Monday, January 31, 2011

Swallow your squirrels!

Learning another language is not always fun or easy, but it is interesting! Spanish is an easy language, linguistically speaking, to learn. It is a phonetic language where, unlike in English, the phonetic rules rarely have exceptions. Grammatically, it is ordered and organized around the verbs, so once you learn the forms, you just begin to add vocabulary and work on accents. The most difficult for me is the subjunctive forms of the verbs. Arrggghh!!!!

I did not appreciate this aspect of the Spanish language until much later when I would need to learn the Ye'kwana language. The Ye'kwana language is everything the Spanish language is not. Add to that the fact you have no language instructors or anyone around you who even knows what a verb is. The grammar is different in that the nouns are possessed and the language is built around the nouns. I used to say that the nouns were possessed alright, DEMON possessed!!!

But back to squirrels... When we first arrived in Venezuela, my husband took the pastorate of Iglesia Bautista La Santa Biblia and immediately had to begin preparing sermons for 4 messages a week. He spoke Spanish fairly well, but still had to put a lot of time and effort into sermon preparation.

One Sunday he stood to deliver the sermon to the congregation. His sermon was well thought out, very well developed, easy three point outline to follow along with good illustrations to emphasize his points. The subject matter of the sermon was "Pride".

For 30 minutes he delivered his sermon on "Pride". He railed on the congregation to search out "pride' where ever it might be found in our lives. God abhors "Pride" and there is no place for "pride" in the christian's life. As I said, it was a challenging message.

The problem was that the congregation was not responsive. Actually, they were responding, but not appropriately! Many people were grinning ear to ear. Others were obviously trying not to laugh out loud. Some chose to look down at their feet for the entire sermon, with their shoulders shaking with silent mirth! The youth of the congregation were outright laughing.

After the service, my husband was disheartened with the spirit of the congregation. He told me he knew he had been led to speak against "Pride" and did not understand the problem with the people. I had to tell him... for 30 minutes he had orated not against "Pride" ( the Spanish word is "Orgullo") but rather against "Squirrels"!!! ( the Spanish word is "Ardilla)

The mental pictures were quite funny! Christians hunting out squirrels and killing them! God hating squirrels! No room for squirrels in the christian's life! A real riot !!!!

The following week my husband did not want to preach!! He was embarrassed about the sermon of the week before, however, being the Pastor, he had to swallow his "squirrels" and preach any way!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thought for believers...

"Unbelievers draw conclusions about the character of God from the conduct of His people, so as you boast about the purity of your doctrine see that it is accompanied by holy living." - Olyott

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Whale of a Tale

We spent our first year of marriage in the US of A. I mean that quite literally as we traveled from New Hampshire, to Florida, to California, to Texas and all points in between. This was our 'deputation' year in which we visited several churches to share our future ministry plans with them.

The next step was for us to attend Spanish language school in Querétaro, Mexico. I never understood why my husband needed this as he had grown up with a Mexican nanny for the first three years of his life and had several Mexican cousins he visited every summer. Some of those cousins also lived with his family while attending High School in the states. His Spanish was leagues ahead of mine!

I knew how to say "taco'" and "uno".

So off to Mexico we went with baby Jackie and my sister in tow! My sister lived with us for that year as I studied Spanish and she cared for Jackie. She ended up meeting her 'Principe Azul' in the person of our Mexican Pastor's nephew, and we ended the year with a Mexican Wedding.

And then we were off to Barquisimeto, Venezuela, where my husband took the Pastorate of the Iglesia Bautista La Santa Biblia for a year.

We had not been there long at all, when my husband and I did a follow up call on a young couple who had recently visited the services. We were invited in to share a cafecito and were having a very nice visit when my ears picked up on the conversation thread.

What I thought I heard was the wife to be explaining about seeing a TV documentary about 'chickens' and the butchering of chickens. She seemed quite impressed with the subject and I had some first hand knowledge in the area so I, of course, jumped in to share.

"I have killed chickens myself.", I said proudly.

Beti, whose eyes opened wide asked, " You???" incredulously.

"Sure, it's easy, a bit messy but, my dad used to kill dozens at a time!" says I.

