Monday, November 29, 2004
I have two recommended readings for you today. The first is an article about a non-economic benefit of free trade.

The second is a more general discussion on why the open, market based economy model tends to perform better then the other alternatives. This was an interesting read to me because I am frequently wondering what the best way to organize a society is to bring the most benefits to the most people. Left leaning folks will harken to a socialist solution, right leaning-libertarian folks will want a small-government-let-the-market-take-care-of-it solution. Tony Blair is looking for the famous "third way" combining them both. I am just always wondering what is the best way to run things in order to improve the lot of everybody. That's why I like to read economic books and articles. Especially interesting to me is how developing countries can best develop and eliminate severe poverty. Thankfully we have seen some really tangible growth especially in places such as east Asia and can hopefully learn from those experiences how countries develop. But this article is interesting in that it talks about some of the benefits to an market based society that traditionally are seen as weaknesses. I assume some of you are like me and have questions on the social justice of capitalism and how our economy works, I just encourage you not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Really there is no other current alternative to a market based economy. There is not a country in the world that I know of that is clamoring to re-nationalize most its industry (yes there are isolated backlashes to poorly done privatization schemes-for example Bolivia-, but not a whole lot of people are still thinking..."hmmm...Communism, that is the way of the future!") So for me, the key is to work within the system to encourage social justice and promote opportunity. That is why I am always harping about farm subsidies and other forms of rich world protectionism that harm the poorest in the world. Anyway...I ramble and preach.

On another note. It has been like a raging inferno here the last couple days. Thankfully it has cooled down today, but this weekend I felt like Dante nearing the end of his journey. The whole no air-conditioning thing ceases to become a novelty after 3 days of high 90s in humidity and temperature.

PS. Always feel free to comment on my posts...especially if you disagree with them.

Sunday, November 28, 2004
We went on the most amazing boat ride yesterday. It was the first time that I REALLY felt like I was in the deep jungle. There are several little lakes, or cochas as they are called here, around Pucallpa. Most of the cochas are actually places where the river used to run but has now moved away leaving a long lake. The Lucas's, another missionary family here that we are friends with, took us out on their boat on Cashibo Cocha. The lake was very nice, but what was amazing was the Caño, which is a very small path through a jungle swamp that connects to Yarina Cocha (another larger lake). Depending on the time of year, you can boat through this path all the way to the other lake. I cannot do it justice by describing it. It reminded me of what you picture in your head as a jungle, but with water as opposed to ground. There were all kinds of different trees, reeds, birds, spiders, and much much more. The next time we go we will take pictures. It was probably the most beautiful place I have been around Pucallpa.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving is a little anti-climatic when you have to get up early and get to work, far from family and very far from the smell of a turkey baking. I was trying to decide what I will miss the most about Thanksgiving dinner (besides the people, of course!)...and I think that the fresh, warm rolls win. Although a turkey would be something to celebrate as well. We will probably be celebrating after work tonight at Renzo Cafe downtown Pucallpa, where we can get real turkey sandwiches.

It has been back to work this week after 11 wonderful days of R&R and travel with Sheralee who was here to visit while Mark was in the States. We traveled to the southern coastal area of Peru, where we saw lots and lots of sand, some fun islands and more birds than you can imagine, and some really amazing things in the town of Nazca. We flew in a little cessna over the famous Nazca lines, etched into a plateau a thousand years ago in bizarre geometric and animal shapes. Besides the terrible motion sickness in that crazy plane, it was a really cool thing to see. And so much better when shared with a good friend! I am so thankful for Sheralee´s visit. It was fun to share Pucallpa and our life here with a good friend. I feel like my batteries have been recharged. I don´t think I realized just how much Mark and I had missed being with people that know us well, who don´t stare at us funny, and who understand us without unusual amounts of efforts. Where would we be without friends? Thanks for coming, Sher! I will get some pictures of our trip on the website soon.

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your turkey!... and time with your friends and family even more!

Monday, November 22, 2004
Sorry about the big delay between postings. I was able to come back home for a few days for the wedding of my good friend Garrett Gunderson. As I only had a few days in Seattle I wasn't able to meet as many friends as I would have liked to, but that is the way of it I guess. I did have a great time, especially at the wedding which was a lot of fun. My sister Carrie gave us frequent flyer miles to make it possible for me to come home which was very nice.

My brother Jeff also came through big with computer parts for the computer lab at the Refuge. I brought back enough hard drives, memory, mice, and CDROMS to upgrade almost all the computers to Windows XP so that everybody is using the same operating system which is very cool. Jeff also donated a computer projector to Food for the Hungry which was very much needed in Lima. Now all we need is one for Pucallpa! Anybody got an old one you don't need? :) I was also able to get an FH laptop repaired for free in the US which is an answer to prayer. The laptop was not under warranty any more, but the weekend before I brought it to the repair place, the particular part I needed replaced was put on extended warranty because they had been having a lot of problems with it. It was a Toshiba, so next time I am in the market for laptops I am going to check out Toshiba.

I also brought home my laptop and it is now repaired and my folks are going to bring it back here in a month when they come for Christmas.

Now I am back home in the jungle which is nice because I am with Tricia again. Tricia was not able to come this time as there were only miles for one of us. Tricia's friend Sheralee came and visited her while I was in the US which worked out really well.

I was surprised at how easy the transition back to Pucallpa was. I was expecting it to be difficult, but it wasn't. I didn't really experience any culture shock going back to the US either. Everything there seemed normal, and coming back, everything here seemed normal too...just different. I did miss Peruvian food when I was in the states, especially pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken with french fries). mmmmmm... Well that is all for now. Will blog again shortly.

New Pictures are up over at!

Sunday, November 07, 2004
Ok, I got delayed in announcing the results in the name the iguana contest. A thousand apologies. Therefore, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the Japanese iguana sensation... Ichiro the Iguana. It doesn't rhyme, but it is an alliteration. That's something, right?

We will be trying to get pictures of Ichiro.


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