Saturday, August 27, 2005

Here is a more recent picture of the mom-to-be. Click on it for a larger picture.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Well I think I now know the type of storm that brought down the plane. We were in our house during lunch hour just sitting in the hammocks and it starts to rain. It begins raining pretty hard and then the wind picks up. But then all of a sudden Tricia looks at the property next to ours and all the trees just bend over. A super strong gust comes whipping through the property. I am looking across the lawn and all of a sudden I see the roof of my neighbors house just peel up and fly away. Four houses lost roofs. Thankfully all the students in the school that I live in were indoors and nobody was hurt. But very large roofs flew a 100 feet or more and landed largely intact. I have never seen anything like it. The wind lasted only for 2 or 3 seconds and that was it. The really weird thing was I ran back to the Refuge of Hope behind our house expecting to find carnage and lots of injuries because there were hundreds of people back there at the time and there was practically no damage. Thankfully the storm was localized to our property. As far as I know, nobody else in Pucallpa was affected. That is a big blessing because if the storm took off our roofs on relatively solidly constructed houses it would have just leveled everything in the communities. Our little house was mercifully saved. But two families and the teachers have lost their homes until a new roof can be put on. Pictures to follow shortly.

UPDATE: Added pictures. Just click on the picture for a full-size image.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Plane Crash in Pucallpa
At approximately 4pm EST a TANS (Peruvian carrier) flight went down on the landing approach in an intense wind and rain storm in Pucallpa, Peru. Even though it is only 1/2 mile from our house it is difficult to get details. But we know at this point there are survivors and fatalities as we have seen people being ferried to the main hospital in town. Approximately 120 people were on board. The plane landed about a 1/2 mile short of the runway in a populated community where Food for the Hungry, the organization I work for, is working. No word yet on numbers of fatalities on the ground.

One of the interesting things is that the DEA has a strong presence here in Pucallpa working on coca eradication and they are the ones doing the bulk of the helicoptering of injured people. They have several helicopters and are constantly flying over the house.

When the news came out, a request for help went out on the radio and practically the entire town went out to the crash site. I imagine it is complete and total chaos. The roads are jammed and blocked with people. I will continue to post whatever I hear.

UPDATE: Latest news reports say 40 dead. I will be surprised if that doesn't rise. Normally the TANS flight has between 100 and 120 people. It is a 737 with no first class seating.

UPDATE 2: The latest is that of the 125 on board, approximately 30 survived. This is still very premature and liable to change. I just spoke with an employee of Star Peru, the other airline that flies to Pucallpa and their flight landed 10 minutes before the TANS flight. He was at the airport and right after the Star Peru flight landed a sudden wind and thunderstorm appeared cutting visibility drastically. There was lightning, wind, and dust (anybody who has been to Pucallpa will recall the dust) and the plane just landed early. It does appear from the TV reports that it landed in a field and not a populated neighborhood which is good.

UPDATE 3: News reports say only 98 onboard. About 1/2 were going to Pucallpa and the other 1/2 were on their way to Iquitos, a jungle tourist destination. I heard the list of passengers which was read on TV and there were very few foreign-sounding names. TANS is not used as much by tourists as by Peruvians. It is operated by the Peruvian Air Force. We used to fly TANS but quit because on landing one of the panels (with the reading light and call button) came halfway loose and was hanging down.

UPDATE 4: I talked to another friend who is a pilot who landed a float plane a few kilometers from the crash site on a lake just a few minutes before the crash. He saw the storm that the plane flew into and said it looked pretty intense. There was a sizable hail storm as well with hailstones almost an inch in diameter.

The crash was pretty close into town, but in an area inaccessible to ground vehicles. Because everybody went out to the crash area, there was a big traffic jam as well. Fortunately the DEA helicopters were able to ferry the injured to the hospital. On all the TV coverage you can see the helicopters moving wounded. Without them I really don't know how they would have managed. It isn't like there are other helicopters here in Pucallpa.

UPDATE 5: I am seeing in news reports that the plane allegedly tried to make an emergency landing on a road. I don't know if that is correct or not, because it was in its final approach and lined up with the runway. It crashed no more then 3 km from the runway. Besides, there are not really roads wide or long enough where it crashed to be any help to a plane.

UPDATE 6: The latest word is that the pilot compensated (via flaps?) for severe wind conditions and then the wind just stopped and the plane just dropped short of the runway. I am not a pilot so I don't know if that is feasible or not. [Update: Apparently this condition is called a microburst and is definitely possible. Thanks Craig.]

