Monday, August 31, 2009

I couldn't upload two into one posts so here the the continuation

Traditional Apurina March into Church

The Apurina men prepare for church outside and then come marching and singing praise to God.

I'm so happy this video uploaded. It was truly amazing to be so separated by language and yet be able to glorify the same God in oneness. Their language is beautiful.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do Not Rush. Trust. And Keep a Quiet Heart.

I think I find most help in trying to look on all the interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one's work. Then one can feel that perhaps one's true work--one's work for God--consists in doing some trifling haphazard thing that has been thrown into one's day. It is not a waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it is the most important part of the work of the day--the part one can best offer to God. After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work; trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime, and keep a quiet heart about it.

Annie Keary, 1825-1879

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dear Lord,

please help Lydia.

^that's how my three year old sister began the prayer before dinner.

Just a little disconcerting.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Pretty much daily I'm reminded of The Sibling Fact of Life.

You know...whether older or younger, siblings make you realize a lot about yourself. They are usually the first ones to discover if you take teasing well, what frustrates you, what you have patience with or who, especially whom you do not. And siblings are supposed to be good for us. And I believe they usually are. Sometimes, we'd like to think they only bring out the worst in us but really they are just bringing out us...sibling or no we all make decisions on how we will respond.

It dawned on me this week just how much I influence my siblings. It's positively frightening. It just might make me turn into a Paranoid Recluse one of these days. I guess I forgot how much I looked up to my older siblings while growing up. In lots of ways I wanted to be just like them.

I started waitressing for the first time this past week. Not a day later did I see my four little sisters in aprons. They're always dressing up in outfits so at first I didn't think twice about. The next thing I know I am being asked subtle questions like, "Lydia, if you ever had a restaurant, what would you call it?" it finally dawned on me what they were up to...

Tonight I got back from work and took out my violin for the first time in ages. Moments later, Talitha toddled in and began heaving the little guitar from the corner. Esther began to beg, "can I please try your violin???"

I don't want to think about all the other things they see me do!


Is it too hard to read my posts on the new background? Does the type need to be changed?

If you find it irritating, please let me know.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Slideshow on Youtube

Oh yes. Finally. Pictures are on hand.

Hope you enjoy.

Day 19 Friday, July 31st.

I hate goodbye's. So many abrupt, cold, flurried moments in airports - then quick hugs and brief words lest their flight should leave without them.

Our plane left Manaus an hour and a half or more after schedule from bad weather in Atlanta. It was a long flight that took the whole night. Some people were able to sleep, for myself, I tried and utterly failed. When they served breakfast I told the girl to put cream in the coffee, figuring it would taste bad. It wasn't until I'd drank 3/4ths of it and began to feel funny that I remembered I wasn't suppose to drink dairy. Egh.

When we first boarded I began talking to the lady across the isle from me - She's a U.S. citizen now but a Brazilian native. I was so absorbed chatting to her I didn't really pay attention to what was going on around me. One of the flight attendants came up tot me abruptly and demanded, "did you hear what was just said?"


"Well," she huffed, "those were flight instructions that you didn't listen to. That, "she pointed her finger down me, "was disobedient. That was a test, and you, you failed that at test." She turned and went back to her seat while I sat momentarily dumbfounded. I was on the verge of laughter. Everyone in our group turned to see what was going on and my Brazilian friend raised her brow and remarked, "that was rude and uncalled for."

It was only the instructions they give before every flight that I'm sure hundreds of passengers every day do their best to drown out. I call it Benton Luck.

Because of the flight delay, Grant and I missed our connection flights while Laurie had to run through customs and luggage . We weren't even able to say goodbye to her.

The rest of us merged to our terminal where we found out they switched all of our gate numbers. The Focklers and Cama left next to Denver. I'm going to miss all of them. Even I suppose Jared and Daniel with their constant jeering and teasing.

Grant and I headed back together on the tram where we parted. I went to my new gate which was switched twice more before I boarded.

