PeruCrew
Monday, May 31, 2004
 
Today is a really hard day for FH Peru. The director of the child sponsorship program, Ruth Concha, was hit by a car and killed very near the office in Lima. Needless to say, this is very hard on the staff. She was loved and admired by everybody. Please pray for Ruth's family, and FH Peru during this very difficult time. Everybody here in Pucallpa is very upset as well.

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Friday, May 28, 2004
 
Happy Birthday to my nephew Mason (his first name) and my dad Ron. Their birtdhays were May 26 May 24 respectively. Can you guess who is who?

   

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I spent the morning teaching 5th graders how to get around in Microsoft Windows. It was pretty fun. The kids are better behaved then I would have expected. A bit rowdy, but nothing compared to the first week of my Sunday school class at our church in Seattle. :)

Anybody out there have any educational software in Spanish?? I found some typing programs in Spanish before I left, but any educational programs would be really cool.

The computers that my brother got should be coming down in the middle of June and first of July. I am very excited and grateful. I owe my brother HUGE!! Him and Christi are probably going to have a hyperactive kid someday and I am going to have to babysit him for 2 years to dig myself out of all I owe him.

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Thursday, May 27, 2004
 
Here is an article in the Economist magazine talks about suburban Lima.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2004
 
What I am reading

I just finished a book on third world economic development entitled "Kicking Away the Ladder" by Ha-Joon Chang. It's thesis was that developed countries are "kicking away the ladder" that they themselves used to become developed by advocating economic policies contrary to how they themselves developed historically. It basically advocates high import tariffs to protect industries within the developing country as well as other activist policies by the state. It was very interesting, although I am not sure if I agree with some of the conclusions he draws.

I am now reading a book that was just published by Jagdish Bhagwati entitled "In Defense of Globalization". I am just starting it so I don't have a summary or opinion yet on it but the first couple chapters have been very good. His opinion is that economic globalization (he does not discuss cultural globalization) overall is generally a force for good as it has beneficial effects on poverty, child labor, women's rights, democracy, wage and labor standards, and the environment. There is also an amusing anecdote on the WTO protests in Seattle where he was unable to find anybody that had a coherent message backed up with facts in the throng of protesters. As I was at that protest as an observer, I remember asking several people why they were there and what they were protesting against and nobody really knew. Anyway, I will let you know how the book turns out.

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Monday, May 24, 2004
 
Sorry for the blog hiatus. Last week I was a bit under the weather and spending an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom issuing royal decrees from my porcelain throne. This is our second week in the FH office in Pucallpa. I will let Tricia blog about her own experiences and limit this to my own.

It is still pretty tough to understand, especially in conversations with multiple speakers. I can follow a single speaker pretty well if I concentrate. The staff is very nice here and enjoy having a computer person around. I have already been able to help a few people and am currently working on patching all the computers with the latest security updates, setting up an inventory system, and looking into staff training.

Sunday morning church was interesting this week. A friend from FH recommended his church and told me the time it started. I was sure he said 8:30, but the service really started at 8. So we showed up 25 minutes late and the place was packed except for the VERY front row. So we were escorted up there. We were the only two gringos in the service. After the service the pastor introduced all the new visitors and of course being the only two white people in the very front row we did not escape notice. Turns out the pastor's last name is Meison and his wife's name is Patricia as well. Meison in Spanish sounds like Mason in English so a few jokes were made when we introduced ourselves.

We also had our first big rain. It started all at once and sounded like a hundred hammers hitting the roof. It was pretty incredible. I will be trying to blog more often. Also, we now have a phone number. If you would like it, email us at masons@perucrew.com and we will send it to you. I am a little nervous about putting the number in the blog.

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Sunday, May 16, 2004
 
We spent this week working with a team from Wisconsin at a youth camp that they put on for some FH sponsor kids. The teams church sponsors the majority of the sponsor kids in the community of La Merced, a couple hours out of Pucallpa. It was a great camp. The kids had a lot of fun and were very cute. Half of the team from Wisconsin got sick though so they were pretty beat by the end of the week. The kids were very well behaved and were split into two groups. 6-11 year olds came Wed-Fri and the 11-16 year olds came M-Wed. We went swimming in a swimming pool which none of the kids in my group had ever done before. One thing I noticed was how consistent the kids were in washing their hands. This is one of the things that FH pounds into them in health education. One meal I forgot to send them to wash their hands and they politely reminded me. It was very funny. One kid in the community was in Tricia's group and was very cute. He only had one set of clothes though and is currently unsponsored, but was very cute and polite. You could tell he was probably undernourished because he was eleven, but looked like an 8 year old.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004
 
YOTS Boasts Members in 2 More Continents!!

