Sunday, February 9, 2014

Herbs & Murals

This week we visited the Lorenzo Arenas Ward. The members of this ward have an understanding of how the church works, including the priesthood leaders, Relief Society sisters, Young Men and Young Women, Sunday School, and the children's Primary organization. We met five sisters we knew already because they come every week to the weaving workshops. We were able to explain at length the changes in the Centro de Autosuficiencia, and invited ward members to participate.

Hermana Rosita's latest creation, which she gave to us as a gift. Crema Baba de Caracol, for "Acne, manchas, arrugas, cicatrices, quemaduras, estrias, hidratante, etc." (Hydrating cream for acne, spots, wrinkles, scars, burns, stretch marks.) If you put the phrase "Baba de Caracol" in, the results are "snail slime" or "snail saliva."  Evidently people working with snails discovered their skin problems healed very quickly, and thus the extraction of snail mucus. Hna. Rosa described the process she used with her students to prepare the cream, but she may need to explain it again.

On Thursday, Hna. Dagnig (we checked--this is how she spells her first name) brought her spindle to demonstrate how she combined two smaller threads into a larger one.

Hna. Andrea is explaining mural weaving to this cheerful brother, who attends the Lorenzo Arenas ward.

Here is his weaving of a sailing boat so far.

Very careful, finely woven wool following the drawing behind the warp.

An interesting tree, made with a selection of different yarns, and twigs.

Another tree, more rustic, made using thicker untwisted "vellón," lambs wool fleece.

Monica, a perfectionist who is never happy even when it is well done. She is recreating a photo of a stunning mountain and lake found in southern Chile.

My unfinished Copihue wall hanging. Fortunately I am not a perfectionist. Andrea had me try the yarn-wrapping techniques for the leaves, but I'm not sure I will use it on all of them. I will use it to make twining vines. The warp (vertical) is a heavy olive-green wool yarn, while the weft (horizontal) is two narrow black acrylic yarns woven through with a metal yarn needle. The flower and leaves are rayon and acrylic yarns, covering the canvas like embroidery. All the ladies in the workshop have to check on it every week, wondering what the Gringa is doing now.

Andrea explaining a technique on how to insert natural objects, such as sticks or dry moss, into a mural. She was suffering from the pain of scoliosis, so we gave her our on-hand supply of ibuprofen and combination headache medicine, both of which are dreadfully expensive in Chile.

We were compelled to model the Grinch hat and the black woven bag. The ladies like to say the word "Stingy" so now Elder K. is the "Stingy Grinch." I finally broke down and bought a couple of t-shirts, including the one I am wearing in this photo, at the Lider store on Calle Arturo Prat at 2 mil. pesos ($4) each. The missionary wardrobe tends to be VERY MONOTONOUS and needs a little help now and then.

 On Saturday afternoon, the University Ward Relief Society had a class on herbs, which I attended along with Hermana Balden, the mission nurse. My Cuaderno de Hierbas (Herb Notebook) has an example of each herb pasted in with descriptions. This is Culén, a native Andean plant used for indigestion, diabetes, and fevers. BTW, this is how paper looks in Chile--no lines, only graph paper. The notebook pages are nearly square or extra-long and narrow, so it is impossible to find folders or notebooks to fit 8 1/2" x 11" typing paper, which is also available.

Poleo (Pennyroyal) for gas and indigestion; Matico, antiseptic, for ulcers; Llanten (Plantago, fleawort) for earaches, inflammation, and hemorrhoids, and Palta, the large leaves of the avocado tree, used for coughs and inflammation.

Preparing herbs for drying

 Dry lavanda (lavender) for headaches in the basket along with the leaves of the Maqui tree; Romero (Rosemary)--anti rheumatic, for respiratory problems, stimulant, and sedative; and Ruda, common rue for hemorrhages, digestive problems, and antispasmodic. Next time we will learn how to make infusions, oils and creams.

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