July 30, 2009

Toilets in the Desert

It was odd the first time we discovered a toilet in the middle of the desert. Strangely, it has become a rather common find. These are the remnants of the squatter communities left behind, as people moved on into more respectable housing, with help from the Chilean government. For us, this scene speaks to our hearts of a disharmony between a man-made and natural world, of the consequences of a "developing" nation and most importantly, our relationship as humans with our Creator.

July 15, 2009

La Tirana

It's Tirana time in northern Chile... and oh, what a time it is. "La Tirana" is actually the name of a local village where a large religious festival takes place each year in celebration of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The big draw is that tons (as in hundreds) of dance groups come into this tiny little town, complete with ornate costumes, and dance in honor of the Virgin for ten days (NON-stop). It's controversial, even among Catholics, due to the non-Christian beginnings of the festival, its commercialization and the confusion between honoring and worshiping saints. Both sides have some really valid points, but we personally lean more towards loving it. It's a lot of fun, the dancing and the colors are enlivening and peoples' faith in God seems to grow and flourish throughout the festivities. Some images from last year:

Sadly, the festival was officially cancelled this year due to the swine flu, but a much smaller version is taking place throughout Iquique and Alto Hospicio. Our parish has the privilege of hosting all of Alto Hospicio in the mini-festivities. So, we'll get up pictures and commentaries later on this week.

July 11, 2009

Please Help

While looking for information on adoption on the internet just a year and a half ago, we came across a woman here in Chile with a special family. She and her husband are missionaries from the US who adopted their three kids. We emailed them asking for advice and were very encouraged by their response, which basically told us the chances were very good that we would be able to adopt here in Iquique. Their email gave us the push we needed to start the process that ended in bringing home Joshua. Now, her sister needs help raising money in order to adopt a child from Taiwan. You can help by clicking here, where you can order a cookbook to help them raise money, or make a donation to their cause. They are just $2000 away! Please be generous and help them bring a child home to a loving family.

July 5, 2009

Gone But Not Forgotten

We had a couple of special visitors last month that didn't get mentioned much on the blog. We were too busy running around having fun. Joshua's Aunt Joanna and his cousin Brittany came to meet him. Some highlights:

We quickly took advantage and put them to work.

Guess who got Batman pajamas for his birthday?

... AND bunny slippers!

We had some fresh squeezed mango and guayaba juice with our friend Sponge Bob.

David discovered that, yes, the rocks are made of salt.

Joshua drove a train.

We made the mandatory trek up the hill behind our house.

We visited the Pacific Ocean.

Joanna showed us how to take nice pictures.

And Joshua wooed some girls while swimming down at the hot springs in Pica.

Good times were had by all.