Saturday, September 29, 2007


I am very busy here in Dallas.
They are treating us like royalty!
Lots of fun and good fellowship.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Good News

I don't know when I will be able to post all the details, but, we heard yesterday that our final legal problem in Venezuela has been resolved! We were reluctant to believe it and had to confirm all the facts, because this has been an ongoing battle for over 20 months. is true and has been confirmed by the the US authorities!

This problem involved our plane and the Venezuelan government. We were charged illegal fines of up to $120,000 US. And at another point, $87,000 US. All of this became so difficult and hostile that the US State department became involved.

All charges are cleared!!!!

All fines are canceled!!!!

I have often asked for prayer for this matter and was not able to discuss it with you all in detail, but prayer has made a difference! In spite of the desires of some cabinet level ministers of the Venezuelan government, God has allowed for this to be worked out in our favor!!! Amen!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dengue, death from a mosquito bite

I have decided to share this although I am still profoundly sad. It seems to highlight the post I did yesterday and I hope it will give a more human face to the life and death situation of the indian. I hope you will see them as they are, real people, not just a statistic, or something to be used in a political power play.Leaving them in their"pristine condition" and patting ourselves on the back for doing something lofty, means leaving them to die unnecessarily.

I have just received a call from an indian friend. She was calling from Ciudad Bolivar. Her uncle, my friend, Jorge Cortez, died in the hospital there last Saturday. They had tried to get him medical attention, but since there are no longer any mission planes in the area, the trip by canoe took too long. Jorge had lost too much blood and they could not help him as they were not able to do a transfusion at the hospital there in Ciudad Bolivar, at least not for an indian.

I am so sad and also a bit angry. We lost no one to dengue in all our years there, we fumigated, provided mosquito nets, IV fluids, and quick evacuations by plane when needed, and now they allow this to happen...

I know that all is in God's hands. God will give the family grace to handle the loss of their provider. Jorge was the best hunter in the village and one of the few who still hunted often with blow gun and bow and arrow. He was a very smart man. He spoke his language, Ye'kwana , as well as Sanema, Spanish and even picked up some English. He leaves behind 10 children and several grand children.

I trust we will see Jorge in heaven. He did make a profession of faith, but often struggled with the Christian life. Each time he faltered, he would show great remorse and regret. God alone looks upon the heart. I can not judge.

Jorge had a great sense of humor. He and I had a running game of trying to throw water on each other during Carneval season. He usually won, being much faster and nimbler, and would douse me with water each year. But one year, I tricked him. He was in charge of turning on the village generator. I managed to get a spare key and hid inside the generator shack with a bucket of water, waiting. I had allowed myself to be locked in as it was a pad lock. I knew he would be down at dusk to start up the generator and seeing the pad lock still on the door, would not expect anyone to be inside. Sure enough, he unlocked the door and I met him with a bucket full of water. . . he left running away saying he had seen a spirit.

He told that story over and over again! Always with a laugh. He loved to wear funny hats and strange clothing and especially enjoyed playing the part of "dumb" indian around people who did not realize he spoke Spanish.

Jorge ,wearing a wig and getting folks to laugh at his antics.

I hope and pray that our service in Chajurana made a difference in his life. I pray his children will walk in the steps of the Lord and grow in grace. I especially pray for his mother, Petra, as she faces yet again, the death of one of her children.

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

Upon a life I did not live,
upon a death I did not die;
anothers life, anothers death,
I stake my whole eternity.
-Horatius Bonar

Monday, September 24, 2007


Insects: In ,on, and under the skin!

It often seemed that while living in the jungle, one was at war with the entire animal kingdom. Fighting off "critters" would become a full time, never ending battle. No matter what you were doing or planned to do, the insects and other critters had to be taken into consideration. They devoured food,destroyed clothing, swam in your water supply, infected children...

All our dry foods had to be kept in large coolers (such as Igloos) with airtight seals. We ordered dry goods only once every three months and if not completely airtight, it would all be ruined in a matter of days. Not to mention the four footed furry vermin!!! or the bats...or snakes...

