Greetings from the Amazon Rainforest... so much to say and so little time! I´ll try to be fast...
|Getting off the plane at the Iquitos airport! |
Left to Right: Hna Gillingham, Hna Briggs, Hna Dickman, me, Hna Fink.
Two seconds after this picture was taken, we all put our hair up cause it was so hot!
My trainer´s name is Hna Tituaña. She is from Ecuador, has been in the field for 7 months, and has THIRTEEN siblings, who are all members of the church too. We are also opening an area (I´m still not a hundred percent sure what that means) but basically we´re taking the place of two elders and we are starting from scratch. Basically we spent this past week just trying to find the homes of all the previous investigators and members, so that´s been rough. Back to Hermana Tituaña.. she is super nice and friendly... and she speaks 0 english. So its been really, really hard this week because I can never fully express what I want to say. Also I went from spending all day every day with 9 of my best friends in the CCM ... to spending all day and every day with someone I can`t even really talk to. It´s been very lonely. We´re also the only Hermanas in our zone, so she is basically the only other girl I can talk to. It´s been really, really, rough but I´ve had to learn to enjoy it.
|Me and Hermana Tituaña ... my trainer!|
|Hermana Tituaña, and Raisea (A young woman in our ward who comes teaching with us all the time. |
She is super sweet and always tries to explain things to me in Spanish, even though I never understand!)
There is a whole different culture down here.
Like we´ve been teaching, and at least five different women have just started breast feeding... right in front of us. Also, a lot of the kids are just in shock by me... one of the recent converts, Adolfo, has two little girls, every time they see me... they come up and just start petting my arm hahaha. One time I passed a kid on the street and he started laughing, ran inside his house and yelled, "I saw a gringa!!" One time during a lesson, two chickens just walked right in, and no one seemed to think it was strange, except me. The houses here are all right next to each other, so if your neighbor is watching something on TV, you can hear like two houses down. So one time we were saying a prayer with an investigator, and Centuries by Fall Out Boy just started blasting in the background. It was super hard for me to focus on the prayer cause that´s actually one of my favorite songs... Anyways, it´s things like this that keep me happy and laughing despite never understanding what people are saying.
I´m in the Secada ward in the Nuevo de Octubre stake, which is just down the street from the Iquitos airport if anyone wants to look it up on google maps. I'm basically living in one of the poorest parts of the whole mission. When we got to our apartment the first night, I was like "I have to live here????" but then we went and visited other members and then I was like "wow, i`m really privileged to get to live here".
Lots of people don`t have a floor, its just dirt that´s been walked on enough that it's hard. No one has any insulation, so whatever temperature it is outside, it's the same inside. My apartment has fans, and that´s way more than lots of other people. The only roads that are paved are the main ones. The rest are all a mixture of dirt and mud and trash. They´re okay to walk on, except when it gets rainy, and then you're just walking through mud. I don´t have any shoes that aren´t covered in dirt, haha. I actually don´t know how some people live down here, but they do! It´s kinda funny though because they live in like these shacks, but they all have cellphones and TVs and radios.. so it´s a third world country, but also not?
The ward here is also super strange.. basically everyone here is a member, but 90% of them are inactive. The ward has 1,005 members (they told me that number in Spanish, so it could be wrong) but there was only 225 at church on Sunday. Hna Tituaña said that this was the largest ward she´s seen in her whole mission. They are all such nice, friendly people. I´m so honored to be here in Peru with them, I just wish I could actually talk to them.
Oh also fun fact- so I read two blogs of girls in Iquitos before I came here, one of them is Hna Benyo who trained Hna Tituaña, so she´s my grandma! hahaha, and the other is Hna Jimenez who happens to be my sister training leader, and also Hna Fink´s companion! She is the sweetest person ever, and it´s so nice to have her, especially since she speaks English.
That also reminds me- when we go to email, everyone who is serving in the Nueve de Octubre stake all emails at the same place, so even though we´re in different zones, i get to see Hna Fink, Hna Gillingham, and Hna Dickman every Monday! Also when there are stake activities, like the general women´s broadcast last Saturday, we all get to be there together :) It's definitely an answer to my prayers to be able to see them every week!
Okay I´m running out of time .... Love, Hermana Gurney :)