I hadn't slept in over 30 hours and instantly took a 40 minute nap. I imagine lack of sleep is the cause of this headache.

It is good to be in the U.S. again. I'm looking forward to stepping off the plane, sleeping in a bed (what a novel idea), and calling my family.

God has been so good to us this entire trip. Some things are still all muggled up in my brain but my hope is to never forget Judy's words to us before departing. That I will always be open to the will of God. To serve Him at a moments notice and that I may never forget to live my life living Christ for we do not know when he will return.

May I always pray and search for the will of God in my life.
Day 17 Wednesday, July 29

It feels like we've been in Manaus a long time. Another sticky day. Judy took us to a park/science place. We all liked it better than the zoo. It was full of tree's and trails till you forgot you were in the middle of an enormous city.

There were otters and monkeys, turtles, alligators, and bee's, but we didn't see them. We bought a huge bag of ice and when we came back to the house we made the best orange julius' in the world. It was so good to have some cold!

I'm glad there are several guys with us...especially when we go out. Not hard to imagine something pretty horrible happening.

Day 18 Thursday, July 30th

Our last day has been slow but relaxing. Last night we all just sat around talking - some great and interesting conversation. We packed up all our stuff and cleaned up Judy's house. I think Judy really appreciated just having us around - it's not often she has visits from fellow Americans. I really hope I will be able to come back here some day.

For dinner, we all walked several blocks to a little restaurant that had delicious meat on sticks - an authentic little joint. We walked back to the house and had devotions for a bit, found out that our flight had been delayed over an hour. Judy came with us to the airport and we said our sad farewells. And now we're just waiting - waiting for our plane - waiting for the 7 hour flight - the layover in Atlanta and our final destinations.
Day 15 Monday, July 27

Today we all got ready and walked to the bus stop. The buses or for that matter, all traffic here is insane. Grant and I were sitting in the back of the bus and it was like being on a roller coaster. Up and down, round and round we went coming to sudden screeching halts and then revving off again.

Suddenly, we came to a another screeching halt but this time we didn't rev off...everyone but our group stepped down. Laurie turned around and said, "buses are on strike."

I thought she was joking. Judy was arguing away in Portuguese with the driver. Several of our fellow passengers were trying to explain to Grant through the window. Finally it dawned on me that this was for real. We all stumbled off.

The streets were full of pedestrians. Hundreds and hundreds of people on their way to work, school, touring, were suddenly all in the same dilemma. Bus after bus was stopped till the streets were lined with them. We all walked the rest of the way to the opera house.

The Manaus Opera House is very beautiful. It has wood from all over the world in it. After that we walked down to the street vendors, trying not to be squashed by all the traffic, and down to the market. It was interesting and fun. We spent nearly the whole day there. Tonight we've played games and Pastor Eric, Gene Babylon, and Alan Graham packed their stuff and are waiting to leave to the airport.

I know this is crazy but I'm so tired by 8:00 now I can hardly stay awake. This jungle life is growing on me. Earlier when I was down in the market buying some postcards this Brazilian lady came up behind me speaking softly, laid her head on my shoulder closing her eyes and then kissed it. I stood absolutely frozen. Not understanding was saying and feeling absolutely awkward. Alan Graham was standing a few feet away and just watched the whole thing with wide eyes. I looked at him, swallowed and quickly paid for my postcards. Yes, I'm discovering that Brazilians are a little strange at times.

Day 16 Tuesday, July 28

I guess the story of the little bug above [imagine one, please] needs to be told since Jannie and Mr Fockler suggested putting it in here.

Yesterday, I was sitting in the living room with everyone and I'd just finished eating a handful of granola - while I was talking I realized I still had a piece in my had so I popped it in my mouth. I bit it with my front teeth absently and to my surprise it was juicy and shelly. I feverishly began spitting and gagging while everyone looked on in wonderment. Jannie, sitting next to me looked down at my hand and said, "it's a bug!" Everyone began roaring with laughter. I was still busy making horrible expressions from the horrendous taste of bug guts and legs. I jumped up to wash my mouth out and called back in defense , "I thought it was granola!" this only made them laugh harder.

