The Georges in Peru

Cheap Medical Care in Peru

01 Oct 2013

As the US government shuts down for lack of foresight (couldn't see that coming, could you?) , the Peru economy continues to get stronger.  Paying for one's health care is very much within reach of most average people, and not because medical missionaries are providing all of the care!  Today, yours truly needed some lab work done.  At my favorite lab the desk clerk asked, "Have you had lab work done here before?"  "I don't think so.  I've sent a lot of patients here, however."  She looked at my doctor's order and said, "You're Dr. George!  We get lots of your patients!  Some of them don't speak any Spanish and I have to use what little English I know to communicate."  "Sorry about that," I say, averting my eyes, "I really like your lab and how you send me the results by email.  Very handy."  She put all the lab orders into the computer and told me, "Please take a seat and the tech will call you."  "Do I need to pay first?"  "No.  It's on the house in appreciation for all of the patients you send us!"  "Wow.  Thanks!"  my first kick-back! I think to myself.  

Later today, Mia needed her foot Xrayed.  I doubted she had anything, but after 10 days of a sore 5th metatarsal base, I was starting to worry about a Jones Fracture or stress fracture.  We got the normal Xray in about 10 minutes after walking into the room.  How much?  $7.  Mia didn't believe me when I told her how much it would cost in the US.

My lab was all fine btw.

The most Dangerous Thing you do as a Missionary is...

19 Aug 2013

...get in a car.  These are the words I spoke to the missions class Friday morning in Lima.  The next day I had a free afternoon, and a gap in the floor of the mission guest house was bugging me.  The stairway landing was made of two big pieces of wood, that were not properly dried before they were installed.  They shrunk, leaving a 12-mm gap to collect dirt.  I didn't want to see any of our missionaries get her high-heels stuck in it (not that I can remember any our our missionaries wearing high-heels) and break a leg and call me in the middle of the night.  So I took a combi (a small city van) to the carpenter to get a piece of wood. On the way, we were grazed by another combi in heavy traffic. They both stopped and appeared to calmly assess the situation as 'no blood, no foul' and we continued on.  No harsh words.  No raised voices.  It became evident that our driver wasn't so content and he raced in front of the other and put on his brakes.  The other driver pulled around us and both drivers took off, racing down the street until the other driver decided to try to drive us off of the road. Distracted, our driver didn't notice the bus ahead of his and didn't quite come to a stop before hitting it.  I'm out of here.  The other passengers demanded their fares (30¢) reimbursed.  I was just thankful to not be hurt. 

Pray for safety for every time we get into a car!

What Doesn't Kill you Makes you Stronger

22 Jul 2013

Today was Day 1 of the Christ Community work team here in Peru.  They are helping build a desperately-needed bath complex with 12 showers, and 8 toilets at our camp about 1 hour outside of Arequipa.  At times we have over 200 people at camp using one bath complex and the lines can be long!  Every year we have bigger and bigger groups wanting to use the camp.  

I am so proud of the team as they are such hard workers.  Each of the guys make me look like a wimp!  I think the Peruvian foreman is amazed at how much they got done on the first day.  (We ran out of some materials)  A huge pile of heavy rocks was converted into the entire foundation of the complex in one day.  The camp directors have warned me they need to slow down or they will get sick, but I've pointed out that several are construction workers, one just got out of the army and they come from Nebraska where they are enjoying 97-degree heat!  I think they'll be just fine, though the hardest part might be the cold showers!

"Rats! They don't have a roof yet!"

16 Jun 2013

Missionary kids say things that you wouldn't hear at Christ Community Church in Omaha.  For example, tonight as we drove up to church, Sarah exclaimed despairingly, "Rats! They don't have a roof on the church yet!"  When you live in a desert you can get away without having a roof.  Since it was Father's Day, the pastor had all of the wives stand up and say why they were thankful for their husbands and give them a present (I haven't seen CCC do that either!  What's with that?).  And then kiss them.  Scandalous!  

Though, by far the funniest missionary kid line was from Ben when he was probably 6 or 7 watching a cartoon in which the city health inspector was coming to inspect the local bar and the bartender and patrons hurriedly cleaned up the place and one patron hid a rat in his mouth.  Ben laughed, "Look!  He's eating a rat that's not even cooked!"

Wednesday, Thursday, Windday

08 Jun 2013

"Hey kids!  Come look!"  I yelled from our roof to the kids as I watched a wall of dust creep across the upper parts of Arequipa.  It swept across the city and made lots of noise rattling windows and tin-roofs.  We went to bed early since we and most of the city were without electricity from torn power lines and toppled trees.  It was hard to sleep with all of the rattling and howling wind until it subsided around 1:30 am.  

