The Georges in Peru

No Room in the Inn

12 Sep 2019

Last night we bought a queen-sized bed from some missionaries that are leaving Peru for our guest room.  I set out the single bed it replaced in our front yard so we can sell it. 

We had two guests come to stay with us today.  One of them we've never even met before.  When she arrived we pointed out the bed in the front yard and said, "Our house is full, so here's your bed!"  "It's very nice," she said politely.  "You're joking, right?" she asked with a bit of a worried look on her face.  "Yes!  We're joking!"  "Oh good!" she said, relieved.   Then she wanted a picture!

btw, the bed sold two days later.

Smashed Foot

10 Sep 2019

Saturday, we had a work day at church to complete some of the walls with bricks.  I think I prefer more natural light and open portions, especially since the weather is so comfortable all year round here.  But closing things up will make it a bit quieter I suspect.  A metal riser fell on the foot of one of the 'hermanos' (brothers) who was leading the masonry work.  I was pretty sure it was broken so I took him to a clinic with an x-ray machine.  Yup!  It's broken! Can you find the fracture?  The first person to correctly identify the broken bone wins!  (Wins what?  Notoreity.)

I'm going to cast it tomorrow if a walking boot doesn't seem adequate.

Update:  Marcy Ganow was the first to correctly identify the fracture in the 2nd Metatarsal!

Anti-vaxxers in Peru

02 Sep 2019

"Did you bring Pedro's growth chart?" I asked the parents of the smiley 10-month-old.   "We don't have one.  We're very careful about vaccinations."  Pedro's uncle had warned me that Pedro's mother had some pseudo-religious-energy belief system, so I felt they were just the type of patient that God had called me to Peru to help.  I was starting to get an idea of what he was warning me about.  "Has Pedro gotten any vaccines?"  "No.  We don't want him to get autism or heavy metal poisoning."  I explained that vaccines no longer contain mercury preservatives and that the author of the study linking autism to vaccinations years later admitted to making up his data and that there is no real connection between autism and vaccines beyond the fact that kids under 5 years old get both.  I then went on to point out how my mother had polio and my dad lost his only two sisters in childhood to polio and whooping cough, completely preventable diseases rarely seen today. Lastly, I pointed out that you have to be careful what you read on the internet.  Whatever stance you might have about anything, you can find someone who has a webpage defending that view.  "There are even several web-pages defending that the earth is flat!" I pointed out, expecting affirming nods.  No affirming nods noted.  I hope they were too busy processing what I had said about vaccines to nod their heads about the earth being round. 

Since I can't put patient pictures on my blog, instead we found this parking spot amusing:

They don't let tree planters get in the way of painting in parking stalls.

Theatre Team

21 Jul 2019

This isn't news, since it happened two weeks ago, but the times when we have more interesting things to write about are when we are too busy to blog!

From June 30th until July 7th we had a theatre short-term team from Christ Community Church in Omaha come visit.  You might be asking, "What does a theatre team do?  I've never heard of such a thing."  We hadn't either!  But God made it work out wonderfully.  Monday through Thursday, the team taught workshops on acting, set design, story-telling and choreography, preparing the Peruvians for a showcase in an auditorium on Saturday night.  Everything went without a hitch and the Peruvians seemed very happy with the experience.  Some of the more timid people got to experience going on stage and reciting their lines in front of a crowd for the first time.  We think they learned a lot of skills that will help their ministries in the future.

Of course, a trip to Peru isn't complete without trying the local delicacy:  Guinea pig!

Tomorrow starts the annual eye campaign.  We will treat between 3000 and 4000 patients over the next two weeks.  Lot of cataract surgeries and prescription glasses will be handed out.  Paul is off school, so he will help as a translator.

All in a Day's Work

22 Jun 2019

 

I was extremely proud of my puppet-course students today as they pulled out the stops for two little church plants in Cono Norte, Arequipa.  This was their first performance and some of them were pretty nervous about it.  The show went well, though not without a few glitches but the kids listened attentively. 

Allen was a good sport in getting us there, driving through interesting traffic and some pretty rough terrain (you didn’t think cities gave such?  Well, where we went, mankind is just now discovering that the land is useful for living on).  Allen also filled in last minute for a girl who was unexpectedly asked to work today.                 

 

 

Congratulations! Sarah and Zach!