Beti steals a look of disbelief at her husband Argenes, and asks, "Really?!"

I see my dear husband, nearly rolling on the floor with silent laughter! What is the matter with these people! I mean, I'm from West Virginia and it's not that difficult to raise chickens or kill them !

A bit haughtily now, I say, "Of course! It's not hard!"

With that, Beti, now looking at me with disapproval asks, " And how did you kill them?"

"Why, by grabbing them firmly around the neck and swinging them by the neck until it breaks! It is quite easy to do if you know the method!" I tell them.

At this point my husband lost all control and bursted out in loud laughter! Very rude on his part, I might add.

Argenes now asked," You killed them by breaking their necks with your bare hands?!?!"

"Yes!" I am now annoyed with them all.

Beti, laughing hilariously asks, "You can kill "WHALES" with your bare hands?"

"Whales?" says I, " What are you talking about?"

My husband finally took pity on me and explained that the documentary was on 'Whale Killing' not 'chickens'.

With a very red face I realized I had incorrectly heard the Spanish word, 'Ballena" (whale) and thought I heard "GALLINA" (hen).

Argenes is now a Pastor in Acarigua, Venezuela. He and his wife never for one moment allow me to forget my whale killing prowess! I am forever introduced to their congregation as the "Whale Killer".

Just one of the ways God keeps me humble...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Old Outhouse

When we first arrived in the village at the invitation of the Ye'kwana indians, they had helped us start building our house. Made of adobe bricks, jungle poles, mud for mortar, and a palm leaf roof, it was rustic.

We were living in an indian's house for several months while we built ours. At this time there was no water pump , and of course no running water means no indoor plumbing. Thus the need of an outhouse.

The outhouse we were "loaned" was a little skimpy as indians are not in much need of privacy. Amazing what one can train the body to do, or in this case, NOT to do. My husband and some indians set to building our own outhouse. I had one small request...WALLS, please!

He went beyond that and decided to build a TWO SEATER. WOW! The children were amazed at such luxuries and I was thrilled. Ok, so there was no door...but we had walls and it faced the jungle.

I hung up a sheet as a door which worked well except when windy, or if a dog.... or pig... or indian wanted to join you.

We waited for the next flight out to the village by the missionary pilots of MAF. We still had no short wave radio to communicate with anyone outside of the village.
The flight was scheduled for about a month ahead. The plane arrived with supplies, and we would give the pilot a list of things to buy for the next month. Then you waited. So the supplies , things like hinges for the doors, would take a month or more to get back to you.

Clint hired an indian to build us doors for the outhouse, and emphatically explained we wanted a way to lock the doors.We left for a short trip to town and upon our return, found two beautiful doors in place.

One small problem was that the homemade "latches" to lock the doors were placed on the outside as the indian was sure we had meant to say it that way, because who in their right mind would want to lock themselves IN such a place! Obviously, we meant to lock others OUT to keep them from getting in at all. Oh well, the joys of miscommunications in a cross-cultural environment.

I must say , the out house was great. Roomy, airy, and PRIVATE!Unless someone opened the door on you.

Around this time, we had American visitors and Jewel who was 4 or so, proudly escorted the lady to the outhouse and offered to stand guard outside the door. Jewel had recently been to McDonalds while in the city, and with great pride announced that our outhouse was, " just like McDonalds". To our final day in the jungle we refereed to the out house as "McDonalds" .We all made several trips to McDonalds a day. Upon questioning her, we determined she was referring to the two seats and the stalls in McDonalds. Oh to be a kid.

So it was common to be in the outhouse and hearing someone approach to call out,
" Ocupado!" (occupied) so as not to have another person run right in on you. And as was the usual case, the person on the outside would feel compelled to start up a conversation with you.

One day, yours truly is in the outhouse and hears rustling outside. I figured it to be one of my family and called out, "ocupado"! The rustling continued. Sometimes closer, I would say, "STILL OCUPADO", and the rustling would move off. This happened several times. Finally as I opened the door, all the while talking to my loved one who had patiently waited their turn, I ran face to face with a ...PIG!
I must say it was the politest pig I have ever met. I stood with the door ajar and the pig moseyed on in ...