We used to dream and probably even prayed for 'snow days' when I was a kid in rural Nebraska.  But this was a first:  No school on Friday because of Thursday's wind!  Arequipa doesn't get much wind, so when they do, they aren't very prepared for it.  30-40 mph winds knocked down billboards, trees and tore off lots of tin roofs.  To give people a chance to repair their homes, the ministry of education declared a day off of school!

Africa Conference

29 May 2013


In April I received an invitation to speak at the Lima Christian Missionary Alliance churches' missions week.  "We want you to speak on resistance to the Gospel in Africa."  "Despite having been in Africa twice, I don't really know much on this subject," I replied in a Mosiac "Why me?" fashion.  "But you know lots of missionaries in Africa that you can ask and present what they say!"  Gathering the information has been enlightening and a lot of work, and I just finished my powerpoint presentations today.  It's interesting how much of what I've read applies to Peru as well.   I go to Lima tomorrow and give my presentations on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Despite giving up a lucrative career in the USA so that I wouldn't have to wear a suit, I had to break down and buy one for this event.  I think it is the third one I've bought so far in my life.  Sarah pointed out that I've bought as many suits as I've run marathons.  I had one tailor-made here in Arequipa for about $80.  I'll have to keep running or it won't fit me soon!  Maybe one shouldn't get fit for a suit right after running a marathon?

Please pray that I can encourage Peruvians to heed God's call to be missionaries, if He is calling them to serve Him in Africa.

Allen & Amy

Lima Marathon

19 May 2013

I've resigned myself to the fact that I am not 18 years old anymore.  I ran the Lima Marathon and hoped to finish around 3 hours and 45 minutes, but instead it took me almost 4 hours and 15 minutes.  I was 30 minutes faster than last year, mostly due to not being injured with Ilio-tibial-band syndrome.   The piranha bites would be a nice excuse for being slow, but they didn't really hurt until after the race.  The first 35 kilometers went pretty well (see smiling missionary below), but then I hit the infamous 'wall' and my pace suddenly dropped way down. 

While Amy and I were in Lima, the kids stayed with 4 different families from 4 different cultures.  1 Peruvian, 1 German, 1 American and 1 Californian.  To show our gratitude for watching the kids, we bought them donuts at the airport. It looked a bit self-contradictory wearing my marathon shirt carrying a bag with 3 dozen donuts in it getting on the airplane this afternoon.

The finishers' medals had a nice touch to them.  They had engraved on each one, "Boston, Corriendo por la Paz"  which means "Boston, Running for Peace".   I think I'm done running marathons until Deadwood 2015, when we are on home assignment.

Out of the House, into the Food Chain

14 May 2013

On Cyber Monday last November, the local airline had a special for round-trip tickets for $65! Where should we go for 'Fall Break' from school? "The jungle!" has been the answer from the kids since a medical trip to the jungle we made as a family in 2008. Several missionary friends, most notably the Wiests and Welshes (fellow Nebraskans) live in Pucallpa, so we decided to go there. Pucallpa isn't a typical vacation destination ("I've never heard of anyone coming here for vacation," stated the missionaries whose home we stayed in.) But for a week's vacation, we found plenty to do, boat rides to parks, the zoo, etc. Amy and I even celebrated our 20th anniversary on Wednesday. Friday, we went to Cashibo, the missionary airbase where the planes can take off from either land or water to take missionaries out to the tribal villages. It was the birthday of one of the MK's so most of the kids from the mission high school were there. One of the missionaries has a small outboard so we were waterskiing and tubing. While waiting in the water for the boat to turn around I suddenly felt a 'pinch'! 'Ow!' I said. "Probably a piranha!" yelled back the driver. Then suddenly, I got more than a pinch! 'Ow!!' This time the piranha got a chunk off of my foot! I was done. I didn't really needto waterski that badly! If it weren't for the fact I'm running the Lima marathon next week, it wouldn't be a big deal. Hopefully, it will heal up by then. All the kids got out of the lake, but the water was too inviting, and soon they were back in again, rationalizing that they've swum there for years without being skeletonized like a wading bovine. Despite there being 20 kids there, Sarah was the next to get bitten (Georges are either especially tasty or easy to see because of our light complexion in murky water), and another MK also got a piece taken out of his foot, but that didn't keep the rest out.

Careful where you swim,

Allen & Amy


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