Thursday, September 27, 2012

Side Story

Tuesday was hilarious!  It all started when Camille and I thought we could walk Applonia to her training at the Beet Farm which is about 2 miles from where we are staying.  The problem is: we have never walked there before.  Her training started at 4pm.  We start to leave at 3:30pm, we actually leave at 3:45.  OBVIOUSLY we arrive late, at 4:19pm.  We felt so bad, but the thing is the smoke stacks weren’t as high as they were before and I couldn’t see where to walk.  And AGAIN we didn’t use the hand-drawn map.

The insanity doesn’t end there however.   We follow the directions of a 10 year old and get completely lost and double the time it takes us to walk home.  But as a result we took these awesome pictures in the parks, grass and underpasses that we walked through.  Enjoy!  

No More Beets :-(

So I’d like to explain why we’re even doing the Beet Harvest.  A little birdie by the name of Kim Murphey, her blog is here, explained that to support her full-time service in Nicaragua that she would travel back the US to do the Beet Harvest for a few weeks.  The thing is, I completely dismissed this idea.  It wasn’t until a few months ago that Camille mentioned it again and that a couple that used to be in her hall that are from CT but serve in Nicaragua as well were going.  Then I jumped on board.  I haven’t completely decided where to serve, but I have my sights set on Italy!  It makes sense given my circumstances, but is as we all know, quite pricey.  So with the Beet Harvest money I intend to stash it away and proceed to finally accomplish my goal of serving in English in Italy.  For more info on the Sugar Beet Industry click here.

Back to beets, so you can imagine our dismay as we learn that due to the unusually beautiful warm weather, beets can’t be piled because they will go bad.  That means that we can’t work.  L  So we go out in service instead J.  The territory here has been encouragingly responsive and generally pleasant.  There was emmense support on Wednesday morning.  There were over 20 that showed up for service at 9am.  That in itself was encouraging.  Through-out the day, which ended around 5:30pm we met pioneers, mothers, MTS grads, children and even one of the anointed in our productive day of service.  The next day, I encountered a Nepali family who wants to learn about the bible but don’t speak English well.  Appolonia finally kept one of the 3 return visits that she set up while preaching.  The service has just been amazing and I am glad that the Harvest hasn’t started!

After service, has been just as fun.  Today we prepared a dinner for our host family and enjoyed association with them and yesterday we went to Ground Round which features a happy hour like I’ve never experienced.  Buy a $3.00 Margharita and get a FREE taco bar!  That’s a pioneer’s dream! (Or at least mine).  This morning before service we visited Crookston and used self control to not buy the antique jewelry that we saw.  This trip has just been amazing!

But at 8:58pm I received a call to go into work tomorrow.  Now the fun starts!

Beets Beets, and more Beets

So, remember I mentioned those lovely little sisters of mine?  Yeah, 7:20am they re-revealed their presence before they left for school.  This started our day Monday.  By 9:30am we were at the Sugar Beet Hiring Center filling out paper work and meeting our potential work mates.  In the waiting area we met a couple from Minneapolis who serve just outside of Leon Nicaragua in a semi-rural Spanish congregation on the beach.  I actually met them when we stayed with Krista (refer to Blog posted dated Feb. 21, 2012).  We had separate “interviews” and watched a safety video.  Did you know you could DIE working in a sugar beet factory!?? Well I didn’t either!  I am so happy that we are all working inside and nowhere near Bobcats and huge trucks. 

Our training was at 4pm the same day, so we went to Sam’s Club and bought food to eat during “supper break” and through-out the week.  At $16 each I think we did a good job.  (I think it’s hiliarious that we literally bought cheese for DAYZ, more specifically 7 pounds!  At 3:30pm we got picked up to head over to the plant.  At 3:50 we’re panicking because we can’t find the location, we definitely should’ve paid attention to the hand drawn maps provided at training.  At 3:58pm we pull in. 

Our jobs are so simple it’s not even funny.  Camille and I switch between scrapping beet mush into cups and blending it and placing it on a carosel for the next worker to take a teaspoon sized sample from, and manning the computer station.  The other couple ended up on the other end of the line: loading the scales with the initial dirty beets and counting the actual crowns of beets after they have been washed.  Next the beets get chopped up into the mush that I scoop.  After the sample is taken, solution is mixed in and a machine calculates the Sugar, Amino Acid and Potassium content.  These figures are entered into the computer and at the end of the line I verify that no beet samples have been lost in the shuffle and the truckers are paid based on the sugar content of their loads.  Sounds complex, but it is actually quite simple.

After 7.5 hours we head home literally beat and hit the sack.  I am ready to start this harvest!

Start of a Legend

   So we made it to Minnesota!  It was a long 2 day trip to arrive here, but it’s all been worth it!  We left at 5am from Danbury CT.  Well Appolonia and I left New Haven at 3:45am…whew( and I didn’t even attempt to go to sleep). I met my new “parents” for the next few weeks Armando and Lidi.  They served in Managua Sign Language for the last 3 years.  They are in one word AWESOME!  We took turns filling up the tank as we embarked on a journey that would take us through 9 states!  I held out until Minnesota (thinking that by waiting to the last fill-up that it’d be the cheapest) to fill up my tank, unfortunately I paid the 2nd highest in relation to everyone, $3.94 a gallon.  If you know me, I was definitely heart-broken to have paid so much when Camille only paid $3.80!  Anyways, I discovered the Sweet Deals Menu at Dairy Queen and enjoyed my homemade Nutella sandwhich and Cheese sandwhich as everyone else forked over money for Subway, Burger King and Chester’s Chicken.  We stopped over in Chicago and enjoyed Chicago’s Other Famous Deep-Dish Pizza- Lou Malnati’s (delicious especially when paired with an Orange Moon pitcher).  We spent the night with a wonderful family that we had never met.  Through a friend in Italian we found a family in the Spanish with 2 daughters in the Chinese who hosted us.  They were sooooo nice.  The next morning we all tried Cactus flower fruit for the first time and enjoyed bagels and tea.  Then we were off again!

This time we used Armando’s Galaxy 3 to play YouTube videos to sing karaoke to and watched numerous episodes of the hit TV show The Office.   Dwight’s performance in the Stress Relief episode will be hilarious regardless of the number of times watched.  We sang Mariah Carey and Luis Enrique as we passed Cheese Billboards in Wisconsin and through the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  We reached E Grand Forks, Minnesota,  where we (the girls) are staying and Grand Forks, North Dakota (where the couple are staying) at about 9pm on Sunday.  We pulled up to our “home” for the next month.  A 30 foot camper fully equipped with a bathroom, Queen sized bed, stove, fridge and microwave.  We really were blessed!  Our 2 new little sisters Kiley, 10 and Mckinsey, 7 were literally outside greeting us. 

We unloaded our stuff and I hear the girls whispering about a “surprise”.  I have no idea what they are talking about.  10 minutes in to meeting and greeting the couple hosting us, in walks a large black man with a colorful hood covering his face.  Lo and behold, what is Blake Newbon doing here!?  I had no idea that we had kicked him out of the camper and he was forced to move into the family’s basement.   LOL  Anyways it felt like a Nicaraguan reunion.  I am glad that I came here and can’t wait to start working with those beets!