Saturday, February 11, 2017

All layered up and ready to stay in

No, I could not eat it all.

This was my plate at the restaurant of some of our friends here in Ipiales.  In some ways, it's not typical of what we would receive in someone's home here.  In other ways, it can give you a pretty good idea.  It's always a lot.  Potatoes are common here and are often served with rice and sometimes noodles as well.  There's always a soup served first and then the main course.  I'm usually full after the soup, but we try and eat what we are served, inasmuch as possible.  I'm still getting used to spending most of my life feeling stuffed!  

Selfie with Abigail

I'm not a selfie-taker, but Abigail (from Tulcán) wanted to send a picture of us with her stuffed kitty cat (on my shoulder) to her sister, Damaris, who is in the Oriente (the Amazon part of Ecuador) in the work.

My new field

On Friday, January 20, Gonzalo and Celia Túquerres kindly drove Ookyoung and me to the home of Napo and Maribel Báez in Tulcán, which is in our new field.  We stopped by the home that Gonzalo and Celia are constructing just outside of Ibarra on our way but didn't get out of the car to take a tour since it was raining.  We made it to our home for the night sometime after 4:00 in the afternoon, approximately six hours or so after we left the Túquerres home.  We were very thankful for the ride and were sorry that they had to turn right around (after having coffee and a snack) and head back to Quito.  A late night for them!  

So, now we have arrived in our new field, which includes Ibarra and Tulcán as the main cities on the Ecuador side and Ipiales as the principal city on the Colombia side of the border.  Most of our friends live in Ipiales, so it seems that is where we will spend most of our time.  I'll try and give a little summary of our field below, dividing it up by cities.

Ibarra, Ecuador
We have one professing friend, Patricia, in the city of Ibarra as well as several contacts.  We plan to go to Ibarra every other week or so - once for the weekend and once midweek.  When we go on Saturday night, we hope to have a fellowship meeting with Patricia around 8:00 on Sunday morning, followed by a gospel meeting/study at 9:00, giving us time to travel back to Ipiales and prepare for our 6:00 gospel meeting there.  When we go to Ibarra midweek, we will have two studies - one in the evening and one the following morning, so that hopefully all of the contacts will be able to come to one or the other.  

There is a young man, Jhasmany, who lives and works in Atuntaqui, which is some twenty minutes or so beyond Ibarra as you travel from Ipiales to Quito.  We have not visited him yet but will plan to meet up with Alberto Basurto, one of the brothers on our staff, to visit him together on Monday, February 13, if all goes as planned.  Alberto was in this field last year so can guide us easily to Jhasmany's work.  

We hear that a couple from the western US will be coming to live in Cotacachi, some 40 minutes south and west of Ibarra, during the month of March, so we will try to work in a few visits with them as well when the time comes.  

We had a new contact that we wanted to look up in Otavalo, but when Ookyoung called her, she did not seem interested at this time.  Perhaps at some point, we'll make our way to this very touristy Ecuadorian city to see if there's any interest there.  And I'd like to buy a poncho for the cold weather here!  Otavalo is famous for its ponchos, among other things.

And now for some more general information about Ibarra:

Thus states Wikipedia:
"Ibarra (full name San Miguel de Ibarra) is a city in northern Ecuador and the capital of the Imbabura Province. It lies at the foot of the Imbabura Volcano and on the left bank of the Tahuando river. It is about 70 kilometres (43 mi) northeast of Ecuador's capital Quito."

Ibarra is where we will go to thaw out.  :-)  The average yearly high is around 72 degrees, the average low around 50 degrees.  There's not much variation throughout the year.  The average high ranges from 74.1 in September to 71.2 in February - not a very large span!  The average low ranges from 52 degrees in April to 48.4 in August.  Average yearly rainfall is 24.52 inches, with the "rainiest" month being April with 3.62 inches of rainfall on average.  

The altitude of Ibarra is about 7300 feet.  The population of the city proper was approaching 140,000 as of the 2010 census, with the metro population being a little over 181,000 according to the same census.

Fun fact:
"Helados de paila (handmade ice cream or sorbet and still sold in the markets today) was first made in Ibarra during Incan times (but not by Incas; by the native indigenous), using snow or ice from the nearby Imbabura Volcano (which is no longer snow bound). Using a large bronze pan surrounded by ice shavings, the juices of various fruits are stirred into the pan to freeze."

