Sunday, June 29, 2014

Coelemu and Tomé

The second day of South American winter, we and the Kauers from the mission office made the drive to Coelemu north of Concepciónbetween Chillán and Tomé in the Penco Stake. The Kauers were taking leftover clothes from missionaries returning home to the young missionary sisters, who were giving them to needy branch members. We brought them heavy socks, not realizing that there were two sets of missionary elders at the Coelemu Branch, too. 
 It was a moist and drizzly morning, and we saw green winter fields with horses grazing.

The sky can be quite beautiful. You could smell the wood stove smoke in the air.

The hamlet of Coelemu was restful, neighborly and clean, after the noise and litter of Concepcion.

 We took pictures of the Kauers in front of the church building, and they took pictures of us. Although the chapel is small, the members are quite active and vocal, and the lessons were well taught. Hna. Kauer and I had cold feet, though--the chapel was heated with four propane stoves, and when the stove in front of which Hna. Kauer was sitting ran out of propane, we were shivering under our coats. I often wear leg warmers in the car, but people stare at them strangely, so I take them off and freeze.

We brought a picnic lunch, so we found the town plaza and took out our sandwiches. A big friendly dog with an uncharacteristically wagging tail watched us as we ate.

We decided to take a different route home, so we went through the winding woods to Tomé north of Penco along the coast. Tomé is a fairly large city, which was badly hit by the 2010 earthquake. Romy lives here in Barrio Frutillares. There are three church buildings housing three LDS branches. 

The Kauers told us about the famous Tomé cemetery, so when we saw it along the road we stopped to take a look.

Along with cement-lined graves, there are generational mausoleums.

The cemetery is at the top of a very steep hill overlooking the bay, which was dotted with fishing boats.

The playa, beach at the bottom of the overlook.

The barrios of Tomé.

We passed the world-famous Bellavista wool blanket factory, where the Kauers buy warm blankets for the missionaries. When Elder Kennington and I got back to our apartment, we discovered the two blankets that are folded in our closet are frazadas Bellavista, the wool blankets of Tomé. Romy told us that the daughter of the rich owner of this blanket factory committed suicide over a doomed love affair, so the grief-stricken father donated a campana, church bell to the Catholic cathedral in her memory.

This week Hna. Dagnig began teaching her classes in Corta y Confección, Cutting and Tailoring. The ladies are preparing to make faldas, skirts. I keep trying to capture Dagnig on camera, but her electric personality seems to defy being captured. This is the best image I had of her.

We had a welcome call from the concierge that we had a package, this time from our daughter Carrie and her family in Idaho Falls! She sent pistachios, which were soon eaten, my favorite Lindt Intense Orange dark chocolate, goat's milk soap and lotion, and finally some decent caramels, Werther's Original. Thank you Carrie and family!

Of course we got lovely Dallin and Justin Batman drawings,  maps and Spanish messages from Carrie and Jon, and what appears to be a Sydney original of either snowfall or bubbles.

Chile played two World Cup fútbol - soccer games this week, the first one on Monday which they lost 0-2 to the Netherlands. I never saw so many glum people walking around town as when that game ended. Saturday was Chile vs. Brasil, a "clash of titans," according to the New York Times blog. World Cup host Brasil may have crushed Chile four years ago, but this time Chile held them off in a draw, 1-1, but lost in the penalty shootout, Brasil 3, Chile 2.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

World Cup Chile

Last Sunday we visited our own Barrio Universitario, since Marcia, one of the four daughters of a family we have been visiting, gave her final talk in church before she left for a full-time mission in Peru. She was very excited to go. The tradition in Chile is that the ward gathers together for a party to provide the outgoing missionary with everything needed. Our contribution was a good pair of shoes, since the sister missionaries often do not have adequate shoes for all the walking they do.

Following our English lesson on Saturday, Hna. Kauer from the mission office invited us to Barrio Centro where she had been invited to demonstrate how she cut up old sock, t-shirts, and white shirts to make into round rugs. She wanted me to show my projects and translate for her. Hna. Kauer is a head taller than most Chilean women. She says people often stare at her blue eyes.

 Within the hour the room was filled with happily chatting women. I ended up showing several ladies how to make crocheted roses. The cute abuela sitting next to Hna. Kauer told me to tell her that she needed to sit up straight and not slouch (hard not to do after working many hours in the mission office every day). Elder Kennington mentions this to Hna. Kauer at every opportunity to make sure she is following the abuelita's advice.

Wednesday we canceled our scheduled English class because of the afternoon World Cup soccer game between Chile and Spain. Chile made its two scores during our walk home, which was mostly quiet with the sidewalks and streets nearly completely empty. We could hear all the avid fans inside the buildings watching wide screen TV or listening on the radio. When Chile scored the second time, people came streaming out of office buildings, wearing red, white and blue hats, waving the Chilean flag, and screaming and cheering.

During half-time a group of college students sang songs and hollered and waved from the corner balcony of a newly-opened apartment building. The street was covered with home-made newspaper confetti. The partying did not go on as far into the night this time. Next game is on Monday against the Netherlands.

