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.


Mrs.B. said...

Oh Rhonda, thanks so much for posting this....I love to hear about how missionaries live and what their countries are like that they serve in. (o:

Rachel said...

Oh, there may be no Mexican food, but there are my mouth is watering just thinking about THAT! :o)

Anonymous said...

That was absolutely fascinating.

It is interesting what you say about the children. Are they similar to the mediterranean countries of Italy, France and Spain? They just love their kiddies. Children are so welcome. I loved it, a breath of fresh air after staid old England where the children are frowned upon in restaurants, etc.

It's funny what you said about not being able to get Mexican food. But I guess it's just the same as here. There are more Indian and Chinese restaurants than French or Spanish (two of our nearest culinary nations).

When did the volcano last erupt? Do you ever think of it?


Rhonda said...

Our volcano erupted in 1984, not too bad, just a small flow of lava down one side. Very interesting.

We were on alert a few years ago. DH is a volunteer fireman, and the department was on special evacuation alert, but nothing happened. PLT

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