I remain the end to every bug joke they can think of.

I had headaches today and felt sluggish (or maybe buggish) and my stomach still isn't right. A lot of it may be from my allergies to cats, dogs etc they have both in the house. We went to the zoo today. A nice small zoo with all sorts of cats (jungle), alligators, fun exotic birds, and *shiver* snakes. I'm so thankful we didn't see snakes while out in the jungle...although I'm sure they were around.

I'm so sad we had to leave the village. I wish we could have stayed longer. Parting from them broke my heart and I'm afraid it made me cry. Even if I never come back (although I truly hope I do) I will never forget them.

The guys spent part of the day mending doors on the Judy's and Cathy's house. It made them very happy.

Ever since I got back from the jungle and have been in communication with my family I've really been missing them. I'm so thankful for email. I'm afraid we might be running poor Judy to a tizzy with all the running about she does for us - she's amazing.

I'm missing the guys that left last night. Mr Babylon had an awesome sense of dry humor. I loved it. The atmosphere has definitely changed since they left.
Day 13 Saturday, July 25th

Yesterday was the first day I haven't written in here. When I last wrote it was about 10:00 at night and after a bit I fell asleep, exhausted. At 12:30 I woke up feeling really nauseated and sick - it hurt to move. I stumbled down to the little house out back, I remember I tripped on a tree root and fell on my elbows, I was scared to be out there alone.
When I came back in I drank a bunch of water - which didn't taste very good and I had a strange notion that it was that water that made me sick. I crawled into my hammock holding my stomach. I thought I might throw up but I haven't done that in years. A few minutes later I began to have horrific cramps up in my diaphragm that contorted my whole body. I've never experience anything like it. My head felt hot and my body cold. The cramps continued, attacking every few minutes - I think I groaned the whole night. At about 1:30 I woke up Came (my room mate) and told her I was sick. She said I needed to wake up Laurie, the doctor.

I did and told her my symptoms. In the end I was awake the entire night from - only God got me through for I've felt more gruesome. Cama was very good and sweet to me the entire time...especially when I so rudely woke the poor thing up.

In the morning I still felt pretty awful and even more so because I could hardly stand up long enough to say goodbye. I hope the Apurina understood. Leaving was hard. I boarded the boat with Mr Babylon earlier than everyone else and Maria kept trying to help and bring me medicine. She was jabbering on and on in Portuguese of which I only understood that her medicine would cure me. I kept saying "no entiendo" and shaking my head because I wasn't sure what exactly her medcine contained so she'd run down and grab a different bottle. She did that about 4 times before she finally realized I wasn't going to take it until Judy translated for me.

Laurie gave me some drugs and as soon as the cramps stopped a bit later I slept. I was out cold for about 15 hours. Apparently, my face swelled up and I looked absolutely awful. At 4:30 this morning we stopped at Beruri for a couple of hours - we were halfway. Everyone went and explored the town...I didn't even think about it.

Today I have felt better but definitely not recovered. I developed an earache on my right side and have been nauseated all day. I have mostly dozed and had strange dreams. Dreams about the boat sinking, of airplane rides, being back home, and of being pursued by scary people and nobody being able to hear me call out.

We are suppose to arrive in Manaus at about 8:00 - I can't wait to get off this boat - I think half my nausea is from the rocking and swaying hammock.

Day 14 Sunday, July 26

We are all safely at Judy's house. Last night while we were still on the boat I had finally pulled myself together and was feeling relatively better, I made my way down to the lower level to say hi to Maria, Orlando, their son Francisco, and Maxxi. They were all so happy I was feeling better that they gave me enormous hugs and Orlando kissed me on my cheek as if I were his daughter. They were so sweet and so worried about me. I didn't realize how bad I must have looked until I began to feel better and everyone told me. All I know is that I felt ghastly. So I sat in the itty bitty cabin while Orlando drove and next to Maxi int he stern swinging my legs over the boat while we came into the bay. It was a beautiful evening full of stars and breeze and it felt so good to be alive. Funny how much more you appreciate life once you've been sick.

