Tuesday, April 26, 2016

week 93

Zone Conference


How did it go with the long congress? 
They rescheduled the long congress.  Now it is the last week of May.
We have a District conference planned here for all the members, but now we
don't know if we will have it. That's because we can´t have church
activities during Congress.  At the Congress, the leaders sing in old Kuna and then
someone translates it.  After that, they discuss community stuff and
give people permission to leave.  We don´t need permission because we
aren´t Kunas.  It is a little strange.

 How was your zone conference?
It was good.  There were only 14 of us.  The 12 zone members and the 2
assistants.  So we left our island at 5:30 in the morning to get to
port and then we waited 2 or 3 hours for the assistants to get there
so we could leave.  We took a boat out to the Zone Leader's area.  We picked up
all the elders from my district on the way.  It was a 5 hour boat
trip.  Elder Meine got sea sick.  I did not. We stayed from about 1 pm yesterday and we
left at 7 am today.  The return trip only took about 3 hours.  We had
a better boat this time.

What have you learned about the Kuna people
I can cook some food, but I can´t cook it at home because it would be
really expensive.  They use vegetables that we don´t have at home.
Men mostly just work. The women sew mola.

Tell me about a fun adventure this week.
The fun adventure was probably Zone Conference.  We even took a
picture of all the people that will die out here with me.  (missionaries 
that will all be going  home at the same time. They call it dying when 
they go home.) oh and speaking of.  I didn´t get my camera back.  The bishop
said that the camera wasn´t in the car when he got home. He had given other people rides.
I thought my camera would get wet out here on the island, so I didn´t bring my old memory
card.  I bought a new one.
Zone Conference was fun.  My district is Elders Taylor, Wrigley, Green, Sagers,
McGraw, and me.  We are the 3 close islands.
The other district is Elders Mann, Senden, Gibby, Hoeft and Sisters
Bullough and McGowan.  They are the far islands.  if we ever come out
to blas, we will probably go out to Playon or Ustupu so dad doesn't have to ride in a boat. They
have airports.  Or we come out in boats... and go to any of them.

How is Carti different from Panama?
Well, I live on an island.  Also, they only have canned food and
stuff, but it is all a lot cheaper.  In the city, I walk by ferrari
dealerships and lamborghinis, but here, people want to sell me the
clothes off their back so that they can buy food for their families.
It is hard to talk sometimes because people see us and start pulling
out everything they make (traditional mola, ties, the mola clothes
that they wear) just trying to sell it to us.  And my comp doesn´t have
any money left because we buy from them and he has been here a while. We have to
get our water from the well. We are just waiting for rain to fill up the well. It rained
for 5 hours last night.  It pretty much flooded my island, but everything is ok
because everyone has sand floors

What do you like best about the island?
I am doing good, but I am just tired from the trip.  I have met pretty much
everyone and they are all really really nice. It is nice On Tupile, but I haven´t spent much
time on any of other islands. Their peoples' names here are weird to me.  My friends' names
are Zobe, Lilia, and Elio.  Also, we call lots of people Profe because they are the school teachers. Now they call me Flacco.  That just means skinny.  Island life is nice. I am getting tan.
It does get cold at night. it is the wind.  We have the coldest house in Blas. Elder McGraw is
pretty fluent in kuna. He has been here about half of his mission. The Kuna people are tiny.
Someone described it as Europeans are normal sized. White people are like pulling the top middle button on a picture in powerpoint to make them long and skinny.  Guatemalans are like pulling
that same dot down so that they are short and fat.  the Kunas are like dragging a corner
button down into the picture so that it goes tiny all together. That is about right.
As far as food:  We are normally given mangos.  There are tons of them. We have banana trees around. When they come off, they are green and used as plantain.  I haven´t had a banana out here. They feed us just dulemasi.  It is weird soup.  And I have eaten lobster 2 or 3 times in the last week. Here, we bought 2 lobsters for $6.  It is funny because they are so poor and eat lobster.

On Sundays do people come from other islands to church?
We try to get that to happen, but it is hard. The church is out over the water on stilts. It is for lack of space. The island is small. We have a dock on the other side of the island for boats to arrive.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

week 92

Learning

Tell me about the people. 
Well, the people here are all really humble and kind.  Do you remember me talking about a Kuna family in Cinuentenario?  The guy named A...?  His family lives here and I met them.  His aunt is making me a mola tie.  On this island and the other 3 islands of my area, it is all a tourist economy. Fairly regularly, Americans will come out to our island.  In the rest of the province, they farm.  They play soccer and the women sew for fun and money.