By far, the most dangerous animal in the jungle is the mosquito. The mosquito carries the dreaded malaria as well as yellow fever, and dengue. Any of these can, and do, kill humans on a regular basis. You begin to be aware of the mosquitoes living habits. You plan to not be out from under screens and nets between 5 -7 a.m.and 5-7 p.m. as this is when the mosquito is out and eating. You sleep under the mosquito net, not only to fight the annoying buzz of the mosquito, but also other flying insects... and bats...rats...snakes...

Another most annoying bug is the nigua. The nigua is everywhere. Due to the dirt floors and the constant contact one has with the dirt and with others who also happen to have niguas, you can never truly avoid this bug. Some refer to it as a burrowing tic, but it is rightly, a sand flea. It is almost impossible to see with the naked eye, but it makes itself known!!!

The nigua will burrow into any exposed skin, most commonly the toes, but also the hands and in small children who play on the floor, I have seen them on the babies bottoms. They must be removed. This is best done with a small thorn from a bush the indians use for this very purpose. I used a needle so that it could be disinfected. Another way to prevent them, is to step in kerosene daily. During dry season, I would keep a shallow pan near the door for this purpose. We also would wash our chancletas (flip flops) in kerosene. Kerosene has no lead so was safe to use in this way.

An indian boy was brought to us once who had both feet so infected by niguas, he could not walk. We had to clean and remove infectious tissue for several days. The Sanema of a certain village were so inundated with niguas, that every member of the village could show you scarred and missing digits from their feet, caused by niguas.

Another common problem was scabies. Yuck!!! So many babies with scabies. I concocted a body shampoo, of sorts, for my family to use regularly in order to not be infected. Part of this shampoo was a dog shampoo. Sounds gross, I know, but ever so much better than scabies. I would say that we saw patients with scabies at least once a week. It is difficult to treat because it also infects clothing and bedding. And since several people share the same hammock...

With the dampness of the rain forest climate, fungal problems were also a concern. You had to stay dry! If you sweated, or were rained on, you had to change to dry clothing quickly or you would end up with rashes and other issues. Closed in shoes were not a good choice for daily use. I have seen a lot of newbys come into the jungle wearing leather military type boots or rubber mud boots, HA!! You knew they would be by asking for medical attention soon. Sandals and plastic flip flops are a much better choice as they can be treated and dried quickly. I have seen some severe cases of athletes foot! Many fungi respond well to being treated with white gas. We had to constantly come up with economical, yet safe, treatments for common problems.

The constant rain caused a lot of difficulties with clothing. Very hard to get the clothes dry. Many a time, I have had to re-wash all the clothing as it began to mildew while on the clothes line. We often would have everything in the house drying and yet, it would remain wet and begin to smell. When we arrived in town, our clothes smelled rank and mildewy. Eventually, we would keep city clothes in town and jungle clothes in the jungle. I was so happy when Febreeze became available in Venezuela!!!

Parasites were another problem. Dysentery type illnesses were common and we would have to de-worm the entire village every so many months. Since they share a common eating and drinking gourd, when one was ill, all were ill. When ever we ate with the people, we would suffer for a few days with stomach ailments, but we seemed to slowly grow more resistant to the bugs and were able to eat with less problems each year.

Culturally, the Ye'kwanas share gourds and when offered a drink or food it is very rude to deny it. It is the worse possible insult to not take part in the meals. A girl would serve you a large pot of yucuta, made from casava, and you were required to eat or drink it all. You could swallow it and spit it out, but you had to finish the pot. Vomitting it up was NOT rude and much preferred to returning it unfinished. In the common round house, you had to be careful where you stepped as much vomitting is normal. All of this makes a wonderful breeding ground for more parasites!!!

The other problem that was a daily battle was the head lice, as everyone is infected. In the evening, the indian family will sit around and de -louse one another. I am sure you have seen the pictures where they appear to be eating the lice. Actually, they are only using their teeth to kill the lice. If they only remove them and toss them to the ground, they will be back. It is a sign of affection to de-louse someone.I remember my youngest daughter would play at de-lousing her dolls. The indians thought that was so sweet, what a good little mommy she would be!!! We used the same dog shampoo, weekly, in order to not get the lice.

