We received word this week that we will be flying home Tuesday, January 20th.
This is where the Calle Colo Colo parking attendants often sit, but today Elder Kennington thought the newly-painted word in English accurately described what he was feeling.
He is actually doing better with a lot of rest, along with a special diet designed and enforced by his personal nurse (Hermana Kennington). He is taking a medication which suppresses blood glucose formation in the liver, resulting in slow but steady progress. We are encouraged by several doctors who believe he may be able to manage with diet alone.
Sunday we visited the San Pedro ward which meets in the San Pedro de la Paz Stake Center. This is an amazing ward with well-taught classes where we had wonderful gospel discussions.
I finally finished my latest Telar Chile creation, depicting the flowers of the Añañuca plant, the South American amaryllis, which grows in the mountains and deserts of northern Chile.
We sent off this depiction of the Manti Temple by resident copper artisan Jose Luis Ramos to our sweethearts who live in Elverdissen, Germany.
We knew it was going to be a hard week as we started saying goodbye to the wonderful people we have come to know and love in Chile. Here Elder Kennington is with Debora, one of the kind and very talented volunteers in the Self Reliance Center, and Pamela Rivas, on the right, who is in her second year of studying English so she can get her required teaching certificate. Her father has been working as a truck driver so she can continue with her studies. She is one that we were led to--we happened to be in the right place at the right time to help her get a Perpetual Education Fund loan, and her bishop knew of her situation. She calls us her "angels."
Elder Kennington with Rosita Hernandez and Romy Correa. We have been through a lot with these ladies, who are sweet, kind, generous, and dedicated to a fault. The amount of good they have done in helping people with employment and education over many years is immeasurable.
All of us together, before we started blubbering.
Right now you can see a lot of this blue wildflower growing along the side of the road, which from a distance looks like flax, but actually is chicory.
Yellow Hawkweed, the close Asteraceae cousin of chicory.
Friday we walked through the main plaza so we could pay our doctor bill. There was a summer feria in progress.
The plaza activities were accompanied by the haunting music of these Ecuadoran Kauzay musicians. There are many Ecuadoreans looking for work in Chile, which is not without its problems. All the Ecuadorans I have met are easy to love.
Elder Kennington getting another pair of shoes shined by the diligent limipabotas, shoe shine man. This limpiabotas is being teased by two other currently unoccupied limpiabotas, who are mocking him for working too hard in the hot sun (mid-70s today).
There is something to be said for summertime in the Concepcion town plaza. Here I am sitting under the umbrella of the limpiabotas, waiting for Elder Kennington's shoes to be shined, while watching families resting after shopping at the feria; eating ice cream; buying balloons and masks; listening to the music of the Ecuador Kauzay, and sitting under the trees enjoying the cool sea breezes.
Saturday we took one last trip up the Talcahuano peninsula with the Pendleys and the Lees, senior office missionaries from the Concepcion South mission, to show them how to get to Tumbes. On this particular day, the water in the Bay of Concepcion along San Vicente was a perfect turquoise under the blue sky.
For some reason all the photos I took of everyone ended up on other peoples' cameras. But they did get to see the picturesque fishing village, and I found a really great pair of bombachos for three-year-old Sydney, who I will be seeing soon.
I looked up more information on the Isla Quiriquina, which means Many Thrushes in Mapudungan, in the Bahia de Concepcion between Tumbes and Tome. It was the main base for the Spanish in the mid 1500's for their assault on the Mapuche Indians during the Arauco War. Charles Darwin visited the island in 1835, and the Chileans interned German naval prisoners here during World War II. From 1973 to 1975 the southeastern point of the island was used as a concentration camp for political prisoners of Augusto Pinochet.
The father of Pamela Rivas, who is pictured above, spent several years as a political prisoner under the Pinochet regime, and he recalls being repeatedly beaten during this time. He has served as the bishop of the Pedro de Valdivia Ward in the Concepcion LDS Stake.
What Elder Kennington thinks is a red-headed buzzard flying over the fleet in San Vicente. We ended up at Puerto Velero restaurant in Lenga for our almuerzo, and it was excellent.