Our English classes went on as usual on Thursday and Saturday. Our attendance at each class ranges between six and fourteen students. Here Elder Kennington is doing word-cluster drills.

Friday the new group of ladies learning weaving came in. They are very quiet and intent on their work at present. In a few weeks, this will change.

Vanessa sent me some beautifully soft mohair yarn. I knitted this cowl to keep my neck warm. The earrings I bought on the street from a Che Guevara lookalike. The silver disks are Chilean pesos.

My new project is making a grocery bag purse, made with "yarn" from plastic grocery bags. The pattern is here:

Above is the Google search page for Wednesday's game against Spain.

My favorite Google World Cup search page is this one, since it reminds me of Concepcion.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hermana Tia

Today is Father's Day. Happy Father's Day to my darling husband, my own dear daddy Harold Redd gone these ten years, and my admirable stepfather LaMar. Also, to my sons and sons-in-law, whose lives revolve around being husbands and fathers to my cherished grandchildren.

Last Sunday we drove in the rain across the Bio-Bio, through San Pedro de la Paz, and south along the Pacific to visit the little branch of Camilo Olavarria. The faithful members were happy to see us, including several sisters who had been attending the weaving workshops in the Centro de Autosuficiencia.

 The neighborhoods were pretty rough-looking, and poor.

 Next to the LDS chapel was a fence with razor wire along the top, and the chapel doors were banged up and rusted. Still, it is one of the nicest buildings in the barrio.

The chapel inside was immaculately clean and warm. Two sets of Latino elders are assigned to this branch. We mistook one of the sisters for Elder Kennington's "Tia", the hermana who reminds him of his aunt from Wyoming. She turned out to be Hermana Tia's sister.
The sisters take turns caring  for their older brother each Sunday, and walking the 30 minutes to church, so this week Hermana Tia was at home.

After church services, we drove Hermana Tia's sister to their little two-story apartment. She was thrilled that she didn't have to walk all the way home in the rain.

When we got there, Hermana Tia (left) was not dressed for visitors, so she insisted on going upstairs to make herself presentable for a photo with Elder Kennington. Hermana Tia crocheted all the chair and sofa covers in their house.

Elder Kennington snapped this photo, which shows more of everything, including the sisters' brother, peeking in to see what was going on. We returned Hermana Tia's jam jar, which we filled with nueces mariposas, walnut halves.

On Wednesday afternoon, coming out of the Centro following one of our English classes, we saw a telephone lineman on his extension ladder, which was leaning onto the lines themselves. The ladder feet were resting on the dirt around the tree. We've seen linemen at the tops of these ladders in the middle of busy intersections,  leaning their whole body onto the sagging lines, with only an orange cone or two to warn drivers racing down the street what was up ahead. Elder Kennington declares he will never be a Chilean telephone lineman.

On Friday, Andrea began another weaving workshop. Our beloved sisters from the last six months keep popping in to visit from time to time.

With the rainy season, we see many broken umbrellas abandoned on the sidewalks, victims of heavy rains accompanied by gusty gale-force winds. Elder Kennington finally asked me to make him a gorro, cap, since the nice umbrella we own is useless in windy rain. The first one I made was a little small for his large-size cabeza, so I claimed it for my own and made him another, larger one. These are made of hand-spun natural wool in the original color straight from the sheep. Such wool is very warm, and repels rain.
This week I broke out the black merino wool long johns, which keep me warm while the long-suffering little electric heater does its best to keep the apartment from getting colder. 

Since Clint's sister Wendy sent us these photos of the garden we left behind in Ontario, fortunately well-tended by our renter Chelsea, I included some of them here. The columbine that seeds itself so profusely beneath the fruit trees is apparently unknown in this part of Chile. It prefers dry shade.

My little Cornus Kousa tree, the lovely Chinese dogwood.

Wendy keeping the cuatro-por-cuatro, the four-wheeler or 4x4, from feeling lonely. She says she drives it around most days. Elder Kennington sorely misses his 4x4.

 Orange Asiatic lilies, called lirias here

Unusual shade of coral-yellow peony

Elderberry "Black Lace." These will have little black elderberries later on. Elders are known as sauco in Chile. Poppies are amapola, and dianthus, the common pink, are clavelina.

Friday we made the mistake of going to the Jumbo supermercado right before six o'clock in the evening, when the FIFA World Cup soccer game between Chile and Australia was about to begin. It was easy to tell because of all the silly red, white and blue hats people were wearing. We were swept out in a huge wave of people buying up all the cerveza and potato chips in sight. I came to Jumbo to get detergent and kleenexes, but I have to admit I came out with potato chips Peru "sabor pollo de la brasa," flavored like roast chicken. Interesting, those. I've tried the chips "sabor ensalata chileno," tasting exactly like tomatoes and onions, but I haven't yet tried the Brasil chips "sabor feijoada" or the chips de España "sabor chorizo." I'm not sure I'm ready for bean-beef-and-pork stew or pork-sausage-flavored chips.
For the next two hours we could hear cheering all over our apartment building as Chile scored three times to Australia's one, and the partying went on (as far as I could tell) until three o'clock in the morning.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Teaching English

This week we began teaching three basic-level English classes titled "English for You Now," written by two Brigham Young University professors, to be eventually disseminated to church members in Spanish-speaking countries. We will be evaluating the materials and reporting on students' progress. Over thirty people have signed up to attend a class on Wednesday afternoon, Thursday morning, or Saturday morning.