On occasion, it was inevitable and one of the children would end up with lice. The quickest way to get rid of the problem is to cover the head in cooking oil, pop on a plastic shower cap for 24 hours, and then, shampoo out. The oil will smother the lice and even penetrate the nits and end the problem with one treatment.

So many bugs...

My husband became infected with onchocerciasis. This is from the bites of the black fly and can lead to blindness. It also caused some severe itching which he suffered with for years, until finally able to kill the disease completely. The parasite, once in the blood stream, can live for 10-15 years. It causes raised bumps under the skin which are colonies of eggs. Very difficult to treat. There is a large portion of the Sanema tribe of Venezuela who are going blind as I write this, entire villages infected and not receiving treatment. It will eventually cause lesions upon the eye itself and is painful. You can even see the larvae crawling along the inner eye, just under the sclera.

I could go on and on...

We saw some insects that made me think of aliens. I am sure there are a few undiscovered bugs we saw. But the other bug that was a problem was the army ant.

Now, this is no ordinary ant! These ants would come out of the jungle, swathing through everything. The largest group I saw were about 4 feet across and walked through the village for an entire day. They eat everything in their path and you can not stop them. Not by water, fire, nothing. You must get out of their way and remove anything organic you do not want to be eaten. The indians tell stories of babies being eaten while asleep, as these ants would march by.

These ants will cross creeks and rivers by making boats of large leaves. Very freaky!!! You can hear them coming in the distance as they eat. Chomp! Chomp! We had to cancel classes a few times while we waited for them to walk through our class room. My kids loved that, as we had no snow days, so they loved Ant Days! There is even a hot sauce the indians make from ants which my husband eats and enjoys. But, my daughter prefers termites! Easily accessible at night while attracted to the inside light, all one must do is scrape them off the window screen and pop them in the mouth. Our screens became the fast food joint for many children!!

And of course, the infamous 24 ant. Yes, it exists. It is a large, black ant measuring a good 2 inches or so. It not only bites with pincers but stings with its wasp like tail. It feels as if it tears skin away while biting and does cause slight bleeding. The toxin it injects with its stinger is like liquid fire and quickly causes the entire muscle area where bitten to burn for several hours, thus ,called the 24 ant. It wont kill you, but for 24 hours you will wish it had! And yes, I am speaking from experience! (And my children had better not tell any more details about it!!!!)

Although controversial, we treated many snake bites and 24 bites with electrical shock. We had a small ammo box which was converted to a kit. Inside was a small magnito attached to a handle outside which could be cranked to produce a small, high voltage low amperage shock, similar to a taser. Leads were attached on either side of the bite. This only works on certain toxins and must not be used except on extremities. If applied quickly, it greatly reduces the swelling involved in most bites and we have seen it used this way several times. It changes the molecular structure of the toxin.

I haven't even mentioned spiders...

I remember reading the Apostle Paul's book of Romans while dealing with a bad case of niguas and seeing it in a whole new light.

Romans 12:1

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

At times, I felt as if my body was a living sacrifice! Being consumed daily by the critters!

Roaches and chagas deserve a post of their own!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Missionary Mother's Dilema

This was written by a missionary wife who served among the indians of Venezuela. She had been asked to write this poem to put into a missionary cookbook. Unfortunately, Pam Griffis died suddenly while in the jungle before the book was published. Her poem is the opening of the cookbook entitled,"Serving With Love".

This is my favorite cookbook of all times, partly because it has cool recipes for things one does not have access to in the jungle, using things available in Venezuela. I also like this poem because it is a window into the day of an average missionary wife. In many ways it is much like any mother's day and yet different.

Missionary Mother's Dilema
by Pam Griffis

The very first thing in the morning
I plan my schedule for the day.
I think I've got it all worked out,
In my neatly organized way.

