NOTE- In 1917 Orley and Lillian Ford, both in their early 20s, sailed from New Orleans to South America to serve as Seventh-day Adventist missionaries near Lake Titicaca, Peru. Sensing the call of God, they left having no idea if they would ever see family or friends again.
Here is a written record of the first thirty days of their mission adventure, taken from Orley’s typed and handwritten diary by his granddaughter, Pat Ford. (This diary is not to be published in any form without permission from the Ford family since all rights are reserved for possible future publication.) To preserve the original document there have been no corrections for spelling, grammar, or what might be considered today to be politically incorrect statements.
As you read you will be inspired by two young adults, ready to go to the ends of the earth to let people know about Jesus and His return. For more stories of the Ford’s mission adventures read the books These Fords Still Run, by Barbara Westfall, and Mission in the Clouds by Eileen Lantry.
On Board the S S Abangarez in the Gulf of Mexico
Dec. 23, 1917
To our dear friends in the Homeland:
I am out on deck passing the time away by writing on my typewriter. Instead of writing a regular letter I am just going to copy part of my diary and send that to you. Probably that will tell you more than a letter. I will begin on the day we reached New Orleans.
Thursday, Dec. 20th Reached New Orleans 12:00AM. My expectations went down several degrees. Instead of the pretty city I had expected I think it is one of the most unattractive cities I have seen in the U.S. The streets are narrow and most of them seem to be paved with cobblestones. At least all except a few of the most important ones. There are a few nice buildings but along side the few nice building are a multitude of old buildings and dirty shops. Every thing has a dirty appearance and the large negro population does not make things look more attractive. About the first brake we made was to sit down in the back seat of a street car and the conductor had to come and tell us that the back seats were for negros only and that we would have to move forward. We have been very busy this afternoon getting our tickets arranged and doing some final shopping. On account of a meeting in session in Atlanta, Ga all the conference men are out of town so we have had no help in arranging passage. Our room is in the Hotel St. Charles, a very nice place but rather expensive. Had to pay $5.00 for room and bath. They say tho that all the good hotels here charge the same at this time. The city looks dirtier than ever tonight as the war condition causes them to only light the streets very dimly and things look dark to us tonight anyway as this is the last night we expect to ever spend in the U.S. Lillie and I have just been talking of the alls our friends we are to leave behind and of the many things that will probably happen before we see them again. We never expect to see any of them again until we meet in the New Earth. I do hope there will be no one missing there. We are not lonesome but our hearts are rather heavy as we think of these things. I am glad that it is possible that we can go l hope we will stay so close to the Lord that he can use us in our field.
Friday 21st. After breakfast we ordered our baggage taken to the dock and went down ourselves about nine o clock. Trough the docks things look dirtier than ever. Before going on board the officials opened all our trunks and looked thru our hand baggage. We had four revolvers in the trunk, two for ourselves and two for some of the missionaries in Peru. They took all of them and said that they would send them to us later. I hardly expect to see them again however. Nothing else was bothered. About noon the anchor was lifted and we started down the river for the ocean. The U.S. looks pretty nice when you are looking at it for the last time. The trip down the river was very nice. There are many of the old plantation homes near the river bank. Many of them still had there negro quarters in the background. Lunch was served about on oclock, and dinner at five thirty. Every noon and forenoon tea is served to you on the deck and you can order fruits brought to you at any time. The meals are very nice and served in a fashionable way. In the parlor there is a large library, piano, victorola, writing desks, and many comfortable chairs and sofas. The decks are wide giving plenty of room for steamer chairs and also for the different deck games. We left the river about eight oclock and all tho we were in our stateroom we could tell the difference at once. The jerky sensation we had noticed on the river changed to and almost imperceptible roll which soon made us feel that we would be more comfortable in our berths.
Sabbath, the 22nd. – The first sound that greeted our ears this morning were such that made us think that Johah and the whale were only novices. The wind had come up during the night and the ship was rocking quite badly and many of the passengers were very sick. I got up and opened the port hole to get some fresh air. And had hardly gotten back into bed before a huge wave hit the side of the boat and about a bucket full of water came thru and all over the bed and our clothes. A salt bath is pleasant some times but we did not appreciate it at this time. Altho we are not feeling at our beast vet we went down to breakfast. There were only about a half dozen at the tables and all of them were rather gloomy look. There are only twenty three on the boat, due to the difficulty of getting out of the U.S. since the war. This is a large boat about 400 ft in length and originally had a passenger list of one to two hundred. The ship was originally white but since the war has been painted a dull drab, and after night all deck lights are turned out and the lights inside only turned on when the blinds are all closed. Only dim lights are allowed in the staterooms.
It hardly seems like Sabbath today. There are no other Adventists on the boat. All that are not sick are out on the deck but no one sees inclined to talk. The waves are rolling high and the many white caps makes the sea look very pretty. I wish we were only back to W.W.C today and could go to Sabbath school and church. I never heard a dinner call that sounded as unwelcome as it did today. We went down however as they tell us it is better to eat something. This after noon we got acquainted with a couple from Ecuador. They are Americans but have lived in the south seven years. He is a minor, and they have spent the summer visiting in the States. They told us lots of interesting things about South America. I don’t believe it will be as bad as we had anticipated. Wind has blown all day.
Sunday, 23.- Sea still rough. Not so many sick this morning, but everyone looks like they had passed thru a bad sick spell. A little quieter in the AM and people began to enjoy life. All the after noon some have been playing the deck golf and other deck games. Passed the west point of Cuba about four oclock. Got a good view with the aid of a glass. Monday, 24th Waves rolling higher than ever this morning. Once in a while we get a little water on the upper deck which is about twenty feet above the water, so you can see that the waves are not small by any means. I am not feeling very good but not as badly as the first day. Every few minutes we pass a school of flying fish. They look pretty as they dart out of the water.
Sometimes they fly fifty yards before diving back into the water.
Tuesday, 25th Merry Christmas! Can hardly realize that this is Christmas. The wind is down this morning and every one is feeling fine. Some are out on the deck for the first time it is warm even in the windward side of the ship and everyone has on their summer clothes. Part of the men have their coats off. The deck is busy place this morning, and most everyone is taking part in some of the deck games. This is the first day when everyone seems to be enjoying theirselves. We may reach Panama tonight but unless we get there before six oclock we can not enter the harbor as there is a submarine net across the entrance. We are getting well acquainted with the passengers and we will rather hate to separate at Panama. There are three of the passengers that will go on with us as we go south, again.
