Jan 16, 2003 66deg F
We arrived around 4am as an ocean
of city lights flowed around the base of the mountains and hills of Santiago
like an incoming tide. The stop off in Panama was 88 degrees and so humid
it was difficult to breathe the jungle air intermingled with the ocean
Paul Obermyer, a local missionary picked us up around 430am from the
airport in Santiago surrounded by inky darkness. A mangy dog, ribs showing
like some starved jackel or dingo dog belying his true youthful age.
He follows us , tail wagging as a puppy after his master . . . seeking food to
live. He frollics and circles us as I give him part of my chicken sandwich
. . . delaying his famished death by a few more days. Paul says the city
is full of starving dogs and impoverished people.
We drive to his home
several miles outside of Santiago - - everything is gated and locked behind
spiked iron bars. His home is in disrepair and a bit cluttered . . .
two bedrooms with the doors chipped and widows missing. The small bathroom
is modest and has no running hot water when I try to wash. Paul says the
small water line is shared between many homes and you have to find the right
time if you want enough water pressure to shower.
Breakfast, after a
short but deeply restful sleep in the heat of the bedroom, was bread, butter,
some kind of sweet spread from Argentina, and coffee. After
breakfast we step outside to begin digging the foundation for a missionary
building for homeless children. Humberto and his wife Carmen live with
their two children in a one room home with the toilet and washroom in a separate
building from the house. The heat has begun in earnest now at 33 deg
Celcius. We are saved by the lack of humidity as we dig the foundation
deeper and deeper. Later on we take a walk to the open market where they are
selling everything from fresh fish and ox feet to old worn out dress shoes
that someone hopes to get a few more years out of. The prices are good
especially for fish at 2 Kilos for 600 pecos or a dozen ears of giant corn on
the cob for around 700 pesos, which is roughly equivalent to $1.00
When we arrive back home, we take a short Sesta after a
traditional lunch of baked chicken, potatoes with tomatoes and lettuce.
Dad and I sleep soundly. I head out for Santiago to explore later on and met up
with some very interesting peole. No one speaks English but a New Zealander who
has a place to stay in Patagonia and offers to trek with me in the region.
I head back out of the city later on as I watch the moon rise full and slow over
the snow capped Andes which set the background for the city of