On Saturday, we made the 1.8 kilometer (1.1 mile) walk to visit El Hogar Mendez, the Mendez home, on the shores of Laguna Las Tres Pascualas near San Sebastian University. Andrea is the teacher of the weaving workshops, who gave me the Tree of Life wall hanging. Her husband Manuel is self-employed. Elder K. has hit it off with their 6-year-old son Manuel, and we promised we would stop by.
Andrea is a natural artist. Here, she allows cobwebs to form around antique lamps just outside the back door, in order to catch moscas, flies, before they come into the house.
Manuel's father built this house sixty years ago, extending the property into the laguna with loads of earth. Here Andrea shows me herbs and flowers growing in her yard. She has taken herbalist classes from Hna. Rosa, directora at the Centro de Autosuficiencia.
San Sebastian University is visible across the laguna. During the 8.8 earthquake in 2010, the water swallowed up much of the shoreline, flooding some of the homes. Although some of Andrea and Manuel's house has been rebuilt, they have a much smaller yard now, and the foundations of the house are on a permanent incline, so the entire house is tilted a little, and some walls are still broken.
Andrea says the center of the house was very dark until she cut a hole in the roof and put in a skylight. Here she has a display of antiques inherited from her husband's mother.
Some of Andrea's weaving looms, and the beginnings of a new wall hanging.
Artistically arranged piles of weaving wool, hilo de lana. Andrea tells us she eats lana, drinks lana, and sleeps lana.
A beautiful original wall hanging
Another tree of life wall hanging.
We visited the Valderrama family is well, including four daughters, two of which are church members, a mother, and a grandmother, living on Calle Cruz, adjacent to the university. The third daughter has had missionary lessons and will be baptized after Christmas.
At the week's weaving workshop, Manuelito was pressed into unwilling service to model this well-made boina, beret, woven on round looms.
Manuelito drew us this picture, of the ship Nephi and his family used to cross the ocean, with cannon in the hold. You can also see the flags of Chile and the United States.
This hilarious hermana kept us laughing as we were weaving. She wove this bag out of strips of recycled plastic.
Red and green woven Christmas valance
A rather beautiful valance made with white cotton thread.
This cute hermana made a number of beautiful boinas, one of which she wears, above.
Sunday, we attended a good-bye lunch for the Bensons, the mission office couple for the Concepcion South mission, after 18 months of non-stop service. Hna. Benson answered all my anxious emails before we came, and was a great help to us. We wish them well back in Utah!
We also found out this week that the Chilean sister in our mission, Hna. Villarroel, will soon be going home. Missionary service is not always possible for everyone. We hope she will back in a familiar place before Christmas.