Monday, August 17, 2009

Our Fifth Huancavelica Trip

We left for Huancavelica on Saturday morning, August 15, and as usual, drove up to the altiplano between Tarma and Huancayo. This is the scene we saw at 13, 600 feet:

As we passed through Huancayo, we saw hundreds of people in all styles of dress, from modern to traditional. This woman, in traditional attire, was walking along one of the main streets of Huancayo:

As we drove into the high mountains south of Huancayo, we could see that the farmlands had dried out:

This is the same view from last April, at the end of the rainy season:

Another example of a dried-out hill with farmlands:

... and the same view from last April:

When we arrived in Izcuchaca, we stopped to take close-up pictures of the picturesque Spanish colonial bridge:

On the city side of the tower, we could see the steps that Spanish solders climbed to watch for enemies from the bridge:

On our way back from Huancavelica, in the mountain town of Ccaccasiri (a Quechua word prounced Hah-hah-see-ree; the double-C has a hard H sound), we passed through the middle of the Sunday market:

People gathered at the market to buy many different kinds of things: yarn, clothing, detergent, soda, dishes, soup kettles, etc.:

We spent the night in Huancayo. At dusk, we had a bird's eye view of the cathedral dome from the hotel roof near our room:

We noticed the contrast between the ancient cathedral and the modern high-rise office building in the background:

At various locations on our route, we saw adobes (bricks) stacked and waiting to be used for making houses and other small buildings:

Because it's the end of harvest time, we saw many farmhouses where the straw had been stacked to feed the animals until next year's crop.

... and fields where the straw was still waiting to be harvested:

We are now at the beginning of the "burn season," when sheep and cattle herders burn the dried hills so that more nutritious pasture grasses will grow next season:

Even though we've been to Huancavelica five times now, we always see new things as the seasons change. We never tire of the trip.

The Huancavelica Branch

This past weekend, we attended the Huancavelica Branch Conference where Scott met with the branch and district presidencies, spoke in sacrament meeting, and gave a 75-minute training session to leaders and other members. It was a special time to be with the many friends that we have made during our four previous trips to Huancavelica.

Here are some of the wonderful members who attended the conference.

The Medina family with Beverly and Scott (the two little children in front are not part of the family; they just wanted to get into the picture):

Beverly with some of the Primary children:

... and with some of the Young Women and other children:

Scott with the full-time missionaries (Elders Paredes and Huamán) and some young boys:

The wife of the branch president (President Huamaní) and their baby:

Beverly with three generations of the Ramírez family (daughter, granddaughter, and wife of the district president):

President Ramírez, the district president, as he leaves the conference to go home:

And a young man who is sending in his missionary papers:

These Huancavelican members hold a special place in our hearts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Missionaries and Members

On Monday (P-Day), we invited the young missionaries to our home for lunch (pizza). We recently found ready-made pizza crust, mozarella cheese, and mushrooms in a nearby store, and we found English ham and black olives in Huacayo (2 hours away):

Scott also made garlic bread with rolls from our nearby bakery, garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, and parsley flakes:

The missionaries--even the three Latinos--loved the food. Elder Winn (on the left) especially liked eating "American" food; Elder Chochobot (on the right) from Tacna, Peru, also devoured the pizza and garlic bread:

Our two Guatemalan missionaries, Elders Castro and Per, ate their share:

On Tuesday, Scott took a "colectivo" (a taxi with a set route), traveled an hour and 15 minutes to the town of San Pedro de Cajas (a town with no bank, no 'landline' telephones, and no Internet service---but with a nice LDS chapel) to give temple recommend interviews. Four members came: the branch president and these three wonderful women. They were so loving and appreciative. Two of them requested a blessing from Scott, which he was happy to give:

We love the missionaries and members in the Tarma district.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hike to Yanamarca

The priesthood leaders of the Vista Alegre branch of the Tarma District invited Scott to go on a hike with them to the ruins of Yanamarca and, while at this "Lamanite" location, give a talk on the promises to and blessings of the Lamanites.

The hike began at an altitude of 9550 feet above sea level in the small pueblo of Tupín, a 10-minute taxi ride from Tarma. The group included (front left to right) Jaime Calderón (1st counselor in the district presidency), Miguel Espinoza (district counselor), (back left to right) Jesús Zabala (district counselor), and Carlos Florián (who attends Scott's Institute classes):

On the way, they met a woman with her burro:

... a boy with his lamb:

... a man threshing his barley by hand:

... and a couple separating beans from chaff:

They saw lots of cattle, sheep and burros, even at altitudes above 12,000 feet:

They passed three ancient wells, which were fed by a spring coming out of the mountain (Jaime Calderón is in the background):

The Peruvian mountains are full of prickly plants:

... and beautiful prickly flowers:

At 13,500 feet above sea level, after hiking over four hours with a vertical elevation change of 3550 feet, they arrived at the top of the mountain Pumampi where the pre-Inca ruins of Yanamarca (Quecha for "black town") are located. The ancient town contains the ruins of two dozen homes and another two dozen buildings that appear to be harvest storage units:

Here's the back of one of the two-story houses:

The doors to the houses barely fit Scott's body:

Some of the houses have only one or two walls left:

This was the most attractive, well built home in the complex:

Here Scott poses (with Miguel Espinoza) in front of one of the homes. Many of them have a stone roof, and over the years dirt has blown onto the roof, and now grass is growing there:

The village is located on the very edge of a 3,500-foot cliff:

Down in the valley, below the cliff, is the agricultural valley of Palcamayo. They hiked down from Yanamarca to the road you see 3500 feet below:

You can see how close this structure was built to the cliff:

This building appears to be a storage unit for the harvest:

This wall was once part of a three-home complex (the residents must have been small people, because Scott's head reaches the second floor):

Scott and his friends hiked up the not-so-steep south side of Pumampi, but they hiked down the dizzying cliff side:

While in Yanamarca, the group held a devotional and Scott was the "featured speaker." He quoted scriptural promises of the descendents of the Lamanites and said, "These prophecies are being fulfilled even as we speak, here in Tarma." He pointed out that (a) we all have unfaithful, as well as faithful, ancestors; (b) the Lamanites were more righteous than the Nephites when the Savior came to the Americas; and (c) some day we might be able to read the complete record of the Lamanites, from their point of view. The descendents of the Lamanites should cherish their heritage, as part of the House of Israel and as the covenant people of the Lord.