I told the family about the visit by the friendly pig and for a few days, every time I would enter McDonalds, one of them would make sure to come out and make pig grunts for my enjoyment. Jackie is the champion Pig Impersonator of the family!!!

One day, the pig sounds were particularly obnoxious. I kept rebuking the person I most suspected, my hubby! I had been calling out for "CLINT" to stop and leave me in peace and was quite miffed at him for pursuing his game well past the point of comedy, but when I opened the door, it was to find the largest, wild pig I have ever seen, and this one was not polite!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I am a Christian

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'."
I'm whispering "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

All my best for ANONY

I was glad to hear from you and saddened with  the news of your sickness. I have no desire to engage in any debate but do wish to express my hopes and prayers that you will not suffer and that medicine will be able to help you at this time. Although you are not a believer, please accept my prayers for your well being.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Exotic foods

People often ask me about the foods we eat while living over seas. Americans seem to be very interested in our food choices. They usually ask if we have eaten anything 'exotic'. I know that when they use the word 'exotic' they really mean 'gross', and I am unsure as to how to answer such a question!

The difficulty lies in the fact that everything is relative to where you are and what is available. I have eaten many things that most Americans have never tried and most would NOT try, but I would only classify a few as gross. And while you might think eating live worms is an exotic dish, in the jungle it was merely fast food!

Live earth worms collected by Jungle Mom and friends

I have eaten goat, which I do not consider gross, especially when prepared in a coconut sauce. Pigs stomach, tripe, would be my personal choice for the one of the grossest thing I have had to eat overseas. Or maybe intestines cooked while containing half digested food. This delicacy was once served to us by a church congregation as we were seated in the center and everyone else stood and watched us eat. I had a hard time getting it down without showing disgust on my face. It was served us in love and I tried to think of all that love as I chewed and swallowed, breathed deeply through my nose, chewed and swallowed. That meal took the most effort of anything I have ever attempted, including natural childbirth!

I have also eaten monkey, but unless it is smoked whole, it is fine. It tastes fine even when smoked but it does resemble a small child and...well, you can imagine.

A missionary friend purchases smoked monkey for dinner

Then there are the rodents we ate in the jungle, including the world's largest rodent, the capybera, but they are quite tasty and make a good home made breakfast sausage as well. However, the wild boar is delicious!

The Mighty Hunter, MissionaryWalt Mutti

Grub worms are not too bad, very greasy, but they fry up nice and crisp, sort of like bacon. Earth worms are best eaten smoked, so if ever asked your preference, remember, go for the smoked, not the raw or live worms. Think you can remember that?

Palm Grubs

Then there are the insects. Termites, ants and such are common in hot sauces and really add no taste just a bit of texture, so it's all good! I have not eaten tarantulas myself, but they are said to taste like shrimp!

Tarantula on a stick

(thanks to the Jank family for the photo)

I've eaten gator which is quite tasty. I even tasted jaguar, which grosses out the Ye'kwana indians. I never ate snake but I have watched it be eaten with relish by indians. It seemed yucky, but who knows?

'Nails'and the Mutti boys home from the hunt

Since living in Paraguay, I can not recall eating anything too exotic. Some of the food is great, some is bland, but it is all quite edible. I think the worse food I have had here was a hamburger served to me at Burger King in Asuncion. So far anyway...

I easily can recall the most exotic (gross) food I have ever had to eat in my life. It was when my grand mother made me eat pickled pigs feet once while visiting her in West Virginia!!!!

What is the most 'exotic' food you have ever eaten?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Death is ugly

My mind has been on death as I have been reading accounts of WWII battles, especially the Marines in the Pacific. Many people have never experienced the ugly realities of death in the Third World. Especially third world countries with a tropical climate.

Before I came to this part of the world, my exposure to death and burial was a very sanitized one. A person died and was removed by others to a mortuary. Once there, away from the eyes of the family, the body would be prepared for burial and often, at the viewing, would look younger and healthier than they had before the death. The body of the deceased would be laid in a beautiful casket, wreathed in sweet smelling flowers, and we would solemnly walk by to pay our respects to the dead. We would offer platitudes to the family with words such as, "She looks as if she is but sleeping!"