Then we had another jam-packed bus ride back to Judy's house. They ordered pizza and we all waited out turn for Internet. This morning we all got up early and then waited until it was time to leave to church. I rode int he back baggage compartment of Judy's was a jarring ride on Brazilians wonderful roads. Really it was kindof fun getting bounced around.

At church they gave us earphones and a girl translated for us into English but she missed a lot so it was rather disconnected. Afterward we went to the mall and ate - it was good. I was with five other people from our group eating in a restaurant and at the end of the meal the lights went out - it made me laugh. Because everyone around me was speaking Portuguese, looking-serious, and trying to eat in the dark. Alas, no one else thought it was funny and I laughed alone. Grant thinks Laurie's medicine's are messing with me.

We've spent the latter afternoon and evening sleeping,resting, talking, and reading. Most of the Fockler's have colds.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 10 Wednesday July 22nd

We finished the church today! Everyone is very relieved and happy to be done with such hot and tiring work. We spent part of the day cleaning up and washing the floor of all the cement gunk.

Late this morning we went down to the boys swimming area and watched them drag up six wild boars they had just killed. Everyone will eat well tonight. Afterward I was sitting with several of the Indians on a bench and Aiampa came up to me with a pen and paper and began asking how to say and spell in English. The sound of our words makes them laugh so hard.

Now they all request pictures - even the older people. Since they are so serious we tell them to make funny faces. They are so happy about the church. Judy says they really like it.

The Brazilians that are here are a little scary. They don't look trustable. Several of them look like agents of some the bad guys from thrillers. I think it's mostly their sunglasses because I can never tell exactly where they are looking.

Tomorrow is an official play day.

Day 11 Thursday, July 23rd

Truly the best day yet. Today we did everything I've been dying to do. This morning Aiampa took Cama and I out in a canoe and we went up the flooded river amongst tree's and branches for quite some time. We had machete's with us and Cama and I tried to look for snakes but we didn't see anything. Which is almost scarier. Aiampa had brought us to her field, which doesn't look like our fields at all! They are full of burned trees and scrubs where they have cleared it and all over are pineapples, bananas, sugar cane, and the mansa stuff that is like a potato. Sugar cane is good. You hack off the skin with a machete and then chew the liquid out of the stringish white stuff and spit it out.

I went down with Johanna and Etiana to a house at the end of the village this afternoon and watched an old woman weave a basket. They look like so much work. Coming back from watching the basket weaving then Brazilian woman were cooking and called us over and with gestures and signals asked me to braid their hair like they'd seen me braid the little Indian girls hair yesterday. I agreed, feeling a little awkward with all of them crowding around and a little like they were demanding that I do it. As if I didn't have a choice. But they were very pleased with the result. After that Aiampa wanted to learn more English and had me write down the English while she wrote in Apurina next to it.

Right after lunch Mongwa came to take us on another canoe trip to see if we could find any more animals. We did see some monkeys and heard an alligator slap his tale. Mongwa took us through the jungle, which is a little less wild then I expected, and showed us where they cut their Wood for boards.

It was awesome canoeing through that - rather epic.

We didn't get back until about 3:00 and the swim we took after all the sweaty stuff felt incredible.

Played Frisbee with the little boys for a while before we had a church service. It was a dedication and communion service. It was so beautiful - not only in their new church building, but in their faces and singing and words of thanksgiving. It was very dark when we got out of church and the lit the bonfire. It was a big hot fire and everyone crowded around with short sticks and turned faces from the intense heat and roasted marshmellows.

