I just wanted to share this picture. I picked up some ingredients for fresh salsa from the organic produce store, up the street about 3 blocks. 87 cents for everything, of course I’m adding jalepeno too! Chet is still not tiptop but he’s going to the doc today and he took a Zantac and that made him feel better. The salsa will make me feel better. Stop by…and don’t forget the chips!!

all fresh organic produce here!
all fresh organic produce here!



Field service…finally!!

Today was the first day I finally had the strength to go out, that cold virus really knocked us out. Unfortunately, Chet is still battling! He has some nausea, etc. There is a brother here who is a doctor/chiropractor and he prescribed something for Chet that he was able to go right to the corner pharmacy and get, no need for a prescription like we have in the States, it was all done over the phone. He also told him no eggs, fats, dairy, etc. mostly eat fruits and veggies. I just read that to boost your immune system you should eat like Peter Rabbit! I think that’s good advice no matter where you live, huh?  Basically, Chet has spent the past two days sleeping…I feel so bad for him.

I went to the market to buy some peaches and oranges, his favorite, and a pineapple too as it is good for the digestion. I also got 3 pint-sized bananas for my breakfast tomorrow, so cute!  I forget what they are called, hmmmm midget bananas??? anyway, I spent $2.30 for all that. How am I ever going to come back to the States and shop again at Walmart or Publix? Ugh!

So the walk today to the group for service was 25 minutes, a brisk walk at that so no need for me to stress about my workouts in the morning! The group here is at 8:30 a.m and we talk to people along the way. Well, the others talk and I stumble through my pidgin Spanish offering one of the tracts. The brother that did the group is elderly and I was able to understand that he felt very badly, “Muy mal”,  he has low blood pressure and yet he did all that walking and stayed out as long as the rest of us. So encouraging!

Our walk to the group, the guys lead the way, Jennifer and Renate directly in front of me.

Jennifer and Renate walking to service group

One of the many art musuems in Cuenca, on our way to the group we pass through the old downtown.

almost at the service group in old downtown Cuenca

My beautiful and patient service partner…

my beautiful and patient service partner Deanna

Something used to knock on the metal and wood garage doors that secure most of the houses and apartments here. Or you can use your key ring!

something to knock on the metal gates that front most of the houses

So great to be in the ministry!

1st day of service in Cuenca with Deanna (sp?)

After service Garrett shopping at a local panaderia (bakery) there are so many good ones here, you can smell the deliciousness wafting through the air as you go from door to door. Too tempting!

Garrett shopping at the bakery after service

That’s all for now. Feel free to ask a question about life in Cuenca, after a week I don’t have any of the answers but I will try and find out. Hasta Luego…

News and views

In the house today pretty much, we both have bad colds. I haven’t had a cold in 6 years, so I’m guessing it’s acclimating to the new surroundings and the resulting germs. It is NOT HOT here. People think Ecuador and assume it’s hot all over the country. Not true, we have been chilly as it is springlike weather that is chilly in the morning, warms up some in the afternoon and then chilly again at night. Not flip flop weather by any means.

So the real news is we are going to be part of the Paraiso Spanish Congregation (Paradise, yeah isn’t that cool) because there is an especial need here and the hall is 2 minutes on foot from where we are staying now. We have an apartment, yay! One of the elders and his wife have to go back to Australia to care for her parents and we are getting their beautiful 3 br, 2.5 bath apartment…for guess how much? No, way too high! $320 per month!  So, we have room if you want to visit!  Plus we bought a lot of their furniture so no worries on that score. The best part is it’s 2 blocks from the gorgeous Paraiso park with one of the 4 rivers that flow through Cuenca running in it. Also, with a running/walking trail around the river. They also build exercise equipment in the parks here which is neat.

