Friday, May 8, 2015

2015 Mayo

May day.  Did you hear the one about the sink-o de mayo?  If not let me know. ☺☻

On Monday about 4:00 p.m. Vicky came into the room saying unintelligible gibberish, finishing with, "Come on!"  So I ran after her, following her outside.  There we found our neighbors looking up at our roof.  As we exited the house I looked up and back to see fireworks coming out of the pipe where the electric wires enter the house from the telephone pole.  There were loud pops and flashes for about 10 minutes.  The other end of the wire at the pole popped loose and was hanging on another wire, to end the fireworks.  Our neighbors (the owners) called the fire department and the electric company.  They came quickly, looked things over and left.  We had to leave for some appointments - there wasn't anything we could do, but we now had no power to the house.
About an hour I got a call from Br. Tono Barrios, who works maintenance for the church.  Our owner had called him.  He told us he had gone to the house and would be over at 8 in the morning to fix things.
The next morning, Tues. eight o'clock comes and no Tono.  I wait till 9:30 and call him.  He is far away in another city and can't help us.  We call the electric company and they tell us there is an order for someone to come to the house, but they can't tell us when it will happen.  We have to go out anyway, so we went to the electric company in person to see if we could find out anything else.  Nope, only that there was an order to do the work (we thought).  So we go back to the apartment to wait.  About noon a young guy on a motor cycle shows up, but all he does is take out his little phone and take pictures of the damage.  I was getting frustrated, along with Luis, our owner.  He said he would be back to fix it, but needed to get the materials.  So we wait for him to return, not knowing when he would come.  Here you cannot leave your house unattended, unlocked.  You don't let anyone into your house unless you are there.  So we felt tied down.  We did a lot of reading and prep.  Finally at 6 pm he shows up with the wire and a new meter (the old one got fried - and it was actually the cause of everything).  But since it was late he was just going to drop off the material and come back in the morning.  Luis and I got upset.  I told him we had waited all day for him to show up, and now he comes without the tools he needs to get the job done.  2 days without power and you haven't done one thing, I told him.  Luis started calling people he knew.  The guy then said he would go get his things and return.  I asked how long that would be.  He gave a vague answer, and I asked specifically how many minutes till  he returned.  He said 15-20.  I told him I would give him 20.  He returned 45 minutes later.  3 hours later at 10:30 he finished (it gets dark here at 6:30).  He started at the pole, working with live wires in the dark.  Then we pulled the wires to the house and he hooked them up to the meter.  He tore out the old meter and behind it was all black and charred wiring.  That's when we knew that the drama was not over yet.  We needed to get an electrician to put in new wires from the meter to the power box in the house.
That took another day.  The electrician came and said he would have power to the house in about an hour.  It took all day.  One setback after another, but he was a good worker and kept at it.  Finally about 4:00 pm we had power.
During this last day Vicky cleaned out the fridge and tossed the things that had gone bad.  So now we have a clean fridge with power to it. ☺  And it only took 3 days.  As long as it lasts 3 months it will be okay (we will be home then).


Usually it is so overcast and cloudy that we don't see the sunset.

Pulling into Pajapita, on our way to teach 2 lessons.  This is 30 minutes from our house.  There are about 180 active people in the branch - more than any ward in the stake.

Last week Pres. Ruiz released his first counselor, Brother Maldonado, who had served well for 4 years.  His new first counselor is Brother Maldonado, his younger brother.

And the sisters.  Sister Maldonado is Stake Relief Society President.

Here is a video showing our favorite tree.  We call it the S tree.
Don't pay attention to anything you hear.  We listen to audio books as we travel from place to place,

I set apart Elder Barrios (center).  The  next day he was in the MTC in Guatemala City, headed for a mission in Nicaragua.

Vicky calls this the Gingerbread House.

Friends We Have Made Along the Way

Sister Velvet with daughter Molly

Regina is a fine young woman with a returned missionary boyfriend

Our favorite tree.  We call it the "S" tree.
It is the last one on the left.

Nice flowers
We went to a banana plantation with the zone on Monday.  Here is the entrance to about 2500 acres of bananas.  As we arrived our stake president said, "Welcome to the sauna.  We walked around inside the plantation.  Under the banana trees there is no breeze. Very hot and humid.

The very bottom part that looks like a beet is built like an onion, with lots of layers.  Inside each layer are little tiny bananas.  Each layer will open and you can see the bananas above.

This is the inside of the pod where things begin,  Roberto Valdez is one of the top managers, and our Stake President in Coatepeque.

They build these metal rail systems in the groves, then hang the cut bananas on it and pull it to the packing plant.

Even before the cut them off the plant, rubber dividers are placed between each layer to protect them from bumps and bruises.  To be shipped to the US they cannot have any defects.  If they have defects they get shipped to El Salvador, but for only 1/15th of the US price.

The bananas arrive at the packing plant.

They are cut up in bunches and put on trays.

Then they run through a water bath, then packed in boxes, then the boxes are stacked in a refrigerated trailer and hauled to the other side of Guatemala.  Then they are shipped by boat to New York.  The process is continual.

These are the rejects that will go to El Salvador.  No boxes, no refrigeration, just stacked nicely.
Here are the bananas arriving from the field.

Afterward we went to the coast, only about 5 miles away.  There was a small place with a 2nd level, open to the air and ocean breeze.  Very pleasant after being in the "sauna" of bananas trees.  They served us lunch here.

Some of the missionaries walked 500 yards to the beach.

This comes from Akatzin Lopez, from Woodburn.  He is serving a mission in North Carolina.
Nice pic ☺☻

It was Michel's 4th birthday.  She got a Pirate Dora the Explora.
Her sister is Leah.  Their parents were baptized last year.

When they invited us to the party I took my violin so they could sing Happy Birthday.

Here is the whole family.

Sister Laiche helped baptize the Rodriguez family a year ago.  She is going home to Peru next week.

Their Little Baby Wagner.

As we finished the visit the missionaries got in a "taxi" to go to their appointments.

Sister Galland (from LA) and sister Laiche.
 On Saturday we went with the youth in the Stake and their leaders to a place called Chicaval.  Here are some pics from google.  It is an old volcano whose crater has filled with water.  It is not deep, very shallow with some carp in it.  It is considered a sacred site by the local Mayans, so no fishing nor swimming,
Where we stated from was further down than the picture shows.

Here we are at the beginning.  The way up was very steep.  Took us about 1 1/2 hours to get to the top.

This was the halfway point.  The trail is ahead thru the trees.

On the way up we took the trail to the observatory deck on the ridge, then went down 600 steps to get to the lake.

The local folk bring flowers for offerings, and plant them on the shore in the water.

There were 70-80 people total.  This outting was in commemoration of the restoration of the
Aaronic Priesthood.  Here they are just getting the program ready.
We decided to leave at this point and head back.
Within 15 minutes it started to sprinkle.  Within 5 minutes it was more steady, and 5 minutes later it became a big downpour.

Question:  What do you do when it starts to rain in the middle of your hike?
You keep walking ☺☻
We walked for over an hour in the downpour.  At first it wasn't bad, but the longer it rained the more water was running down the dirt road, like a flood, so it made walking difficult.
But we made it.

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