Update from Santa Cruz

Well, just wanted to let everyone know that we are safe and sound in Santa Cruz. We arrived Thursday morning, and it is hot and humid here (it just rained tonight). We are staying at El Jordan, the same place where we were married in 2003.

As I mentioned in a previous entry, Yoli really wanted to keep our visit to Santa Cruz a surprise. Her family knew we were coming someday, but had no idea when. They didn’t know we were in the country. We decided to visit her parents’ house first. We took a bus, but the spot where it dropped us off was in front of her sister Noemi’s home. So we were spotted, but still we surprised her.

Then we walked to Yoli’s parents’ house and surprised another sister, Sara. But Don Hector wasn’t home, so we had to wait for him. Unfortunately, Sara spoiled the surprise by calling Don Hector on his cell phone and telling him we were at his house and were leaving. That tale, of course, wasn’t true. Sara said that in hopes of making him return faster.

But he was riding his bicycle in an area close to where a blockade was taking place. Because of the blockade, he had to ride through some tear gas. He arrived looking tired and sweaty, and was surprised to know that we weren’t leaving soon. Still, we had a nice visit.

We’ve stayed busy visiting Yoli’s other siblings, who are now scattered around town. During my previous visits, they all mostly lived near one another and we had frequent big gatherings. Since then, several have moved farther away, so now it takes a bit of traveling to see everyone.

Yoli was very excited to see her nephew Papicho and nieces Jesy and Leya today. Papicho was a bit reluctant to spend time with us at first, until he got to the house of his grandpa. Then he became a Tasmanian Devil, whirling around the house and the yard expending energy furiously. He was a lot of fun and playful… but definitely a handful.

Besides visiting family, we have also visited many friends. We could only see Corina Clements, the missionary who runs El Jordán, for a few days because she left on a trip. We will get to see her again, though, a few days before we leave. We are helping her with some computer and library-related work at El Jordán. We have had mixed success: we fixed some problems, while a couple still have us confounded. … Oh yeah, and I accidentally fried an old PC because of my confusion and ignorance about 110-volt verses 220-volt electrical outlets. I felt really stupid about that. But our successes have made up for it…

We also ran by Hebron Seminary the other day to get some discs we needed. While we were there, we ended up attending a birthday party for Reyna, the secretary at the recording studio there. That was a lot of fun, and we got to see other friends there. On our way out we were stopped by several different groups of people who were excited to see us… well, they were mostly excited to see Yoli, but they saw her because of me (gringos really stand out). Leaving the Seminary took us about 20 minutes. 🙂

We’ve got a busy day planned for tomorrow, but there will be a bus strike. We’re not sure how that will affect us. We have to keep watching the news to make sure we avoid trouble and stay ahead of the commotion.