Tulcán, Ecuador
We basically consider Tulcán and Ipiales together when making plans since they are right across the border from each other, and are included in the same meeting rotations and planning as far as we are concerned.  There is one professing family living in Tulcán, don Napo and Sra. Maribel along with their soon-to-be 11-year-old daughter, Abigail.  Their son lives in Chile; I have never met him.  Their other daughter, Damaris, is on our staff of workers here.  

Some facts for you about Tulcan:  

Again, from our Wilikedpa friends:
"Tulcán is the capital of the province of Carchi in Ecuador. The population of Tulcán is approximately 60,400.[1] Tulcán is known for its hot springs, deep wells, and a 3-acre topiary garden cemetery, the most elaborate topiary in the New World,[2] created in Cupressus sempervirens by José Maria Azael Franco in 1936. The city is the highest in Ecuador, at 2,950 m (9,680 ft) above sea level."
"Tulcán is just 7 km (4.3 mi) from the Colombian border; the international bridge Rumichaca is shared by the two countries. Tulcán is bounded on the north by the municipality of Ipiales (Colombia), on the south by the Huaca Canton, to the east by the Amazonian provinces of Sucumbios and to the west by the coastal province of Esmeraldas."
"This city is known for its civic culture and modern business, similar to that of Colombia because of its proximity to and significant trade with that country."

At a higher elevation than Ibarra, Tulcán is also significantly cooler, with an average yearly high of 61.61 degrees and an average yearly low of 43.54 degrees.  Again, there is very little variation of temperature throughout the year.  The sun makes all the difference, to my way of thinking.  When the sun is shining, it can border on hot, especially when you are dressed for cool or cold weather.  When the sun is not out, especially when it is raining, the cold can be quite bone-chilling.  The homes here have no heating, so often it is colder inside than it is outside.  I have decided that this provides a special complication in the clothing department.  At "home," when it's cold outside, it's warm inside, so you put extra layers on to go outside, and when you come inside, you take them off and throw them on your bed or put them in your closet or some such thing.  Here, you typically need more clothes on inside than you do outside.  However, it's a little unhandy to start taking off clothes when you're walking down the street, so you just have to suffer - either from the hot or the cold.  :-)  Yes, you can anticipate the outside heat (when it's sunny) by taking off layers before you go out.  However, at the end of your walk, you will be going inside, where you will again want said layers.  Sometimes it just seems plain old complicated, but we're managing.  :-)  Rainfall is also higher in Tulcán, averaging just over 37 inches per year, with the rainiest month being November at 4.72 inches.

Ipiales, Colombia
The workers first came to Ipiales from the Ecuador side of the border in January of 2002, at which time there was a whole "congregation" of people waiting to hear them.  Many responded to the gospel right away, and over the years since then, more and more people have professed, so that now there are five Sunday morning meetings right here in the city.  It's lovely to hear people's testimonies around the table after a meal; they're very grateful for the day that the gospel came their way.  

What about the natural side of things?

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Ipiales:

"Ipiales is a city in Nariño DepartmentColombia, near the border with Ecuador. It is located at around 0°49′49″N 77°38′40″W, with an elevation of about 2950 m. Ipiales is located on the high plateau called "Tuquerres e Ipiales," the city lies at a distance of 82 km from Pasto, the department's capital." The municipality's main attraction is the impressive architecture of the Las Lajas Cathedral. Ipiales is known as "la ciudad de las nubes verdes" (the city of the green clouds) because some times, especially in the afternoon, green clouds appear over the city. One of the area's favorite foods is the guinea pig or cavy (Cavia porcellus), called kuy or kuwi.[2] The economy of this city is based on trade between Ecuador and Colombia. One of the biggest festivals is called the "Black and White Carnival". Through this event people from Ipiales celebrate racial diversity. People paint each other with make-up and a white soap, called careoca. Many tourists travel to see this event from all over the country."

"The average height of the town is 2900 m, making it Colombia's highest city (although not the highest town) and among the highest cities in the world."

"Ipiales features an unusually cool subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cfb), with an average temperature around 15 °C colder than its near equatorial climate might suggest. Ipiales has summer (from October to March) and winter (from April to September) due to the city's high altitude at almost 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) above sea level, which makes it the highest major city in Colombia and one of the highest on Earth. Rainfall is high year round falling on an average of 235 days, with a slight drying trend from July through September. The average temperature is cold for a subtropical highland climate with the city escaping an (E) Alpine classification by less than 1.5 °C. Temperatures rarely break the 20 °C mark or fall below freezing, giving the city perpetual spring-like weather."

