Putting on the whole armor of God in Pucallpa, Peru includes soaking yourself in mosquito repellant. They hang in swarms. No matter where you are there are mosquitoes. All the little missionary kids seemingly have knotted legs from multiple mosquito bites. One of the mercies from the LORD is I have none. I have been wearing long sleeve shirts the whole week. I’ve had a few bites, but not many.
Lucia chose short sleeved shirts and lots of repellant. I adjusted my thinking by pretending I’m in the world’s largest sauna. When you go into a hot box (sauna) you expect to have lots of unremitting heat and endless sweating. We Americans do that on purpose. Thinking like I’m in a sauna has made it easier. It’s just a 24/7 sauna so walking around in the heat, which is bad enough, with a long sleeve shirt has not been as bad with this slight mental adjustment.
It has helped my week to not be bitten by mosquitoes. It has not stopped others from slapping my head though. I would inevitably be talking to someone and they would reach up and slap my head, killing a mosquito that had landed on my noggin. Sometimes a person would say, “You need to slap your head.” It took me a while to understand what they were saying. Eventually one of us would slap my head.
Another common occurrence are the tarantulas. It’s not unusual to walk outside and see a tarantula. There was one just outside the home we were in. There was a baby one attached to some steps we were walking up, heading to a meeting. The tarantulas are harmless. They won’t bother you unless you do something aggressive to them. They will let you hold them, rub them, enjoy them. If they do become aggravated by someone they flair out their hair, from what I’ve been told, and put off some kind of poison that makes you break out in a rash.
The LORD was gracious to allow us to see a sloth on the property, on the ground. From what others have said you hardly ever see a sloth on the ground. They are typically high up in a tree and you observe them from a far. The one we observed was by touching, rubbing, and videoing. That was cool. I will be putting a video on YouTube from that. They were clear that event was an anomaly. Thank you LORD.
On Wednesday we hopped a boat to go the the Anaconda Restaurant that was across the lake from where we were. We had three low riding boats, the kind you may remember from the movie The African Queen. It was one of those “congo type” boats where you could hang your hand over the side and drag along in the water. The restaurant was in a town, the name of which I do not remember. Lot’s of dirt roads and lots of toothless old women with scores of bracelets hanging around their wrists, hoping to sell their wares.
From the restaurant we hopped the boats again and went to the La Jungla Zoo, which is not like a zoo you’ve been to before. Some of the cages you could open if you wanted to, though you would not do that. I think you could open most of them. We walked on a raised platform path that kept you off the ground. All the animals, which were all small animals, were elevated to the level of the platform so we all were on the same level.
We walked along this platform “path” as it snaked it’s way around in a jagged kind of loop back to where we began. Along the path, besides a zillion mosquitoes biting you all along the way, was an anaconda. For an additional 10 soles you could hold the big snake. I could not resist that. It was super cool to have him/her wrapped around my neck and slithering around my arms.
This is really an amazing place where souls live who need Jesus. We are not in Kansas anymore and it’s quite evident. One thing for sure is how the people are no different from me. They just live in a different kind of place.