What is church like?
It is a weird mix of Spanish and Kuna.  We had about 50 people show up this week. The building is out over the water. We have a metal roof and deck floors.  The chapel is mostly open to everything. On p day we actually hang up a hammock for when we aren´t writing. We exercise in the chapel.  It is just wooden deck boards and hurts our feet. We only wear flip flops here. We live about 3 minutes from the church.  The chairs in the church are plastic chairs like we would have at the pool. There are lots of kids. We sing without a piano.  The kids don´t really sing or anything.



What about showers?
We go to the river and get water every so often and we come back with lots of water.  We use a bowl to pour water on ourselves.  When we get a spigot, it will be easier.

Do you have a routine for every day?
We have Government 3 times per week and we can´t do anything during that time because all the Kuna have to go.  It is called Congress. It starts at 5ish and ends at 8:30ish. It isn´t fun.  We can hear most of it because the congress house is in front of our house.  We eat dinner and relax during congress. During the rest of the time, we try to get people to give us references or we don´t really teach. We go visit people and see who will listen to us. Most of the island is less actives.

Have you done any service? Have you taught any lessons?
Yeah.  We went to the mountains.  We went to get the sticks to make someones house.  It was easy and we were only there for about an hour. E. McGraw says that it is usually harder.  We have taught a couple of lessons, but nothing spectacular. They should come, but they don't.  We are working on that.  They almost all follow the old Kuna traditions.  There is actually a problem for us now because of that.  They have a drink called Chicha Fuerte (Strong juice... aka alcohol) they will start
drinking that on the 15th until the 20th and on the 20th, they start a 4 day long congress of the province.  They Kuna have totems that they leave in a basket outside when they go in to congress.We don´t have a totem because the Kunas put spirits in them. We figure it is better not to have them.

How small the island?
There are 1000 people in my area.  That is the 4 Carti islands.  My island, Tupile, only has about 350 people.  I have been to 3 of the islands.  I am on the second smallest.  The smallest only has 80 people. The houses on my islands are pretty close together. There aren´t any wild animals here.  I have seen monkeys.  They had some when I went to the other island. The only animals on Tupile are pets.  There are lots of plants, mostly grass and mango trees. It is really windy and only rains when we are asleep.  At night we hear just the waves and the wind. Sleeping in a hammock is easy. Our windows are holes in the cinderblocks walls.  Most of the other houses are about the side of our downstairs.  They are made of something like bamboo.

How is the language coming?
The language is weird.  I can recognize common phrases now.  McGraw is the only one that will help me. The thing with Kunas is that they are all super shy.

What is your favorite thing this week?
Well, we went to another island on Tuesday. We used a boat called a panga.  It is a really old speed boat.  That is how the elders usually travel out here.  They have outboard motors anywhere from 8 hp to stuff like the police use.  There is a boat out here that the missionaries call the battleship.  It is a police boat with 4 motors that are 200 hp each.  The trips get interesting. While we were on the other island, a cruise ship pulled up. They send small boats in to bring the tourists to shore. We just started talking to all the American tourists.  We think that we met every nonmember from Utah.  They all thought that they had gotten away from us, but we were the first thing that they saw on the island.  hehe

We ate something called dulemasi.  It had chicken, pumpkin, plantain,
yuka, and something like potatoes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

week 91

Carti Tupile


So how was the trip to the island?
It was good.  It was really long.  On Thursday night, we were packing
our clothes bags and our food bags.  When we finally finished that, it
was about midnight.  From there, we slept a few hours to be ready to
leave at 4:30 Friday morning.  When our driver showed up, we put
everything in the trucks and we were off.  We drove on the highway for
about an hour and a half.  Then, we got into the hill country.  I did
take pics, but I can´t send them with the internet here.  Also, I left
my camera in the car so I am waiting for the driver to bring it out to
me next transfer.  After an hour long roller coaster ride (or at least that is what
it felt like), we made it to port.  My comp was waiting there for me.
We loaded up our stuff into a small motorboat and we were off.  It was
about a 5 minute ride from port.  I won´t see any other missionaries for a
while.  The closest missionaries are 1.5 hours from here.  That is an
island called Narganá.  The locals call it Yandup because that is the
Kuna word for it.  It was a hard ride.  That was the worst car ride
ever.

Tell me about your island.
I can walk from one end of the island to the other in a couple of
minutes.  It is tiny and I think that I have met every single person
that lives here.  They are really humble and kind.  They are kinda
crazy, but it makes things fun.  We walk on narrow sand paths.  The
houses are everywhere.  We live in one of the only houses made of
cement. (cinderblock) Everyone lives in stick huts.