Laughter rang across the village. Boar meat roasted. Grant had brought some glow sticks and we threw them whizzing back and forth. They couldn't believe how they glowed. Everyone posed for pictures. The Brazilians who were visiting mostly just watched but I probably had to pose for 30 pictures. They don't often seen blond hair and blue eyes (and all of us girls had one degree of it or another) and it fascinates them. The Brazilian guys can get rather annoying.

At one point, we all formed two lines - one of boys and men and one of woman and children. The lines faced each other. The men sang a chant and would step, step, half step, stop while the woman backed up simultaneously. The men held palm leaves in their left hand while their right was on the next guys left shoulder. Back and forth we went laughing and turning in big circles until everyone was tired.

It was an evening never to be forgotten. It reminded me so much of the kind of feast C.S. Lewis would describe in a Narnia book.

For a while we sang...miserably since we couldn't think of a song we all knew.

We "partied all night" for a Indian...which was until 9:30 pm...I have to admit I was utterly exhausted by then too.

The Apurina boys are so sweet and give us wooden rings they carve out of nuts and aren't happy until you try them on to be sure they fit.

Everything is packed up and ready to go. Tomorrow we leave early.
Day 8 Monday, July 20th

We got a lot done today on the church - a hot and tiring time though. The indians are working on the roof while we work below. They are amazingly skilled with wood work. Their beams are long and straight and everything is notched perfectly. All they use is a chainsaw and machete most of the time.

The children are very friendly now and adorable. I don't want to think about leaving them. After work Jannie, Andrea, Cama, and I went down for a swim. Several of the little indian girls were already there so I started to growl and chase them. They loved it and in the end they wouldn't let any of us get out but physically dragged us back in. During the middle of that an indian woman signaled me over and gave me a basket she had weaved. She is so absolutely adorable...I wish I could have expressed my gratitude better.

Day 9 Tuesday July 21st

I don't know how I'm going to leave this place -- especially the children. Every time they see us they run up and embrace and hang on us. If we walk out of the house several will run up and body slam from every direction. The love to mimic what we say in English. To one of them I said, "are you my girl?" she laughed and grabbed my hand, "my girl!" she chirped back.

I braided their hair today...they look so hot with it down all the time. They loved it. They also love posing for pictures but look very solemn in them.

Right now the men are finishing the roof, the church is nearly done. We don't have quite enough brick and mortar but we're doing the best we can.

An old woman from the village came up to to the house today and gave us all Apurina names. Mine is, Ko Pakiaro.

The team is now talking about leaving on Friday instead of Sunday - all of us girls want to stay until Sunday but there are several people were are sick and we need to get back to the city.

We've had a lot of paca and bean jokes because we've eaten them so much. I don't mind it though.

Another boat came today with Brazilians they are having some kind of meeting with the indians.

Last night I went to bed early not feeling well. I woke up about an hour later. Judy and Laurie were talking in the kitchen with an Apurina family. I went to sit and listen. The man asked me my name and then said he was going to name his next child after me. I love the way they pronounce my name, "Leedia". Some of them even shorten it to "Lyd" which I often go by at home.

It took a long time to fall asleep after that but when I did it felt wonderful. The first night I haven't awakened every half hour.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 6 Saturday, July 18th

Another long day but the church is coming along. We got a lot done today. After work we ate dinner and then went swimming. It felt so good. Although you start sweating again almost immediately. I felt loads better today though. We ate paca for lunch and it makes your stomach go on a roller coaster for a while - I never thought I'd eat a rodent.

Last night I could hardly move I was in so much pain. And then our hammock nets are very stuffy. They were playing loud loud music down at the boat - which they have started up again just now, and a generator was running on the other side of the village - a lot of noise for a long time made it really hard to sleep.

All the guys pour buckets of sweat - it's horrific.

Day 7 Sunday, July 19th

It has been a wonderful day. Still not sleeping extremely well in this heat and humidity. I woke up every half hour and got up about 5:30. The dogs growled all night at each other right under the house. Late last night Cama & I went down to the boat where the music was and watched and played dominoes, they are crazy fast at it.

