Friday, July 09, 2004

Tarapoto Peru July 9, 2004

Rhonda (5’1’) with the Markham Woods Manaratha Group

Friday, this is the last work day. This has been a day of stresses and many rewards. The screws for the roof arrived from Lima yesterday. Today the roof went on. Tomorrow our group will worship with the church of Lamas inside the new church building.

VBS - What a day! Approx. 230 children! 50ish in the a.m. 180ish in the p.m.! We were surprised to have 57 come on the bus up from the Quechua Indian village. The VBS is down the hill from the new church, in a rented hall which is a good sized single room. Yes, you could say it was a madhouse. But it was not as bad as you think it was.

This has been a wonderful site to be working in. We have had the privilege of interacting with the neighborhood, the local church members helping in the VBS, the Maranatha workers as well as the people here at the Niles Hotel. Today we said our official good byes and thanks to everyone except to the church family. That will be tomorrow.

Tonight, many of us are going to take the 3 wheel open motocars and join 5,000 others at the coliseum for the first night of a major evangelistic series. The sky has opened up with heavy rain. As I set here in the room there is water coming in 8 feet into the room under the door to the hall. The buildings do not have a clear distinction as to what is on the inside and what in on the outside, even in the nice hotel. There is nice furniture and paintings in the hall, but it is open to the outside.

Yesterday, after lunch the bus took us all to the Indian village. They performed a dance, told a bit about the community, and provided great photo moments and opportunity to purchase items. The best part was interacting with the women as they tended to their chores outside their adobe house doors. They had never seen hair like Sam’s. They commented that Sam was taller than his mom. David Garcia explained that in our country, I was considered short. We thought we would play a trick on them by calling Chelsey Appel (6’1’) over and telling them (for a while) that she was my daughter. They were shocked. They got a big laugh and said she was as tall as the church we were building. This visit may have been why so many children lined the streets in the village, waiting for the bus to take them to VBS.

This is the last transmission for Trapoto......

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Tarapoto Peru July 6, 7, and 8

Many kids at VBS no school on Tuesdays. I took film photos of VBS kids to give to them on Friday about 5 rolls had them developed at a place around the corner. Not as good as I would have liked but they looked nice in the display that Margaret and Stephanie set up. Walking down to VBS we were invited in this lady’s backyard where she was baking it was quite a site. Flies everywhere she was mixing this dough on this old dugout table that could have been 100 years old. She had a large adobe fire place to cook in it looked like a pizza oven.

Micky is the hit of the neighborhood he is singing and yelling Opah! The kids all go by and yell “Micky” and “Opah!”

In the evening they are cooking supper on the street. Chicken feet and all the lady laughs when Rhonda squeals at the sight of chicken feet in her bowl.

More people sick on Wednesday RS, FS, and FN. I am also not feeling well yet. I am staying back at the hotel and will take a motorcar to Lamus at about 11 this morning. The entire group is going to the Indian village after lunch which is Pizza today.

There are worries now that we might not get the church finished. The roofing material has not arrived and they walls are not up all the way. Only one and a half days left. Everybody is in good spirits though.

Bye for now

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


IMG_7227 (Small)
Originally uploaded by jeffus3.
Lamas Peru


IMG_7391 (Small)
Originally uploaded by jeffus3.
Matilda 96 years old
Lamas Peru

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Tarapoto Peru July 5, 2004, Monday

Today was the second workday at the building site and first day for the VBS.

The Church - The blocks on all four sides are almost to the top of the windows. There was light rain after lunch for about 45 minutes. Then bright sunshine mixed with low nearby clouds. It is much hotter than we had expected. High 80’s.

We had 4 people down and out today. One unnamed soul stayed back near a bathroom this morning, but caught a ride to Lamas (about 30 minutes from Tarapoto) in the afternoon. Three of our young people who were all full of life and very busy working at the site yesterday (Sunday) were laid low and caught hired vehicles back to the hotel mid-day. This was CB, CV and SJ. When the group arrived back at the Nilas this evening, we were happy, especially their parents, to verify that they had indeed been delivered.

Lamas is a terraced mountain town. On the lower of the slopes is where the Quechua Indians live. On Sunday a group of us went down to the village and invited them to the VBS and let them know that we would come with the bus the next afternoon. They were waiting for us. 27 excited but well behaved children along with Virginia, a 59 year old grandmother that we had meet on Sunday loaded up with us and we were off up the steep hill to the rest of the town. Virginia only speaks Quechua. On Sunday her daughter translated from Spanish; Janice Stephens translated from English.