Wednesday, 26th.- Waves higher than ever this morning but we are getting to be old salts now so we do not feel it so very much. The deck is kept wet with the spray so only a few are on deck. We are getting awful anxious to get on land again. Sight land soon after noon, but do not reach dock until about four. We all had to be examined by the port doctor, show our passport and have our goods reinspected before landing. Brothers Kneeland and White were at the dock to meet us. We were greatly disappointed not to see Brother and sister Kephart but the have gone to Costa Rica on a little visitation, also brother and sister Brockman have recently removed to the States. Every thing looks strange here. The modern and the old are strongly contrasted. Government buildings and most all of Christobal are very modern but the Panamanian town of Colon is a filthy little town of old buildings, little shops and narrow streets. It looks one hundred years behind the times. A letter awaiting us from Bro. Kephart told us to make our selves at home at their place so we are staying tonight in their rooms over the church. It makes us feel at home to be in a friends home and see picture of people we know. Went down to prayer meeting. Had a fine meeting. Most of the church here are negro but they are as interested in the truth as any of us in the home land. After meeting there was a negro wedding. Not as elaborate affair as we generally see in the homeland. The bride wore a huge bright red shawl over her head and shoulders but I do not think I ever saw a happier looking couple.
Thursday, 27th- didn’t get to bed until after midnight last night so feel pretty sleepy this morning. After breakfast went down to the Conference office and on down to the wharf. Look over the boats and decide to take the English lineboat the ‘Guatemala” which sails Friday morning. Brother White went with us and helped us get our tickets. $147.oo from here to Moliendo, Peru, for each ticket. I had to go to the Provost Marshal of the Canal Zone and sigh with my thumb print before we could get our tickets/. Take our lunch at the U.S. Commissary restaurant. It was a very large cafeteria with about 100 tables. As nice as the nicest restaurants in the States and only about one half as expensive. Only government employs or those with permits can eat there. All missionaries are given the same access as the government employees. They also have a large department store run by the government where things are sold below U.W. prices. One can only buy a certain amount in a month however, and no private persons can buy there at all with out they are entitled to a permit. Our workers say if it were not for the Commissary they would not be able to live on the salary they draw. Every thing one wants is sold and it is all of the best quality too. After Lunch Brother White took us all around the city. Colon and Christobal are really one town but colon is on Panamanian side of the lind and most of the people there are Panarnanians and across the street in Christobal the people are American and American employees. Christobal is of course cleaner and better buildings. All the government buildings are substantial and are all screened, also water, light, and gas. All the employees get from $l00.00-$300.00 per month and house, light, gas, coal and every thing furnished free. Even the lawns are cut for them. They also get half fare on all boats to the U.S. and get 52 days vacation a year at full pay. After supper all the workers here came over to our rooms and we had a nice visit. Spent a very pleasant evening. We had to go on board before morning so all of them walked down to the boat with us. We went thni the Panamanian town and saw it by night. Certainly some revolting sights. They say it is one of the wickedest cities in the world? And I don’t doubt it if what we saw was any guide to what it really is under cover. The government is talking of taking it from the Panarnanians unless they clean it up. It was about eleven oclock when we came on board. The brethren here have certainly treated us royally while here and we have enjoyed our visit just fine. We had our trunks and hand baggage put on earlier in the day. As soon as I told the custom official that I was a missionary for Peru he stopped looking thru our things and marked them all o.k. Just happened to think as I am ready to go to bed that this is my birthday today. Am 24 years old today.
Friday, 28th.- Didn’t sleep very well as they were loading freight almost all night and made lots of noise. Our cabin is right near the entrance to the hold too. Left dock about eight oclock and started up the canal. Can hardly realize that we are really going thru the canal. The scenery along the canal is very pretty. The tropical vegetation is at its best here and Uncle Sam has every thing cleaned up. First point of interest was the Gutan locks. They are a series of three locks and raise us 85 ft above the level of the Atlantic. The locks are made of solid concrete with large gates 75 ft high and about the same wide. Two of them swing togher in the center and in just seven minutes we were raised to the same levels as the lock ahead. Then the gate in front opened and we moved forward until the gate could be closed behind us. Then the same thing was repeated until we were on a level with Gutan lake or of the c anal above. The boats were pulled thru the locks by large donkey engines. The last lock is closed by two gates inside of one and also has a huge steel gate that can be swung around and dropped in place in case anything should happen, for if the last lock should give away the water in the canal and lake would flood down on to the town below and also leave the canal empty of water all the way thru. thru the mid part of the canal it goes thru the Gutan lake and for several miles they did not have to dig at all but just sail thru the lake. It also supplies water for the canal all along the highest part of it, It is on the lake level. We went thru the famous Culebra cut where they have had so much trouble with slides. This is at the deepest part of the canal. The tropical rains loosen the soil and caused the slides. The enormous dredges were still in the cut ready to be used if it should slide again. In going down to the Pacific level again there are two sets of locks instead of one as there are in the Atlantic side. We reached Balboa the Pacific end of the canal about four oclock and as our ship had a lot of freight to take on most of the passengers went ashore. Balboa is an American town the same as Christobal. It is even nicer than Christobal as it is built on higher ground and has more cement buildings. Touching Balboa is the Panamanian town of Panama. It is the capital of the Panama republic. It is quite a large city and is a nicer appearing city than Colon. The biggest percent of the people seem to be able to speak English. We spent about three hours riding about the two cities and saw many very interesting sights. We got back to the boat a little after dinner started which is served at seven oclock.
Sabbath, 29th.- Sabbath again. The time is going fast. We did not go to breakfast this morning but ate some fruits that we had bought in town yesterday. Had some Papaia (fruita de Bornda), mamo, pineapple, banana, and some tropical oranges. On this boat breakfast is served at nine, coffee at seven thirty, lunch at one, tea at four, and dinner at seven in the evening. About all we do is eat and sleep. The ship left dock about eight oclock. We passed the large fortification guarding the canal entrance as we come out of the harbor. There is also a submarine net across the entrance. The sea is almost like a lake today. Don’t believe we will feel badly at all if it stays this way. This is a ship about the same size as the one we were on before but more of a passenger boat. There are about 160 on board, most of them English speaking. All the porters and waiter are Spanish speaking tho and we have to let our wants be known in Spanish. We have quite a time in getting our meals. Don’t always get what we think we are ordering. Meals taste better here than they did on the other boat. Think it is because we are feeling better tho and not that the food is better. Most every thing here is some meat dish and practically every thing is at least cooked in meat. Not as much fruit as on the other boat. Things are not kept nearly as clean either. We read the book ‘Gospel Workers” about half thru today. Think it is just fine. Lillies birthday today.
Sunday, 30th. – Sea is as smooth as glass again toady and we feel fine. We are enjoying this part of the trip just fine. They are two Catholic priests on board but neither of them speak English. I have talked to one of them a little in Spanish, he get off at Mollendo too but he is going on to Sucere, Bolivia. He wears his heavy black robe or dress all the time no matter how hot. I feel sorry for him. Most of the other men on board have summer clothes and then most of us go with out coats. Too hot then ever. After supper a young man sang a few songs. He is a fine singer. The Captain also brought his phonograph into the Parlor and played that several pieces.
Monday, 31th. -Last day of 1917, and we had watermelon for breakfast. It was good too. We will go across the equator today some time the captain said. Just figured out that we will be about 6000 miles from home when we get to the end of our journey. We are not feeling nearly as lonesome tho as we expected to. Crossed the equator about two oclock. Rather disappointed, no line at all only water, water, water, as before. Ha ha! It is cooler tonight than it has been the last few days. We are in the cold Humbolt current from the south. This current keeps the west coast cool as for north as Equador. Sight to the coast of Equador about three oclock. Sea is still as smooth as glass, not a riffle hardly. Surely the Pacific ocean is “muy pacific”.