Here’s  a couple of views from our apartment windows where we are now…




Taking a walk towards downtown a Quechua woman selling guinea pigs and live chickens, and yes they eat the guinea pigs, it’s a delicacy called Cuy (coo-ee). They were in the bag near her feet squealing and rustling around.

indigenista selling cuy and chickens


Fresh coconut juice, so much better than the stuff I buy at Walmart! .50 cents! fresh coconut juice


some city views….we took a double decker bus so sorry about the body less heads!


city views


city views


city views from top of Turi


Pioneer sisters from Toronto, Canada I met quite by accident while shopping, they showed me where the deals are at the indigenous market, from left, me, Allie, Susanna, Gabby and Susanna’s mom, Gladys.

me, allie, susanna, gabby & susann's mom gladys



Hasta Luego…until next time

Chet and I, Turi Ecuador





Cherimoyas and woolly strawberries


So I have about 5 minutes to post this as we are off to take a bus to the meeting with the Bonebreak family. Our Public Talk and Watchtower Study is at 3pm on Saturday. For now. more on that later. Anyway, this is what I had for lunch. Cherimoya I had been told is a cross between a pineapple, banana, coconut, strawberries and mangoes! Also called “custard apple” or “ice cream fruit”. It’s flavor is supposedly intoxicating.

What’s my verdict? Ahhhhhhhhh, delicious! You eat it with a spoon, except for the seeds. And yes, it does taste also a little like bubblegum!! I bought 2 this morning, one at the market for 1.50 (yes they are expensive compared to most other fruits sold here) and one for $1 from an indigenista selling them from a cart right outside our door. you can haggle and I am learning the ropes pretty quickly. Picture of a Quechua woman below.
achotillo fruit
That woolly strawberry is a achotillo fruit (Ah-cho-tee-yo). It has a sweet grape like fruit on the inside that is high in Vitamin C. The Bonebreak boys made me try it when I went over their family’s apartment (upstairs) for pizza the other night, I am glad I did it too was very good. Chet was battling his cold but he is getting better each day. His appetite has waned and we did find that since our digestion is slower here with the altitude we are eating less. That’s ok, I will take a Cherimoya any day for Lunch!

quechua woman

You get what you pay for…

Van to Guayaquil, if you like fast and furious and hairpin curves go for it!
Van to Cuenca, if you like fast and furious and hairpin curves go for it!

We thought we were getting a private van to take us to Cuenca, 3 hours away for $12 per person. I had a feeling that was too good to be true but anyway..that was our first mistake. So yesterday afternoon at 2pm there was only Chet and I. We missed the 2pm van. At 3pm there were 6 of us plus the driver in a small van plus lots of luggage, mostly ours. Ok, here we go loaded up with snacks and water. That was my second mistake! The water. I had heard that water helps with altitude sickness, you know the whole staying hydrated thing. Well anyway, jouncing and swerving along for 3 hours with only one stop does nothing for making a pleasurable trip.

I sat in the middle seat in the middle row. That was my third mistake. See, the air conditioning was not working properly and only kept the driver and his friend up front cool. I’m guessing anyway. I guess because they had their windows down too. Anyway I was sitting on some kind of hot motor or something and so was the girl behind me so it was needless to say very steamy. Get the picture? Full bladder, steamy seat….

Then it started to rain, so up go the windows! I started to pray, then mercifully I fell asleep. When I awoke the countryside was beautiful and lush, we had left Guayaquil far behind. We saw so much beauty…mile after mile of banana groves…and so much poverty…little kids going in and out of houses that you would have sworn no one lived in.

We climbed to about 13,000 feet before dropping down to Cuenca, an elevation of 8,000 plus. Chet started to sneeze (the beginnings of his cold) as the weather became markedly cooler and the rain got heavier, and the hairpin curves got worse and the only stop we made was long behind us and my bladder was…ok enough of that! The van made it’s way up and through Cajas National Park and around those hairpin curves at top speed, passing on double lines, screeching to a halt when it met another oncoming car and then full speed ahead at the first clear inch. Yes, I meant to say inch!

Guess what? We arrived safely, all thanks to Jehovah! Needless to say we will be looking for an alternative to get back to Guayaquil for departure in 3 weeks. A taxi took us to our beautiful apartment that looks out onto part of the city, a school and the mountains in the distance. We are renting from Sister Maria Andrade, a pioneer sister who rents these apartments short term. Upstairs there is a family of 4, including two teenage sons, spying out the land from Chicago and a missionary couple also from Chicago, Eric and Jennifer Poole, who have been in Ecuador for 20 years.

We took a taxi to El Centro, lovely old historic downtown, to get a bite to eat and Chet spotted a vegetarian restaurant first thing. Fresh squeezed fruit juice, watch him he makes it to order, with your meal. Our dinner was $6. Smile. When we came out of the restaurant it was dark, about 8pm and a Zumba class was in full swing at the park across the street. They call it dance therapy here and it cost about fifty cents. No need to ask, I will be taking a class very soon!

