Friday, July 27, 2012


In the past week I have done two loads of laundry, loaded the dishwasher, unloaded the dishwasher, seen the sun still out at 8 pm, spent time with grandparents, took a nap on Sunday afternoon and have been swimming at night.  This all might sound like normal stuff, but it’s all “new” to me!  I’m home, I’m back in good ol’ Colorado!  It’s great to be back, it’s wonderful to wear summer clothes, see my family, hear the breeze through the trees and more. 

But, it was a journey to get home.  I planned on leaving my Puno house at 10 am on Friday morning to take an hour combi ride to the nearest airport town, Juliaca.  But, on Thursday, shortly after saying goodbye to Trevor who was flying out that day, I got a call from him saying there were protestors at the airport and he was on his way to Arequipa, six hours away, to try and get a flight out from the airport there. 

At first I thought nothing of my flight the next day, I was worried for Trevor and started praying for him and his situation.  Then, I realized the strike could affect my flight on Friday afternoon.  I started making some phone calls and found out the strikers were planning on moving the strike to Puno the next day and it was likely I wouldn’t be able to get out of Puno to the airport in Juliaca.  So, I had to make a decision, I could either stay in Puno and try leaving town the next morning unsure of the strike and how it would affect traffic coming in and out of the city.  Or, I could leave Thursday afternoon and stay the night in Juliaca to fly out the next morning.  I decided to finish packing my bags that afternoon and get out of town.  I’ve seen strikes in Puno and I know how they block the town, they put rocks in the road, even start bonfires in the middle of the road, and march through the town.  I couldn’t risk not being able to get to the airport, jeopardizing not only my flight to Lima, but the rest of my flights home. 

So Franci and I lugged my bags downstairs, got a cab, and went to the Juliaca combi station.  On the way to the station, I called Chad and Amanda who were out in the country along with Pastor Herman and his wife.  Because of the situation and the fact they were an hour South of town while I had to travel an hour North of town, I called to say goodbye over the phone.  That was the hardest goodbye of all.  I really wanted to give them all hugs and a proper goodbye, but I was unable.  Crying in the taxi, on the phone, I said my goodbyes and started my journey home Thursday at 5 pm. 

We got to Juliaca just fine and since we have a new church in Juliaca, Geremias was able to get me a place to stay.  I stayed with Sandra, she’s my age with two kids and has a house right by the church and only five minutes from the airport.  Franci, Geremias and I spent some time conversing with Sandra and her mother over coffee and tea to warm up.  Sandra’s house is beautiful, but freezing.  By this time it was late and I had to say goodbye to Franci so she could get back to our room, now her room, in Puno.  I thought saying goodbye to Chad, Amanda, Thomas, Ella, Pastor and Pastora was hard.  Saying goodbye to Franci was hardest of all.  We’ve been glued together for almost two years.  Most days I loved her, other days I loved her but I didn’t like her.  But she has grown to be so very, very special to me.  So, we said our goodbyes and Franci left me in the cold house in Juliaca.  I wrapped myself in a fleece blanket, and wearing the clothes I had been wearing all day, along with my jacket and three pairs of socks, I went to sleep. 

The next morning, Friday morning, I woke up and Sandra’s mom cooked me breakfast.  She served me rice, french fries and two fried eggs for breakfast.  As I sat at the table trying to gulp down the plate of food, I thought of how ironic and poetic it was.  My first night in Peru was at Cristobal and Noemi’s house, a typical Peruvian home, living with people I didn’t know.  And now, here I was, in a typical Peruvian home, eating a typical Peruvian breakfast, on my last morning in the country. 

Geremias came over and took me to the airport, we wanted to make sure flights were normal for the day because if not, I was going to have to get on a bus to Arequipa and fly out of Arequipa later in the evening.  But, we went to the airport and there were no signs of protestors like there had been the day before, just police with helmets, guns and shields.  The airline company told me they were planning on keeping all the flights as scheduled.  So, we went back to Sandra’s house and Sandra does not have running water but I really wanted to at least wash my hair before I started the almost two day journey home.  So, her mom heated some water on the stove and took it in a bucket up to the roof for me to wash my hair in the ‘warm’ sun.

I got ready, repacked my bags and left for the airport, luggage in tow.  I said goodbye to Sandra and her mother and thanked them for their help and hospitality.  Then I said goodbye to Geremias and I was on my way.

I made it just fine to Lima airport and sat down with all my bags to wait for my next flight in 12 hours.   At one point, as I was walking through the airport, I heard someone call my name.  Come to find out, my friend Denise was also passing through the airport after a visit to Arequipa and she saw me walking by.  We spent some time chatting and waiting for the hours to pass by.  Finally, 3 am arrived and I was on the plane, ready for takeoff to Panama.  And strangely enough, I was in first class.  I have not idea how that happened, I got the cheapest tickets I could find, but I was riding first class with lots of leg room and special treatment. 