Once we left the funeral home, we would see the casket placed in a luxurious limousine to be taken to a clean, manicured cemetery for burial. We would find a tent already set up, chairs placed for our comfort, flowers around, and the grave would already be opened by cemetery workers, but covered, so that we were not confronted with that reality quite yet!

After a beautiful service, the casket would be lowered, a close family member would place one shovelful of symbolic dirt upon the grave, and then we would leave. Others would fill the grave afterward, out of our sight.

Of course, the grieving and mourning of a loved one is never easy, but it is made less disturbing by these civilizing niceties.

The following is a post from last year:

My husband is officiating at a graveside service this morning. The elderly gentleman passed away late Saturday night. It took most of the day yesterday to get the body released and to find a casket. All this took so long that it became impossible to bury the body before night fall. The burial must be done quickly as there is no embalming and we have high temperatures here these days in our Paraguayan summer.

He met with the family first thing this morning for the burial, but, no one had dug the grave. Now they wait together for the hole to be dug, all in plain sight of the grieving loved ones.

On Christmas Eve my husband was called at 7 pm by a friend in need. Another young friend's wife had gone into labor and delivered prematurely. The 7th month delivery caused the baby to be born with many medical needs. Our small city is not capable of supplying those needs and so an ambulance was needed to transport the child to Asuncion. A public ambulance was not available and once the funds were found to pay for a private one, the child was taken away to receive better care. It was too late and the baby, a boy, perished on the way.

The ambulance returned and on the same day, a holiday, the father had not only needed to attain a Birth Certificate but also a Death Certificate in order to bury his child. Quickly. And my husband spent the late evening and early morning hours with the young grieving father and mother who had yet to realize the terrible thing she was enduring. The child was buried early the next morning, Christmas Day, in their own yard as it is legal under certain circumstances in these parts.

And yet, even this is better then in some circumstances.

In the jungle, among the Ye'kwana tribe, burials also had to be done quickly. If the family was christian, the dying person would be allowed to remain in his hammock and home to die. If not believers, the ailing one would be taken off and left alone in the jungle to perish, away from the community, so as not to bring evil spirits into the village. Once known, or hoped, to be dead, another tribe would be paid to retrieve the body and bury it in a place unknown to the Ye'kwanas.

If the family of the dying happened to be christian, the sick one would be allowed to remain in their home and cared for until their death, even though this often frightened the non believers. Once the person had passed way, we would immediately place cotton or mud, or whatever was available, into every orifice of the corpse. This was necessary to keep away insects, even so, someone would have to fan the body continuously until the burial, to fight off flies drawn to the smell of death.

The casket had to be built by hand. One group would begin this job while another group would go out into the dark, steamy jungle to dig a hole into the red mud. Once the casket and grave were prepared we would place the body into the casket and it would be carried on the backs of young men all the way to the grave sight which by necessity must be far removed from the village. Then we watched the loved one lowered into the mud and we stayed and filled the hole with mud. Its always muddy in the rain forest. Nothing is sanitized with flowers or greenery. Death is ugly.

But even that is not the most difficult thing to watch. It is ever so much more difficult to watch a body be burned. Seeing the loved one's corpse committed to the flames and then smell the stench that only a burned human body makes is something best avoided.

The first time I experienced this was at the invitation of the family of a Sanema woman. I walked across the log which was the foot bridge between our two villages, I climbed a muddy bank and was led to the clearing in the center of their small village where a large pyre of wood had been laid.

The elderly women were already writhing in grief, moaning and swaying to and fro. It was as if their hearts were ripping open and a wounded animal sound was gushing out from their very soul. The children roamed around confused and bewildered, the men stood stoically by, and the shaman was painted and covered by a jaguar skin making inhuman sounds and growls.

I sat on a bit of log taking in the sights and sounds around me. I felt the despair, I heard the anguish, I was chilled to the bone by the actions of the shaman as he danced and waved his rattle fiercely, seemingly, in my direction. Do not judge me, for you were not there!