"Perpetual spring-like weather" it says.  That may be true, but I wear a lot more clothes here than I do during the spring at home.  (Long-sleeved undershirt, long-sleeved shirt, fleece jacket and down jacket are not completely uncommon, along with fleece-lined tights, heavy socks and boots.  Sometimes I add a scarf and gloves to the mix.  But typically only when I'm inside.)  
Here's the chart from Wikipedia.  You can decide for yourself.  
Climate data for Ipiales
Average high °C (°F)15.9
Daily mean °C (°F)10.9
Average low °C (°F)5.9
Average rainfall mm (inches)79.4
Average rainy days (≥ 1 mm)181721212221201918182020235

Something like half an hour from Ipiales is the little berg of José María Hernández, where lives one of our professing friends, Carmen Revelo.  She has a Sunday morning meeting in her home, where two professing men from nearby towns attend as well as someone from Ipiales most every Sunday.  There is also a man from José María who has been coming to listen for a few months now, it seems.

The final meeting in our field is in Cumbal, a town named for the snow-capped volcano that looms above it.  The volcano, Cumbal, peaks at a little over 15,600 feet.  This means that Cumbal is, in general, the coldest part of our field.  Two families meet on Sundays and Wednesdays in the home of don Eninson and Sra. Doris, and most Sundays someone comes from Ipiales to accompany them as well.  

So now you have a little idea of what our field looks like in overview.  It's a lovely place, and I know I'm going to enjoy my time here very much.  Come visit!  (Just remember to bring your parka!)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ipiales bound

My bags are packed and ready to go...

The last bag of lefse

It was delicious!  Celia and the girls thought so too.
We'll make Norwegians out of these Ecuadorians yet.  😀
Thanks, Grandpa!

Will packing never cease?

On Wednesday after the Bible study at Gonzalo and Celia's, I began the gargantuan task of organizing my things.  In the course of two years here, I have become rich and increased with goods!  There are a couple of reasons for this.  1) Several generous visitors (and generous friends back home who send things with my visitors), 2) When something that you need is eight or nine hours away by bus, you must buy it, even though you already have one.  This means that eventually you have quite a collection of sets of things you really only need one of!  3) That's just how it seems to go!  Now, I do not want to complain about being rich and increased.  However, I had purposed when I came to Ecuador that I would not expand beyond my pre-determined store space.  Oops!  Now, before I go to my new field, I must reduce, reduce, reduce.  Here's what the process looked like (in part).

Note: The baby dolls and stuffed animals are not mine.

My work space was quite tiny, so I of necessity expanded into the hallway.

All in all, my efforts were a success.  I filled two duffel bags with things to send back to the States with my next generous visitors and gave away a number of things I had no use for to the little girls and mama of the home where I was staying.  They and I were both quite happy about that!  

She's back!!!

It was great to see Jill at the Wednesday afternoon Bible study in Quito on January 18, not long after she returned to Ecuador from her home visit in Australia.  

Good-bye Guayaquil

It's never easy to leave a field.  

This year was no exception.  

Thanks to all in the Guayaquil field who made my time there such an enriching experience.

The last supper

On our last night in Guayaquil, Rebekah and I made supper for the Guzmán family.  Several members of the dinner party weren't so sure about the menu at first, but it ended up being a hit on all counts.  Success!  

Chicken and rice (so as not to be too exotic!), spinach/mango/apple salad and crockpot applesauce

Putting on their brave faces before we dish up

Rebekah made dessert -- Self-saucing chocolate pudding
Looks like Ronny's ready to dig in!

And the bean game before bedtime

That's quite a load!

Sunday dinner

With Andrés Garzón and family
Andrés (center) and his brother, Miguel, (far right) are professing.

Don Andrés' granddaughter, Emely, provided us with after dinner entertainment.
Animal identification

Saturday night with Nelly and Alejandro

Sillies with Steven (Alejandro)

Alejandro and Rebekah check out the church service taking place on the street below

So, this is what we listened to for a couple of hours - as well as loud prayers and preaching.  The church across the street was celebrating a year of being in that locale, so logically, they wouldn't use the locale itself for the service!  Of course, the street would be the best place.  It certainly provided an interesting atmosphere in which to try and get ready for two meetings the following morning!