Pachamanca, the Dirt Oven

So, since I talked to my family yesterday, I’m certain that they’ll put a bunch of updates as part of this letter, so I won’t talk too much.

It has been a pretty good week. I’ve enjoyed myself quite a lot since I’ve been in Huancayo for meetings. We had a district leader conference (where I was both the district leader with the most time and most time as a district leader) and a multi-zone conference. They were both really nice and I got to eat some good food as part of the deal.

We’ve been trying to find people this week, but there just hasn’t been anyone around. They all must have been getting ready for the Mother’s Day celebrations. Mother’s Day is a pretty big holiday here, and they’ve all been making Pachamanca and being with family.

Elder Pizarro and I helped to make Pachamanca (which literally means Dirt Oven in Quechua) with Maximo and his family. I now know how to make it, so when I get back we can make some. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

The chef is making his masterpiece of Humita - Ground up corn mixed with sugar, Inca Cola, and other secret ingredients.

The chef is making his masterpiece of Humita – Ground up corn mixed with sugar, Inca Cola, and other secret ingredients.

The awesome oven in which we will bury the Pachamanca.

The awesome oven in which we will bury the Pachamanca.

The meat: 5 Kg of pork and four whole chickens.

The meat: 5 Kg of pork and four whole chickens.

The sweet potatoes, potatoes, and avas.

The sweet potatoes, potatoes, and avas.

Poor cuy...

Poor cuy…

Robinson eating some random body part of a cuy.

Robinson eating some random body part of a cuy.

Putting the humita in corn sheaves to cook.

Putting the humita in corn sheaves to cook.

Potatoes go in first with some hot rocks.

Potatoes go in first with some hot rocks.

Then the pork goes in.

Then the pork goes in.

Next, the chicken.

Next, the chicken.

Then the cuy.

Then the cuy.

A photo to prove I was there.

A photo to prove I was there.

After the cuy, goes the humita.

After the cuy, goes the humita.

Herbs are placed on the outside for flavor.

Herbs are placed on the outside for flavor.

Blankets are laid on top to hold in vapor and heat.

Blankets are laid on top to hold in vapor and heat.

Tarps are placed around the oven for protection.

Tarps are placed around the oven for protection.

The tired chef.

The tired chef.

Time to eat PACHAMANCA!

Time to eat PACHAMANCA!

So, that’s really about it. There isn’t much else to report since I’ve been out of my area for most of the week. I hope that you all have an adventure. Well, I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

UPDATES from Mom: We had a great video chat for Mother’s Day. There were some technical difficulties involving Skype and the microphones. David could see us, but not hear us. I was impressed with his good humor as he tried to figure it out. Finally, we switched to Google Hangouts and he did some techie magic and we had a good chat. He looked good — he was very happy and his accent was markedly less compared to Christmas. He said it was because he spends more time with gringos now that there are so many more missionaries. He is excited to finish his work, and worried that life is “about to slap him in the face” with the end of his mission. Elders Pizarro and Fitzgerald stuck their heads in to say “hello” and that was really fun.

Elder Van Komen also asked me to tell friends and family to PLEASE WRITE TO HIM!

(The flies like to sleep on the wooden bars that hold the roof up. Here are the spiders that capture them.)

(The flies like to sleep on the wooden bars that hold the roof up. Here are the spiders that capture them.)

Just Another Week Chillin’ at 14,000 Feet

So, this week was fairly standard.

Well, not really at all.  First and foremost, the office forgot to let us know that Elder Nunez was going to have to go to Lima for three days to do his immigration stuff.  So, all of my plans for Wednesday were just thrown out the window —  Elder Jones’ companion also had to leave to Lima, and they told me that “we have appointments all day long and they are so secure that you can’t miss any one of them.”  So, we worked in Yacamancha, and took care of their appointments.  Unfortunately, only two of them panned out, but what can you do?  But, at least I know that other companionships struggle with appointments, too.

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No Idea What to Put As a Title

Well, this week has been pretty interesting.  We’ve been working pretty hard, but unfortunately both of our baptisms fell through this week due to one heading off to Lima and the other to Huancayo before classes started.  It is the end of summer vacation — kids have been out of school since Christmas —  so hopefully it will be easier to find FAMILIES to teach.  Well, time go get searching for more people to baptize.  Seriously though, there are a lot here, you just need to do the right kind of searching.

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“I’m Having The Time of My Life, And I’ve Never Felt This Way Before”

First off, I gotta say that taxi rides both terrify me and are super awesome.   They terrify me because the drivers here are pretty selfish and they drive about 200 miles per hour when we head to La Merced.   However, they are super awesome because they often have music playing that is among the popular music of the US, and yes, that song has come up several times being down here.  I also have had a taxi that had an entire CD of BeeGees music that I sang along to under my breath the entire way to our destination.  It was pretty sweet.

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I Think It’s Gonna Rain

Hey Family!

So, yea, I didn’t get the chance on Monday to send home a letter for a few reasons.   The first is that today is a Multi-Zone P-Day since the elders from another zone are coming in for a conference with us tomorrow.   We’re going to have the chance to be instructed by our mission president and learn from him.  Today, we’re going to go to two different waterfalls, which I’ve been promised are cooler than the last two than we’ve hiked.   I’m looking forward to both events since it will be a bit of a different experience.

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Week Two en el Campo Misional!

Well, it is pretty much the hottest I’ve been for a long time.  I know I’ve experienced this kind of heat before, it’s just that I haven’t experienced it for so long and so consistently. Every single day I’m sweating buckets and walking through the crazy heat.  I am in the jungle, to be sure.  However, our area is more of a cleared out section of the Jungle.  Since there aren’t many trees (which has its ups, as well — namely there aren’t tons more bugs around and the bugs aren’t always as big as I saw last P-Day on our trip to a waterfall) there isn’t shade, and it is often a dry, but humid heat.  However, the humidity is something that I’ve only experienced in the coast — never at home! — and it is killing me.   Also, Peru doesn’t have air conditioning in a lot of places, so that kills me, too.

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MTC Mailing Address

While Elder Van Komen is in the MTC, you can send him letters through DearElder.com or to his MTC address.  Keep in mind that he will only be in the MTC for three weeks (provided his visa arrives in time!).

Elder David Franklin Van Komen
MTC Mailbox # 372
PER-LIME 0926
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

All missionary mail must come through US mail or other commercial mail services.  The MTC does not accept deliveries by any other means for security reasons.  Do not send food that will spoil as there is no access to a refrigerator.  Friends and family should not visit at the MTC, during any breaks, nor during the transfer to the airport or field of labor.