Then, the body, wrapped in a tattered old hammock was slung onto the fire. A new sound emerged, a cracking, popping sounds, and a new smell filled the air. It takes a long time to burn a body. More logs needed to be added to the fire every so often. People fainted. Others went into drug induced dazes. Some wept until they had no more tears.

When the fire was allowed to extinguish itself and was left to cool, the entire tribe seemed to have been given new energy. I watched in amazement as the women ran to the cooling embers and began frantically digging with their hands and sifting through the ashes. I noticed they were placing things into a blackened cooking pot. Finally, the shaman came over and prodded the dying fire with his big toe and then nodded to the women who ran off with the pot and its contents.

I saw as they began to use a simple mortar and pestle to grind the fragments in the pot. I saw as they added this fine powder to a prepared banana drink. I saw the family members of the deceased line up.

I saw them drink the bones.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Things I See...

Multicultural Christmas traditions at our house...

  Homemade American Apple Pie

Homemade Venezuelan Pan de Jamon

Paraguayan fireworks at midnight!

English 'crackers' for the kids!

Friday, January 07, 2011

A Meme about Me

Its all about me!

A is for age: None of you business!

B is for books: Hard to choose...I love history!

C is for career: Missionary Wife and Stay At Home Mom

D is for dad's name: Rev. Jack Riffe

E is for essential items to bring to a party: a good sense of humor

F is for favorite song at the moment: Este Dia

H is for hometown: uh...that's a hard one!Right now, Ciudad del este,Paraguay

I is for instruments you play: I play a keyboard, computer keyboard that is!

J is for jam or jelly you like: Strawberry jelly

K is for kids: Four! Jackie, married and in Paraguay with three daughters of her own, Joshua, married and living in Tampa,Florida, Jewel, 20 and in college in Jax, Fla, and Jayde, 16 living at home with us and homeschooled.

L is for living arrangements: renting an older in typical latin american style home.

M is for moms name: Loretta Riffe

N is for name of your best friends: Clint (husband)

O is for overnight hospital stays: You dont want to hear them all!!! 4 births,2 back surgeries, 4 other surgeries, 1 miscarriage, # times during pregnancy...

P is for phobia[s]: Being enclosed in small places ( claustrophobia) and MOUSEaphobia!

Q is for quote you like: Just Do it!

R is for relationship that lasted the longest: actually, my friend, Kim Leanard of  nearly 30 years

S is for siblings: middle child. Older sister and younger brother.

U is for unique trait(s): uh...uh...I dont think so.

V is for vegetable you love: broccoli

W is for worst trait: sarcasm , duh?!?!?!

X is for x-rays you've had: again, you dont want to hear them all!

Y is for yummy food you make: sweet rolls

Z is for favorite animal at the zoo: monkeys


First job: Health Food Store in Cambridge, Ohio

First funeral: Pastor of Faith Baptist Church ( cant remember his name but I do remember the funeral, Thorton, I think!)

First piercing: Ears for my 12 th birthday

First tattoo: No thank you

First credit card: Cato's

First favorite musician/band: Cathedral's WAY back.

LASTS:Last movie watched: Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn

Last beverage drank: what do you think? Coffee

Last food consumed: Chocolate

Last phone call: to my daughter here in Paraguay

Last CD played: Bluegrass group, The Student Loan

Last website visited: Facebook

Single or Taken: Taken!

What do you miss? My kids  ibn the USA

Hair color: Red with some natural gey high lights, he he.

Natural color: red

Eye color: greenish blue

Makes you sad: The Chavez Regime in power

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Things I See...

Mooooove over!

Brahma Mama

Sunday, January 02, 2011

2010 in Review

I decided I would look back over the year and repost the first post of each month of2010.

I got nothing.

Every time I sit down to write, my fingers hover over the key board and seem to do a senseless little dance, looking for a place to land, but never quite making contact. I close my eyes as if to peek into my inner mind, searching for a glimpse, a glimmer of an idea. I see nothing! I don't even hear crickets, just a blustery wind blowing through the vast, empty space.
It may be I have no creative juices left in me. Perhaps my creativity was removed during my recent surgery!Could it be that I just have nothing happening around me right now, while mostly staying at home to recover, to stimulate new ideas or interest to me?

