A few things happening

Our friends Michelle and Eliu are visiting from the states for a month and are staying with us.  They have two kids, an 11 month old and a 6 year old.  SO our house is very full now with four adults, two babies and child.  It feels a bit like community living again.  Nina is happy she loves other babies and kids.

The hospital called, yay, someone actually called me back.  They said that I can support women in birth if I want.  To fit within their system they are going to call me a “promtor of health” that is basically people in the community trying to build bridges between the people and the hospital.  I am not fully sure what that means, I have some training on Friday afternoon but I am excited I finally have permission.  I have a birth in June.  I guess I will see how that goes and then maybe start looking for some more people.

Martin also finally seems to have some clarity on what he will be doing.  As no one ever got back from the municipality about the compost project we decided it wasn’t really viable.  However, in the process of exploring this project Martin has been meeting with many farming associations in the surrounding areas of Chulucanas. Farmers who mostly only have between 1 to 5 hectares of land and while they certainly have better working conditions and salaries than the men working in the tips they still struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet even without luxuries we take for granted in Australia such as running water or concrete floors. As mentioned, while meeting with them they would often seek Martin’s suggestions on soils and water management. They were also very interested in the organic waste project and are keen to learn how they could use their own organic waste and the organic waste in their town to possibly produce their own fertiliser to use and/or sell. It would significantly reduce their costs on fertilisers as well as help them appeal more to the growing organic market. Thus in consultation with various farming associations, Martin will be organising and assisting to run a series of 15 workshops over the next 6 months with these farmers on their land. He will be working with 5 different associations each receiving 3 practical workshops. The first session will be talking about OH&S (while in Australia this topic is over done here it is pretty much non existent and thus very necessary), organic fertiliser (we will produce compost), soil and water management (including activities such as, a soil profile study, taking soil and water samples for analysis and water use efficiency). Subsequent sessions will continue to discuss organic fertiliser (we will produce Humus) as well as interpret the results of the soil and water analysis and how to use these results in sustainable fertility programs for specific crops. We really believe what these farmers are already doing is very interesting and we want the workshops to be a space for them to share their methods as well. They have a real thirst to learn more about different farming methods for they know education is power and many have had fairly limited formal education. Martin has also got two other engineers from the university involved in the hope there will be continued relationship between the university and the farmers and continued support.

It’s funny how everything all seems to happen at once after 5 months of talking, exploring ideas, praying and waiting.  While this wasn’t exactly what we planned to do we are excited as we are not just doing what we wanted but what came out of discussion with people here and what they really want.  Therefore, while these are not huge things we hope they will be significant.  Now we are just waiting and praying that we will be able to get some financial support to be able to see it through. Please join us in prayer.


A week in the life of…..

I am the sort of person who loves having my life in a bit of a routine.  Most people find it boring but I really like waking up knowing in general what will happen that day.  It works for Nina as well who like most children seems to be happier when there is a bit of a routine.  I guess I’m a bit like a child in this way.  So I have a bit of a weekly routine that I like.  Of course things often come up so it doesn’t always look exactly like this and there is some flexibility but in general this is what my week looks like (times general guide):


  • 8.00 – get up, get Nina ready for day care and run to the pool for my swim.
  • 9.30 – breakfast and quiet time
  • 10.30 – clean the house, cook, wash etc.
  • 12.00 – pick up Nina from day care, play for a bit have lunch.
  • 1.30 – put Nina to bed, have a cup of tea or plan classes or check out the internet or even have a siesta if nothing else to do
  • 3.00 – Nina wakes up, play some more and then go to the park or plaza or for a walk in the hills.
  • 6.00 – Nina has dinner, bath etc
  • 7.30 – Nina goes to bed and we chill out with dinner and some TV or hang out on the roof or visit some friends.
  • 10.30 – bed


  • 6.00 – get up with Nina, play and breakfast etc.
  • 8.30 – drop Nina at daycare and go to the shcool to teach
  • 12.00 – pick up Nina and come home
  • 12.00 – 10.30 – same as Monday


  • 8.00 – get up get Nina ready for day care
  • same as Monday


  • 6.00 – get up with Nina, play and breakfast etc.
  • same as Monday
  • 7.30 – Quaker silence with Martin


