Saturday, November 28, 2009

We Did It!

Thank you all so much for your prayers. We are now valid Ecuadorian drivers! The Lord is good and while waiting in line we were able to share about what we do with several people - plus we left with 2 drivers licenses. WhooHoo!

Update on Driving

Well, we are still in Quito right now and very tired from our LONG day, yet very grateful for the favor God has shown on us today. After spending most of yesterday getting what we thought was all of the documents we needed to get our drivers licenses, we left for the transit authority at 6:50 AM. We got in a line that was already about 50 people long and waited for the gate to open at 8. We were a little tired because we had been up until 1AM studying for the written exam. Most of the questions made sense and were just about the same at the laws in the states, but having the test in Spanish was a bit of a challenge, at least for one of us- you can guess which one. When the gates opened we were pleasantly surprised that the guard only let the line in and not the crowd that had gathered around the gate. The funny part was that once you got through the gate, everyone started running for the line they needed to get to. We joined in and as a family ran for our line. First was the exam and I am glad to say that we both passed. One with a 100% and the other with a 95%- you can guess which one is which. Then we found out that we needed one more document and we needed it notarized- this process is not as easy as it is in the states. The day before getting our documents notarized took us 5 hours and we needed to be back at the transit office before 2 when they closed for the day.
So, at about 9:30 we headed out on our quest. I'll spare you the details of that ordeal, but we did make it back to the transit authority by 1:15, took our eye test and were ready for the last step - pictures and the actual license- when we found out that they were closing at 1:30 not 2:00.... yes, I know so close.
Because of the 3-4 hour power outages in Ecuador, they had to close the office early. We will go back tomorrow morning at 8:00 to get in line and wait for the gate to open at 9:00 and will hopefully leave with a license or hopefully 2.- please pray for us and our patience and that especially when things are frustrating we will show His love to those around us.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Blast From the Past

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Ok, so this has nothing to do with missions, but today Bella checked out her favorite book from the library again. It brings a warm fuzzy feeling everytime because it was one of my favorite books as a child. I loved when my mother read this book to me. I had completley forgotten about it until Bella picked it up one day and asked me to read it to her. The story is about a little lion who learns to read and is able to go on many exciting adventure simply by opening up a book. I bet my mom somtimes wishes I was still able to get my adventure fix from reading and didn't have to move to another country!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Ecuador-Style

Well for Thanksgiving we are going to Quito to once again try to get drivers licenses. We "thought" we had a handle on the situation, but... well... we were wrong. We are going to spend Thursday and Friday standing in lines, getting copies of documents that aren't really needed and taking a test on laws that are very similar to those in the states, but will never be enforced and in no way prepare you for the defensive-style of driving needed for Ecuador. So, please pray we make it through the weekend and come out with at least 1 valid drivers license.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Barbasco intoxication

When working with patients from the jungle you typically run across some of the same issues that you do in the States, but there is always a twist. This young lady was admitted to the hospital because of an acute poison intoxication - something seen fairly frequently in the US.

She lives in Shuar jungle community and was flown in by helicopter after ingesting the sap of a Barbasco tuber. It is a type of wild yam. She had apparently gotten into a fight with her family, felt frustrated and found the Barbasco root. She pounded with a stone and sucked on the sap with the intent to kill herself. Fortunately her family found her and got help. Patients who ingest the toxin will often develop a slow heart rate, become weak or paralyzed, convulse, and die.

The Shuar (and other tribes) will use it while fishing. It's a tried and trued method used around the Americas
. Several will be upstream and pound on the tuber to release the sap and then wave it in the water. It’s strong enough to paralyze the fish downstream and they’ll float to the surface and be easy pickings. It is a safer way to fish than dynamite, which is sometimes used as well. Fortunately for her she got better and was able to return home. When questioned about what she had done she wouldn’t admit that she was trying to hurt herself.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Family Adventure- Brady Bunch Style

For the last few weeks we have been without power for about 3-4 hours each day. The power outagaes are the result of the worst drought in Ecuador in about 40 years. The outages haven't been too bad and for the most part we know when they are coming and plan accordingly. When the power is out at night, it is obviously the most inconvenient, but we never thougth it would also be the most exciting. Friday night, Sebastiao and Bella were watching a movie on my laptop during the blackout (they are very grateful for battery power.) All of a sudden, Sebastiao came running down the hallway screaming about a tarantula. Joe and I both thought he must be mistaken and Joe went down the hallway with a flashlight to convience him that it wasn't a large hairy spider....
For many of you who know our son well, you already know that once again, he was correct! There was a very large (for us at least), very hairy and very angry tarantula on his bed. It has crawled up Sebastiao's leg and was claiming the bed for his own. The entire family then spent the next 10 minutes with 2 flashlights, a large box and a piece of cardboard trying to convience the taratula that he was more scared of us than we were of him!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big Day