On Face Book people have been putting up pictures of their supposed celebrity look alike. I did a search online using this photo of myself...

and the result I was given was this....

(I'm guessing it is the forehead!)
Then my son reminded me that he has always said I look like Conan O Brian!

Finally I was told by a Face Book friend I should use Jillian Moore!

I guess I need to go out and buy me some big ol' sunglasses to pull this one off!

 Personally, I think I am more like Marion Ross, better known as Mrs. Cunningham of Happy Days.

After 6 days at sea, I am on tierra firme! Discovered I do not do so well in bad weather at sea. We spent a day and night anchored out at sea as it was too dangerous to get into the port becuase of very high winds. NOW, after the last 10 days of traveling from Paraguay to here, I can say..

I've been everywhere man, I've been everywhere!

Home from the high seas~
I spent a year in Brazil one day...We left our home for the airport at 4 am. Our flight from Asuncion to Sao Paolo was scheduled to leave at 6 am. All went well. Our bags were checked, we went through what passes for security in these parts, and made ourselves comfortable as we waited for the call to board the plane.

And we waited.
And waited.
Finally, we were told our flight to Sao Paolo had been postponed.
And we waited some more.
Around 10:00am we realized we would not arrive in Sao Paolo in time to make our connection for Miami. A group of us were in this same position and the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED informed us we would be staying in Sao Paolo for the day and waiting for the midnight flight to Miami which would arrive in Miami at 9 am the following morning.

People began to complain about the delay and we were told not to worry that the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED would take us all to a nearby hotel to spend the day as we awaited the later flight.
OH! But not us. We, as Americans, were told we could not leave the airport as we had no Visa for Brazil.
My husband began to explain that with my chronic back condition, we must be given some where to rest, at the very least, permission to wait in the VIP lounge of the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED!
Alas, this request was denied and so he began to beg for a business class seat on the 9 hour flight to Miami but the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED realizes that when leaving the country of Paraguay, one has very few options and they can treat you as they wish.
We finally arrived in Sao Paolo around noon. We all went to the counter for connecting flights as we had been told to do, only to find out that they were not prepared for us. After a four hour delay in Asuncion, no one had begun to work on our plight at all. By now we had decided to present our Paraguayan ID's rather than American passports and see if we might be included in the hotel offer after all.
One hour passes ~ by now the 10 of us in transit know each others names.
Two hours pass ~ We now know one anothers marital status, occupations, and final destinations in the USA. We are sharing food and drink as there is no where to purchase such sundries in this section of the airport unless you pay 8$ for a Coke and 15$ for a dry empanada. One would assume that the cost of food and drink would be covered by the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED, but one would assume incorrectly.

Three hours pass ~ Now we have shared the names of our pets and know one anothers favorite colors! Still no word on the supposed hotel nor transport to and from it. The airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED seems to be annoyed that we continue to bother them with our presence at their counter.
I must say, Paraguayans are much more patient than Americans or Venezuelans. If this had been a group of Venezuelans we would have organized a general strike and march by now and teargas would be involved! At the very least we would have made enough noise to have brought the attention of the National Guard and someone would have been slapped around!
A group of Americans would have already filed several law suits on the internet via their I phones!
Four hours pass ~ Now we are sharing life stories and deep secrets and feel a bond of kinship with one another. We begin to say mean things about the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED in the Guarani language which they will never understand. We are now family and in this thing together for the long haul. I discover that the passive, patient Paraguayans have not bee so idle after all! They had texted home and someone was able to get the personal phone number of the President of the airport in Asuncion. They were now bombarding the President with text messages describing our treatment by the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED.

FINALLY, we can go claim our bags and then push and pull them ourselves the farthest possible distance one can while still remaining on airport premises. As we went through immigration, the representative of our group was asked, "Are you all the group in transit from Paraguay?" To which he answered, truthfully, "Yes" and so, without a glance at passports or papers of any kind, our group of 10 was escorted out of the airport . Our bus awaited us but we had to walk the quarter mile to it, still pushing and pulling all of our bags.