Tuesday. 1st (1918) Happy New Year! Or Ano Feliz Nuevo! We say here. Not much like last new yearday. It is quite warm this morning as we are going up the Guayaquil river and away from the cold Humbolt current. The river banks look very pretty with the heavy tropical vegetation which looks so dense that one could hardly crawl thru it. This river is in reality a arm of the bay for it is several miles wide and the tide goes up river beyond the city of Guayaquil which is 100 miles in land. The ship goes to Guayaquil to take on shipment of fruit. The water of the river is awfully muddy. See a school of porpoise every once in a while. Come in sight of Guayaquil about four oclock. Mr and Mrs Wolf from the Equador gold mines get off here. They have been with us since we left New Orleans. They are very nice young people and we will be lonesome to have then leave. The wharves look very dirty but the buildings of the water front look very pretty. Guayaquil is a city of 75,000 and is supposed to be the home of every bad disease in the calendar. No one is allowed to go ashore and come aboard again with out being Pitt in quarantine for seven days. The docks are not for large boats so we have to anchor about in the river. All sorts of little boats come out to the ship and soon our boat was a swarm of natives and Equarorian officials. They have a small army of officials and they all come aboard and make the boat Co. feed them while in port. The natives come on to sell things and take passenger ashore. Every thing imaginable they offer for sale. Cigars sweet chocolate, panama hats, pictures. parrots, monkeys, baby tigers, skins, tropical fruits, and curios of all kinds.
Wednesday, 2nd.- This morning they are loading fruit on the boat and all you have to do is to go back and help yourself. I am doing my share to help them unload. The best oranges I ever have eaten. I believe I would like to stay here all the time. I am making up for not getting any fruit before on the trip. They are to load on $15,000.00 worth of fruit. Barge after barge of bananas? Oranges, mangoes, pineapples, alligator pears, coffee, cocabeans, tin plate. etc. There is a regular fleet of small canoes. The natives are surely not bothered by the rules of modern modesty. All any of the men wear is a pair of old trousers, no shirt or shoes. A few minutes ago one of the canoes broke loose and began to float down the river, a native, in the presence of all the passengers, pulled off his trousers and swain to the boat got in and rowed back to our ship and donned his trousers again. The large crown of passengers did not abash him al all. Several other things about the same have happened since we have been waiting here. Was interested in the way they transport the stock across the river. They lay several long poles across the canoe and tie a cow head to the end of one pole and her tail to the end of one a few feet back, put another animal one the other end across on the other side of the canoe and they were ready to go. All you can see is their nose sticking out of the water. A canoe just went by with six cattle carried in that way. Just got acquainted with a man who got on here and found that he is an Adventist, a Brother Lawrence originally from Nebraska. Glad to meet him, he is acquainted with several of the Union Collage people. He has charge of the work here in Equador. Three oclock and the cargo is all on and we are leaving. Rather a relief to be rid of the swarm of natives. The natives here are from the light skinned Spanish to the dark brown Indian once in awhile a negro type. Some of them would be very nice looking if they were only cleaned up. The officials are mostly light skinned, with dark hair however, and very nice looking. In fact better looking than the average American. It is 100 miles back to the sea and then we turn south again. It will he cooler when we get to the sea breeze again but it is not bad here tho. it is no more winter here but this is the middle of summer for we are south of the equator.
Brother Lawrence tells me that there is to be a general meeting of all the workers of the Inca Union the twenty fifth of the month. Wish that we could
Thursday, 3rd. – Stopped this afternoon at the little port of Payta, Peru to unload some cargo. Very poor harbor and no wharfs at all. They say that there are no wharfs on the west coast south of Panama. We anchored out about a quarter of a mile and the cargo was taken off in large rafts were then towed out to our ship by men on the raft pulling on the rope. When rafts were loaded another rope fastened on shore was used to pull them back. Rather slow but it answered the purpose. Another large crowd came on board as soon as we were anchored and stayed until time to leave. Some of the passengers went ashore but as there was hardly any thing to be seen we stayed on board. The boatmen would take you ashore and bring you back for forty cents. Payta is a little village of about 100 on the side of a hill of pure sand. The last rain they had here was in 1891, so thing looked rather dry. A railroad runs back into the more fertile interior and this is the port. Several new passengers came on here.
Friday, 4th.- When we awoke this morning it was a thick fog. So thick that we could not go in to the harbor at Eten where the ship was to stop next. Several times the fog lifted a little and they started a head but had to stop again. Waited a round the harbor entrance until about four oclock. Eten us a great sugar exporting place also lots of tropical fruit is sent out from here. We took on a lot of sugar and mangoes. instead of rafts they had large tub like boats which they towed out to the ship with gas launches. Eten is near a rocky cliff and is nearly as baron looking as Payta was. We took on about 100 head of long horned beef cattle. Interesting to watch them being loaded. They just lased one of them threw a wide burlap surcingle about the stomach and hooked the ships derrick rope into the surcingle and they lifted by the derrick onto the ship deck. Some of them kicked and bellowed but that did not bother any. Left port about dark.
Sabbath, 5th– We were in the next port this morning when we awoke. This is Pacasrnayo. Stayed here until about ten oclock. The same kind of crowd on board as usual when in port. We are glad to leave port and get rid of the rabble. It is considered the greatest delicacy of all the fruits of this coast. About the size of a large apple, dark green and rough on the outside a little like a pineapple only not so much. The meat is a little softer than a peach, white, as tes between a banana and a pineapple and has several black seeds about the size of orange seeds. Has just a suggestion of sour cream in test. I like it but not as well as some other fruits. We are getting all the fruit we want now. Lots of alligator pears. My but they are good. Lillie doesn’t like any of the new fruits very well except the pineapples, bananas, and oranges.
The oranges here beat California oranges all to pieces I think. Lots of seeds and a tough center but sweeter and more juicy. It is foggy this morning again and they are only going at half speed and blowing the whistle every few minutes. This is the foggiest place in the world they say. The fog extends from the shore and out into the ocean for about fifteen miles. Foggy nearly all the time they say. It is caused by the cold ocean current which flows along the coast. Hardly ever extends beyond the beach. The coast of Peru is the driest place in the world nearly. For 2000 miles here it only averages a light shower every few years. When ever we get to see the coast it is a sandy smooth beach and back a few miles and sometimes even nearer are high rough mountains. Havent seen a spear of grass or a tree in Peru so far. Most of the beach they say is nothing but sand all the way. The valleys back a few miles are irrigated and very fertile they say. No good harbor at all and the dismalest shore line I ever saw. Makes us lonesome to see how baron things look and I guess it is nearly the same up where we are going. We had Sabbath School this morning with Bro. Lawrence. Down here they are just two Quarters behind the lessons in the States. We will get to go over the lessons again this way. Stopped at another port this afternoon. This is
Salaverry another port on a sand bank. The middle of Peru is very fertile but all the coast is a desert of the worst type. One wonders where all the delicious fruits and other things come from that they bring on board. Ther are very extensive sugar and cotton plantations all along the midpart of Peru.