Also, there was a nurses strike here in Pucallpa, but they all came back to work immediately when they heard there was a plane crash and the hospital had staff and capacity for the approximately 60 wounded from the crash. Our neighbor is a nurse and she went to the hospital to offer her services, but everything was under control and in order and they didn't need her. Pretty impressive considering how crazy the hospital is on a normal day.

UPDATE 7: The latest reports indicate 41 fatalities. I have also read that there were 11 Americans on the flight. That is a little surprising to me. It very well could be that they were headed to Iquitos.

From the morning newspaper it appears that the majority of the fatalities were toward the front of the plane which was incinerated. Survivor accounts indicate that the plane crashed angled down (nose first) and split into two pieces. As of last night, 57 survivors have been rescued out of approximately 100 on board.

For more information on Pucallpa check out our Pucallpa page.

Friday, August 19, 2005
Andy en la casa
My good friend Andy Liu is down visiting the heavenly vacation resort of Pucallpa. We are having a great time just chillin. I am realizing that being out of the country for two years I have missed a bunch of the latest trends. I have never even seen an iPod for example. It is really nice to have Andy down here. We've been talking a lot about entrepreneurship and how the business world can do its part to help end poverty. He brought down a book called "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits". It is pretty interesting. I am not far enough into it to really comment much on it. But it is really interesting so far.

Here's what I have been reading lately:

The Power of Productivity : Wealth, Poverty, and the Threat to Global Stability

Sun Tzu - The Art of War

Peru's President
"If shooting oneself in the foot were an Olympic sport, Alejandro Toledo would win the gold medal."

Friday, August 12, 2005
I was riding through town in a moto-taxi today and we almost ran over a big pig sitting in the main street. I had to give the dude credit. He wasn't moving for anybody. He had decided where he felt called to be and the middle of the street was it. Apparently his owner didn't have a problem with it as nobody was trying to get it out of the street. Come to think of it, nobody really was doing much of anything about it. It seemed normal to everyone.

I have often wondered what would not seem normal here in Pucallpa. What would be the thing that would make people really sit up and go "Whoa! What is that guy doing?!?!". Because I have not seen it yet. There's a naked guy that is always walking around town and nobody cares. So that is out. There's moto-taxis filled up with hundreds of chickens driving around. There's men dressed up as women in clown suits walking around selling candy. Pretty much everything goes here...

...including smoke. Apparently all the carboneros (people who burn wood to sell as charcoal) decided to set up camp right outside of town to do their burning because transportation costs have gone up and they are tired of paying to have the wood brought from the lumbermills (which are in town). So the last couple days I have been smoking for free. Good times.

We have a few people here visiting from FH USA. A couple guys from the record industry are here checking out what FH is doing. They are going to be part of FH's marketing effort and are looking at producing a CD with the proceeds going to FH. Along with them is a camera man who came and made a video of my class as well as video of a soccer game with a bunch of folks from the refuge. I love playing soccer back there. Some play with crutches, some on their hands and knees. It is pretty cool.

The team from Wisconsin left a few days ago. They were a great team and we had a fun time with the kids from the community of La Merced who came to a camp in Pucallpa for a week. It was great. The kids were in the swimming pool for hours on end and just loved it. It is fun to be a part of that. The name of the church is Blackhawk and it is in Madison Wisconsin. They are great folks and their church is really making a difference in the community of La Merced. They are part of a program called "Adopt a Community". The church sponsors a good percentage of the kids in La Merced and every year has been sending down a team to put on a camp for the kids where they have a great time and learn about how God wants them to grow up to their potential. Cool stuff.

Thursday, August 04, 2005
Suegros and Teams

Tricia's folks have been here visiting us so the blogging has been very light as you know. I do have some pictures of the mom-to-be that I want to post. She is definitely growing a nice little belly. You can't really see it in the pictures very well, but it is definitely there. I have been admonished almost daily to converse with the baby. That is of critical importance down here for some reason. I am not sure why. We go in for the second ultrasound in a couple weeks. We haven't decided if we are going to find out whether Cletus will be a boy or a girl. No headway on names either.

We got to do a bit of traveling with Tricia's folks down here. It was a lot of fun. We were able to go back to Macchu Picchu which never ceases to amaze me. It is pretty incredible.

On another note, the team from Blackhawk church in Madison Wisconsin is here again this year doing a camp for kids like they did last year. It has been a lot of fun. It is a great team and a great church. The church sponsors the community of La Merced and sends a team down every year as part of that sponsorship. It is called the Adopt a Community program and is a really cool thing.

Gotta run. Sorry for the long absence. We are well and Tricia is doing great. No major problems whatsoever.


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