Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Is this Really Georgia??

I did the research. I looked at all the factors you would normally look at when contemplating a move to a different region of the country (in our case, a different country). I looked at taxes, cost-of-living, population, entertainment opportunities, geography, crime rate, ease of access to hospitals, airports and other major cities, and climate. All of the information we gathered kept pointing to the Chattanooga area. Climate was a biggie for us. Having lived in the heat of Northern Peru for the last ten years, we did not want to return to Wisconsin or any other cold weather state.

Using Google Map I ‘walked’ the streets in December. People were walking downtown in light jackets. Others were in shorts and t-shirts. Weather averages for January in Chattanooga are 49 high and 24 low. I’m thinking that’s perfect…we’ve got it made.

Do you know what the temperature is forecasted to be tonight? Nine. That’s right…nine. All day the radio has been announcing school and business closings for tomorrow. That’s not what we signed up for. Granted, in Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc. where we don’t start paying attention until it gets to -20 or so, nine would be nothing. But we didn’t anticipate having to buy snow parkas, wool hats and gloves. Georgia doesn’t show that in their tourist promotional advertising. They show southern belles in peach colored dresses strolling on a promenade.

City planners…in fact the entire metro area was not designed with temperatures of nine in mind. Earlier this month we had another cold front move through. A water main froze and broke in downtown Chattanooga. Television broadcasters kept advising people to let their faucets run slightly to prevent freezing. I didn’t pay attention to that, regarding it as being overly cautious. As I recall it was only going to get down to 16. The plumber bill was $95.00. Houses are not insulated to deal with a temperature of nine. And based on my experience neither are many of the small businesses. Oh well, I’ll probably be complaining when it’s in the upper 90s as I did last July.

And speaking of complaining, as long as I’m on a rant, let me comment about driving. The salesman who sold us our car said, “Let me caution you. Tennesseans are terrible drivers”. Those were his words, not mine. Was he ever right! In 60 years of driving my rule of thumb has been speed limit +5, unless I’m in a school or construction zone. It has been my observation that the standard practice here is speed limit minus 5 to 15. And there seems to be an obligation to constantly vary the speed. I have seen bumper stickers here that say, “The closer you get the slower I drive”. It is difficult for me to imagine how one could drive slower without stopping. 

I am not talking about an occasional driver. I am flat-out saying that it is the majority. I saw this same thing in New England in states like New Hampshire and Vermont. Maybe the cause is all the hills in those states and here in Tennessee and Georgia. Whatever it is, it sure is annoying. I would love to see some of these folks drive through Chicago during rush hour. They would probably get so rattled they would never drive again.

Okay…no more ranting. Despite the unplanned for cold and puzzling driving, we’re very happy with our choice. The greater Chattanooga area has a lot going for it and is a good place to live.

Promesa Peru 2017 Financial Report

During the year 2017 Promesa Peru took part in nine activities. They were:

Month            Activity                                                                       Expense  

April             Los Bances pronoei                                                     $507.87

May              Carrizo Bajo pronoei                                                     538.14

May              Huaca Quemada pronoei                                              532.48

May              El Carrizo  pronoei                                                         61.12

June              La Carpa Casinelli pronoei                                          393.29

June              Magali training                                                               38.17

June              Huaca de Toro pronoei                                               490.00

July               Paredones San Juan                                                     920.00

November    El Cerezo pronoei                                                         788.65

December    Caspe pronoei*                                                                29.26

                                                           Total expenses                      $4,369.73

* - The Caspe pronoei is in the Monsefu District. There are 60 families living in Caspe, and only 9 students in the pronoei. The money donated by Promesa Peru contributed to the village's chocolatada, and also served to close our books in preparation for discontinuing our activities.


Source                                                                                                Amount

Public donations                                                                             $4005.70

Other donations                                                                                    00.00

                                                           Beginning balance                    364.03

                                                           Total funds available            $4,369.73

                                                           Total expenses                        4,369.73

                                                            Ending balance                      $00.00


It is with a twinge of sadness that we publish this final financial report. Both Maribel and me miss our Promesa Peru activity much more than we anticipated. We wish we could have found a way to keep it operating. Our thanks to everyone who contributed over the years to the success of Promesa Peru.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Mystical Medicines

Sometime around July of this year, shortly after we moved to Rossville from Chiclayo, Peru I damaged my right knee. I can’t associate it with any specific event. It just, one day started hurting. I ignored it for several weeks, until the pain became more frequent and severe. When it became obvious it wasn’t going to improve, I did one of my least favorite things to do; made a doctor appointment. The diagnosis is a partially torn meniscus. The course of treatment is leg exercises, ibuprofen and to stay off of it as much as possible.

During that doctor visit I wondered out loud what the diagnosis and treatment would have been in Chiclayo. I’m positive that one of the medicines would have been a salve or ointment of some sort, either a commercial product or a homemade concoction. Chiclayonos are big on ointments for whatever ails you. I mentioned several other examples of Peruvian health care practices that the doctor had probably not come across in medical school. For chronic pain that is not responding to usual remedies, one might contract with a bruja (male witch) to make a house call. Often as part of the treatment the bruja will place a live cuy (guinea pig) on the affected location, and let it run in the area, which somehow transfers the cause of the pain to the cuy. The bruja usually eats the cuy in imitation of his Incan ancestors, who ate tons of the little buggers. All such treatments are taken seriously by the population. If a treatment doesn’t work it is because something else is interfering.

When the doctor laughed I surprisingly found myself feeling defensive. That’s when I told him about what I call the yellow rock. It’s actually a hard cylinder of sulphur. It is sold as a pain reliever in pharmacies and many corner grocery stores. My first experience with it was during my initial visit to Chiclayo, when I developed a severe headache. I suggested to Maribel that we walk to a pharmacy for aspirin when instead she produced the yellow rock from a kitchen drawer. When she began rubbing the rock on my temple I immediately heard a crackling sound, like paper being crushed. Within minutes the headache was gone.

I am a skeptic. My mantra is, “Show me proof”. My conclusion about the rock and headache was that it was simply coincidence. The second time that exact scenario happened several week later, I again said coincidence, but this time not so loud.

I mentioned earlier that Chiclayonos have a penchant for ointments as a medical treatment. As I think about it, that is no different than the dozens of ointments sold in the ‘health stores’ all over the USA. And to my knowledge 99% of all of their products carry the mandatory disclaimer that essentially says…’this product has not been government evaluated and has not been proven to cure anything or have any healthful affects at all’. So basically they are no more legitimate than the sulphur cylinder of the guinea-pig-on-the-back treatments.

Whenever I get involved in a discussion about health supplements, the ‘believers’ usually end up saying, “Well, there may be no scientific proof, but I know my body and these supplements work”. Given that line of thinking, isn’t it just as valid for a Chiclayono to say that they know their bodies and the guinea pig treatment works? Or for me to say that the sulphur cylinder works?

Okay, back to my knee. This week after examining my knee, the doctor concluded that the conservative treatment approach did not work. In two more weeks I will see an orthopedic surgeon in preparation for arthroscopic surgery. I really don’t like that but it sounds like there is no option. Well…maybe there is. Before I go under the knife I’m going to a pet store to buy a guinea pig. I’ll let it run around on my knee for a while. It can’t hurt, unless it bites me, and whether it works or not, we’ve got dinner.