactly that in the BT book so it worked out well. As Michele also pointed out - it seems coincidental that I finally remembered about Maribelle when she really needed that question answered. Who was behind that I wonder?

It's Planting Time!

My mother-in-law, back home, tells me they have put in a huge garden to help with the cost of living. Go Maureen -looking forward to seeing if it is anything like the fields they plant out here. As you can see a lot of the work is done by hand, maybe with the help of an animal or two but definitely a big job which ever way you look at it. It must be the season to plant out too as whereever we look there seems to be someone attacking the ground with a pickaxe - rather them than me! Note the man way in the distance with a pickaxe:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So you think it's easy eh?

My dear son, Aaron that is, wanted to know why it is so hard for me to get my time in. This little video should put you straight Aaron and if not then I challenge you to park your car for a month and walk everywhere - that is to the group, to the territory, to your calls, to the meetings and then home again. After that go and get your groceries on foot (I will allow you to take a taxi home or a bus, depending on your finances that week). If you still think it is easy - and you are not exhausted - you have the right to ask me that same question. Even if you take this challenge and find it a breeze, I think you should wait until you are 50 years old before you can speak with any authority! (Eek - you being 50 is a scary thought - that would mean I would be 74 - roll on the new system, I don't want that to happen in this system!)

Warning X-Rated: Heavy Breathing occurs on this video!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cute Picture

Thought you might enjoy this shot - Mark and Chad with Josue Morocho, witnessing to a chap in a one of the many hardware type shops here. I thought it was quite cute anyway!
We have had a busy week with the CO here and it was very encouraging this morning (Sunday) to see 83 people turn up to the group! By the way - have I told you before about the custom here of kissing each sister or shaking the hand of each brother when you arrive at the group - think how long it took to get round everyone! Poor Doug had his hands full sending everyone off but everyone seemed happy in the end!
We also made some decisions which we can't go back on now as we have booked and paid for our flights back here on March 24th. We just have to hope things work out with selling our house etc so that we can actually eat when we do get back here (nah just kidding, I am pretty sure we will at least be able to afford rice and beans). We really have to come back for at least another year as by then we should be able to hold a half decent conversation in spanish - it would be a shame for the progress we have made to dissipate if we stayed back in NZ. So now that we have taken the plunge - we are kind of relieved and everything is not so up in the air.Not looking forward to the 20 traveling hours, each way, to get back home and then back here though!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

NGT Travels - Final Video

I'm kind of over looking at the holiday snaps so this has just been thrown together in no particular order. Just some shots I thought you might be interested in.
I so wish I could have got my camera out this morning - we were way up in the mountains when a funeral procession came down the hill complete with orchestra and mourners. They were carrying the casket too so it made an interesting sight. Unfortunately Michele and I were talking with a lady at the time and it would have been distracting had I pulled out my camera. I was a little worried too as we had little Julisa (Joanna's sister) with us - I thought it might stir up bad memories but she seemed fine.
When we got home today - the one neighbour (actually her son owns the complex) in these apartments that talks with us was near our building so we explained to her what we had been doing this morning. She is very interested and we ended up placing 2 mags and the BT book with her. She was excited to know that she could keep the book too so that was a nice end to our morning. Let's hope something comes of it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

NGT Travels - Day Four - Part Three

Part One of Two
We were privileged to be invited to "Gringolandia" on Saturday night for a barbecue. Now you might think I am being silly calling it Gringolandia but that is how the locals know the place by. We were told to just tell the bus driver that is where we wanted to get out so it definately goes by that name. The reason for the name is not hard to work out of course - lots of gringos live there.
The sister(Maraly) in the video who writes songs and sings, I believe was the first one to buy property there and build a house. Then others joined her and built houses around her - of course all JW's. So now there is about 8 houses on this beautiful piece of land and people from all over the world live there. I don't know why but the photo I took of the view did not come out so you will just have to trust me on that one. It was heaven to just walk in the grass again - reminded me so much of the farm at home. I don't think any of us realized just how cooped up we all are here in Cuenca.
Anyway, Maraly was brought up at Wallkill as her father was the Doctor there, I believe now he serves at Brooklyn. How cool would that have been? Shane and Nicole have been in Ecuador 5 years, they are at the Bethel at the moment helping on some project but hope to be back in Otavalo early next year. Larry and Shiela, Shane's parents, have been here 3 years and Maraly 11 years - she is working in the Quichua field at present. I was excited to learn that she has a missionary sister in Taiwan at the moment - a contact for our daughter, Amanda who is planning on furthering her chinese in that country next year.

Part Two - The Song
(Apologies for the video quality - filmed at night so not ever going to be great)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wow 10 years!

For those not in the know this is my sister Ann and her husband of 10 years now,
where has that time gone eh? Hope you have a happy day!
(I just realized that it is already the 12th in NZ - should have done this yesterday - duh!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pioneer Meeting

Precusor Regulares con el Superintendente de Circuito
We have just got home from our first ever pioneer meeting and although we only understood about 75% of what was discussed - we came home on a high. Nice to be part of such a cool group!