Cattle, wool cotton seed, and sugar were loaded on here. The venders here brought a very peculiar but very delicious cake they call ‘alfajoris”. It is the most delicious cake I have ever eaten. Is made with lots of eggs and some sort of very thick fruit syrup between the layers. We did not leave port until about seven oclock.
Sunday, 6th- Foggy again this morning. So foggy that we could not enter the next port. Have had to lay here all day and just outside the harbor. This port Chinibote is the best port of Peru. Has several small islands around it that protect it but make it harder to enter in a fog. The U.S. tried to buy it a few years ago for a coaling station but they would not sell. There was nothing here at that time but that make them think it was of importance so they have make a port of it. Ther are large deposits of coal near. Tonight we are “just out side the harbor”. We have not been able to see over one hundred feet from the boat all day.
Monday. 7th,- When we awoke this morning we were in the harbor and they were again loading on cattle, cotton and sugar. We must have on several hundred head of cattle. I don’t see where they put so much cargo but at every port lots of things are unloaded. There is lots more produce in the country than I ever imagined there was. We went ashore this morning to see the town. Fletero men (men with rowboats) take one ashore and back for forty cents gold. Had to jump in the boat from the gangplank when waves would lift it up to the last step. If you hesitated an instant the boat would settle back and be four or five feet beneath the step. Rather spooky but not very dangerous. Ther were very little to be seen in town. It had about 200 people. The houses were all made from poles smeared over with mud.
There were several small stores but not much in them but bottles of liquors. There were a few nice garden patches which were irrigated. In them we saw corn, cucumbers?, watermelons, lettuce, alfalfa, geraniums, and several strange plant and vegetables. They looked quite homelike. Saw lots of goats and burros. Saw a little burro about one foot high? He was an awful cute little thing. I whish Evelyn could have him, she would think he was “pity”. Didn’t leave port until afternoon.
Tuesday, 8th.- Awoke this morning in the port of Supe. This is ther last port before Calleo. They have about 5000 sacks of sugar to take on board here. Each sack weighs 200lbs. The cargo on board must be worth a lot of money. Besides all the other cargo they have $l,?500,00 worth of gold bullion they are taking to Chili. Lay here in port until after noon again. We are getting pretty tired of having to stop so much. Guess the trip is not so monotonous tho this way.
Wednesday, 9th. — Awoke this morning in Callao. Looks some different than the other ports we have visited. It is quite a large harbor and the harbor canoes, rowboats, launches and barges. A hundred or more in all. As soon as we cast anchor there were the worst scramble I ever saw to get on board.
Around the gangplank the boatmen fairly fought to get there. At least 25 boats crowded in as close as they could be packed and the boatmen each one tried his best to push the other boats away and get his boat ahead. Some who were to far out to hope to get there boat in very soon left their boat with some other one in the boat and scrambled across the interviening boat and up the gang plank. Some of the men were bringing passengers to our boat but most of them were trying to get the opportunity to take some one from our boat to the shore. Every one nearly gets off at Callao to go and see the city of Lima. Most all boats stop here about two days. A bunch of hogs couldn’t have acted worse than those boatmen or “Fleteros”as they are called. Some that were to far from the gang plank to get up that way came right up the side of the ship. All they needed was a rope or chain hanging down over the side of the ship. They crawled around just like monkeys. They came over the sides of the ship every where. Never heard such a meddly of voices and all in Spanish. Several of the small boats came very near being swamped. After the swarm subsided a little Brother Wilcox and Minner came out to meet us and take us to shore. Brother Wilcox is the son of Mrs. Gillian of C.P. We were glad to see them and they seem almost as glad to see us. We had wired them we were coming. We were glad to go on land again. Our boat has anchored out about half a mile. There are no docks here for large boats. The mission house is in Callao and the office and church is in Lima, seven miles inland. Callao is about 20,000 and Lima about 100,000 population. At the mission house all the American brethren live. They have the second floor of the mercantile establishment. Instead of having a back yard they have the roof Here they keep some chickens, hang clothes and practically every thing we use our back yard for. It never rains so that is as good a covering as anything. Brother and sister Wilcox, Minner, Varney, and Maxwell are all the foreign workers here. All the workers here are under thirty years of age except Eld Maxwell and he is less than forty. They are the only ones that have children. They have three boys. The style of architecture is peculiar here. Most of the buildings are one and very few more than two stories in height. Practically no dwelling house as we have in the States but instead all the business blocks and dwelling houses look the same from the out side and lots of the time one can hardly tell as you go along the street whether you are in the resident or business section. They make the buildings all out of sun dried brick, adobe or they put up slight frame structure and lath it with bamboo and sometimes just cane. The top and sides all the same, then they smear mud over that. You would be surprised how nice some of the buildings look make that way. Some of them are marked off and painted to represent stone and they look just fine. They are durable too, here, I am afraid they wouldn’t last long tho if they had a few of our rains and snov. They say a half hours rain would ruin over buildings in Lima. My but dinner tasted good today. Some change after eating on board so long to get a good S.D.A meal again. After dinner we went over to the office in Lirna with Bro. Wilcox. The country between Lima and Callao is very pretty. Little garden, grain, and pasture patches. It could easily be made as pretty as Calif Anything almost will grow the year around. Instead of fences as we have their fences are made of adobe brick, some of them ten feet high. There are lots of thieves so they put broken bottles on the top of the walls and sometimes live wires. The missionaries here would have their homes outside of town if it were not for the thieves and the men folks away so much. Lima is a very pretty city and the best parts compare very favorably with our American cities. In fact there is nothing we have in the U.S. that you can not have here if you have a long pocket book. Of course it is very expensive to live as we would in the States and our workers here do not even try to but they are fixed up quite comfortable. There are lots of Americans in Peru in the mines and they live fine, even better than in the States. There are about 150 Americans in Lima. We will stay here with Wilcox’s tonight and not go aboard until tomorrow evening. Had a good supper over at Bro. Maxwells.
Thursday, 10th.– Before breakfast we went down and visited the market which is near here. You can buy almost anything there you want and more too. They don’t let any part of an animal go to waste here. Intrals and all are for sale in the market, in fact that part seems to be quite a favorite part.
After breakfast we went over to Lirna again and visited the Exposition. It is the original grounds of the South American worlds Fair. Now it is just a park but has many of the buildings and a very big collection of animals. It was really very interesting and pretty. Bro. Minner, Wilcox and Lawrence went with us. We also saw the cathedral where the bones of Pizzaro are on exhibition. I wouldn’t be surprised tho that Pizzaro if he could see them would not be able to see the resemblance. These people are great to be humbugged by the Catholics. They are beginning to break away a little now and the present President is a very liberal Catholic and really is a Protestant at heart. He had the courage to tear down a dilapidated old church that had been in the way for fifty years even if the Catholics did threaten his life for doing it. We are getting acquainted with the Peruvian Board if Health. They are the Buzzards. They dump all refuse, carrion and everything just out side the city and these buzzards make short work of it. Even in the streets of the city if anything is thrown out they will pick it up. You can see them in hundreds and thousands everywhere. They are really a blessing to the country because the people would never clean things up and in this warm country it would be awful.