The Year of the Shorts campaign (YOTS), the leading pro-shorts advocacy group is adding Europe and Asia to its list of member continents. Dave Erho, currently living in Russia, is the Asia/Europe Regional Chair and the latest member to the worldwide phenomenon. Fortunately for YOTS, Russia is so big that it is technically a part of both Europe and Asia leaving only Australia and Africa as the only non-YOTS continents. Antarctica has been granted an exemption due to the extreme hazards of wearing shorts in -50 degree weather.

AP Newswire 2004

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Thursday, May 06, 2004
 
Answers to questions posted in comments:

Current Ant Situation: They are fiendishly clever creatures. But in our 5 days in Pucallpa we have found that if you keep any possible source of food in the fridge, you do OK. So things are improving on the ant front.

What other wildlife is in our house or on the grounds?
It is the jungle, so everything is green or mud. Lots of different trees and plants as well as many different kinds of creepy crawlers, but none alarming as of yet. There are many frogs as well, a few of which we find in the house every day. The ones in the house are usually babies so they are cute and harmless.

Are the people friendly?
Yes, very much so. Everyone we have met has been very friendly and gracious.

Internet at home?
No, not yet. We will have DSL, but apparently there is a freeze on new accounts till August. Until then we will use dial-up once we decide on a house and get a phone. For now we use internet cafes.

Food?
The food is a bit different then Lima. There is not quite as much variety, but it is still tasty. I have not seen a few of the traditional Peruvian dishes that were in Lima, but other are available. Dinner at a restaurant will run you $5-$10 for both of us depending on how fancy of a place it is.

Is the rain warm?
Yes

How are the Peruvian kids?
Haven't been to the communities yet so I don't really know.

What is the difference between meet in market and refrigerated meet where we buy it?
I do not really know. I just like buying meat that is refrigerated rather then open air. But both are very fresh and probably fine.

How fast are the moto-taxis?
They usually have a top speed of around 25mph...usually a bit less. You flag them down just like a taxi by sticking your hand out.

Keep the questions coming!! Thanks to all that have posted them.

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A second member has joined the YOTS campaign (see post below for details). John James from Rainier Ave Church in Seattle is joining the YOTS crew. If you are interested in becoming a member of YOTS please post a comment. All you have to do is make an attempt to wear shorts every day for a year.

YOTS is a growing organization which has doubled its membership in the last week and boasts members in 2 continents and 2 hemispheres. Join now to get in on the ground floor!

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004
 
We're here!! We finally made it to Pucallpa 3 days ago. We will need to get some pictures up soon. Right now we are staying in a house in the South American Mission (SAM) complex just outside of town. Today it is raining like crazy and we are indoors waiting it out a bit.

The big news is that I have decided that this will be the year of the shorts. I plan to wear shorts every day starting May 1 2003, to May 1 2004. Every day. Since I will never have an opportunity to do this in the US I thought now would be the time to do it. So, today is day 5 of YOTS (year of the shorts).

Of course I won't be wearing shorts to church, the only deal is I have to wear shorts sometime during the day.

We have spent the last 3 days trying to get to know Pucallpa and figure out where things are in addition to looking for a house. There is a lot more stuff to be found then we anticipated if you look for it. Tricia even found Mac & Cheese. A moto-taxi is anywhere from 1 - 2.5 soles (30 - 80 cents) and is what a friend of mine termed, a "moto-rickshaw" Here is a picture of bunch of them. The heat is really not that bad right now...but then again our taxi-drivers are wearing coats and saying it is cold. One day in the afternoon it was pretty toasty, but in the shade it is no problem.

Shopping here is kind of interesting as well. You can pretty much get whatever you need, but you have to go to 18 different places to get it. There are no grocery stores to speak of...at least what you would be used to in the US. There are small shops that sell food, other shops that sell bread, other shops that sell meat, etc... There are several large markets in town as well which have hundreds of little shops in them as well. All in all it is much easier then we expected. All the housewares are pretty inexpensive and mostly from China.

Please post questions on life in Pucallpa in the comments. I would love to answer them.

hasta luego!

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