March 29, 2012

Day 3: Cancha Huinganco

  So, as I was saying about that pastor's conference we attended... [Day 1, Day 2]

Day 3, of the four we spent in Chos Malal, was a particularly blessed day. Sunday morning service lasted at least three hours... worship and prayer just went on and on and on... a sweet time. Hearts softened, cleansed, healed, renewed, strengthened for things ahead.

camping out in the van

Then... chivo patagonico was on the menu. Free-roaming goat cooked over burning embers for lunch, the big meal of the day.

The dead goat sat out on a table all weekend, under a sheet (notice fly). One just begins to shrug at some point on the relaxed food preservation thing. Ya have to.

Cost of food for the weekend?

US$12 per person, for two days. At least something is cheap here, the food was at least this weekend. (It certainly isn't in the city.)

We had to all pitch in with preparing what we ate. No catering here. Here is Tony acting like he always helps out in the kitchen.

"Oh yeah, I do this all the time...!"
suuure ya do
After lunch and saying goodbyes to old friends and new contacts, everyone left. But we headed back to the to church in Cancha with the local missionaries who have worked here for 10 years - they have discovered a place in the hills where you can find fossils. Tons of fossils.


"You're the one that likes rocks, right?" they had asked me earlier. I don't admit my passion for rocks often because it's just, well, weird. But they soon discovered that yes, indeed, I do love me some good rocks. So off we set, across a field of boulders and up a ridge in search of fossils - a motley crew of adults and children.

looking back down the field of boulders towards the church (in the upper right grove of trees)

looking up towards the ridge
No one had water but us. We soon discovered there is no need to carry water. Just drink from the mountain-fed streams. (Um, they did. I didn't. Too chicken. No upset tummies though, so I guess it's fine.)
Tony sucking up some water
I enjoyed sharing my geologic observations as we hiked up the foothills, explaining the possible causes of the field of boulders, gullies, ridges, streams, and various striations in the rocks along the way. Everyone seemed interested as we talked about the layers of sedimentary rocks, the fossils we soon found imbedded within, and Noah's Flood versus millions of years. Fascinating stuff.

searching in a fossiliferous gully

We had hiked several miles, up, up, up. Then we headed down, down, down with pocketsful of fossils.

I was so thankful for this fun little reprieve for the kids. They, too, have sacrificed everything to come here. We try, when we can, to make living here fun for them. They loved fossil hunting so much that we decided to make it a tradition every time we come back to this place. 

We then stopped back in at the rural church for a potty break. There is no running water, so you have to dump a bucketful of water down the toilet to flush. The bucket fills up slowly outside under the trickle of water that drips from the spigot. The water supply is low at this time of year, having dried up considerably after a long, hot summer in the dry mountains. We set up the projector and showed a few more movies to our tired gang, had a snack, then went to visit the neighbors: Dona Luisa and her man (that's supposed to be an n with a little squiggly over it, but my computer acts funny sometimes here in Argentina and won't let me do it).

Dona Luisa was born and raised in this remote place. 77 years she lived in a primitive little house with the outhouse located a few steps further down towards the river. Her chickens and geese and dogs and horse and cows all share her yard. Two years ago the government built her a new house. She now "lives well". She has two bare bulbs and no other bills to pay but the electricity, which is about five dollars a month. I envy her life - so simple, so healthy, so quiet. Visiting her was one of the highlights of the whole weekend for me. As we sat in her little kitchen, her man smelling of horse and earth and well, dirty feet... I thought, "This is it. This is what we came here to do. I love this." It helped that I left the kids with Tony and went with the missionary's wife... just the ladies, a real treat. Wish it could have lasted longer. We emerged from Luisa's little house, the stars stretching as far as the eye could see, and walked contented back to the church in the cool air, a night as black as I've ever seen.

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