This morning we went to church at about 8:00. Usually it's at 7:00 but they changed it because everyone was tired from working. It started by all the men gathering in a circle some way away holding palm leaves. They came singing and marching into church. Down the isle and around the pulpit. The women and children sit on one side and the men on the other. Judy didn't want it that way but they knew it was done like that in other parts of Brazil. We sang (or tried to pronounce their lengthy words), said the Lord's Prayer and different men read the bible and spoke while Judy translated. Her ability for switching between languages is incredible. I was very impressed with their understanding of the bible. They are so sincere.

After Church I played Frisbee for a long time and got drenched in sweat. The Fockler's brought some balloons so they filled them with water and we threw them around until they broke - they loved it.

Then Cama and I went visiting. Some of the Indians were more friendly than others but they were all hospitable.

Cosma (the chiefs wife), gave me some rings. They make them out of nuts, she's very sweet.

Then I went down and had a swim with Judy and Laurie. We swam out to a cold spot in the water, held on to a tree and talked for a good hour - it was wonderful.

I cleaned myself up and wandered down to the boat thinking everyone else might be there. They weren't but I stayed down there for an hour or so because they wanted me to teach them English by pointing to different fruits and vegetables on a grocery ad. They had a really hard time saying "er" and 'r' in our words and we all laughed till we almost cried.

I came back and played Frisbee and got all gross's useless getting clean.

We had church again at 5:00 and we didn't get out until it was dark. They don't have a set time that it lasts - just when anyone who has wanted to talk has finished.

Jannie, Jared, Daniel, Andrea, and I played dominoes with them in the schoolhouse since they have a generator and light out there. Daniel drew pictures on the chalk board of animals and stuff and made them say the Apurina for it. It was very humorous.


Day 4 Thursday, July 16th

I finally slept well last night. The sunrise was gorgeous. For breakfast we had coffee, granola, banana's (their banana's are amazing), and some potato stuff. I'm not sure what they call them. Marie boiled them with the skins on which are brown and I just ate them plain like that. They are bright purple on the inside.

We had bible study just a bit ago. We are studying the gospel of Mark. We're taking it slow--which is good.

Judy encourages us not to get so bogged down by the newness of this country nor our responsibilities as to forget to spend time with God and in prayer. Right now that is not hard. I am surrounded by His glorious creation. It is peaceful on the river here and there aren't many distractions - you almost have to think of distractions on this boat. I have a little feeling the village won't be quite like this.

We should be arriving in the village soon. I think everyone is ready to get off the boat and start doing something.

Several people aren't feeling very well - our digestive systems have been thrown out of whack.

Now there are not so many houses along the river, they are quite rare in fact. We still see dolphins, lots of butterfly's, and a few monkeys but not much. We are all waiting to see the crocodiles and Judy says if we go out at night in the village with a flashlight we will.

Day 5 Friday, July 17

Ah, it is 7:30 pm. I didn't realize when I promised myself I'd journal every day it'd be this hard. I'm so tired I could cry.

It took a lot longer to get here than they thought it would. We couldn't see our way onto the Monkey River last night so we stopped about 20 minutes away. I was trying to talk to Maxi and turning on and off the searchlight for him. He was trying to make some sort of deal with me and wanted to shake hands on it. I didn't have any idea what he was trying to say so I wouldn't and he laughed and slapped me on the shoulder.

Cama says he was probably asking to marry me and Jannie that he wanted to feed me to the fish. Today though, has been interesting. We arrived in the village and almost immediately began working on the church. It was blisteringly hot until about noon when it began to rain - a gift from heaven in more ways than one. We all stood out getting drenched. We sweat continuously.

The people are shy but nice. The language barrier is very difficult but funny as times too. I know a little Spanish which is close to Portuguese but the Apurina language is very different. Mr Fockler brought Frisbees and they are loving the game. They played with them for hours. The concrete and bricks can be difficult to work with. It is hard to wear gloves so our hands are raw from the rough cement rubbing.