Devotions first;Then Aerobics! (Of course!)
"Breakfast?", Did my hubby say?
Quickly fed and swiftly dressed,
I send the little ones out to play.

"Oh, I forgot today is wash day!"
As the generator starts to run.
I rush to gather the dirty clothes
I must hurry and get them done.

Above the din of the washer,
Shouts the voice of my 4 yr. old son.
"Mom, J.J. has to go potty!"
"And he broke my favorite gun!"

I settle the fight and dry the tears,
The clothes are finally hung out.
As I sit to type the culture file,
There is yet another shout!

"Hun, Awelalu brought sweet potatoes!"
I try to hide a frowny pout.
I really enjoy my chat with her,
Knowing that is what it is all about!

Lunch time comes all to soon.
"Where's desert?", the clan wants to know.
I could pull my hair out one by one,
But I don't want my feelings to show.

Dishes to wash, then rest time;
I am feeling pretty low.
I sit down to study language,
And a windy rain starts to blow.

I run to rescue the clothes off the line,
The kids wake up from their nap,
"Did you bake cookies yet?, they ask me,
As they climb up on my lap.

An hour later, the cookies baked,
Clothes folded and put away.
A sigh of relief and a "Thank you, Lord,"
Is all I am able to say.

When supper is over, baths and dishes done,
And our family pauses to pray.
When my little ones say, "Thank you for Mom,"
My frustrations fade quickly away.

Tomorrow will surely be better,
And if not, God planned it that way.
He knows what I need for my growing.
I am only to "rest" and obey.

"Pam wrote this poem for our cookbook. She is now in the presence of the Lord. We will miss her so much, but her love and service for the Lord will forever be an example to us."

One recipe I used in the early years was the following;

Baby Wipes

2C. hot water
1-2 T. baby shampoo
2T. baby oil
1 roll paper towels

Remove cardboard from inside paper towels and cut entire roll in half. Mix water, shampoo, and oil and pour over paper towels. Store in an airtight container.

My Two Brothers-in-law!!!

And in our family...
we have two...

It's Agustin!!

And ED!!!
Aren't we lucky!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

No Surprise Here!

I have received several phone calls and emails today from people who have heard that Chavez is threatening to take over private schools. This is not news. He has been threatening this for over a year and of course he will! He must do it! He will have to control the minds of the children and I have no doubts he will do so.He is requiring all schools to use the Bolivarian texts...of course.

Castro did it, why wouldn't Chavez?

What impresses me is that people outside of Venezuela seem surprised by this. Only one Venezuelan blogger I saw even posted about this. There is a short article in some papers, but we are all expecting this and more!

Read more here. I did have to laugh at some of the comments!

Update: Some have asked how this differs from the public education in the US.The difference is you have a choice. You can send your children to a private school which are not required to use State curriculum which is being written by the president who wants to remain in office for life. You can home school. This is what is being denied the parents of Venezuela. They are not to have any choice as to what texts or schooling their children will use.

From El Universal

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Monday said "the red Constitution (the way he calls his proposed modifications to the Venezuelan Constitution) does acknowledge private schools, but private schools have to respect the red Constitution and abide by the Bolivarian education system."

Chávez claimed he would take over private schools that "do not follow the Bolivarian education system." If any private school fail to meet such system, "then, such school will have to be closed down, taken over, and nationalized, and we shall take care of students," Chávez warned.

He rejected the fact that in the past some Venezuelan governments considered privatizing schools "as a plan of the imperialism to prevent people from accessing education."

His comments came during the opening ceremony of a Bolivarian school in eastern Anzoátegui state.

"We have to continue deepening the system of Bolivarian schools," Chávez said.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Want to wish the cutest grand baby in the world a
Happy Birthday?

Head over to Happy Wife! and leave a birthday greeting!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Since everyone seemed to enjoy the post I did about floors, I have decided to continue on in that same style, this time, I will write of our bed situation in answer to a question left by Liz.