Actually today has been an all round great day. This morning I had arrangements with Becky who is finally back in service after having her neck operated on. It was good to be out with her again as I learn heaps from her - also when they arrived here 11 years ago - they were both just like us - unable to speak spanish and now look at them - it gives us something to hope for. Anyway I digress - we did a little bit of territory first, both placing books, and then went to a call I had arranged last week. I had offered a study to a very nice woman called Esperanza and she had accepted but you never know if they are just being kind and make the arrangement with the intention of not being home. Well Esperanza was home and immediately invited us in (a first for me here). She had her bible ready but no book - her husband, a doctor, had taken it to work to read. No problem we said and gave her Becky's book promising to bring another one next week for her. We had a proper study with her for nearly an hour with me trying to conduct (Becky had to tell me to breathe at one point). Esperanza is so nice and very patient with me, basically I can only ask the questions in the book and can't elaberate at all, so having Becky there is such a great help. It is a joy and a relief to be able to understand what is being said and feel part of the conversation too - sometimes you just don't realize you are improving - but I guess we are, especially tonight when after the meeting we were able to have a laugh with our fellow workers.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NGT Travels - Day Four - Part Two

One of my most favorite pass times is people watching and you can do that in Otavalo with abandon. The woman dress so much prettier there than they do in here in Cuenca - they look feminine for a start. Hope you are not too bored yet - you still have a few more photos I just have to show you.

Some of my most favorite shots:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

NGT Travels - Day Four - Part One

I have tried to convey just the colours of the market in this video. I'm sorry I can't really convey the sounds and you will be glad in some cases that I can't convey the smells! In the next video we'll go people watching - interesting in itself.
We didn't really buy that much stuff even though it is all very cheap - but what we did buy, we had fun bargaining for. Chad is an excellent dealer - he knows when to walk away and invariably he will have them running after him to complete the sale. It is very hard to resist the beggars but as our man Chad pointed out - they could just as easy be selling some little thing if they really wanted to. They put on the saddest face, almost crying in some cases. It was best just not to look at them at all. The streets are blocked off on Saturday so there is just people everywhere - a lot of gringos of course cause this market is actually very famous. If ever you come to visit us - this place will be on the itinerary - so start saving now!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

NGT Travels - Day Three

The trip up to Otavalo was very interesting - and the scenery amazing! The road does not go up as high as the trip from Cuenca to Guayaquil but it is still stunning. On the way we stopped at a small town and stumbled on a street parade - lots of sounds and lots of colours - very cool.
The next couple of videos will show the highlight of our trip and why we fell in love with Otavalo.
"Ya awl come back now" (I think we may have been spending too much time with the Willis' - their southern accent is affecting even my blogs)

Friday, December 5, 2008

We do some work occasionally

All these travel videos may make you think we don't do any work so I thought I would post this while I am getting my next one ready.
The dear old lady we went to study with is 91 years old and we found her in the garden when we first got there. She had to climb the fence to get back into the house - she was very unsteady on her feet but made it ok. There is one small couch in her little house but we pulled up wooden stool each so we could talk close into her ears. She is very hard of hearing and can't see too well either so we had to read the parragraphs loudly to her (actually Mercedes does not read too well either, she is 77 by the way, so she got me to do it - reading spanish is not a strongpoint of mine either so it was a bit of a laugh). Cute little lady - she kept touching my face and hair - and was very interested in the fact I have an 88 year old mother - wanted to know why she wasn't with us here in Ecuador. What do you think Mum - want to come over?

Here I am this morning with Nancy (Joanna's Mum) - she is auxiliary pioneering this month - isn't she amazing? I gave her the dinero from the Bethlehem Congo today and she was so thankful so I just thought I would pass that on to you.Be assured your kindness is appreciated very much by them

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

NGT Travels - Day Two Part Two

My pride and joy - hummingbird in flight
I can now say I have been in both hemispheres at once - how cool is that? We had an interesting time with the mandatory experiments e.g. water running clockwise or anticlockwise - depending on which side of the line we were on; balancing an egg on a nailhead and trying to walk the line with eyes closed. Interestingly the guide said that you are pulled to the side you are from - Mark went towards NZ and I fell the otherway -ooops!
The reason the monument is in the wrong place is - when the French built it, they didn't have GPS so they were out by 200mtrs. The indigenous Indians though knew exactly where it was long before GPS came into existance, because the sun is directly above the earth twice a year and for 2 minutes if you stand on the equator line, you will not have a shadow!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

NGT Travels - Day Two-Part One

Aren't I good at making people do dumb things!

Needgreater Timeout Travels - Our little sightseeing trip through Quito. Hope you enjoy! I have included a few photos for the benefit of those that can't watch the video. The kids are children from a school, visiting the lookout point at the same time as us - they looked so adorable especially when they all waved to us - so cute! The cable car here sure puts the Rotorua one to shame - we went up so high (4,100 meters, the sign said) and it was freezing up there. Awesome view though - the photos just don't do it justice.