I went Lima to Panama, first class.  Then had about an hour in the Panama airport.  Got back on first class to ride to Miami.  Finally I was stateside and touching down was very emotional for me.  I arrived in Miami at about noon eastern time and my flight out wasn’t until 7 pm.  With seven hours to wait, I didn’t want to carry all my luggage around so after customs, I went straight to check-in and see if I could check my bags early.  The US Airways customer service representative was incredibly nice.  He first tried to see if I could check my bags early but then ended up getting me on an earlier flight with and earlier connection.  I thanked him and expressed how incredibly grateful I was for his help and went though security yet again and got on a flight to Charlotte.  From Charlotte, I got on another flight, the last one, and finally at 8 pm on Saturday evening I was home in Denver at DIA. 

It was a journey.  It was stressful to start.  But, God truly took care of me and blessed me on my way home.  First of all with no problems leaving Juliaca.  Second of all with first class seats.  And then getting home three hours ahead of schedule.  God is good.  And that’s what my Grandma Sailsbery told me when I went to see her on Monday.  She said, “God is good and [He] is what holds us up”.  That’s pretty significant considering she’s in the advanced Alzheimer's unit.

So as Grandma says, God is good.


Bags packed and ready to go.


Goodbye Puno.


In Sandra’s house with Sandra (left) and her mother (right).


Juliaca, Peru.


Lima, Peru.


With Denise in the Lima Airport.


Panama City, Panama.


Miami, Florida.


Charlotte, North Carolina.


And finally, 53 hours later, watching the sun set in Colorado!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Getting Real…..

Finally, the time has come to pack up and clean the house!  Tuesday’s are the start to our workweek and I started my day off normal enough, with a run then coffee and my Bible. 


But this morning was different, I stayed home while Franci went out on our regular visits.  I stayed home to scrub down our kitchen in preparation to leave.  Literally, there’s some gunk that I think only NASA could get off.  But, I left it as sparkling as possible, hopefully sparking enough for the owners who are coming into town tomorrow!


In the past two years, we’ve all learned to live a lot more frugal than in the states.  Not only do I freak out if I have to pay more than $1.50 (about S/. 4), for lunch, but also, we have been using the same broken mop bucket for over a year now.  The bucket broke almost immediately after buying it in January of 2011, and here we are, July 2012, using the same bucket with a bit of string holding it together.  The trick is, you have to put your feet on either side of the bucket to hold it in place while you squeeze out the mop without pushing down, just twisting.  Oh and, the mop stick broke a few weeks ago so now the stick on the mop only moonlights as the mop stick, it is actually the broomstick, which is also broken but taped up enough to function.

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After spending the entire morning, washing dishes, scrubbing every single tile, table, cabinet and surface in that kitchen, I was hungry, it was time to stop for lunch.  I started coughing the other day, I don’t want to get sick!  So, I made myself some quick and easy egg drop soup to soothe my throat.


Now Franci was home and ready to help me tackle what we call the “Impact Room”.  This is where we put all of our impact event supplies such as the sound equipment to show the Jesus Film, puppets for kids festivals, Bibles and books to give out, etc, etc.  This room has become a disaster!  We had to get in there to organize and clean.  Franci did a good first round sort while I ate my lunch.  Then, I went down and got down to the nitty gritty and finished the job.  Check out the before and after….

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Now, I’m going to rest a bit before prayer service tonight in Yanamayo.  But here’s a sneak peak at the mess I need to organize, clean and pack this week…..


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Thursday, July 5, 2012

What to Wear……

Since I’m wrapping up my time here in Puno, I’ve been carrying around my camera and having Franci snap pictures of me with all our friends and contacts around town.  I’ve been carrying my camera around for a week now and I’ve realized that you can’t even tell these pictures are taken on different days.  And there’s a reason for that, it’s because I basically wear the same thing everyday.  I will explain how I get dressed but first, take a look at the week in review…..



Sunday Morning:


Sunday Night:










Ok, so there’s the evidence.  I basically wear that blue coat, a pair of jeans and boots, which admittedly are 13 years old!  So remember, as you sweat or hear your air conditioning kick on, I’m in the middle of winter in the Andes and there is no such thing as heating and our job requires us to be outside most of the day, but being inside is rarely much better.  Basically everyday, I wear the same thing, or should I say, I wear the same basic layers daily.  So what on earth do I wear under that blue coat?!

First, I start off with leggings, socks and a tank top.  That’s layer 1.


Next, I add wool socks, jeans and a long sleeve shirt.  That’s layer 2.