15 May 2019

Sunday, Sarah and her husband Zach graduated from Wheaton College.  Sarah got her degree in biology and Zach in chemical physics.  They both plan on going to medical school after working for a year in Chicago.  They currently feel led to return to the mission field as medical missionaries when they finish their studies.  I'm proud of you, Sarah and Zach!

Ben joined us from Nebraska and Mia joined us from Texas.  The Kessler Grandparents joined us from South Dakota and Auntie Sandi came from Michigan to celebrate with us.  Paul and Mary Beth stayed in Peru to hold down the fort there (Paul had to go to school!). 

I'm fortunate to be home; My connecting flight to Orlando was rain delayed so I had to sprint through the airport hearing "Allen George, last call gate 90!" arriving as they were about to shut the door.  Luckily, that wing of the terminal was nearly empty and I could put all of my recent speed-work-training to good use!

Experts in Demolition

28 Apr 2019

The day has finally come!  Our church is getting a new roof!  The old one leaks and has holes big enough to temporarily blind the pianist (yours truly) when beams of sunlight hit his sheet music.  The church saved up money for a year and a half to be able to pay for it.  Today, after church, we dismantled the entire roof in less than an hour.  

The church sanctuary moments before the old roof was removed.

Removing the old roof

While sitting around waiting for lunch to cook at a local oven, we decided to do some masonry work to raise the wall on the east side (right side of picture).  Tomorrow we begin the installation of the new roof!

 

The Reports of my Death are Greatly Exaggerated - Mark Twain

22 Apr 2019

I haven't posted for a while.  But I have a good reason.  It seems I've been dead!  I've been feeling surprisingly normal all things considered.  It came to light when I tried to electronically file my taxes and it was rejected.  

 

So I skyped the Social Security Administration's 800-number where, after three 50-minute waits on hold I was told various things, such as, "You need to go to Costa Rica to the Federal Benefits Unit there."  (As humorist/columnist Dave Barry would say, 'I'm not making this up!').  I checked my social security online account and found that the money I paid to SS in 2017 appeared as $0.  I called SS again to be told that a trip to the Costa Rica unit was my best chance for sorting things out.

I called the IRS 800-number and a very helpful employee (as if the 'S' in IRS really stands for Service) finally found the problem.  When Amy died, they turned the death indicator on for me instead of for her!  And since I didn't owe anything on my 2017 return they just 'discarded' it!  Though it isn't really discarded.  It is still in the system, but I still have to refile a paper copy.  Her manager is supposed to call me back to explain why I have to refile when they have it on file and it was their fault.  

You may have heard that Alan Garcia, one of Peru's former presidents, killed himself last week to avoid a tribunal that was investigating him for bribery and misuse of public funds.  Many Peruvians feel that he faked his death, paid off the appropriate people and escaped to Argentina.  That doesn't seem so impossible to me anymore, just unnecessarily complicated. 

This could not possibly have passed inspection

29 Mar 2019

I was in Lima this week to renew my passport.  While there, I visited the print shop that is making 5000 copies of a book based on Proverbs that is being taught in some Peruvian schools.  After my visit I rode in a public transport van that was the most beat up that I have ever seen.  The side window was gone.  All of the linings in the door and roof were gone as were half of the dashboard components.  In the 9-block trip to the bus station we had two near accidents.  Peru has a vehicle-inspection law, but evidently this van slipped through the system.

What's your superpower?

17 Mar 2019

Mine is Quechua.  I speak a teeny bit of it and it has magical powers here (okay, theologically I know it's not magic, just go along with the literary device!).  This morning we gave a ride to three girls that recently started attending our church.  When we were dropping them off at their house a filthy drunk with a shovel approached the car, yelling and waving the shovel agressively.  Paul and I thought he might start hitting our truck.  "Girls, get out on the other side of the car!"  While they got out I distracted the drunk on my side of the car.  "Allillanchu, papay!" (How are you, my daddy?) I asked him in Quechua, not sure that he even spoke Quechua.  I figured if he didn't understand Quechua he'd just assume I was speaking in English and it wouldn't make any difference.  He suddenly looked a bit less violent.  "Iman sutiki?" (What's your name?) I asked.  The angry shovel-wielding man was suddenly smiling.  I told him to watch out for a bus coming by and he said jokingly, "Those buses don't kill, I do!"  We continued exchanging pleasantries (okay, I guess he wasn't really pleasant!) and he mentioned how much Paul has grown while the girls escaped to their home.  "Tupananchiskama!" (see you later!) I said as I drove off marveling at the power of language.

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