For several months we all slept in hammocks as we had no floors or real furniture at all. It is very difficult to have furniture on dirt floors. Especially dirt floors in the jungle. There is so much humidity that anything left on the floor will quickly rot and mildew. Cement floors only helped to slow the process down slightly! I use to say that if I sat still too long, I would grow mold on myself!

As a home school science project, I had the children make a hand made barometer. The plan was to record the atmospheric pressure for several days. The problem was that once we made the barometer, the children quickly lost interest with the recording part. Due to the high humidity, the thing hit 100% immediately and never changed!!!

So hammocks were the only option left for sleeping. We all love hammocks so it wasn't a problem. For a short while we did set up small tents in the house and the children slept on foam mattresses inside the tents. I thought it would be safer, more protection from malaria. But it was too hot!! And the foam started rotting!!! The indians knew what they were doing by using hammocks.

One interesting thing about sleeping in hammocks in an indian style house , is that you rock each other to sleep! The poles used in construction are all attached to one another, so if you move in your hammock it causes the pole to move. Every time anyone moves, the entire house shakes.

After we poured the cement floor in our room, we decided to build a frame and fly out a water bed mattress. A regular double mattress was too wide to fit in the Cessna, so that meant a water bed.We had the frame built and set up as we waited for the mattress to be flown on. For one reason or another, it took nearly three months to get the mattress out to the jungle after we had the frame up.

We still did not have a water pump or water barrels at this time. That meant we had to fill the crazy queen size mattress up, bucket by bucket! Hundreds of trips down to the creek , then back up to the house with the water!! It took a lot of buckets!!!

We never needed a heater on the water bed, which is a good thing, since we only had the generator on a couple of hours a day and did not even have a generator for several years. We used a thick mattress pad and that was all we needed since it was always so hot in the jungle.

The chief of the village thought our water bed was amazing! He would come up to the house and walk into our room just to push on the bed and watch the waves! Anytime someone visited from another village, we knew the chief would bring them up to the house to see our bed. We tried to get him to lie down on it once,but he said if he wanted to sleep on water, he would go take a nap in his canoe!

After we had our bed, the children started asking for beds. My husband had lumbered some wood in the jungle using an attachment to a chain saw called an Alaskan Saw Mill. He made each child a small bed and we bought the foam mattresses again.

They were all excited to sleep in their little beds up in the loft. They quickly tired of their new beds though. They said they were boring!

They said it was hard to go to sleep in a bed that did not move! My son even said it was "freaky" to sleep in a bed! He felt like a dead person!!! We always laid the dead out on a board for viewing before burial. He said lying on his back in bed gave him the creeps!!

Needless to say, shortly there after, they were all back in their hammocks, happily swinging away as they rocked themselves to sleep.

When my son was checking out colleges to decide where he would attend, he inspected each dorm room to see if there was a possibility to hang a hammock. Unfortunately he did not find American construction of buildings to be very hammock friendly.

Every few days, all pillows had to be taken out and put in the sun on the clothes line to "dry". This was the only way to keep them from mildewing. Even so, we changed pillows every few months.

We also slept under mosquito nets. We all had several bouts of malaria and dengue, except Jackie, who for some strange reason seems to be immune to malaria.

We combated malaria at all times. Sometimes we won, sometimes we lost! We fumigated regularly, kept sick people under mosquito nets, and treated those with malaria. Our village had the lowest rate of malaria in the entire river region. We also had the lowest infant mortality rate as malaria claims the lives of so many infants.

We did lose a few children and elderly to malaria. Usually when they came from hunting trips or travel and were already in an advanced stage by the time they reached us for help. It is very difficult to watch a baby's life slip away from a disease which is preventable.

We learned of the Neem Tree of India, which is a natural mosquito repelant. The leaves may also be used to prepare a tea which helps to kill the malaria parasite in the blood stream. When we began to see the resistant strain of malaria in our region, we were able to use this tea along with the drugs to help the patients get well. We imported several trees and were able to plant a few in the village. This is the only medication now available to them for malaria treatment as the government is not supplying them with medications nor helping with the fumigation.

I miss my water bed! I miss hearing my children sing themselves to sleep as they swing in their hammocks.