  • 8.00 – get up, get Nina ready for day care and run to the pool for my swim.
  • 9.30 – breakfast and quiet time
  • 10.30 – cook, wash or plan classes or get on the internet or do some doula stuff.
  • 11.45 – go to the school to teach
  • 1.15 – come home, have lunch and put Nina to bed
  • same as Monday


  • 6.00 – get up with Nina, play etc.
  • 8.00 – have family breakfast and take Nina to the pool and the market
  • 11.00 – get home, cook have lunch
  • Afternoon free for visiting etc, sometimes if Lida is around we might even go out in the evening


Sabbath – day of rest, no cooking, cleaning (light tidying allowed), washing, shopping, drinking.  If we can we try to go exploring the areas around Chulucanas or visit Piura and have lunch out with family or friend or just ourselves.

Talking Nina and other developments.

I was reading the other day that at 18 months toddlers can usually understand and/or speak about 50 words.  But by 2 years that number increases to about 300 which I think is amazing.  We were told that language development for bi-lingual children was slower but I think Nina understands at least 50 words and can say about half probably more.  At this stage everyday she seems to learn a new word everyday.  It is so exciting.

Last week we had our first real conversation.  It went something like this.  She had just woken up and was a bit cross so I was suggesting things she might like.

Me: “Nina do you want water?”                                                                                     Nina: No                                                                                                                          Me: Do you want to go to the plaza?                                                                             Nina: No                                                                                                                          Me: Do you want to listen to your songs?                                                                          Nina: yes

On the way to find the computer to listen to the songs.  She asked, “Donde esta” (where is it) and I said “alli esta” (there is it is) and pointed to the table.

She began to make her way to the table and passed the fridge where she pointed and said, “uvitas” (grapes which are currently her favourite food).  I said “yes go get your plate” which she did.

This is probably a fairly boring conversation and if I had have had it with Martin I wouldn’t be so excited but to be having your first conversation with you child is very special time.

She is now going to daycare for 3.5 hours per day so I can work as well as have a bit of free time.  The first week or two was pretty heavy going, she cried a lot and I cried maybe even more but she’s settled in well now.  When we get there she says, “chau mama” and heads off with the worker happily enough.  And picking her up is always lovely.  I try to sneak in and watch her play with others for a little while but then when she sees me she says “mama” and comes running over to me.  It makes one feel very loved and appreciated.

She is still happiest outside.  She loves walking in the hills with us or going to the park.  She is amazing at climbing slippery dips.  Nobody believes me when I tell them she’s only 19 months.  She also likes saying “hola” to everyone we pass by.  And of course they all love that too.  She still gets heaps of attention.

We have begun toilet training.  It seems like a good time as it’s still really hot and she likes been naked anyway so I thought I’d take advantage before it got cooler.  Not to mention she was always pointing to the potty and saying wee wee and poo poo so seems to know what she has to do but most of the time we miss.  It’s a messy time.  The two times we have made it were very exciting.  Never thought I’d be cheering so much about poo.

She is sleeping really well.  She was sick a few weeks back with a cold and started having naps for over and hour which have stayed.  I cannot tell you how nice that is.  Although I am trying not to get too used to it as then I’ll get frustrated when she reverts back to her much shorter ones.

She is eating like a horse which I am also grateful for as well.  Although she never sits still to eat so I have to follow her around the house and up and down stairs etc.  I think I should probably train her to eat in her seat but it becomes such a drama and then she doesn’t finish that it’s easier this way.

So that’s my girl.  She is as gorgeous as ever and we just love her to bits.



I seem to have come down with something nasty again. Second time in less than a month. Nausea, vomiting and everything aches all over.  I imagine I just ate something but I have to confess getting very sick in foreign country always does make one worry a little bit.  However, last time it was over within 24 hours so I am hoping it’ll be the same this time around.

More anniversaries

Yesterday Martin and I celebrated 9 years since we met and fell in love. Well maybe it wasn’t love that night but it was certainly the beginning of love, very strong like at least. It was wonderful been here in Chulu where it all began. We climbed the hills that we climbed that first weekend and looked over the town. It would have to be one of my favourite places. In the evening we ate pizza on the roof and remembered the good times as well as the more challenging times, which we have learned from too.