This morning Jennifer pointed me to the beautiful produce market two blocks from the house, she is vegan like I am so she showed me the part of the market that has all organic veggies and fruit, and super cheap! Check it out…the first picture is some of what we brought home. Who can say Muy Bueno?


Guayaquil Branch

We had an outstanding morning visiting the branch and then lunch with the family. They number 140 plus 30 commuters. They served a light Sangria at lunch, delicioso! And homemade chocolate ice cream, Que Bueno! You can click on each picture to see it larger and get more info. Our tour guide, Daina, was wonderful, she has been at the branch as a single sister for 8 years, she looks so young I thought she was only 20 or so! Anyway, her two sisters, one older, one younger are also there with their husbands. Their parents are to be commended for getting 3 of their 3 children all serving at Bethel, huh?!! We decided after lunch to cut our stay short in Guayaquil, we were anxious to get to Cuenca….Adios Guayaquil with it’s frantic pace. Hasta Luego Sister Mena (pictured top right with the branch receptionist)….such a sweet little sister! But watch her in traffic…haha

It’s pronounced Why-Uh-Keel

So we step out of the airport terminal at Guayaquil. Hmmmm, where is the sister we are staying with, oh there she is, holding up “Despertad” in Spanish. We are relieved to see her smiling face, after 12 hours of travel we are frazzled. We did get two meals on the plane, and Chet said to add he got FREE whiskey.Yeah, Copa Airlines doesn’t charge for alcohol, at least not to Guayaquil, maybe they know you’re gonna need it!

Anyway, Sister Mena is a tiny, unassuming older sister who looks so sweet…until she gets behind the wheel of what will soon be our tour bus! The heat hits us like a blast from a wet, sticky furnace. Yeah, Alabama is hot, and yeah it’s humid but this, this heat is no joke…and neither is the traffic! It is a teeming madhouse as is the city. A pulsing, vibrating madhouse of 3 million people. I didn’t take this picture but it gives you some idea of the size of this sprawling metropolis.

Guayaquil, 3 million and counting
Guayaquil, 3 million and counting


The little sister held her own in the crazy traffic. She also paid no attention to the kids who take center stage under the traffic lights during the “moment” it is red to perform their feats of acrobatics! Another young boy of no more than 10 steps out into traffic just as it screeches to a halt and performs his lime juggling act for 30 seconds. All these kids then go from car to car with a hand out…until the light turns red and we are off. Their little faces are not innocent, they are businesslike and tough.

When we wrote the branch and confirmed we were coming they wrote back and let us know that although they didn’t have room for us to stay there they did have some suggestions on places to stay.You have to let them know about a month in advance if you want to stay, ah well.  Their suggestions include hotels, high and low end and a couple of bed and breakfasts run by the friends. We chose the latter. Chet made arrangements for this bed and breakfast through Sister Mena’s daughter Ivanna who speaks English and is part of the English congregation here in Guayaquil. For $24 per night we get a beautiful, clean little studio apartment separate from the main house including breakfast. Airport pickup was $6. They also will take us to the branch and additional tours are $15 per hour. Ivanna told us they need help in the English congregation here, they only have 30 publishers. Most of the friends head to Cuenca or elsewhere due to the heat in this city. Imagine that! Lol.

Our phones are more of an issue than I thought they would be. I brought with me what I assumed was an unlocked cell phone. I was told all I would need was a GSM chip that costs $5. Well, my phone is not unlocked, we found this out after getting a ride from Bro. Reese to the local mall. Soooooo, we have to find a place tomorrow to get it unlocked and then yes, I can purchase a chip for only $5 and my calls to the States should only be like .25 per minute. Anyway, it wasn’t a wasted trip because Chet had a very cheap “pescado, arroz y frijoles” dinner at the food court and got his watch band fixed that broke while we were boarding the plane. All in all an eventful day. Last but not least I am amazed at the number of people who think I speak Spanish! Chet says it’s because I look like I speak Spanish, whatever that means. Anyway, when I stumble and bumble over what I am trying to say with equally ridiculous charades they look at me like..”REALLY??? c’mon we know you can do better than that!” One day perhaps I will be able to, in the meantime…Como se dice…”It’s time for BED/!”