Friday was a big day for Sebastiao. He lost a tooth Friday morning and then had poetry night at school Friday night. He did a wonderful job reciting his poem, Good Night. Hope you enjoy

The poem is: Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbug, tick or louse suck blood from you, hatch its eggs, and then develop the larvae on you , alright?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Joe's Birthday

Thanks to everyone who made Joe's birthday so special. He especially appreciated the cards. Thank you so much for thinking ahead and getting those in the mail early. The residents and interns wanted to have a surpise birthday party for Joe. However, in a culture where 30 minutes late is on time and there is no such thing as late, a surprise party was challenging. They told me to have him there at 7:10, but when we arrived, the door was locked and there was noone there. I sent Joe onto the hospital and waited. Finally after about 20 minutes some people arrived and after about 30 minutes Joe came back....not exactly a surprise party, but it was wonderful. Here is a picture of Joe with the other August birthdays people who were there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Ok, so the jungle trip was completely different than anything I have ever done before. The jungle was like Texas in August, unforgivably hot, with an intense sun. We did have one day that was cloudy with a breeze, and that was a blessing. It was the day we did the parasite study, and I was very grateful for the wind. On the trip were Alex Griffin, an engineer who heads up the water projects in this area, and Tannia Lascano, who teaches health care and hygiene in villages here as well as in the mountains. Here is a picture of Tannia teaching the school children.

The children brought their samples the second day we were there and we got started on processing them. The children went back to school and later came back for Tannia's teaching and then they got a chance to look in the microscope at some of the parasites I had found. The microscope was a new tool for them, but many got the hang of it quickly. Several of the girls actually stood and watched Tannia prepare the samples and me looking into the microscope for hours. Fortunately (I guess) I found lots of interesting parasites to show them. In total, we found that about 68% of the children had parasites, which I am told is not a bad percentage for jungle villages. Most of the parasites we found had nothing to do with clean water, but hygiene. Our last morning there, before we gave out the parasite medicines, Tannia got a chance to teach one last time the importance of using the latrines and washing hands. You can never underestimate the power of a little soap and water!
Below is a picture of Rebecca, the health promoter for Amazona. Most villages have a health promoter which is a volunteer from the community that takes classes given by missionaries on basic health care. Rebecca was exceptional and made sure that each child actually swallowed the medicine we were giving them!

Here are some pictures of the crowd we acquired while there. I tried to be discreet about shooting photos, but once they saw the camera, I had lots of willing subjects.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My First Trip to The Jungle

Please forgive our lack of blogs lately. We will be without power part of each day for at least the next week. However, when we have power we aren't guaranteed the internet will be working, so I will post whenever we have both at the same time.

For the last few weeks I have gotten to work in the hospital laboratory preparing for a parasite study in the jungle. The HCJB Water Projects team, lead by Alex Griffin, have been working in Amazonas for the past year building a clean water system, and latrines. We were interested in finding out how many and what kinds of parasites the school children had. I do not enjoy flying and was especially not excited about a VERY small plane. Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) flew us out and our pilot for the day was a good friend of ours, Chad Irwin. Here he is pulling the plane out of the hangar, and preparing for the flight.

Amazonas doesn’t have an airstrip, so we were flown into Makuma. Alex was very kind to me on my first trip to the jungle and we slept in real beds in Makuma and then walked about 45 minutes each day to Amazonas.

I will post more tomorrow of the walk to Amazonas and our time there.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Sorry we have been away for over a week, but life has been crazy. We went to Quito for a few days to celebrate Joe's birthday and then I was in the jungle for 3 days. We will fill you in more tomorrow, but for now please pray for rain for the entire country of Ecuador. We are having the worst drought in 45 years and as a result are running low on electricity. Because of the normally high amount of rain here, the electricity comes from several hydroelectric plants. Without rain, electricity is running low and the country is rationing. The entire country will be without electricity for 4-8 hours everyday until the problem gets better. Fortunatly right now we are getting enough rain here to have water in our homes, the real problem is further up in the mountains where the hydroelectric plants are. Please pray for rain there.
I will add pictures of the jungle trip and the reason I got to go tomorrow. I think there is a football (soccer) game today so the power should stay on so people can watch it!