Less significantly, but cool none the less is that this blog is now 8 years old.  Happy Birthday “She’s a Mil”.


Big Week

It’s been a pretty big week for me.

Firstly, Martin and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on the 2nd.  We usually do something for our anniversary but this year we didn’t I guess having a baby makes it a lot harder to go away or even go out.  I am proud of us though. Over the last seven years we we have shared so much, grown so much, laughed so much, been to amazing places, fought a bit too but have always forgiven each other, danced, ate, prayed and hoped together for so much.  I love Martin more now than ever.  He truly is a gentle, gorgeous and loving husband and now the most amazing father to our beautiful baby girl.  I could not parent her without him.

The night of our anniversary I experienced my first “tremor.  It was pretty weird really and a bit scary although by the time I realised what was happening it was pretty much over .  At first I thought it was just a big truck driving by but then it got  stronger.  It was probably quick but it felt long to me.  Nothing happened in the end but everyone has been talking about it.

I also started a job teaching English at a local primary school.  It has been very hard work.  I am very grateful for a long weekend.  Kids are full on.  But I think I will enjoy it once I settle in and get used to it.  Not to mention it’s just a really nice way to be in the community a bit more.  I keep bumping into kids around town and I like that.  Nina is going to the daycare at the school.  She always cries when we leave her and I find that really hard but by the time I get back three hours later she seems to be having a fun time and already it seems to be helping her separate from Martin and I a bit more.  She’s much happier to go to others now than she’s been since we got here.

In regards to our other projects we are still waiting.  The hospital is now telling me they are concerned if they give me access everyone will want it.  I think I may have put them off side by questioning a few things eg routine episiotomies and why a baby needs to be weighed before it’s first feed etc.  Martin as well is still waiting for a meeting with the municipality re: his compost project but again despite a number of phone calls they keep putting him off. Not sure what the issue is but to be honest they are corrupt as hell and totally inept at the municipality. They really seem to not want to move forward.  I feel a bit sad about it.  Everyone keeps telling us how great these projects are and how good they’d be for Chulucanas but the powers that be don’t seem to want anything to change.  I keep praying but I don’t really know what else to do.  Both of us feel a little bit like we can’t call anymore.  It’s just a bit humiliating now.  Maybe that’s a cop out but they know we are here, keen and able and they have our numbers….

Thankfully, we are still enjoying been here and hanging out with family in our community and these are the things that are really important things I suppose.


Good Friday

I always want this day to feel very significant because it is a very significant thing that we remember today but I never seem to be able to find a way to honour it in a way that really feels like it does it any justice.  I guess that’s impossible.  Today, I thought about the crucifixion a lot.  I read the story, as I do most years and I lit a candle that has been burning all day as a constant reminder of the passion of Jesus which helped a little but I confess my heart hasn’t being totally there.  I even went walking with the parade that makes its way through Chulucanas each year.  It felt like a really interesting cultural experience and I was happy to be in that momemt with those people but my soul did feel at all connected to the images of Christ presented there.

I guess it is the expectation thing, the pressure of feeling like you have to be spiritual, of feeling like you should be moved makes it a lot harder to be. It’s not that I am unmoved but I am not overwhelmingly so.  There are lots of other days throughout the the year, so called “ordinary” days in which my heart and soul are deeply, deeply moved by the crucifixion story.  Days I feel very connected to it and overwhelmed by the love of God shown on that day.  I wish it was every day, especially Good Friday, but the truth is it’s not.  I suppose that’s okay.  One of the lessons of the cross is that God knows we are not perfect but he loves us unconditionally anyway.  That His grace is far bigger than any of our sins, including this one.

I could really relate to this quote that I read from Richard Rohr today though.  It made my heart flutter at least.  “Jesus’ final words are, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” There in one line is the meaning of Jesus’ spirituality: he trusted in the Father and was not put to shame.  He trusted in the Father’s faithful love.  Against all evidence to the contrary he believed God was faithful.”