Tell me about where you live.
We live in the middle of the island.  It is kinda hot.  We eat
whatever we can.  Today for lunch, a member made us something called
Dulemasi.  That translates to Kuna food.  It is soup with plantain,
some kind of meat (today was pig tail), pumpkin, something called
yuka, and another vegetable called ñame.  We cook easy food.  It is
mostly canned stuff.  We have a gas stove.  We pay someone to do our
laundry.  We don´t have running water right now.  We are going to the
river to get water tomorrow.  We do have some electricity and lights.  In
the house, we have solar panels so it isn´t much. We have a spigot right outside the back door.  There is just a broken pipe somewhere so no water until that is fixed. We have a neighbor that has a well. We get water from her.  We have the second story of a house.  It is 3 small rooms. There is a store down stairs.

Do you stay on one island all the time or go to any of the others?
We pretty much stay on one island.  We can go to the other Carti
islands, but we can´t do that very often.  Our island is small. The other missionaries are in the islands
called Tikantiki, Nargana, Ukupa, Playon Chico, and Ustupu.

What is the ocean like?
The ocean has been pretty smooth lately.  There are small waves on
shore.  I will show you some shells when I get home.  I live in the
middle of the island.  It does smell like ocean.  It is mostly wet
sand.

Are you teaching people?
We haven´t taught yet.  We went and met some people.  We moved some
sticks on Saturday. I can understand some of the language, I just can´t speak it at all.  I am working on it. They think that I am enormous, but I don´t get the Big Man name, Elder Dastrup was on this island a while ago.

What was church like?
We only had a few people because of General Conference.  They are all
really cool members.  I had a friend in Cincuentenario and I met his
aunt a couple days ago.  She is funny.  She is also the one that
washes our clothes. We watched conference in Spanish and just the Sunday sessions.

How is your comp?
Good.  He has spent about a year of his mission on the islands. This is his second assignment here. He likes it. The people here call him Pipi suli.  Pipiwa is Kuna for small and suli is Kuna for no or not. They say that he is not small.  If they can´t say my name, I am Elder Nunud.  That is Kuna for head. We just choose to get rid of the Broad part or they will make fun of me. They like to tease.

Internet is hit and miss depending on the weather. We may not get an email every week, It is wait and see. And no pictures yet.

Monday, April 4, 2016

week 90

and again...


SO.....Where at you going????
I am going to an area called Carti Tupile.  It is in the San Blas Zone. It is one of the smaller islands.  There are about 1000 people.  I will mostly be teaching, but I want to do lots of service. We go out there on boat.  We stay on our own islands except for divisions and Zone Conference.  I will buy a new SD card and leave my old one in the city to make sure the old pictures are ok. They do speak the Kuna language and I will need to learn at least conversational talking. I know a little bit, but not enough to hold a conversation. On Carti, I will have to go to the tribal meetings once per week.  We leave the city on this. We don't take much stuff, just a duffle bag with 3 pairs of pants.  3 or 4 shirts and flip flops.



Who will be your comp?
The first change out, I will be with Elder McGraw from my MTC group.  It will be fun.  I may just have my last 2 changes with him and Pte will whitewash the area when we leave.We will be co-senior companions.

Are you helping the secretaries?
Everything is going ok.  We are pretty much done with transfer stuff.  My big job is just helping the Blas ZLs get out to Blas. They send in the shopping lists.  We buy their groceries and and stuff then send them in boat to the islands.

Did you have p-day today?
Nope.  We were doing some secretary stuff.

How was the move over to the new place?
It took a while, but it was good.  I will send pics shortly. I will stay there until Friday when we leave for the islands. They are going to close out our old place at the end of the April.

What other changes are happening?
My district in San Blas is Me, Elder McGraw, Elder Wrigley, Elder Taylor 1 (all from the MTC), Elder Green (I lived with him this past change), and a new kid named Elder Sagers.  The rest of my zone members are Elder Hoeft and Elder Gibby (from my MTC group), Elder Mann (He was my comp of 1 weekin the office), Elder Senden (friend from Chorrera), Hermana McGowan (I helped her mom with money stuff while I was in the office), and Hermana Bullough (I don't know her). It is a lot of people I know, but we will only see each other once per transfer.  We have one zone meeting over the course of 2 days, then we leave.

This is the last email that I will be sending from the city for a while.  I just want you to know that they are working on the internet on my island and I may or may not email on Monday.  Also, if I do email, my internet will be slow.  Sorry about that. There is electricity for a only few hours at night.