We like the workers here very well. Things so far are really lots better than we had anticipated they would be a way off down here. It is summer here and no hotter than in the States. Never a hot night they say at Lima. Go back on board about six oclock. We sure dread to go on board again and also to have to eat Spanish cooking again especially after we have had a taste of better things. We only have three days more tho and we will be on land for good again. If we ever go on board then again it will be to come home and we can stand it then all right. This is our twenty-first day aboard since we left New Orleans and it seems like a year.
Friday, 11th.- Sailing along this morning near the coast. The coast is quite pretty along here but you can see the high towering mountains back only a few miles. We will be up some where on their summit before long now. Stop for a few minutes at several little ports today but no long stops and not much freight transferred. Mollendo is the next important port.
Sabbath, 12th.- The waves are rolling a little this morning and white caps can bee seen at times. We are getting so used to being on board tho that we do not notice it at all. It is clear and bright this morning and we are running only a few miles from shore. All one can see for miles back from the shore is white sand dunes and sand hills. Back a few miles are the rugged Andes in high sharp peaks destitute of all signs of life or vegetation of any kind. This is the Third Sabbath on board this ship and the fourth since leaving New Orleans. I hope we get into Mollendo early in the morning as it is lots rougher in the afternoon they say and it is considered the roughest port of Peru even at best. They took on a lot of watermelon today so I got one this evening for supper. It taste fine. Seems strange to eat fresh watermelon the middle of January.
Sunday, 13th. – Last day on board. This is the 23rd day and I am tired of this old boat. The captain just told me we would reach Mollendo about ten this morning and so far this morning the sea is just as smooth as a lake so we will probably have a good time to land. Breakfast bell just rang so I will go up to the last breakfast of hash and that I hope to have to eat for a long time. We were in sight of Mollendo when we came out from breakfast about ten thirty. It looks similar to the other ports of Peru but this is the second port in importance in Peru. Much of Bolivia’s imports come by way of Mollendo and Puno. It seems to be on a side hill with a steep high rock se wall about 50-1 00 ft. high. There were several large seagoing freight and passengers boats in the harbor. We came very near having an accident by running into one of them as we were dropping anchor. The anchor didn’t hold for some reason. Soon our boat began to swarm with natives again so I bargained with one of them to take us ashore with our baggage for 50 centavos (25 cents) for each parcel and some for each of us. Tried several before I hired one. They wanted one sol (50 cents) at first. Two of them almost got in a fight because one of them offered to take them cheaper than the other one. Had no checks for my baggage so I had to go down in the hold and pick out my baggage. I was afraid it would all be picked over and mine would be one but I found it all, alright. Seems almost like leaving home to leave the ship as we have been on so long but l am sure we will never book back with any longings for it. (I just heard that the boat we thot of taking at colon instead of the one we took, ran onto the tocks in the fog and came near going down. It had to be pulled in by another boat and all passengers and cargo transferred. It was in dock at Colon and sailed about the same time as the Guatamala. Almost providential that we didn’t take it. It got to port all right finally but the trouble expense, and delay of transferring makes us feel that we were directed in making our choice of boats.)
Our baggage was loaded into a small rowboat and we got in a little launch with baggage boat in tow and were taken ashore, about a half mile away. As the sea was unusually smooth this morning we were able to land at the steps of the dock and walk up the steps to the top of the dock. Our trunks were hoisted to the dock by a rope drawn by several natives. When the sea is rough, as it generally is here at Mollendo they say, the passengers also have to be hoisted up by a derrick to the top of the dock which is about twenty feet above the water. We were luck to have an American traveling man who was on his way interior to be with us and speak Spanish for us. We got our trunks and hand baggage thru the customs with out duty but our typewriter and organ had to stay in the office as this is Sunday and they do not collect duty on Sunday. They hardly looked in our trunks at all. We had to climb a long stone stairway to the town as it is about 150 ft. above the water edge. We went to the first hotel “Ferrocarril” which was just across the street from the stairway. It is the best hotel in town and seven soles ($3.50) including meals. Went to lunch at once as it was on oclock. Meal was a little improvement over what we had on the boat. At least it was a change. After lunch we went to our rooms to rest a while and write a letter home and let the folks know we are off the ocean again. 1 am glad this is the best hotel as
I wonder what the poorer ones are like. No carpet, no window except the door, a table and wash dish with a can of dirty water, a rickety looking bed, one chair, and a big long candle for our light. We walked about the town most of the afternoon and saw the sights. There are probably 2000 people here. We were surprised to find a few nice business buildings, especially S.S.C. office buildings and several fair stores in which most every thing one would want is for sale. I don’t thing it is as dirty here as in Callao although that isn’t saying much. Most all the buildings here are of wood. There is a nice little plaza in the center of the town paved with tile and palm trees every twenty feet about each way. The railroad runs down to the waters edge where freight is lifted from the Freight lighters onto the cars. They have some quite large cranes and they seem to be handling a lot of freight. A cut about 100 feet deep and 100 yd wide has been blasted out to run the R.R. down to the dock. The R.R. depot isn’t far behind the Depot in Walla Walla. One sees here a curious mixture of the modem and the old. Some things were the very best and other things clear back one hundred years behind time. They have went to a lot of trouble and expense to get water for the town. It is piped over the desert 150 miles from Ariquipa yet they go to no trouble to keep it sanitary after it gets here. After supper we walked over to the plaza and about nine oclock the band came out and played a while. It was the firemen of town and they play every Sunday night. I am afraid it wouldn’t make a hit in the States but here every one in town nearly was out in their best and parading around the plaza. It really sounded good to us since we hadn’t heard anything alone the line of music for so long. It was more interesting tho to watch the people. The plaza was just a jam of people and every extreme of dress you ever thot of was there. Some few really nice looking and nicely dressed people, lots of would-be-sports, and then the very poor in their dirty and sometimes greatly abbreviated dress. Any one here that can of the men get a gold headed cane, a full dress suit, and silk high hat. The way they strut around isn’t slow. About ten we came back to our room, lit our candle and prepared to brave all that might be our lot for the night.
