Monday, May 6, 2013

Oh How Time Flies!

Amazingly enough, Cliver and I have now been married for 7 months!  Well, at least in the States…  We have run into major problems getting our marriage legalized here due mostly to a little misinformation.  When we arrived back in Peru our plan was to get married here in order to celebrate with family and friends here.  As it turns out, that is illegal, and according to the immigrations office in Iquitos, we were supposed to register our marriage at the nearest Peruvian Consulate to where we were wed.  The closest consulate is in Chicago, two blocks from the hotel we stayed at while we were there…  Long story short, that’s an old law, and now all you need to do is have an apostilled copy of your wedding certificate translated by an official translator and that is enough to have the marriage legally recognized here- it’s easy! Oh, one more detail, this has to be done within 90 days of returning to Peru.  We spent the first 90 days writing back and forth with the Peruvian Consulate in Chicago and visiting the immigrations office in Iquitos trying to figure out how to make this right without having to go to Chicago, but they insisted that that was the only way.  Finally I found information on a blog about having documents apostilled, and discovered that it is a simple way to make any document legal in many countries.  We got all of our documents together, and were one click away from being legally married in Peru, when we were rejected due to the 90 days rule!  Now we have to get a lawyer and go through some sort of judicial process in order to have our marriage recognized!  Had we received the correct information right from the start, this would have been resolved last year!  It has been frustrating to say the least. We took a little break from our quest to be legal and will hopefully be getting advice from a lawyer very soon.  

Right now our attention is focused on Cliver’s arm.  About 7 years ago he broke his arm in a motorcycle accident and needed screws to mend the break.   When the screws were put in his arm, his nerves were damaged resulting in problems with regular function of his right hand.  There are no specialists in Iquitos that can treat this type of nerve damage, and so year by year the problem has gotten worse.  Each year Explorama hosts doctors from Centura Health in Colorado who work with a local clinic offering specialized surgeries and treatments.  This year they send a hand specialist, who performed a tendon transfer surgery to repair the nerve damage. The doctor was very happy with the results of Cliver’s surgery, and expects him to recover almost 100% of his hand’s function.  He will have his arm immobilized for at least a month, and then use a splint for another month with physical therapy.  He is having less pain each day, but is very bored!  It is hard for me to leave him to go back to the jungle to work!   

Celebrating Cliver's Birthday

Before Cliver’s surgery we had the chance to work together for a week during our annual Adopt A School volunteer trip.  It was my second year helping with school supply deliveries to the 56 communities in our program.  Surprisingly, it was Cliver’s first time guiding for the Adopt A School program, especially because the program is celebrating its 20th year this year!
At a Village After Deliveries
It’s always a great experience, not only because of all of the beautiful children, but also because of the volunteers!  Many come year after year- it’s like a Conapac family reunion.   The second week of the program is more community service than school supply deliveries; Cliver had to head to Iquitos for surgery as I continued on with the group.   It was hard for me being in the jungle while Cliver was under the knife, luckily our group was a lot of fun and kept me distracted!  
Kindergarteners Receiving Their 1st School Supplies
Just before Adopt A School Cliver and I got away from the city for a night to celebrate my birthday in the town of Nauta. Foolishly, when I moved to Peru I thought I would be able to travel around, get to see more of this incredibly diverse country.  Foolish because I know very well that Iquitos is not accessible by road, only air and water.  So it's not as if you can take a weekend bus trip from Iquitos to check out the Nazca Lines or something like that.  Nauta is the only exception!  It is a small city, about 100 km from Iquitos.  We traveled by motorcycle, in the evening, getting pelted by bugs the whole way (think AMAZON sized bugs!) and getting soaked about 1/2 way there! It was worth it! Nauta is a lovely little city, with a big turtle and fish pond in the center of town, and amazing jungle views.  The city is located at the junction of the Ucayali and MaraƱon rivers, where the Amazon river officially starts.  The landscape is a little more hilly than the Iquitos area, it was a nice change of scenery and a nice little getaway with my sweetie pie!

Feeding the Fish and Turtles
Our street- Rioja Street!

Heading Home (With better weather!)
Now we are getting geared up for a busy summer!  I have a group of high school students coming to the library for 2 weeks at the end of May, followed by the most important guests of the year- my mom and my brother Tim!  It’s been a year since my mom was last here, and 15 years since Tim was here! I am very excited for their visit, I’m sure it will go by much too fast!

And finally, a photo of Pirata!  High water season has been above average again this year, but not with the record breaking flood levels of 2012.  The water is beginning to go down now, I know my students are looking forward to some solid ground to play on!

Pirata, Leaving the Sapo Playa Library (those are all aquatic plants)