I do not miss the malaria or mildew!

The Twi-light Zone!

The following is a translation done by Little Venice of an interview given by Chavez' former Foreign Affairs Vice- Minister of North America. I know many people often laugh off the Bolivarian Revolutionaries and tend to think of them as silly fools who can cause no real harm! Think again! Many of them are quite evil and propagate evil thoughts and attitudes. The problem is that there are many of the young of Venezuela who have heard this rhetoric for years in the school system and the state controlled TV and believe this nonsense. (I apologize for some of the crude language but that is how these people choose to speak!)

Who Are The Terrorists? -Mari Pili Hernadez

"Is a man that commits suicide with a bomb attached to his body, having seen his country invaded, devastated, destroyed, under the premise of a "preventive war",because supposedly in said nation there were to be found nuclear weapons that were never found, while the UN's Security Council remains absolutely silent in the face of so much atrocity, a terrorist?

He that's seen his entire family die while at a family gathering, happily celebrating a relative's wedding when the invading army's airplane bombed the dwelling hosting the party, only to later simply state that it was a mistake, given that they'd thought that an Al Qaida member was hiding there, if he later went to place an explosive that somehow harmed that unruly army that mistakes a bride for Osama Bin Laden, is he a terrorist?

He that, not having sophisticated weapons with which to defend himself, nor smart missiles, nor rifles with telescopic scopes, nor submarines, nor aircraft carriers, decides to enter a shopping center and attack anyone who looks like a family member of those that took his own from him, is he a terrorist?

The man that had no possibilty of responding to the bombings that night after night submerge his country in misery, in pain, in hunger, in death, in indignity, when he decides to use his own body as a lethal weapon against the imperialist agressor that's been assassinating his people for decades, is he a terrorist?

He that plans "attempts" against installations in which nationals of the country that has been massacring entire populations for years simply because these peoples don't want to give away their energy resources have interests( likely meaning investements), is he a terrorist?

He that proffers threats, insults, abuses and all manner of offensive words against the President of the country that's subjected them to desolation, hunger, or violence, is he a terrorist?

He that hates with all his might the nationals of a country that s--t on his sacred texts, rape his women, torture those detained in their illegal jails, and,as if that wasn't enough, photograph themselves commiting these barbarous acts and publish their "pranks", intending to let the world know that they can do anything, that they're above all human beings, above anything that can be considered human, is
he a terrorist?

He that attempts to cause harm to the nationals of a country that illegally kidnaps one of his relatives, and more that 500 people, keeps them prisoner in an inhumane jail in an also-occupied territory of a Carribean country, without minimal legal assistance, totally denied communication, without a judicial order, not respecting even their most basic human rights, all this happening for all the world to see, while the cynical perpetrators of this action parade around the salons of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, attempting to accuse nations that irk them that supposedly they are the ones violating human rights? (sic, as far as possible), is he a terrorist?

A multimillionaire Muslim who,seeing his compatriots suffer so many humilitaions, so much pain, so much bitterness, so much indignity, tires of the war being suffered only on one side and decides to organize the most sophisticated operation known in history ( ! )so that the assassins of his people learn that the death of innocents is always indignating, is he a terrorist?"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Am Seeing RED!!!

When I saw this at Citizen Feathers ,I could barely contain myself!!

First, nearly everyone pictured at this table denied Christ and even killed and tortured Christians for their beliefs, and secondly, I know that many Venezuelan "evangelicals" are Chavez supporters! If the Venezuelan church does not speak out now about these kinds of propaganda by supporters of this government, it will have sold its very soul to the devil as far as I am concerned!

Yes, I am angry!!!

Friday, September 14, 2007


Before living in the jungle, I had never put much thought into the making or care of dirt floors. I assumed they would be care free! Not so.

The first few years in the village, we only had dirt floors. This is because the cost of flying cement out to the village by plane was very expensive. And then, the fact that all the sand and gravel had to be dug out of the river bed during dry season when the river is at its most shallow, carried up to the village and hand mixed with water which you also hand carry, bucket by bucket, slows down the process greatly.

