Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Things I See...

Yesterday we spent the day at 'La Garganta del Diablo' ( The Devil's Throat) with the kids.

See more photos on my face book page, HERE.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Surprise

My son and his wife showed up on my door step this morning, a total and complete surprise the kids have been planning since July!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Down Town

This is a re-post of one of my first trips down town here in Ciudad del Este. Thankfully, it is beginning to feel more normal for me, and yet, I sort of miss the wonder of it all that one senses on their first steps out into the wild city of the east!

Yesterday I almost tripped over the Arab men smoking their hookah because I was looking at the Chinese lady selling the silk kimonos. But the Portuguese man called out a warning. I then took refuge in the christian Korean store.
This city is culturally ADHD and I may need to start taking some Ritalin!!
Did I mention the man playing the Steinway piano in front of the Sushi bar? He had a CD with a Sinatra song, entitled, "MAY HUEY". (My Way)

I  also found Rolex watches even I can afford! Who knew????  But I best not discuss here what the guy tried to sell us as we crossed the street in front of the protest march before the National Police blocked the road! Speaking of protests, Paraguayan protests are like a Sunday School parade compared to the ones in Venezuela. It was so calm we were already IN it before we realized what it was!

After that we walked back to where we had left our car parked...right in front of the TAXI line '11 de Septiembre'. (September 11).

Then we had lunch at a Brazilian steak house with a room full of  Chinese people.

This city, Ciudad del Este, is like the duckbill platypus of cities! As if God took all the left over fragments of societies and dumped them down here together on the edge of nowhere just to confound the rest of us!

OH WAIT! I fit right in, don't I????

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Things I See...


Doing what she does best!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Have you ever?

Listened to the sound of rain falling upon a palm roof?


Heard the songs of howler monkeys in the jungle?


Seen a sky only God could paint?

Watched the majestic macaw soar overhead?

Fallen asleep to the sound of the river flowing past your window?

Swam beneath the spray of a waterfall that has no name?


Listened to the thunder roll across the jungle, and heard the voice of God?

Followed the tracks of a jaguar down to the creek,
hoping to catch a peek?

Walked under a moon so bright, it cast your shadow at mid night?

Stand under the jungle canopy, looking up...and see no sky?

Felt the sun beat upon you as you paddle down stream
in a dugout canoe?

Loved a child with dark, black, shiny eyes?

Swam in a current that nearly takes you away?


Eaten a sun ripened pineapple, straight from the garden?


Held the hand of a tribesman, and truly felt him to be your brother?

Smelled the smoke of a camp fire, hours before you arrive?

Been held in the embrace of an Indian grandmother, 
who "rocks" away your pain?

Eaten a fish that was swimming only moments ago?

 Had your face lovingly painted in onoto, and felt beautiful?


Had to leave it all, not knowing when , or if you would see them again?

I would like to thank  the Venezuelan jungle missionaries who have contributed  these photos. All photos are original to Jungle Mom, Don Arnold, Mike Dawson, Pastor Von, Micah Jank, and Jonathan Reed.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

My Week End

 via Facebook ~

Janus decided to eat her mattress last night. I think she is assuming this will allow her back into the house at night.
Please pray for safe travels for Clint tonight as he drives to Asuncion.
Saturday Night~
Clint Vernoy arrived safely. I should have asked prayer for those of us who did not travel out of town. We had a little 'encounter' on the way home tonight, but all is well.
 Even later~
So after our little adventure with the cops, involving a breathalyzer, I arrived home to find Janus without her collar so I could not get a hold of her to keep her in the yard while the gate was closing. Finally we made it in the house and discovered the cats had killed a bird in the bathroom and it was full of feathers and gore... and the neighbors are having a very loud party!
 Later yet~
  The girls decided to make crafts which ended up with lydocaine and bandages... and this was after all the OTHER stuff on the way home.
When I got home last night, Janus the Great did not have on her collar. This morning I noticed she had a swollen neck. I found her link collar wound up in the hammock strings and broken in three pieces. I can only assume she fought her way out of a terrible experience with the collar and hammock. Poor baby! She is getting lots of extra love and attention today.
Sunday mid morning~
I received a call from  my daughter across town telling me that Elena thought she heard a baby chicken outside and went to help it. She set off the house alarm and woke everyone in their neighborhood up early on this Sunday morning. At least now everyone knows they have a LOUD alarm! The two chickens then came into the house. One was escorted out and the other is hiding in the girls bathroom but the bulldog got in a few good bites so there was plenty of blood. Then they discovered that their dog, Captain Alice was gone. Brian  had to drive around looking for her, but she finally showed up at home on her own.

And now, off to church to see what new adventures await us!

