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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Outdoor Baking the Bolivian Way

We are enjoying making friends with the people in the little shops here and just generally taking part in this little friendly community. We found a wonderful family who owns a butcher shop. Roberto custom cuts the meat we buy from him. He also gives us samples of salami and other cured meats (with crackers). He is the connection for good ribs! Linda also noticed that they sell cake decorating supplies?!? You never know what you’ll find in these little shops! President Polla, the La Consulta branch president, continues to lead our little branch with dedication and hard work. He and his family have been very gracious to us. We are having some success in getting people back to church. Last Sunday Gregorio Quecaño, father of one of the Bolivian families we’ve been working with, came out with his family for the first time in quite a while. But the big surprise was 5 Condo family members showing up….only 15 more to go! Their huge commercial size van can fit all of the family but…….no seats, just sit on the floor! The attendance was up to 33 at Sacrament Meeting! If we can sustain an attendance of 80 for a year, the Church will build us a new chapel!! We are trying and do our part in achieving that goal. There’s a very strange religious custom here that we thought you’d like to hear about. Along the roads in the mountains there are little Catholic shrines set up…usually of the Virgin Mary. Around each shrine are 2 liter soda bottles filled with water. This really puzzled us till we learned that the people who come there leave a bottle of water as a token of their respect. May 25 was Memorial Day in the US, but here they celebrate the Day of the Revolution when Gen. San Martin began the quest of liberating Argentina from the Spanish. We got to practice a lot of Spanish at the Branch all-day activity at a camping/resort place where one of the members is the caretaker. We had the whole place to ourselves. They made a big lunch of steak, bread, salad and a special soup of beans, corn, chicken and (we think) tripe!! (We knew we’d have to eat it sooner or later!) The rest of the day was spent playing futbol (soccer). They asked Fred to be the referee! There was also a foosball table for the less agile folks. Around 6pm came time for the traditional hot chocolate, cookies and pastries which were really good. They don’t eat dinner till 9 or 10 at night, so the 6pm snack tides them over. One of the absolute highlights of the week was our usual Sunday visit to the Quecaño family. We mentioned to Juana once that we were interested in seeing how they make bread in their outdoor oven. So when we pulled up, she immediately got into high gear preparing to make bread. She buys flour in 110 pound (50 kilos) sacks and makes a lot of bread. Nothing was measured. She did it all by heart. The mixing and kneading were all done on her knees in a dishpan on the floor. We got to help roll out some of the dough, but I am afraid we slowed the process down. Her two daughters, Alejandra and Natalia, got the fire going in the oven while the dough was being prepared. It is poetry in motion to watch Juana remove each piece of bread from the oven using a pole with a nail through the end then with a Frisbee action throw the new dough right in place in the empty spaces in the oven.
Ahhhh……nothing like partaking in the fruits of your labor!
They do all their cooking in that big brick outdoor oven that her husband made. They don’t even own a stove! The Quecaños are such a sweet family. They invited us to stay for dinner and spend the night! We had to tell them that we need to keep the mission rules and had to decline the overnighter. Whew!! Today was our weekly District Meeting. There are 4 Elders, 2 Sister and us in the Valle de Uco District. So we took everyone to lunch after the meeting to celebrate that no one got transferred out!
They do transfers every 6 weeks.

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