Virginia’s daughter was sick today. She was back in the house (windowless adobe, dirt floors) in bed. They were also very happy to see us for they needed to buy medicine and they had not been able to change the $7.00 US that Denise had used for her purchase yesterday. Janice had change and bought back the US money. veryone enjoyed the program, even Virginia who sat there in her complete native costume.

As we were pulling off in the bus this afternoon leaving the site, there was a full high arched rainbow. Some of us were tempted to think that you have seen it all when you have seen a rainbow over the Andes.

Breakfast is at 6:30 tomorrow. The bus leaves at 7. We will see what tomorrow brings.

Gladys, we delivered your message to Fred and Mrs.Webb, your’s to George.


Amazing things seen on TV while convalescing from an unexpected cleansing of the body. Here on South America they have a product to sell that is truly amazing. The Conture Body wrap. All you do is rub the great smelling lotion on your belly and put on this tube top like device and presto your are transformed to a slim and youthful you. Not sure of the price but seems worth the price what ever it is.

Last night on the bus ride I also saw an American flag that was being used as a table cloth,

I was also glade that I was not going to visit the hospital today as a patient. My sickness was only the result of eating a tamale that had some hidden egg of which I am allergic.

We delivered photos to some of the neighbors around the church today. They seemed to enjoy having a recent image of themselves to display on their wall. Tomorrow my assignment is to try to take photos of the 150 kids that show up for VBS. Will have to use film instead of digital because of the cost for digital prints 4 sole instead of 0.60 sole for film.

Bye for now

Monday, July 05, 2004

Tarapoto Peru July 4th

Tarapoto Peru July 4, Sunday

God Bless America. We sang this song on the bus on the way to the first day of work at the job site. The bus ride to Lamas is about 30 minutes. Everyone was in a single bus today, complete with the entire center aisle filled. No keeping the center clear. Safety is a different concept here. The town streets and roads are full of motor bikes (2 wheels) but more interesting are the motor cars (3 wheels) taxis. We have not seen a single helmet or accident either.

We have seen many very interesting things. A slower live. These people have so little. I think of all my junk back in Florida and wonder, why do I think I need it all.

Everywhere you look, it begs to be photographed. Beautiful people and smiles. Up at the job site we are the town’s current attraction. People come and stand in the road watching the oddity. They drive by slowly to see the swarm of giants putting up this church. The place is noisy with the cement mixer, the block cutting saw and the rebar saw and the air is full of dust. They are watching us and we are watching them. In the back yard of the house immediately next door to the church we watched a cock fit this afternoon around 5 when we were trying to get these much too eager people to stop working and go eat. Earlier in the day the woman of the house was squatting on the ground washing clothes in a wash pan. At the end of the day, back at our quite nice A/C’d hotel room, during my cold shower, along with the where is the hot water thoughts, I also thought that most people in the world have never and will never have a hot shower.

We have 6 rows of block up on one-half of the front and down one side and the rear. On the other side, we have the first row. The construction bossman, Chuck Poole, tells us that the first day is the slowest, when everyone is finding their teams and niches.
Rhonda Jeffus with Markham Woods Maranatha Group

Random thought from Dan:

I heard my first dog bark tonight in Peru. Dogs don’t seem to bark in Peru they don’t jump up on people either. They don’t run after cars. There ribs are showing and they don’t seem to show much life at all.

I have learned that to really experience Tarapoto you must ride the bus hanging out of the door. Inside the bus you don’t smell the road side cafĂ© (just a table set up along the side of the road with a few chairs and maybe a cover). You can’t see the people and you are not riding as they do. Mike and Richard I now know what they do with those trucks they send to South America. They convert them to people carriers. They remove the beds and put on a flat bed with a cage around the 4 sides. Then they pack about 25 people inside and drive for hours and hours along bumpy roads going who knows where.

We took a man to a hospital here in Tarpaoto he was from Lamas and lives near the church. He had various problems and needed to go to the hospital but had no way to get there. After dropping the crew off at the hotel Hernan and I along with the bus driver went to the hospital about 15 minutes away up a dirt road. Computers are not a necessity for a hospital here in Peru. The ER was rather small with green tile on the walls then a red stripe around the room. The upper half of the room was white. The waiting room had no chairs only 3 wheel chairs for the patients. Visitors waited outside. There were 3 room children, women, and men. There was somebody there that had a broken arm that was in a splint. I would say that ever bed was full maybe 10. The hospital service is free but not the medications. We were given the prescriptions and had to go the pharmacy at the corner to get them filled they gave us the drugs and we took them in to the nurses.

We also went to an Indian village down the hill and meet some beautiful children that we invited to Vacation Bible School.