So, dirt floors it was! When making a dirt floor, the first step is to dig down and level the floor as much as possible. Then, using water and a heavy tamp, you begin to pound away!!! You must use enough water to dampen the floor, without actually making mud. This process goes on for several days in each room.

After the floor is deemed "finished", you may then begin to use the room. Dirt floors do need to be swept daily. Lint, thread, and other debris does accumulate just as on any floor. Each day the floor is swept with a handmade broom. Once all debris is removed, you sweep the floor yet again, this time adding water to the floor as you sweep.

This is to settle the dust which comes from walking on and sweeping of the floor. If you do not keep the floor dampened, it will turn to dust and everything in the room, including small children, will be dusty. The dirt is of a high clay content and leaves an orange stain on everything. I had orange feet for years!!

Dirt floors do not show dirt, but it is amazing how trash, such as paper and such, will show up! The other problem with dirt floors is when you have accidents, such as spills. How to clean it up? There are many vermin and insects and if you leave anything organic, you will be overcome!

I learned this when we first arrived and our children were all still small. We all came down with malaria and had several bouts of vomiting. How do you clean that up??? With a shovel!!! Then you bring in fresh dirt to fill in the holes.

I did learn that by occasionally adding kerosene to the water I used on the floors, I was able to keep many insects at bay.

We finally laid a cement floor in the main room after about a year and a half . It took us several days to carry up all the water we needed for the cement. We had been collecting the sand and gravel from the river for a few weeks and we were excited to finally lay the floor, by hand. What a job!

Once it was dry, we prepared a concoction for sealing the floor. I heated kerosene on the stove and melted candles into it. We then applied this while still hot to the floor. It worked great! I kept the floor polished by adding 1/4 cup kerosene to each mop bucket. Again, to fight the bugs as well as add shine.

We slowly added floors to the house and eventually added up our costs to be nearly $15,000 US!!! For rough, hand laid cement floors. The floors helped our children's health by cutting down on parasites and also the ever present "nigua".

A "nigua" is a small burrowing tick which lives in the jungle dirt. They especially like to burrow into the toes and even under the toe nails. They are barely visible to the naked eye, but once under the skin, the nigua lays an egg sack which grows and grows and grows... until the eggs hatch and all the new baby niguas begin to reproduce!!! Not fun. Neither is it fun to dig them out of the tender nail bed.

I once had to remove an entire nail of my toe to get to an egg sack under the nail. OUCH!!! And, of course, any opening in the skin is likely to become infected.So the floors, though expensive, were needed and greatly appreciated.We would eventually come to the point of feeling the small niguas before they even burrowed!!

A new problem occurred when we laid the first floor. The Sanema chew tobacco. They keep a large plug of it under their lower lip at all times. This produces a green ,slimy spittle. The Sanema generally spit alot! They spit out the nasty spittle. On my floors.On my walls. It was a constant source of irritation to me.

I finally had to come to accept it. I did keep a spray bottle of bleach and paper towels handy and taught them to clean it themselves. The bleach was also needed to clean up after the many diaperless babies that came to visit each and every day.

Needless to say, our only furniture was wood or plastic so that it could be cleaned and disinfected daily. I felt it was better to have things I did not mind them using, than to have nice things, but perhaps worry that it would be damaged. I did not want "things" to come between me and the people I was there to serve.

On the other hand, I did feel it was wise to teach them what behavior would be expected of them by the Venezuelans in town. After gaining their confidence, I was able to teach them that spitting would not be acceptable in town. Nor would babies without diapers! Nor looking inside through windows...nor using yards as an out house... nor walking in unannounced ... nor burping loudly at the table...and many other activities deemed perfectly acceptable in their own culture.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

You can take the boy out of the Jungle...

But, can you take the jungle out of the BOY?????

My son killed this snake for me a few days ago. He used his little knife he keeps by his bedside. The snake was sunning on our porch and he knew it would give me a fright to open the door and see it there. (Sorry, Glenn!)