My husband has his own excitement last night. After preaching for the all day Anniversary service of a church there in Asuncion, he was given tickets to go to the night game of our favorite Paraguayan soccer team with the Paraguayan pastor. Someone in the crowd threw a fire cracker and they all were escorted out of the stands and the game was canceled.
 God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny.
~Garrison Keillor


Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Things I See...

Janus the Great and the kitten with a death wish!
Actually, Janus is pretty patient with the kitten and we often find them sleeping together in the morning.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Upstairs Bathroom ????

Jewel, now, 21, began writing down  some memories from her childhood in the Amazon jungle of Venezuela a few years ago. It is interesting to see things through the eyes of a child.

Jewel watches as an indian lady makes a hammock.

Growing up, how many times did you just get totally shocked by something that later on just became expected? Its funny how as kids we appreciate and enjoy the small wonders in life. How a simple bug that we have never seen before is the most wonderful thing in the world. How you would stay up at night and watch for the stars to come out and wish on the first one you saw because, even tho they told you the Tooth Fairy wasn't real, there was a part of you that just couldn't be sure!

I've decided to write down the things that as a child I thought were the most astonishing, most spectacular , unbelievable, the most stupendous things.

In the jungle we didn't have an inside bathroom for many years, we had an out house that was just like McDonalds.......ok, because it had two stalls and that was where the resemblance ends, but I was 4, so give me a break! We named our outhouse McDonald's.

Our outhouse.

Any ways, back to the point, I knew that there were houses that had an upstairs and that also had indoor bathrooms, but it was impossible to have those sort of things in the jungle to my little mind. It just wasn't possible! Or so I thought until I went to Tama Tama!! (A small village on the Orinoco River where there was a missionary boarding school for many decades.)

I remember getting off the plane and being tired and sweaty and so I went to the house we would be staying in. If any one has ever had a 4 year old they will know they have very small bladders and a two hour flight is very long! That being the case, I asked the missionary lady where the bathroom was. She smiled and said "Up stairs..." I could slightly hear her continue talking but I just had to stop and ponder this new revelation, and this is what I thought, 'Up stairs? Did she really say there was an up stairs? Maybe she meant a loft ..yeah! that must be it!' There's no way she can have an up stairs in the jungle, haha! My small bladder was starting to protest so it brought me back to what I was asking before.

Our loft.

I asked her again because I kinda got lost on the whole up stairs thing. She looked at me and smiled and said " Up stairs and the second door....." my thoughts? Well mostly like this, "DOORS?????" but once again my bladder brought me back to the present and I had to ask her once again. This time she not only looked but also laughed, I guess I would too! So once again she told me " Up stairs and the second door on the left." .......dose she mean to tell me that the bathroom is in the house? No way! Impossible! She pointed to the back of the house to what looked like stairs.
I looked once more at her and then slowly walked to the stairs. I looked back at my parents, seeing as how they were busy talking, and I was told not to interrupt adults. I slowly went up the stairs, making a mental note to try sliding down the banister later, like in the movies!
Once I got to the top, I stopped with my mouth open! This was definitely not a loft! It was, with out a shadow of a doubt, an upstairs! As I slowly walked down the hall, counting the doors, I realized I didn't know which side was left and right. After taking a a few moments to figure out which side was left, I figured the best way was to do' TU TI NA NE WA MA DU DI TA'. (Ye'kwana version of iny mini miny mo!) So that done, I opened the door, and if this was a movie you would see a little girl opening a door with a bright light shinning through... and the next thing I remember is getting in trouble for sliding down the banister!

As you can see, Jewel eventually was able to take stairs for granted. Her she is in a wedding in Venezuela last year.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Marine Corps Birthday Ball ~ Asuncion, Paraguay

Last week the USMC celebrated their 236th birthday. Marines all across the world gather together to celebrate, whether it be a simple cake or a gala event, the day is celebrated. This year my husband escorted our youngest daughter to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball held here in Paraguay. As the great grand daughter of a Marine, the grand daughter of a Marine, and the daughter of a Marine, it was a great honor for her to be invited to sing the Star Spangled Banner during the ceremony.

She had not been informed that she would indeed be singing until arriving. Gunny Ho heard that she was a singer and of her Marine heritage and told her she would be singing.Then he told her to sing all four verses! And when Gunny tells you to do do it! She did a great job and felt honored to be asked.

She loves her daddy!

Its all about the accessories!

Jayde has her own idea of accessorizing!

A few good men ready to defend and protect!
First line of defense.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

She did it!

This week end Jayde tied for  first place in an international folkloric competition held annually here in Paraguay.
Winning Female Soloist ~Festival del Takuare'e de Guarambaré

Friday, November 11, 2011

Honoring our Family's Veterans

Our family has many service men and women in the Armed Forces!

