Monday, July 17, 2006
So, what's Chile like?
I am sooooo glad you asked! Most Americans have no clue about Chile. Not to worry, I am an expert, having lived here 23 years.
Chile is as far south of the equator as California is north of the equator. So, take California, invert it, and stretch it out, and you have Chile. Being in the southern hemisphere, our seasons are reversed. As most of you talk of the sweltering heat, we are freezing! The north of Chile has the driest desert in the world, the Atacama. Santiago, the capital, is about in the middle. It has 5 million inhabitants and is a modern city with all the conviences, malls, restaurants, smog. I lived here for 10 years.
The South of Chile is more like northern California with forests and rain. We also have a number of volcanoes. This one here is the Villarica and is the one closest to our home. And yes, it is active!
Two years after the Preacher and I got married, we moved to a small farming community
called Lanco. Most everyone here lives in a very old-fashioned way. I am just about the only lady here who does not cook on a wood-fired cookstove. Almost everyone has a bathroom and almost everyone has electricity. Most women bake their own bread. Everyone here is a catholic by birth, and know very little about their religion. They baptize their babies, and have them do their first communion. They go to church on Palm Sunday, and maybe Easter.
Our work is slow-going. One must understand that they need to be saved before they can be saved, so our first order of business is to get them "lost". Then we can show them salvation through Jesus Christ. This process may take several weeks to several months.
This is a paradoxical society. On the surface, you think its male-dominated, like other latin cultures. Truth is, the women are in charge here, after the kids, of course. Everything here revolves around giving the kids what they want, when they want. Very confusing.
One interesting note. There is no Mexican food here. No spicy food. No tortillas. Most Americans think that all Latin America is a continuation of Mexico. Not so. If I want mexican, I have to make it myself. We do, however, have Chinese food. Go figure!
Please pray for the work here in Lanco.