Monday , 14th. – Passed the night very well. Few bed bugs but lots offices. They do not bother me but they kept Lillie awake a good part for the night. Our bed proved to be quite soft. Had tea this morning at seven. All they serve tho is coffee or tea and bread and butter but we ordered eggs but they cost us forty centavos for two eggs, regular meals are free with your rooms if you only eat what is served. After tea we went over to Grace and Co and found that our freight was already here but we could not get it as we did not have the bills of lading. Glad tho that it is here and especially to learn that our dried fruit was with it. We had not expected to be able to get it out of the U.S. as all food stuff is under Gov’t control. Went down next to see about the organ and Typewriter. After a lot of trying to talk Spanish, writing, and a few tips I finally got them to attend to it. Cost me $20.10 for the organ and $ 18.96 for machine. That is in this money. (From now on all the money mentioned is Peruvian not American. One half value of our money. I am resolved from now on to be a true Spaniard until I get on the boat for the States again. I don’t know where I can get used to everything or not but I am going to try to and to try to like the ways and manners of doing things. Don’t know whether I can get used to their ways of eating tho but will as far as necessary?)
Got everything over to the depot, bought our tickets, checked our baggage and only had a few minutes to wait before train time. The train was to leave at 12: 10PM. Did not have time to get our dinner so bought a little lunch to eat on the train. Cost me $8.80 excess on my four trunks to Ariquipa. Our fare was only $6.00 apiece with a baggage allowance of 751bs. They have 16 also a half fare rate or second class. They have separated cars for that class. Just long benches and crowded as full as they can sit most of the times. Not very desirable considering the types of people you have too sit beside, and no back to rest against and no cushion to sit on? Never have either diners or sleepers on these trains here. They laughed at the idea of such when I asked if they had them. The first class coaches are not so bad. Lots better than some I have ridden in in the States especially one I have in mind — the Mis. Pac. In parts of Kansas.
We left about on time and with the coaches. six of them were crowded. The coaches are smaller than in the States. Leaving Mollendo we go nearly east for several miles along near the ocean. Not a thing to be seen on either side except mountains of clear sand and the ocean. Out about four miles we came to a little Oasis where their were gardens, fruit trees, and a few houses. A few miles further we came to another little settlement. The most interesting sights were the donkeys. While I was looking at them Lillie called my attention to another strange animal tied to a tree. We had quite a time to tell what it was, looked like a cross between a hound and a black skim-milk-fed calf. It turned out to be a hog. Razor back does not begin to describe it. A little further on we saw several more tied up in the same manner, staked our just as we used to stake out a cow or horse. Just beyond this settlement we turned inland and began to climb up towards the mountain. Passed thru a stretch where there were large rugged looking rocks very similar to the “hudoos” in the Yellowstone Park. We began to climb very rapidly for several miles winding back and forth. Could see several loops of our track ahead of us on up the mountain side. Every few miles there was a water tank and sometimes a house or two. With the exception of these and now and then a large cactus plant sometimes ten feet in height and with several branches, there was not a sign of life or of vegetation. At one point in our windings we caught a glimpse of a pretty green valley a way below. We could see the houses and small plats of green river that runs thru Ariquipa. At about 5000 elevation we came out on sort of a plateau. Some parts quite level with now and then a small hill. This plateau looked like it had recently plowed and harrowed and lots of rock at about every hundred yards each way is a large pile of almost white sand which looks almost like a pool of clear and beautiful water at a distant. Some of these were ten or twenty feet in height. They were in the form of huge crescent with the inner side or two points pointing eastward the direction the wind always blows. The inner side is also steep like leeward side of a snowdrift. They say these are continually shifting with the wind and move about 70 feet a fear or one and a half miles a century. In the middle of the plateau we came to another little town with several pretty little garden patches. Saw several of the common vegetables, melons, corn, etc. Natives brought several fruit on the train to sell to the passengers. I saw grapes, peaches, figs, quinces, watermelons and several that I was not acquainted with. Soon after leaving this little town we began to climb again and for several miles we went up very fast and the train made many very sharp curves. I would not want to take them very fast on the down grade. The telephone poles at the side are different than the one we see in the States. They are all a galvanized iron. It is interesting to see the roads or rather trails for the pack burrows as they wind back and forth to cross the mountains. They are narrow and sometimes have many large boulders in the trail which the burrows must scramble over. We also saw several ruins of the old Inca camping places. They were fallen down stone houses and corrals, some of them nearly covered with sand. As we were winding around one we caught another glimpse of the valley of the Ariquipa River away below us.
Finally we came up on another rather rough table land on which Ariquipa is situated. Mother few miles and we came into the valley of the Ariquipa River, now almost level with the surrounding plain. This was one of the most gladsome sight I ever saw. As green and pretty as California and in fact most of the California products grow there and lots other besides. A pleasant change after the baron desert we had passed over. Green fields of alfalfa, corn wheat, barley, gardens and fruit trees all under irrigation. Altho it was already nearly 8000 ft in altitude yet this plateau is only a beginning as on ahead of us were three towering snow-capped mountains, Mt. Misti, 19000 ft., Pitchu Pitchi 17000 and another almost as height. Pi-Pitchi is so steep that snow will only lay on it in some places. Mt. Misti at one time was and active volcanoe and covered all this country with lava and even now at times smoke can be seen curling from its top just to remind the people of its power. The Indians used to offer human sacrifices to appease the wrath of the God in this mountain? All the buildings of the valley are made from the lava rock which has run down its side, and they say it is very good building stone. At least some of the buildings are hundreds of years old and still are in good condition. We reached the station in Ariquipa about six oclock. Rather expected to see Eld. Stahl to meet us but no one was there to meet us.
The station here is about like a small town depot in the States. We got a Ford jitney to take us to a hotel Castra about the center of town. They seem to have quite a number of Ford cars here and several large cars. The jitney charge twenty cents ($. 10) a passenger. They also have street cars here. Fare on them is only five cents or half our fare in the States.
Ariquipa is rather pretty city of 70,000 people. The buildings are low flat, and mostly white. Streets are very narrow and all the streets are paved with round pebbles which are more serviceable than comfortable when one ride over them in a Ford car at about twenty miles a hour. There is no speed limit here. These pavements are very difficult to walk over too but the little burrows which are almost as plentiful as Fords in the States seem to get over them very easily although it is not at all uncommon to see them get up on the narrow sidewalks where it is smooth and make the people walk out in the street. They are interesting to watch. You can see them going about the streets with their heads down, packs of every description from a load of brick to a basket of dirty looking meat, with no one to guide them. They are trained to go from one place to another and they never get on the wrong road or stop to graze. They seem almost human, and really display as much intelligence as lots of the Indians one sees here. They are certainly not as filthy looking at least.
We have a very nice room in the hotel with a window opening toward the city Plaza which they say is one of the prettiest in Peru. It is about the size of a large block and is paved with tile and lots of pretty flowers and palm trees. Our room compares with a room in the medium class in the U.S.
One strange thing is the way we have to enter instead of a wide entrance and a common stairway, we enter a little narrow door and have to go up a spiral stairway that winds around twice in going up to the second floor, and so narrow that I think some people of the beef trust type would not be able to squeeze thru. Supper or “comida” was served at seven oclock and really was as good as one could get in the States although I do not suppose a glimpse at the kitchen would help find appetite. Almost everything one would find on the menu on the States and instead of a little square inch of butter one is given an individual dish of at least five times the individual helping in the States and butter is 70 cents in our money a pound too. All service is by order from a menu and there are about six courses. First is salad of some kind and cold meat, next soup, then fish, meat of any kind to order, vegetables?, desert of pudding or fruit never pie in Peru. and last coffee or tea. Meals are included with room always in Peru. Here we have to pay tree soles a day $1.50 our Money for each person. Very cheap I think.