" We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free."
-President Ronald Reagan 

 To view an album of some of my family who have, or are currently, serving in the military check out the link below! 

I am proud to be related to each and every one of them!

Monday, November 07, 2011

A Queen bearing gifts!

 A friend,  The Queen, just dropped off home made tajine!

I have wonderful friends in my life. Monday's are always difficult for me physically, so not only having a hot meal, but a Moroccan meal delivered to my door step makes me feel like a queen.

Have you ever eaten Tajine? 

It's sabroso!

Friday, November 04, 2011

The Things I See...

My youngest grand daughter walking
down a Paraguayan street.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Crazy Gringos

I am sure the neighbors think we are truly mad! We invited all the little gringos over to do some Pumpkin carving, but being in Paraguay, it turned into Water melon carving. 

 Abbie and her Alien!

Elena and her JACK O GUAYAN

Monse feeds her laughing melon!

 Maddie and JAWS

The two master minds created the Canibelon!
The melon eating watermelon.

We even had the Marines come in and help!

Monse and I trying to make a....what was it supposed to be????

Sticky fun for all!

Some people showed up to see what the craziness was  about.


Monday, October 31, 2011 the demons danced upon our roof.

Many times in the jungle one is confronted with the reality of the spirit world. I know that in our modern society many do not believe in witches, demons, angels or even God, but this is not the case with the indian cultures. They know good and evil spirits exist and even interact with us mere humans.

The Ye'kwana culture is replete with myths and lores of the spirit world. Some are based on historical events and what their ancestors observed.

There are spirit beings as lowly as wee folk who play annoying pranks hiding things from you or troubling the hunting dogs, all the way up to "Canaima" who is the embodiment of our "Boogey Man". There is the often seen "wiyu". This is a spirit which comes after someone has died and tries to trick another person into accompanying the dead one. They even have a mermaid! And don't forget the terrible" macuchis"! My children even sang a song about the macuchis to tease each other.

macuchis gonna get you if you start to pout!
The macuchis gonna get you if you don't watch out!

Whatever the case may be, I have seen and experienced things that I often do not share as I fear people will think I have lost my mind. I have seen people who were visited by Canaima appear to be in a trance and die a few days later with mysterious bruises and bleeding. I have been touched by a demon possessed person, only to wake up hours later with the print of their hand burned into my flesh. I have awakened at times with a smothering feeling of heaviness only to find my husband awake and experiencing the same. Talk about a cold chill, to wake up at night and feel as if an elephant is sitting on your chest and the night is so black you can not see your own hand, but you know there is a presence there. At times like these, the only relief comes from calling out to God.

After building our house and finally getting a small generator to replace our Coleman lanterns, we learned of an interesting event that had taken place. We learned of it in a most unusual way.

One night, we were both awoken simultaneously by a strange rustling sound which seemed to surround our house. We arose from our hammocks to investigate and found our house to be totally encircled by indians. More importantly, christian indians!

My husband went out side and asked what was going on. Shyly, they explained that they were watching out for us as they had observed "spirits" dancing upon our palm roof. Then they proceeded to tell us of a story that had unfolded several years before our arrival.

The old witch doctor of the village, Manweda, had snorted the hallucinogenic drug which the witch doctors use to enhance their visions, and after several hours of being in a trance, he awakened to tell the village a prophecy.

In his vision, he said he had seen a strange, strong light glowing out of a building upon the small hill which arose at the edge of the village. No one lived there and it was not even cleared yet, but he said he heard a loud noise which came from the house as well as the light.

As is often the case, the villagers discussed what this could mean and had not a clue. Until we showed up and asked if we might build our house upon that very hill. However, we only used Coleman lanterns and had no generator or loud noises coming form our house for several months.

Until that night!

The whole village, unbeknownst to us, had met to discuss if this was the fulfillment of Manweda's vision. As they ventured out to see, the unbelievers were frightened by what they saw around our house.

Spirits dancing on the roof!

The Christians feared for us and bravely decided to confront the spirits on our behalf, knowing we were not knowledgeable or aware of the great danger we were in, due to the nature of the evil demons and the fact that we were so reckless as to have built our house with HUGE windows in every room. Surely, Canaima would come for us one night!

But this night, the christians surrounded our house and joined in prayer to God for our protection. They were amazed that we could all sleep through the night with the demons dancing above our heads. We finally awoke from hearing their muffled prayers on our behalf.

As we spoke to them, we were told of the prophecy the witch doctor had made of our arrival with the lights and loud noise coming from a non-existent house on this exact spot.

Could God use a witch doctor to foretell of our coming? I don't know, but he has used stranger things...such as Balaam's donkey!

Whatever the reason, the people of Chajudaña had welcomed us unanimously and the new christians were greatly encouraged that we were not bothered by the spirits. Soon they were opening up their houses with larger windows to allow for better light and air flow, no longer so afraid of the spirits!

