Sunday, April 27, 2014


El Domingo de Pascua, Easter Sunday, Elder Kennington drove us in our Subaru Outback to Hna. Rosa's LDS branch on Ave. Los Araucanos in Talcahuano, the peninsula northwest of Concepcion. It was a beautiful cool autumn day, and traffic is light on weekends. The directions Hna. Rosita had given us were of little use, however, since the Costanera Highway along the Pacific is closed on Sundays near Concepcion, for local competitions. So we kept on driving in the general direction, north through Hualpencillo, until we recognized a few place names. Miraculously, we made it safely, on time, to the Centinela building.

The Centinela LDS building was once a stake center, but the 2010 earthquake and the ensuing tsunami did a great deal of damage to the peninsula, blocked from worse damage by the Isla Quiriquina in the Bahia, Bay of Concepcion. There are fewer members now, and many inactive members. We met with the branch president and the second counselor, who is Hna. Rosa's son-in-law. We were both asked to speak during Sacrament Meeting. Elder K. is usually prepared for things like this, but since I am not, I didn't speak very long. Which everyone appreciates.

Our Outback in the downstairs parking lot. We didn't see lines for parking until too late, so when the other two cars were also parked, we looked like clueless extranjeros, foreigners. This view from the front door looks out toward the Bahia San Vicente in the distance.

Turning a little to the right, you could also see the Bahia de Concepcion.

 Talcahuano, with the naval base on the left of the Bahia de Concepcion and Penco on the right. At the narrow base of the peninsula you can see an upside-down V, which indicates communications and cell towers.

Between the two bays is a cell tower hill.

After the meetings, we were invited to Hna. Rosa's daughter's family apartment for Easter dinner -- chicken, roast beef, mixed vegetables, rice, and ice cream. Hna. Rosa's husband was working at the hospital, so we missed seeing him. Again. (We are beginning to believe he is really a figment of Hna. Rosa's imagination, although her daughter vouches for him.) Here Rosita stands with her daughter, recently called to be the Talcahuano Norte Stake Relief Society President. Her daughter's husband, second counselor in the branch presidency, is a submarine sailor at the naval base not far away. He has been all over the Pacific, including San Diego, California, where he visited the Mormon Battalion visitor's center, where my sister Linda and her husband Craig are currently serving as full-time missionaries. The oldest son, the estimable Pablo, spent two days on a mini-mission with the stakes of the Concepcion area and several zones of full-time missionaries.

Hna. Rosa's house has been rebuilt since much of it was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. She doesn't like to be alone without her husband, so she often stays late at the Centro de Autosuficiencia in Concepcion, waiting for him to get off work at the hospital. Or she stays with her daughter's family.

Driving down from Cerro San Francisco toward the village of Talcahuano.

The marina in the Bahia San Vicente.

 Later Sunday afternoon, we drove the Outback up the other side of the Bahia de Concepcion to Penco Stake Center, where about 140 mid-teen mini-missionaries from around Concepcion were coming to a final reunion--meeting--with several stake presidents, about 40 full-time missionaries, a women's chorus, and Elder K. and me. We both spoke, for the second time. This time I had a little longer to prepare. Even two days' missionary work had a tremendous effect on these young men and young women.

Wednesday afternoon, we took the bus to Coronel for our second crochet workshop. Some of the buses have video screens that play music videos, in Spanish and English, on the trip south. We were treated to the 80's music of Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. I have seen worse. This time the ladies wanted to make the mesh bags, and had to count out 150 crochet chains. So it was quiet, temporarily. The rest of the time there was a lot of laughing and talking.

Projects completed since the last workshop -- crochet baskets.

The marina at Coronel.

One of the ladies knitted me a cuello, collar -- cowl. I've worn it and it is nice a warm.

I found a drugstore that sold Alumbre, alum, and tried another batch of wool dyeing. Here it is rinsed and drying on the balcony. 

The bougainvillea and geraniums are still growing and blooming on the balcony in the autumn rain and wind. 

Thursday night, we gave an extra lesson to the Matrimonio Carrasco, a married couple taking our How to Strengthen Your Marriage classes, since they had missed two of the six lessons. We have printed up certificates to give to the seven couples who have finished the class. It has been a very special experience. This couple owns a little kiosk on the corner of Freire and Lincoyan, about 5 feet by 10 feet, where they spend all day selling magazines, newspapers, drinks, candy bars, and ice cream. Although they have very little, their two daughters are attending a prestigious university in Concepcion studying in the medical field, and doing exceptionally well. Their daughters will have a better life because of the sacrifices they have made. They read their scriptures and pray together every day.

Hna. Verdugo, again excelling, this time at Mapuche weaving. A wall hanging like this, if woven by a Mapuche Indian, could sell at a resort in Southern Chile for about $150.

Friday a teacher came to give a workshop in vellón, wool fleece, using long felting needles which shape the wool by repeated pricks into the unfinished fleece, causing the threads of wool to adhere to each other..

Felted flowers and figurines

The felting technique, using a long barbed needle, usually over a piece of espuma, foam, this piece covered with cheesecloth. 

The instructor demonstrating how to wrap pieces of fleece in order to prepare them for different felted shapes.

Saturday afternoon, we needed to take the Outback for a drive. We headed down Ave. San Pedro de Valdivia, and ended up in the pleasant village of Hualqui, about 24 kilometers down the long strip known as Chiguayante. On the return trip we drove alongside the BioBio River.

Heading back into Chiguayante.

A detailed map of Chile downloaded into the Garmin GPS our children gave us, which ought to serve more reliably than a smart phone as we drive in far-flung places.

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