Our class members, from mid-teen on up, have been willing, curious, and responsive, and have done very well with the first activity--pronouncing short words using vowel sounds not found in Castellano, including short a, short e, short i, short u, and short o. Elder Kennington is especially good at keeping the pace hopping and everyone laughing, while I try to figure out why the projector isn't working, or modeling how to hold your mouth while you say the sound of short vowels, remembered from phonetics class many years ago.

The second activity was learning phrases to ask someone to speak more slowly or repeat a question. It helps that as teachers, Elder K. and I know what it is like to be at a disadvantage in a foreign country! They have trouble with the beginning h sound, and ending g's. They are interested in learning English because of job opportunity, because they like English, or because of the LDS temple that will soon be built in Concepcion.

The first Sunday in June we attended Barrio Loma Colorada, where Institute Director Hno. Verdugo and his wife invited us to lunch. They have lived a life of service to the Church. He left a good job with the telephone company during its fiber-optic phase, in order to serve as a stake president, a mission president in Argentina, an area seventy, and now Institute director, with daily hours from 12:00 noon to 10:30 at night. He retires next year and will return to his former home in Rancagua.

San Pedro has nice clean neighborhoods of new homes.

The Verdugos live in a gated community in a beautiful well-built brick home. Even though these are nice homes, the yards are small, and the square footage is not nearly as large as homes in the U.S. Chileans love antiques and often have collections of family heirlooms. Hna. Verdugo told us, sadly, that her collection of blue on white china was destroyed when it all fell out of the hutch during the 2010 earthquake. 

Hna. Verdugo, who has been feeding missionaries and visiting authorities all her married life, outdid herself for us--beautifully sliced vegetables, soup, and sopaipillas made with yellow winter squash with a side of tomato and avocado salsa with Merken spice, which would have been enough for me. But this was followed up with roast pork, a puree of potatoes, yellow winter squash, and cornmeal, followed by a dessert of cream pudding and a sponge cake roll with a manjar filling. We didn't have to eat for quite awhile after that.

 Elder Kennington finally prevailed on the Operations and Maintenance department to install the number 55 on the wall for our Chacabuco office address, since the gate is welded shut for the Serrano address around the corner, and people are always confused. Now if we can only get Lago Salado (Salt Lake City) to change our address in the official documents, like they have for the Almacen--Bishop's Storehouse downstairs, and the O and M office on the other side of the second floor. The Almacen has been robbed twice in the last month of goods intended for needy members of the Concepcion Stakes, so the alarm system has been updated.

Tuesday three English majors attending a university nearby came in to study with us, so we could listen to their pronunciation and help them deliver their presentations.

Chacabuco on Wednesday night after several days of serious June rains. Elder K. has even requested that I knit him a wool cap since the umbrella is useless when the wind starts to blow. 
We gave the first of our English for You Now lessons to a half-dozen students, then threaded our way through continual traffic jams to Barrio Pedro de Valdivia, where we spoke to ward members about Self-Reliance. 

Hna. Arrington, the mission president's wife, sent this photo of all the sister missionaries from last week's event in Chillan. I am the one sitting to the left of Hna. Arrington.

I would like to have gone to the Club de Jardines' presentation on Bonsai that Hna. Rosa invited me to, but I couldn't make it. I like their Copihue logo, anyway.

A box from the U.S.! Pictures by Austin and Bennett! They dress up our empty wall so nicely. I especially love the three green antenna arms.

Austin and Bennett's mom Brielle sent us two of her beautiful handmade cards for Mother's Day and our anniversary. She sent two large bottles of Ibuprofen, much to the appreciation of our friends, peppermint essential oil, which I was very glad to get, and wool fleece on sale for my adventures in felting.

Thursday, our second English group went very well. The Saturday group, which was quite large, also went well. On Friday, Latino elders from the Concepcion South mission came in for a workshop in Autosuficiencia.

Later on Friday, we went to the mission home for Pres. Arrington's birthday. Here he is seated next to Pres. Martinez of the Concepcion South mission, who is coming to the end of his three years. He is looking forward to returning to living a calm life with his family in Los Angeles.

I made about 2 dozen apple turnovers, since I knew Pres. Arrington loves apple pie.They were a big hit. It took five pounds of green apples, Costco cinnamon, and four recipes of pastry, using lard, since I haven't seen shortening here. Fortunately there were enough, since more and  more people kept showing up, including the perpetually hungry elders in the mission office.  Pres. Arrington is thinking up other occasions to celebrate that will need more apple turnovers. 
Afterwards, I accompanied Hna. Arrington to the yarn shop on Lincoyan to help her buy yarn and crochet hooks so she could make a baby blanket for a friend back home. I even managed to avoid buying more yarn.