Once on the bus, the driver informed us that we would have to wait another 20 minutes for the bus to leave on its scheduled time. All ten of us glared at him and silently, bared our canines! He decided he should make an exception for us. The representative of the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED left us at this point. We did not miss him.

By the time we arrived at the now seemingly mythical hotel, we only had three hours to shower and eat before we needed to return to the airport to check our luggage for the next flight.

We caught the bus, we dragged our bags, we checked in as a group on our Letter of Transit. We made it to security. All the Paraguayans went through and awaited us on the other side. BUT now we, the Americans, were informed that we should not have left the airport without a Visa for Brazil. It did not matter that the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED escorted us through Immigration knowing that we were American citizens. It did not matter that the immigration official did not even check ours, or any of the others, documentation, no, we were illegal immigrants!

At this point my husband asked to be deported from Brazil. Deported to Miami on the soon to leave flight for which we already possessed boarding passes and on which our luggage was loaded.

We looked at our Paraguayan friends and told them to please continue to the gate and not miss their flight! But they refused to leave us! They all remained and clamored with the officials, vouching that although the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED had NOT included our names on the Letter of Transit, we had indeed been with them the entire time.

One of the Paraguayans ran back to the counter of the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED and brought an official from the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED with a revised Letter of Transit which did include our names. The security officials decided to allow us to pass through and catch our flight. I think they were concerned about detaining angry Americans backed up by a group of not so passive Paraguayans.Perhaps they were recalling their own history of the War of the Triple Alliance and knew how persistent Paraguayans can be when they felt the need.

Now we are all running to the gate of the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED and find out that this flight has also been delayed!

Of course it has! This is the norm for the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED!
And that is how I spent a year in Brazil one day!

Good Intentions!

I suppose the treadmill would be more effective if I actually were wearing the shoes? I intend to walk every day. I need to walk every day. Most days I do but on other days, it never quite happens. I leave my shoes there as a reminder because, you know, the big ugly treadmill sitting in my living room isn't reminder enough!

What I really need is a treadmill hooked up to a laptop which can only be powered as I walk!

I would get some serious walking time in! If I were reading political blogs I would certainly burn off some major calories!

I could even check out what Hugo Chavez is saying on his Twitter account!


This blog will be temporarily interrupted due to the author's obsessive viewing of 
The World Cup.


Power went out...again. The electric gate was half open so I had to chase the stray dog out, while dodging falling avocados as I hung out the laundry, which was only halfway finished with the spin cycle





In other news...Paraguay was eliminated from the World Cup after our loss to Spain on Saturday. 

We will see you in 2014 in Brazil! 


The Move
The cabinets in the kitchen when we arrived...again, I cried! This is forty years of grime which had accumulated on every kitchen surface.

 My husband and son in law attacked the cabinets with everything possible including chisels!

This is the finished result

I owe them!


Proof of Life
This proof of life message is being allowed by the benevolent goodness of the government run phone company monopoly which controls all internet access in the country I live in. We are alive and well. When the "independent" companies ... "fees"... are all paid we should be able to communicate again.

Loving Bloggy friends~!

Anonymous said...










 Dear Anonymous, Sorry my presence offends you. Sorry you are prejuduced against my race, country, and religion, but I won't be leaving anytime soon!

This is Junglemom's husband in Paraguay.
Rita was just delivered in a box to the

(my daughter just told me that I am not supposed to say Pam's age is 50) 
birthday party for her sister in Arcadia Florida.

She travelled secretly this week with the help of a dear friend and surprised her.

Leaks... 4 am and my hall was turning into a river...

These were taken after the rain had stopped.
We woke up to find water flowing out of the chimney and leaking from the roof onto the mantle. The Flat Screen TV was dripping. The Wii was being baptised. My laptop was sitting under the dripping water in a puddle on the mantle.
Our fireplace resembled the Iguazu Falls not too far from our home...

Maybe we should open up a water park in our house?

And that was 2010~
NOW FOR 2011~

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

(Jeremiah 29:11)