After layer 2, comes layer 3.  A hoodie or sweater and the infamous 13 year old boots I wear daily.  After layer 3, now I am ready to walk around the un-heated house.


Then comes….you guessed it, layer 4.  This is the addition of the well used blue jacket.  This must be put on before leaving the house.


With layer number 4 on, I can walk around town comfortably as long as the sun is out and there’s not too much wind.  But, when the sun starts to set or if it’s a cloudy day, then, its time to add layer 5.  This layer requires me to take off the blue coat, put on a light blue fleece underneath and add my favorite fingerless gloves and a hat, I have many to choose from.


But, when we are up in Yanamayo (a table mountain that sits pretty at 13,200 feet) at night, I need more still.  So, yep, I break out layer number 6.  Oh, and I have to carry layers number 5 and 6 with me in my backpack so I’m ready to put them on when needed.  Anyway, layer number 6, the last and final consists of cozy leg warmers, complete with saddle straps and a large scarf I use as a skirt to help keep out the cold.


So, that’s why I look the same pretty much everyday.  I change the color of the tank top, shirt and sweater/hoodie, but basically, I wear the same exact thing everyday.  And by the end of the day, I’m wearing, two pairs of socks, leggings, jeans, a “skirt”, two shirts, a sweater/hoodie, two jackets, gloves, a hat, leg warmers and boots.  You have no idea how excited I am to be sweating at 8 pm in just a few weeks!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Well, my time here in Puno is coming to a close and as we realize we only have a few short, busy weeks left, we are frantically trying to squeeze as much in as possible.  That being said, Franci, Chad, Garren and I decided to take our chances at crossing the border to Bolivia on Monday.  We have heard over and over that North Americans must pay $135 just to cross the border into Bolivia.  Therefore, for the past year and a half, we haven’t even attempted to visit the county only 2-3 hours away from our “home” here. But, recently, we were told that we could pass the border through the border town, Yunguyo, without paying like if we were to pass through the more well known, Desaguadero.
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I’m pretty sure this job already requires an adventurous spirit!  But we are always looking for some more adventure so the four of us got up early on Monday morning, hopped on a combi for a two hour drive to Yunguyo.  We arrived to Yunguyo and it was cold.  Seriously, it was rain/snowing and windy, burrr.  After a quick bathroom trip for us girls, we asked around and found out we needed a taxi for the five minute drive to the border.  Piling in the taxi, we rode to the border.  Not knowing what was going to happen, unsure of anything really, we started walking up the hill out of Peru.  We got to the top of the hill, and saw a sign that said “Welcome to Bolivia”, in Spanish of course.  Shivering and trembling, we stopped to snap a few pictures.  Still unaware, we just kept on walking, following our fearless leader, Garren, we walked right through the fence that says “stop”, in English, oddly enough.  We walked through like we owned the place and nobody said a thing, just like that, we were in Bolivia! 
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Right there waiting for passengers was a combi headed to Copacabana, our destination.  Riding on the combi we laughed at the easiness of our entrry, no questions, no passports, nothing.  We had the whole day ahead of us to explore Copacabana and we were pumped.  Too bad it was drizzly, cloudy and cold.  Despite the weather, we arrived in Copacabana, changed some Peruvian soles to Bolivian bolivianos.  We walked to the docks, checked out some tourist shops, went to the plaza, checked out the Catholic church, paid to climb a hill and see the Inca Gallows, ate lunch in the market and ate fried street food.  That was just in the morning!  Then, in the afternoon, we got on a boat and rode the hour and a half journey to the Isla del Sol (Sun Island).  There, we paid again, to climb up stairs and explore the island a tiny bit.  We only had an hour on the island but we made the best of our time before we had to get back on the boat and head inland. 
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We got back to Copacabana, bought souvenirs, got a taxi back to the border and walked back into Peru.  As we were walking back into Peru, a guy from the immigrations office came out yelling at us, trying to get our attention.  I looked at Chad and Garren and we just kept walking, pretending like we didn’t hear him yelling.  We tried to get a taxi but before we could, he caught up to us and told us we had to check in first.  We went into the immigration office and Franci did all the talking.  And let me just say, I love Franci and her adventurous spirit.  She truly does love a good adventure as long as she doesn’t get wet and isn’t in danger.  Anyway, we showed the guy our residency cards and he said we should have stopped in the office in the morning before leaving the country.  We had no idea!  He was not happy with us but there was nothing he could do, he just told us that next time we have to go through immigrations first.  After Franci asked what could be the dumbest question in the world, “Do they have to pay anything now?”, the guy let us go without making us pay anything and without any further questions.
So we made it to Bolivia and back.  I’m pretty sure we were there illegally, but, who cares, we had an awesome adventure and got to see another country, if only from sunrise to sunset.