Tuesday, 15th. – Slept well last night, bed clean and no bugs or mosquitoes to bother. Breakfast or “deseuna” was at seven and consisted of bread butter and coffee, tea or hot milk. They don’t eat breakfast as we do in the States. Don’t know whether I can get used to this part or not. At eleven to One dinner or “almuerce” is served. This is a little less elaborate than supper. Salad first, soup, fish, meat, vegetables, eggs any style, pancakes and coffee. Smaller portions and no desert. Pancakes are as large as your plate, thin as paper almost, and yellow with egg. Really better than our hotcakes but instead of serving syrup with them they serve lemon as we do with fish. After breakfast I hunted up Bro. Kilberinatter, a Argentine man who is the minister and worker for the town and all the country for fifty miles a round. He lives out in the suburbs. The street car took me all found the town before
I come to the place to get off. It was very interesting to see the narrow streets which the car runs thru, sometimes very little wider than the car. Had to walk several blocks after getting off and ask directions several times in Spanish before I found the house. Found the place but Br. Kilbermatter was down town and Sis. Kilbermatter can no speak English at all so had a very interesting time talking Spanish with her for an hour or so until he returned. Found that he can only speak English a little but we could make ourselves understood. Found that Eld. Stahl had gone down to Mollendo to meet us the day we came up so we had passed each other on the road. Sorry to have missed him.
After dinner Lillie and I visited the market here. It is an immense affair with a high roof about forty feet high. It covers an entire block. Every thing for sale there. Not nearly as filthy tho as the market in Callao and there are hardly any flies here in Ariquipa anyway.
After supper Kilbermatter’ s came by and we went with them to meeting. There are about forty in the church here and several others were in. He preached on the signs of the time but in Spanish so we did not get the full benefit. They have a nice little room for the church. During the meeting some one began to throw things against the windows so they had to close the shutters. They did not want to harm but only to disturb. Ours and a Baptist mission are the only Protestants here and after the Baptists have been here for forty years they only have four members while we have gotten forty members in three years.
Wednesday 16th. — Kilbermaters asked us to come over there and spend the day with them so we went over about ten oclock. Spent a very pleasant time with them, especially a very fine dinner after Spanish cooking for so long. Bro. Kilbermatter has learned most of his English thro reading our books, and papers. The testimonies are not in Spanish. They seem to be very nice people.
They tell us of another S.D.A girl here in town Miss Whitman who is nursing a rich lady here. She gets two pounds $10.00 a day. Received word that Eld. Stahl would be in on the six oclock train, so we went down and meet him. To bad he had went down and missed us. We were glad to meet him. Spent the evening talking with him and listening about the work and his experiences. He has certainly passed it is wonderful who the Lord has protected them in some of the dangerous times when they have nearly been massacred. Now the work is on its feet and has the favor of the most of the people. He has worked so hard tho that his health is badly broken and he is now on his way to the States to recuperate. Don’t know how long he will be gone but I am afraid he will never be able to come back to such a hard place.
The Lard had kept him tho until some others have been able to come and take his place. We are certainly glad that we can help some. He told us that we could live in his house while we were studying the language. I guess that we will go out to a place about 25 miles from the main station when we have the language and start a new mission and school. Already there are several from that part who have been baptized. Ours will be the fourth mission to be established.
Thursday, 7th. — Spent the entire day visiting with Eld. Stahl and walking about the town. There are many interesting sight and customs. The sewage instead of being in the pipes as we have it is run in open ditches between the sidewalks and the street. Doesn’t smell so bad tho as in the States at this high altitude makes a difference. We see lots of thing that you could not belief existed and which I would not care to write on paper. The one pretty sight tho is the Cathedrals, seven of them and one of them the best in Peru. We went in and watched them have Mass. They are simply grand. Gold and silver inlay everywhere, beautiful images, gold spun robes on the priest. Some of the Cathedrals hare were built as early as 1600. 1 never before realize as I watched the reverence a apparent fear of the worshipers how wonderful and free it must be to renounce Catholicism and find Jesus.
Friday, 18th. – Went with Eld Stahl to the train at seven oclock. He is going from here to Lima and to the States in a few weeks. He will be going to the Gen. Conf. Studied and wrote before dinner and after dinner we walked out to the observatory. It is a branch of Harvard and is the biggest in South Am. And has the largest photographic telescope in the world. The high clear atmosphere here makes it a fine place to view the heavens. An S.D.A. Mr. Hinkle had charge until a few months ago. it is out about two miles. We enjoyed the walk as we got to see the farms. All the land here is farmed and I never more abundant growths in the States. Br. Blanchard who has charge gave us a pleasant welcome, showed us around and we visited with him for about two hours. He is a very pleasant man about thirty years old and a bachelor. Had as nice house tho as in the US.
Sabbath, 19th. — Went to Sab. School at ten. A very interesting group of Spaniards and Indians. Visited most of day. This is the last day in town? We go on to Puno in the morning.
Sunday, 19th. — Went down to the depot about six thirty, bought our tickets and train left about seven. As soon as we were out of town a few miles we were in the desert again without signs of life anywhere. Almost immediately we began to climb and soon we were in rougher country than we had seen yet. ft looked for a time as tho we were going right up the face of Old Misti. After going thru a lot of windings and climbing a few thousands of feet the country became less barren and among the rooks were large bunches of course grass and now and then a bunch of sagebrush which after the barren desert looked pretty. A little further on we began to see bunches of llama grazing by the side, at ten-thirty we stopped for almuerzo. We did not go in to the hotel which probably was not so bad but we did see the places where the biggest part ate. There were some small tables near the train and natives from all around brought out large pots of soup and other cooked foods and served to all who wished to buy.