I worked with Pastor Eric mostly today. It was interesting talking with him. After work we all went swimming in the river. It felt amazing. Today for lunch we had paca - which is a large rodent. It tasted rather like pork. A couple of people were grossed out at the thought. Although Alan isn't feeling good anyway so I don't blame him for not trying it.

Too tired to write any more.

Brazil - day 3, I must have had way too much time to write!

Day 3 Wednesday, July 15

I think I'm still in shock that I'm actually in Brazil. I find it increasingly incredible when I pause and realize that without knowing the language I can tell Marie, the cook, how good her food is, how we can argue about washing the dishes. how the driver can tell how tired he is and that he has a headache....

Judy King is amazing. I have already begun to respect her so much - sometimes though she starts chattering away looking at me for comfort and I find myself staring back in kindof a daze and realize afterwards everything she said was in Portuguese and I didn't understand one word for a good reason. She's lived here 35 years. She has such a big heart even though she's tough on the outside. Yesterday morning she suddenly grabbed me and gave me an enormous hug and sighing said, "I'm so glad you guys are here."

I couldn't fall asleep in my hammock last night so I tired the deck - it wasn't too much better. I woke up every hour and realized I had rolled to the railing. I finally just got up at 5:45 and took a shower - I can honestly say, a shower has never felt better. Not that it was much of one. It's right in the bathroom which is about 2' x 3'.

It was pitch black by 7:00 last night. Judy taught Jannie and I how to play Brazilian dominoes. She's hilarious about it.
We won't arrive in the village until 7:00 tomorrow night but everyone is enjoying this boat ride so it's alright. 40 minutes ago we left the halfway point. We had a prayer and bible time this morning and Judy explained how things will happen in the village. Now everyone is just relaxing i.e. talking, journaling, watching dolphins and a couple of the guys are fishing.
Jared Fockler reminds me a lot of my brother Josiah. If his little sister Andrea is not the end of his every joke than I am. He some how thinks I ought to listen to him. Andrea and I take the teasing in completely different directions though. She just sits there and takes it and I retaliate and tease in return. I somehow feel like Jared and Daniel act like I'm a sister - so I've decided to treat them like brothers. Last night Jared's hammock broke part way when he laid in it. Everyone on our end of the boat laughed until we ached.


It's evening now, the sunset disappears. I just came up from a feast of watermelon and mansa. The mansa is like a potato and after a couple of bites I felt stuffed. Then we pulled up to a small town - or maybe it was a village, I didn't catch a name. We were right alongside a river boat which was full of the most adorable children. We tried exchanging names but mostly we just grinned at one another. It was becoming increasingly humid - about six of us lounged in the prow while Maxi, the driver talked to us. We had no idea what he was saying but that didn't bother him in the least. He kept telling us stories and laughing which made us laugh and then he'd laugh harder. Jared was trying to fish and figure out what would be good bait. Jannie has a wort on her finger and Maxi started talking about it to her. She thought he was telling her how to get rid of it. And I guess he was because when we asked Judy to translate for us he said she should cut it off and use it for fish bait. He thought this joke was hilarious. I'll never forget these days. Not in my wildest fancies have I ever thought I'd be happily laughing on the Amazon a Brazilian and five other people circumstance has thrown together.

I can't fall asleep so I'm going to write some more. We had beans again and mansa for dinner and coffee. Their coffee is so sweet! They boil it with cane sugar. It's thick too - like a syrup. You can't drink a lot at a time.

It was dark and they were using the searchlight so I went to the prow to see if I could spot some crocodiles. The driver, Maxi, started talking to me. I had to ask Judy what the word for crocodile was. So I asked him if we'd see any, he nodded vigorously and pointed to the water but I didn't see anything for the hour I was up there. He kept asking me questions - if any of the other people were my siblings, if Jared and Jannie were 'espousa', if I was married etc. For the most part though I had to helplessly put my hands in the air, then he'd put his hand on my shoulder, shake his head, and laugh. I had to laugh as well.

