I began traveling to the US on September 8 to visit Doug´s mother. Doug´s mom passed away about 2 am on the 9th, so I was not able to see her. Her quality of life had deteriorated rapidly after being diagnosed with liver cancer six weeks ago. She had said she didn´t want to live if she couldn´t have a good quality of life. She was not afraid of dying. Thankfully, she didn´t suffer long and is now at peace.
I returned from my trip to the US Saturday morning. I left Denver early on Thursday morning and was in Lima at midnight. Friday I took the bus north. It sure felt good to be home.
The day I left I (the 9th) we were in the village of El Ñuro with the elders of the local church. We had been approached a couple of weeks prior to this by the president of the church. He was soliciting help in building the addition to their church. The current population of El Ñuro exceeds 1500 and the church is too small to accomodate their needs.
We went up to see the church and get a feel for their needs. The church itself was a simple structure with steel trusses spanning its width. The windows along each side displayed stained glass windows and it was very beautiful-even though it was much simpler and less ornate than most catholic churches we´ve seen here. The last wind storm we had had taken a small section of the corrigated tin roof off.
Outside, they had begun construction of their addition. There are four walls in various stages of completion with a doorway. There is no floor and no central columns. They didn´t have a plan for the construction, but had ideas for what they wanted. For example, they wanted the roof to slope away from the entrance so the rains could be channeled to a causeway carrying it away for the village.
Doug immediately began to take measurements and to ask questions. Did they want steel trusses in the addition as well? What was their thinking about the roof? What kind of structure did they envision? I translated as best as I could but pretty soon Doug and the elders were using a brick to draw on the outside wall. In relatively short order, we had a general idea of what they wanted. Doug said he´d think about it, draw up a plan and run it by an engineer.
It was nice to interact on a personal level with the residents of El Ñuro. We are hoping to be able to contribute and support the community and become a part of it. Looking at the village and their homes-compare them to ours and you´d think we live on different planets. Hopefully it won´t be us and them, but we can find some common ground to share.
Here a few stories to catch you up on what has been happening here.
Doug was in the kitchen one evening while Juana was cooking. Doug noticed she was sawing away at whatever she was attempting to cut. He asked to see the knife and put an edge on it with the steel. She took it back and was quite pleased to feel the difference. Sanchez came in at that point and inspected the edge of the knife and then promptly disappeared. He was soon back with a handful of knives from their kitchen; all in need of a good edge.
Koki and his family were here for a few days. They all enjoyed the beach, the pool and the house. Their peaceful visit was interupted when Doug stepped off a rock into the water at the beach and was stung by a sting ray in the arch of his foot. It was extremely painful, and Doug just wanted to put his foot in a bucket of hot water. Koki thought he needed to go to the clinic. He consulted with Sanchez who suggested they go to the home of the president of the water for the village. He cut open a lime and spread the juice all over Doug´s foot. He didn´t feel any appreciable difference in the pain level, so they went to the clinic. The doctor at the clinic immediately put Doug´s foot in a bucket of hot water! As long as he kept his foot in hot water the pain was tolerable. He kept it soaking for the rest of the day and wrapped his foot in hot rice bags for the night. By the next morning the pain had disappeared.
Stormy and the kitten have made huge progress toward a peaceful existence in the same house. Doug would make Stormy sit by his side and stay when the cat was around. He would make her stay and gave her lots of praise for doing so. I´ve actually seen them nose to nose without any hissing, spitting or barking. It looks like a stand-off, and eventually the cat will look or wander away. On occasion Stormy will still nip at her when the cat isn´t paying attention. They certainly aren´t friends, but not total enemies anymore. The cat initiates some of the drama when Stormy is quiet by jumping at her with her back arched, hair on end, and hissing. It´s a quick attack, instantaneously over and the cat is off to other things.