10.07.2014 - 10.07.2014 60 °F
We retrieved the 2nd missing luggage today at the airport. Hoorah!! (( Just a week late . . . )) God is faithful!
Everything is intact; and we cleared customs without a tax & without anything being siezed. It was touch-and-go for a few minutes because the agent wanted to know what was in the footlocker. Hmmm -- toys for children, snacks, clothing, reading glasses . . . "How many glasses?" ((Uh . . several . . . )). He wanted to have a look - Dave's clowning stuff was on top along with some stuffed toys - and there was a bag of reading glasses in the corner. (We had long since forgotten how important it is here to put the valuable things on the bottom of the cases, with the frivolous un-interesting things on top.) Dave said the clowning stuff was for working at the orphanage. "Where?" We told him. Not impressed. We told him that the glasses were for some of the workers at the orphanage. The agent said we could not distribute reading glasses without a license (optician). We protested nicely -- we've had permission to do it many years ago, and nothing has changed . . . Then he pulled out 2 large bags of Jerkey and Pepperoni from Costco and didn't seem very pleased . . . he poked around a little more on the side without the glasses. . . then he told Dave to put everything back in the case. Just like that the interrogation ended, and you can imagine how relieved we were when he asked Jean to sign off. We were blessed that he didn't actually pull out the bag of glasses, because there were many layers of bags of glasses underneath. I guess we aren't surprised at the inspection; a footlocker is far more likely to arouse curiosity than a large suitcase. (But it is SO handy to pack!) Nonetheless - all is well, and we don't have to mess with replacing things & seeking reimbursement. Next time we come, we will be more careful how we pack the suitcases tho.
After Hendersons left on Monday, Dave and Jean did another food distribution in this little village of Orlat and the neighboring village, Popolaca. Photos are in the album on this site. Our hosts do such a good job of identifying people with critical needs! Old, ill grandmothers raising children; true orphans who are living with relatives who are extremely poor; parents raising multiple handicapped children, widows just getting by, etc. etc. Most people are managing adequately well in this overburdened economy, but those who are in need are really in need! A small bag of food doesn't seem like much - but we know how much it is appreciated & we just ask God to multiply it like the loaves and fishies.
Today we visited the first child that we brought over for Shriners surgery (for hip displasia) back in 1993. Andrada was 3 then . . . and now she is a gorgeous 24 year-old who has completed university, currently works as a paralegal, and is studying to be a judge. Her parents have many times hosted us and others who have come with us, including Jean's parents who came in 1995 for a week. We had a lovely 3-hour visit over lunch at their home, catching up after so many years. It's been 11 years since Jean was here, and 4 years since Dave last came. In many ways it seems that time has stood still.
Today Jean rigged up her Apple wireless router so we could get a stronger wireless internet signal. She doesn't understand why it is working with the setup she ended up with - but what matters is that it IS working. The host family's router evidently can't put out a strong enough signal to access most websites so now we're in business. (She just hopes she can get it all plugged back in correctly when she gets home . . . it was hastily disconnected as an afterthought just before departing; we knew the host had internet, but we doubted they would have wireless. It took her a week to figure out how to boost their signal. When Mike was here he found Google Translate app for our phones (using WiFi) -- and we have had some delightful conversations in depths we haven't previously been able to go. We have managed well with our sketchy language skills - so this has been really fun.
This morning Dave inventoried all our remaining supplies that have been stored in the host family's attic. (When we sold our apartment in '06, he brought the usable supplies to their home and told them to feel free to distribute them as needed.) He found some amazing things up there -- supplies for some really fun projects that we didn't get around to and had long since forgotten about. We don't know when we will be back, but there's enough stuff here to keep us and several other helpers busy for a long time! Our hosts are so lovely and accommodating; but nonetheless, we do miss our apartment and our own vehicle. However, remembering how burdensome it was to manage security, taxes, utilities, licenses and permits, etc., we are glad we don't have that responsibility. And the unexpected profit we made from the apartment funded our Hermiston Scholar Athlete Scholarship program, so the value of the apartment lives on.
Tomorrow we head for Petre's village, hoping to be able to get up there, and hoping to find him. We can't locate any extended family in the main town here, so it's a long shot just showing up. We're taking a couple food packets, assorted diopter glasses, and some amazing work clothing that the host family was given from friends in Switzerland. We'll dispense those items along the way if we can't reach Petre. Stay tuned for that saga.