Spanglish bubble in the Gringo room; poverty is relative

Mother,

Conference was wonderful. I also had the wonderful privilege to listen to it in English. It was dubbed The Gringo Room. And I loved it. Oh, how I loved it. It also made me miss home a bit, but I got over that pretty quickly. I think I loved Elder Uchdorf´s talk the most. (You and I both know I’m never going to spell that name correctly.) And I did see Alicia. I was so shocked, I yelped, “Ella es mi prima!” Everyone was like, “Um. You can speak English.” The Gringo room was the weirdest little Spanglish bubble ever.

I think it’s really cool and really good that you’re helping the kids read the scriptures.  Perhaps to help Joy enjoy her Spring Break, you can take them all to Temple Square. Drag Spencer along too, if possible.

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El Abajo, Amazon River near Iquitos, Peru

I miss my Sam quite a bit. He’s a sweet boy, I just hope that sticks.

The Abajo. It’s a rather interesting mess. It does have somewhat organized street names, if not house numbers and ways to find said numbers. References are always a pain in El Abajo because the numbers are so bad. It really depends on what house you go into for lighting. Sometimes there’s lighting, sometimes there’s not. It also depends on what part of the Abajo that we go to. Some are houses are no more than planks above water with half-finished roofs and missing walls. There seems to be an infinite supply of coal down here, so most burn coal to cook. There’s not running water. They have to haul it. A few have hose filters that pump up river water and ‘clean’ it, though that’s a really, really relative clean. Sometimes we walk down the planks and water suddenly just falls into the rivers. I think it’s the people bucket-showering, and the water just falls through the floors. And the smell is not pleasant. The water is not clean. The river has a floating sheet of garbage. And the children play in it all as if it were a summer pool.

The water’s also rising. These are the months of rain. We have families that we were teaching that we now don’t have access to because the water’s too high, and they haven’t put up the puentas yet. We’ll keep returning for when the puentas are up, but until then, we can’t get to them.

It’s definitely given me a relativity gauge on what’s poverty and what’s not poverty. We’re teaching a family, a widowed woman with your four young boys. The eldest boy, John Kenny, is fourteen years old and makes five soles every three days selling cakes in the streets for his aunt. That’s living off roughly a dollar fifty for a family of four for every three days. And they’re actually pretty well to do. They have a complete house and it’s not directly on the river.

And I have days where it’s actually really sad to work down there, but I’d like you all to know that I’m really, really happy down here.  I have days where I vomit—stomach bug this week—or I have a terrible headache, or I have my moment when I miss you or Keith or my brothers or Marissa, but I really do love it. I really do. And I’m going to complete exactly six months down here Miercoles.

See you all in a year!

Love, Hermana Compton

P.S. Happy Birthday to Alden this week! I´ll buy him some touristy trinkets this week. Of course, he won’t get it for a good, long time, but I think it’s the thought that counts. Or something. 

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El Abajo (lowlands) Amazon River near Iquitos, Peru

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El Abajo, Peru

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