The food is interesting. Well, actually, the food is really basic. We get rice and potatoes and some assortment of chicken. Occasionally some fried pepper with a chicken heart. It’s delicious, but heavy. Luckily, almost all the other missionaries have pintonistas—however you spell that—but we don’t, which means we get to eat our own breakfast, lunch at a members house, and dinner in our own time, which often means no dinner, which is fine because they feed us roughly half a cow for lunch. All is well in the food department.
The language is really hard, and I have to do two things every day to feel okay about how dismal my Spanish is. Number one is reminding myself that I have two weeks of solid Spanish speaking. And that’s it. A little in the CCM, but not really. Two weeks. Second, is that Heavenly Father gives us hard things to make us better people. This is what I learned with Dad, and now I’m relearning it again. Good things will come from this; it’s just not going to exactly be easy for a long while.
For whatever reason, I have a really hard time talking to people that aren’t my companion. I can almost always understand the gist of what’s happening, but if someone looks at me in a lession and asks a specific question, or if my companion nudges me and tells me to talk, I have no idea what to say. It’s pretty discouraging, I’ll be honest. But I give myself a couple of months to get over the initial language blow.
I’m in the city of Iquitos, in the district of Iquitos. Our area is pretty huge—there was a bunch of area changes right before I got here, and so we had two areas squished into one. The city’s beautiful. It’s washed in colored houses and palm trees growing wherever they so please. They use tile here different than we do. It’s the wall and the floor, and it’s beautiful.
My apartment is in the rich area, which means we actually have a cement or tile floor rather than dirt or well packed sand. The poorer areas are poor. They have flimsy, rotted wooden walls with dirt and cement filling in the cracks. Everyone here ages at an accelerated rate. There’s a woman we’re baptizing this Saturday who’s thirty nine years old but could pass well over fifty.
Speaking of baptisms, we had a baptism this past Saturday for a wonderful lady, Hermana Marinela and her daughter. She’s thirty seven, has six children, lives in the dirt and sticks, her husband has left her to live with another family, and she works night shifts. And she’s wonderful. So, so wonderful. She has willingness and a desire to want the gospel in her life, and it’s been amazing to watch. Of course, I can barely understand her, and every time I try and talk to her, she just laughs and laughs. But her laugh is so infectious, and amazing, and I love her a lot.
I understand that man at Costco so much. I understand the feeling of being unable to communicate the most simple of things, and the utter frustration that comes with that. It’s nearly debilitation, and I have so much more sympathy for people living in foreign countries without knowing the language.
Also, you buy a not-broken bed after I leave? It’s going to be dead by the time I get home, so be prepared to buy me another one, yes?
I love you all a ton, and pray for you guys often. Please return the favor.
And send me my peanut butter.
With much love, Melody
P.S. I acknowledge that it’s Richard’s birthday this Sunday, and that I’ve missed various grandchildrens’ birthdays, and I wish them all luck and love and happiness and other generally good things.
I had this weird leg cramp and we stopped to talk to this ancient, ancient Peruvian lady with no teeth whatsoever—whom I mostly understood, be impressed—and I sat down and Hermana Martinez explained that my leg hurt.
The lady got really excited and got her dog. Now, in order for you to understand this, I need you to google Peruvian dog. They have a dog here native only to Peru. They’re like big black, fur-less rats that have a weirdly high body temperature. They’re always really warm, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say there were some sort of hellions from a horror movie. They give me the creeps.
Anyway, the point is that she held the dog to my leg and explained that Peruvian dogs are known for being able to cure ailments. I walked away feeling less healed and more like I probably contracted various diseases.