All that water creeped in last weekend and we didn't have a single drop of rain. It has rained since this picture was taken. We currently have even more water and have placed sandbags all around the edge of the sidewalk. Our place is reminiscent of a war movie. But if you think about it, we have a beach (water and sand...bags). We even have fish swimming in front of our door. We caught one the other day.
This last Friday evening, as we were calling the girls to worship, I went to go turn on all of our outside lights. As I was heading into our upper building, something with orange caught my eye. After focusing in, a 3.5 foot coral snake came slowly into view. First thought: scream. Second thought: run. Third thought: kill it. Next thought: how? I found a canoe paddle in the corner and went after it. I got one good stab, but then ran around the corner because it came after me. Herkie hid behind my neck, I hid behind the paddle. After watching the snake attach a black garbage bag for a few minutes, and then slither off into a corner, Herkie and I decided to go get backup.
We went and got Casey, two machetes, and two flashlights. Herkie was left with his mother, because this was a man’s battle. We found the snake, agitated it enough so that now it wanted a piece of us face to face, and then fought it. It took a few minutes, some screams, and Casey’s precision accuracy with the machete to finally kill it, but we got it. This guy was definitely poisonous. We cut off its head, and played with its fangs enough to see the venom shooting out. God took care of us. The snake was hanging out where one of our workers lives, and where our night watchman sleeps… I mean sits. We were fortunate to find the snake before it found them.
In Iquitos, we probably have as many full size dump trucks as you can count on both hands. Those trucks however, do not go house to house or street to street. They just pick up the piles. The little trucks, like the one pictured above, do all the dirty work. They have a driver, and somehow manage to fit in a 2-3 man crew. And, from what we have seen, the strong majority is comprised of women. These motorcycle/trucks are more efficient, can go deeper into the jungle, and are more affordable. It is crazy to see these with a full load of garbage as well as a 2-3 people hanging all over. This is a photo of one picking up some trash out in Santo Tomas.
Juane (pronounced “who-on-ay”, for you super-gringos out there) is a cuisine of the jungle. It is named after the detatched head of John the Babtist and is the holiday food during St. John days. This popular food is sold nightly by vendors in front of their houses. Everyone seems to know how to make it. Everyone loves to eat it. It is quite tasty –depending on what surprise you get inside. Check out the process.
1) You go pick giant leaves out of your back yard and heat them over a stove
2) Fill leaves with flavored rice, chicken, eggs, and aceitunas ( Greek type olives that kick you in the face –nothing at all like olives in the can).
3) Tie the leaves up with a stringy-grass-also-from-your-backyard.
4) Boil the leaves and contents for hours and hours.
5) All done. Now you have an entire meal in a leaf.
Kelly and I really do enjoy eating this food. The only issue we have is when it comes to the chicken. Only after arriving down here, did we begin to realize how many pieces you can cut a chicken into. It is actually rather impressive –to watch, not eat. The girls, bless their little hearts, love, love to eat the legs and necks of the chickens.
A few weeks ago, as a famished Aaron eagerly picked his prized Juane, he quickly untied the grass and came to a grave realization. Out of 35 Juanes, he landed one of the two with a foot. But it was not just one foot, but two feet. As the leaf unraveled, two feet were sticking out to say their farewells. What luck! He lost his appetite. Fortunate for him, he was able to fill up on soda instead. You can never judge a Juane by its leaf…