Bye for now Dan

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Tarapoto Peru July 3, 2004

What a day we have had. We were to leave the hotel at 8:30 am for our trip to the Blue Lagoon. The busses arrived at that time two busses (two minivans with 4 rows of small seats that would hold 4 Peruvians each. We are not Peruvians and there were 38 of us big Americans. They finally brought another bus.

We left at 9 am on a 3 hour trip to the blue lagoon. Twelve km into the trip the 3rd bus broke down. It seemed to have a dirty fuel filter. It had been changed yesterday. After about 30 to 40 minutes repairs were made and we proceeded up the road about 1 km. The same thing happened again. After another 30 minutes it was repaired again.

The paved road lasted for about the first 8 km. This was the main highway from Tarapoto to Lima 630 km to the south. This road was like no other road you have ever been on. (Except made you Uncle Bob, but this lasted for 40 km not half a mile to your house) The rocks and ruts were unbelievable. Thirty-eight km into our journey we came to the river crossing. This was using 3 long canoe like vessels about 30 feet long that were held together by the platform that the bus was driven up on. There were 2 young men in their teens that bailed the water out of these boats. We loaded up the busses one at a time and crossed the river. Sonny this river was about as wide and fast as the Mississippi River at Cannel Street ferry in New Orleans. This crossing took about 30 minutes to get all 3 busses across the river. Eighteen km to go it is now about noon. We arrive at the armed entrance to the village of Sauce, The bus driver tells the guards that we are tourists and the drop the chain and let us in,

As we start to drive through the village we cause quiet a stir. A three piece band consisting of clarinet, base drum and snare drum starts escorting us through the village. We drive around the square and down to the lake. There we see the boats that are to take us on our tour of the lagoon. These boats look like the boats in a James Bond movie in Hong Kong or some were they have 9 horse power lawn mower engines with a propeller shaft sticking out the back like in this movie. The lake is beautiful and the ride is very peaceful. After a 20 minute ride we are at the far end of the lake and its time for our picnic lunch. The ride back is just as beautiful. After boarding the busses again we arrive at the armed guards again. Seems that the village is a money making business we sign posted says the we will have to pay 30 Soles per bus (1 Sole = 35 cents.) the bus driver argues for about 10 minutes here says that he will only pay 50 Soles for all three buses. They finally let us through. Turns out that the bus driver is from this village.

We cross the ferry again it is now 5:45 the sun goes down at 6:02 we still have 38 km to go about 2. hours. We go 1 km the bus we are in break down the bus will not go in 1st or 2nd gear only 3rd and 4th. Not good for going se slow up and down bumpy road. The other bus has a low tire and then also change that. The larger of the 3 buses has to pull us up that side of this mountain 4 or 5 km. It is dark now. We can see the southern cross in the sky. We finally arrive back at the hotel at 9 pm after putting in 12 hours. Disney World has nothing on this experience.

Seven AM breakfast tomorrow leave for the job site at 7:30


Dan, Rhonda, and Sam

Friday, July 02, 2004

Arrival in Tarapoto, Peru

We arrived in Tarapoto today July 2. We are staying on the 7th floor of the Hotel Nilas no elevator. The weather here is warmer than in Lima. The flight was about 1 hour and 20 minutes the guide book says that it is a 24 hour bus ride!

When we arrived in Lima we discovered that 7 of our bags had stayed in Miami. After hours of filling out forms we were finally able to leave for the airport about midnight local time which is Eastern Standard Time (no daylight savings time). The bags would arrive in the morning on the 4AM flight It was about a 40 minutes ride into Lima with no traffic. There are hotels near the airport at least not that an American would stay at. The hotel was nice the beds were nice.

The flight that we were to take to Tarapoto was to leave at 7:15 but while at the airport last night we found out that it would be delayed until 9:00 the was good news because now we would not have to get up until 5:30.

The weather was cloudy when we got up and it was still dark. We had a continently breakfast with 3 kinds of fresh juices (melon, mango, and some other fruit) rolls, jelly and cheese.

It was raining on the way to the airport. We drove a bit of the Pan-American Highway down the coast saw some surfers the waves were probably 4 to 5 feet very close in to shore.

The flight to Tarapoto went with out incident. We arrived at the hotel about noon. Took our bags to the room then it was time for lunch. We had navy beans and rice, salad, cauliflower, and fried plantains. It was very good. We then rode up to the site of the church we are building. Picture attached is of the church site the other picture is also in Limas. It is about a 20 to 30 minute bus ride to Limas from Tarapoto. Lots of rice fields along the way.

Tomorrow we are taking a bus trip the Blue Lagoon it’s about 3 hours away. Steve says we will be crossing a river on a pontoon bridge.

I’ll send a picture later.

Bye for now

Dan, Rhonda and Sam