And then I found him outside playing with his new toy....

He made himself a blow gun!!!
( all you need is some PVC pipe, electrical tape,
plumber's putty and a plastic cap for the mouth piece.
Use wooden skewers for shish kabobs as the darts. )

Monday, September 10, 2007


Former Paraguayan General rebuts Chávez' politics

Former Paraguayan Army Commander General Lino Oviedo Monday said he "hates" the way Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez makes politics, as he uses his country's resources to fund neighbor nations, while his people are in need, Reuters reported.

Oviedo -who was convicted to 10 years in jail for his attempted coup d'etat- was released on probation last week. When leaving the prison, he voiced interest in participating in the presidential vote next April 2008.

"I absolutely hate" the way Chávez makes politics, Oviedo told Primero de Marzo radio station.

"Charity begins at home. His people are in a bad situation, and he is lending money to Bolivia, to (Ecuadorian President Rafael) Correa, to Argentina. And that money belongs to the people."

If Oviedo joins the Paraguayan presidencial race, he is to face former Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo, whose candidacy is supported by leftwing groups advocating Chávez.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Thank Goodness for my Laptop!!!

SO... here I am, down with my back. I am rather frustrated as I have so much I need to do, so much I want to do, I am.


At least with my laptop I can blog in bed.

I am trying not to get discouraged but I am a little worried about how I will be able to do all the travel required of us in the next few months. Sitting in a car for long hours is a sure way for me to end up bed ridden for a few days. I am looking forward to visiting all the people who have prayed and helped us in the ministry in Venezuela. Please pray that I will be able to do so.

I don't feel like I should have a bad back, I forget my limitations at times and that is usually what causes me to end up this way. I have already had two back surgeries and do not want another!

Yesterday the pain had built up to a level that was nearly intolerable with sciatica as well. I ended up at the doctors office, barely able to walk. She prescribed some muscle relaxers and pain meds and they seem to be helping quite a bit, but I am foggy in the head! So if I write something too crazy, please forgive me!

I had a blessing this morning. The phone rang and it was Florinda Eddings. She is an 87 year old retired missionary. She and her husband, Cedric, lived and worked with the Ye'kwana Indians back in the 70's. Here is a photo of her teaching the first young men of the village ever to learn to read and write.

She called to let me know that even though she does not have internet, a friend of hers copies and mails her my blog each day!!!! I am glad that she gets to read it and see all the pictures. Many of the Indians I know as adults, and even elderly, are ones she knew as children and teens. If not for her help during a very bad epidemic of measles , many of them would not be alive today.

I am so glad she is enjoying the stories and pictures!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Beach Blogging

I did think of many of you as I enjoyed the beach and I finally got to do the name tag pen of jen
tagged me for over a month ago.

While enjoying the family time and Aunt Sara's beach house on Hunting Island, S.C., I also missed my internet connection. My sister, Pam, and I threatened to use post it notes on each others computer screens to replace our regular blogging!

So here is Jungle Mom's deserted island blogging!

I am supposed to tag others, but most of you have already done the tag! Here are a few more I did for fun!

The Name Game

A law proposed in the National Assembly of Venezuela will limit the choices of names which parents may give their new born children. The list includes 100 acceptable names.

The bill’s ambition, according to a draft submitted to municipal offices for review, is to “preserve the equilibrium and integral development of the child” by preventing parents from giving newborns names that expose them to ridicule or are “extravagant or hard to pronounce in the official language,” Spanish.

The bill also aims to prevent names that “generate doubts” about the bearer’s gender.

Just What I Need!!!!

I am facing a lot of laundry. I have named the laundry pile, "Mt. Never Rest".
My 20 year old son and nephew were home alone for two weeks so,
the house looks like a boys dorm room!!!!
This computer/coffee maker would be just the thing to get me going!!!!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I'm back!!

We got in late last night as our stay was extended due to the hospitalization of my mother in law.
I am a little swamped today with the girls school and laundry. I do hope to get back to blogging some time this week.
Thanks to all who signed my guest book!
Let me hear from you all soon!