Brazil Day 1 and 2

While I was in Brazil I kept a journal nearly everyday to keep track of some of the things we did.

Day 1 Monday, July 13th 2009

We are currently en route to Manuas - we are missing one lady from Texas whose flight was late. [actually we found out when we landed she made it on our flight].
We've been flying from Atlanta for several hours now. The entire flight will be 6 or 7 hours. Just filling out forms, watching movies, eating, and talking.
Nothing too exciting has happened, everything is going smoothly. I can't wait to arrive in Manaus. We're on a fairly small aircraft that is about 2/3's full, so we have a little room. I'm still working on remembering every one's name and hoping to catch some sleep.

Day 2 Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

It's ten o'clock in the morning and we're on the boat. But I'm skipping about 12 hours. Our plane landed just before midnight and it took a long time to get out of the airport because of customs. Judy King met us there. We gathered our tremendous amount of luggage and rode the bus to Judy's house. There we met Cathie - she and Judy work together. She's from Scotland and has an incredible accent. I love it.
It is very hot and sticky here. So humid. We all made our way to our bedrooms - we were in pairs. I got the yellow room with Laurie. Nearly all of us slept in hammocks. There are hooks in the walls in all the rooms. It was about 2 a.m. by the time we got to bed and pretty soon I feel fast asleep - but most everyone else couldn't sleep because of the heat.
I woke in some confusion to banging pots and pans and so comfortable in my hammock I didn't want to get up. But it was after 6:00 and I had too. We had a great breakfast of hard boiled eggs, coffee, bread, and peanut butter. Everyone is in fairly good spirits although some people are overwhelmed with the heat.
Just after 8:00 our bus arrived and we loaded it to the gill. I sat in the back with 150 eggs on my lap. Water jugs and packs filled the isles. Alan Graham was holding a whole slew of bananas still on their branch. Jarad's wife, Jannie, had a pot of beans on her lap, etc. It was about 45 minutes down to the docks. Traffic is crazy in Manaus. Small, narrow streets. Motorcycle's squeezing in and out, curvy, bumpy roads and sharp unexpected turns.
The boat is quite lovely- we've been going about an hour. It has two open levels with benches on the upper portion along the sides. Tonight our hammocks will get attached to the ceiling.
All one can see is green vegetation and odd little houses hither and thither. So far, a dolphin has been spotted and that's it. The river is very high--recordly high, so Judy doubts we'll see much wildlife.


It's 4:30 now we're still chugging along. Lunch was delicious. We had white rice with chicken in a broth, beans and some grainy stuff that is a staple here. It's called fadenia. It doesn't smell so good, rather like chicken feed. But mixed in with the beans and rice it was very good.

Here's a list of our group before I forget.

#1 - Trip leader: Joe Fockler
#2 - Daniel Fockler (24)
#3 - Jared Fockler (22)
#4- Jannie Fockler, Jared's wife. (24)
#5 - Andrea Fockler (17)
#6 - Gene Babylon (67)
#7 - Alan Graham (50)
#8 - Pastor Eric Jorgensen
#9 - Grant Vitek (17)
#10 - Cama Voyack (24)
#11 - Laurie Aten, our physican
#12 - Me (19)
#13 - Judy King, Host.

This river trip is so cool. People live along the entire thing. I guess I thought people would only live on it by the main cities - not so.
Another thing that is a surprise is how wide the Amazon River is all along! Huge.


When I was a child, perhaps beginning at the age of 5, I had an unbearable fear of a yellow ducky coming through my window. This fear sent me whimpering to my parents with pleas of not having to go to bed just yet. I had nightmares about that yellow ducky which frightened me half to death.

I have no idea what instigated the ducky, all I know is that few years later I had in inescapable fear of a man coming through my bedroom window. I could picture him so vividly before going to sleep that my visions would morph into dreams until sometimes I really thought he'd really come and gone in the night.

Now, I have no such dreams. I have insomnia.

I can't decide which is worse.