No longer were they bound in the darkness and superstition that had enslaved them and caused them to live in unhealthy smoke filled, dark houses cowering in fear.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Its my blogaversary!

Five years ago today, in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, I gave birth to a blog!

I had no idea the way it would take me around the world via my readers. I never imagined I would produce something anyone who did not know me would bother reading. I have some long time readers who are now friends in the truest sense, even though we have never met face to face.

Just for fun, if you are a regular reader, tell us how you found out about Jungle Mom and how long you have been reading The Jungle Hut?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why I blog

I like to blog for different reasons:

1) I like to learn, I need to learn something new everyday or I feel as if the day was wasted. So when my daughter Jackie called me from Paraguay nearly 5 years ago (I was living in Venezuela at the time) and said, "Mom, I have a blog." I did not like not knowing what one was. I checked her blog out. Loved it, and tried to leave a comment. Next thing I know, rather than a comment, I had  created my OWN blog! Still not sure how that happened!

2) I like to meet new people and I love a good debate. Not an argument, just sharing differences of opinion.

3) I love sharing with family and friends. Mine are spread all over the globe, literally! Through this venue we all participate in each others lives in an active way.

4) I LOVE the Lord. This should probably be first, but half of my readers would have stopped reading at that point. LOL tricked you! I want to share what God has done for me and my family even in difficulties, in hopes of blessing others going through hard times.

5) I like to share the GOOD NEWS with people that might not normally hear it. If I reach someone through this blog, just one, I would be thrilled. So many people are open if we present things in a way they can see and feel that the conviction is of God not from me.

6) I love HEARING from everyone who visits. PLEASE, leave a comment. Even if it is anonymous. Just let me know where you are from or whatever you feel comfortable with sharing. I have some LURKERS out there and I would love to know who you are and how you ended up here at my little blog.

7)I have always enjoyed journaling, this is a way for me to record history, with world and family events to remember later...for myself, my children, and grandchildren.

So this is me , the real Jungle Mom ! I am the mother of four and the grandmother of three,  and a 40++++ yr. old woman just wanting to talk and have a good laugh, mostly at myself!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Malaria Memories

I was recently reminded of the first time I had malaria. We had ran out of all meds, even Tylenol, due to an epidemic of over 80 cases of malaria at one time. We had no radio to call for more and had to wait for the scheduled flight to come out about 5 days later. I ended up being flown to town for medical care. It was discovered that I not only had malaria but strep throat as well. I was never so glad to see a plane land in my life!

When we were newly arrived in the village, I came down with malaria. I had been sick several days, (weeks?) with high fever and pain, followed by some hallucinations. It was hard to know what was really happening around me from the hallucinations. Often times, in the village, the real life happenings were more bazaar than the dreams!!

Imagine having every bone in your body aching like the worse flue you can imagine...X 10!! And no bed, no bathroom, no where to do the laundry but the river, still cooking over a fire, with four small children.

One day, I was feverish and in my hammock in the mud hut we had been loaned to use until we finished building our own mud hut. The doors did not lock, so there was no way to keep people out of the house. I was wiped out and fell into a deep sleep.

I began to wake up as I became aware of something rubbing my arm. As I strained to fight the fatigue and open my eyes, I realized my legs were also being touched. I could hear some low voices nearby speaking a language I did not understand.

As I raised my heavy eyelids, I saw four faces bent down over my hammock, looking me over. They were Sanama Indian woman from the next village. Each had their face painted and were adorned with the sticks they use to beautify themselves. They also had a roll of tobacco placed between their bottom lips and lower teeth. This gives the teeth a green, slimy look and produces a green dribble which they spit out on the floor every few seconds.

As my eyes took in the sight, I screamed!

The four, poor women, jumped! Screamed! Dropped their tobacco and walking sticks...and ran out the door! Screaming all the way through the village as they headed to their canoe!

I must have been just as scary to them as they had been to me. To add insult to injury, all the men in the village came running in to check on why I and the women had screamed, expecting to find a jaguar or something equally dangerous!

NO, just me sitting in my hammock trying to figure out if it was real...or another hallucination!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just keeping in real...

Father God, 

When I cried about missing my life in the jungle and begged for a chance to relive some of those experiences, I did not mean the red mud and no electricity part. 
Your loving, but less than grateful, daughter, Rita Vernoy.

(The one pouting in the dark with red stained feet!)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cantando por un Sueño

It was a late night, but it was worth it. Jayde Louisa Vernoy Riffe classified (top two overall) to be able to go and compete in the INTERNATIONAL singing competition in Guarambaré next month!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Things I See...

My youngest daughter singing a solo in her school musical last week. She was great!