Some way or other I didn’t feel hungry at all especially after I saw them wash their dishes for the second customers. They merely took the bottom of their dresses and mopped out the dishes and filled them for the next one and the dirtiest dress I ever saw a woman in the States wear would be a model of cleanliness in comparison. They had probably served the same purpose for time in memorial. Despite all that the native passengers and some quite respectable looking Spaniards partook of the repast with a zest that few of us would if we were eating at the best table in the land. They also brought some nice fruits of all kinds to sell, they were very cheap. I bought about a two gallon basket of the nicest figs I think I ever tasted for 30 cents. Oranges for two for a nickel. After leaving this place we rather bid goodbye to the tropics and began to enter the mountains. About noon we passed the summit which is 14,680 feet where the RR crosses. So far we feel no effects of the altitude at all although several in the coach seem to be suffering a great deal. They call the mountain sickness “siroche”. It is very similar to seasickness. I do feel that I breathe a little deeper than common and it is getting quite chilly so that we need our overcoats on in the cars. Here we are out on a rather level plain with now and then large hills. No trees at all but a splendid looking grazing country. We can see large herds of llama, sheep, and some cattle with now ant then an Indian adobe hut with grass roof As we start down towards Lake Titicaca we begin to see many little cultivated plots. It is about 50 miles from the pass down to the lake. By the time we had come down to within twenty five miles of the lake most of the land was under cultivation even clear up to the top of the rocky hills which average probably one mile up their side and very steep and rocky. it surely gives evidence here of a very keen contest with nature in order to win the necessities of like. The hills are mostly all terraced with a bank built up of the stones gathered of the little terrace. Many places we could see little plots cleared off which were not more than four feet square. Indians huts just thick all over the pampa (plain) and hillsides. Instead of this being a
Barron dry country as I had supposed it is too wet especially at this season of the wear. The flats all look like near swamps and you can see springs oozing out all over the hillsides and making big mud holes. In the dry season they say that is quite dry but there is always lots of springs. They say there are two rainy seasons. The little rainy spell in September or October and the big one during Jan., Feb., &
Mar. During these times they say it all ways rains some time during each day. Generally starts in about four in the afternoon and rains almost steady until the next day at about eight. The middle of the day is always dry. Reached Puno, the city we have been looking for so long about six. Eld. Maxwell, Bro. Barrwdale, Shepherd and lot of Indian brethren were at the train to meet us. Everyone seemed glad to see us but the way the Indians greeted us was as tho we were their Fathers and mothers. All of the men (Indians) hugged me and the women hugged Lillie. The smiles on their faces were interesting to see, even if it was pouring down rain. The Indians took our hand luggage and we walked with the others over to a Spaniards house who is a member of the church. They had a nice hot supper waiting us and we soon felt as tho we surely had made some mistake and were not really in a foreign country. We had a very jolly time during supper hour and after supper they showed us our room for the night and there on the table was a big stack of letters from home. Never saw any letters that looked more interesting. We have spent most of the evening reading them. We have a very nice room here. This man is one of the best to do men in Puno and has about the best house. Doesn’t however compare very well with an American house but very comfortable and lots of very nice furniture.
Monday 21st. — After desauna at seven thirty we went down to the market with the rest to get some supplies to take out to the mission. They had a lot of saddlebags and all they bought they put in the bags and gave to the Indians to carry. They always take a few Indians with them when they go any where. They act as translators into the Indian Aymara tongue and also carry or any thing else necessary. An Indian has no respect for a white man who carries his own parcels. I am afraid I will get lazy if the Indians do so much for me.
Puno isn’t a bad town for Peru. All buildings are flat adobe with galvanized iron roofing. All the streets are narrow and paved with round stones, but as the houses are one story and their isn’t a vehicle of any sort in the whole country except the two Fords (0. & L. Ford) it doesn’t make much difference. The Indians, burrows, and horses serve all wants in travel. There are about 6,000 people but it is not spread over much ground. There are fair stores in which one can buy practically all common things if you have the money although some imported things are out of sight. We left town about eleven oclock. It is 23 miles out to the Planterea mission. The Indians walked and drove the pack burrows with our things, and the rest of us had horses and mules. Lillie had a little Indian pony and I a little mule that I hardly believed could carry me but before I got to Planterea I was glad he was no larger. We made quite a procession. The road led around the west side of the lake and in a southwest direction. The road to Planterea is very pretty as it crosses the level Pampa with the lake on one side and the rugged mountains on the other. Every thing is green at this time of year. This is early summer here 110W. The road that goes by Planterea is a government road and in fact the only toad in the country. We would not however call this a road as all that has been done is to pile in a few rock in the swampy places and build up a rock wall on each side about two feet high. It is danger of a horse breaking their legs in the piles of rock and all the big rock is left in the road no matter if it is three feet in diameter. No vehicle could possibly run over it and the horses have to go crocked to miss the big stones. Some places there isn’t room for two horses a breast. They do not pretend to bridge the streams, and in the rainy season you sometimes have to ride across a balsa (boat) and swim your horse. This is the best road in the country too.
We had a pleasant ride until nearly to the mission when my mule evidently wanted to show off. We were galloping along at a brisk gallop when all of a sudden he lowered his head put out his front feet and stopped at one jump. Not being so anxious to stop I went on and landed in a rock pile about twenty feet ahead. By the time I got myself picked up the mule was away off across tile pampa with saddle and everything else bucked off. I was more surprised than hurt. See now that there is little difference between mules in Peru than in tile States. It sort of made me feel at home, made me feel like I was back on the Washington ranch, again. I only had on a little native saddle with no horn and with no warning I went off easy.
We were rather glad to get to the mission as a 23 mile ride on a mule and unaccustomed to riding for several years is a good job. You ought to have seen our welcome at the mission especially by the Indians who had been told we were coming.
Had a good supper at Br. Barrowdales and went to bed early.
Tuesday. 22nd. — We are really at the place we have been thinking about for so long. We make the fourth American family here. All of us are under thirty years old so we ought to get along nicely together. Mr. & Mrs. Howell run the school. Mr. & Mrs. Barrowdale the medical part. Mr. & Mrs. Shepherd the business for all the missions in this country. Eld. Achenbach who has a mission fifteen miles further on has the Superintendency. Mr. & Mrs. Nelson have another mission about fifty miles on and Howards are across the lake at Moho. There are also two or three Indian missions and 25 schools with native teachers which the white workers supervise and visit every few days. The school here at Platerca is more advanced students. In the Indian schools they only teach about two grades and here at Platerea only five. That is a lot tho when one considers that only those who attend our schools can read at all and are little about dumb brutes. In this section we have over 1,000 baptized believers and about the same in number in schools. That is really wonderful when one considers that only about four years ago they were all catholic and ready to kill every Protestant they could find. Really miraculous how Eld Stahls life was protected the first few years he was here. At one time 500 Indians surrounded the house to kill him and family. And the worse thing was that the law gave them the right to kill Protestants. Now the government is on our side and there are thousands of Indians here that would gladly give their life to protect any of us. Just the other day about twenty Miles from here three Indians were killed because some Indians were talking against us, and they got in a fight. On the way out here yesterday we passed thru a settlement where a couple of years ago they tried to kill Eld. Stahl and as we came thru yesterday the little children came out and followed us a we threw them pieces of bread. Here at the mission they are fixed up quite comfortable. Each family has four roomed adobe house whitewashed inside and out which makes them look very nice. They have quite a large adobe church which is full every Sabbath. The school is also held in the church. All the buildings are covered with Galvanized iron which is a good roof and in the past has been a protection from time Indians setting fire by throwing brands on the roof. They only have about an acre of land which is all that they could buy as the Indians have only little acre and half acre lots so they can not sell much. All the houses are fixed up very comfortable in side, and as far as food goes there seems to be plenty as long as one has money to buy it. Some foods are cheap, such as milk, eggs and some vegetables. Milk about three cents a quart. Butter, potatoes, rice, flour, sugar, salt, etc are about the same as in the States but of inferior quality. Meat is about five cents a pound. You can buy most any thing in Puno that you can in a small town in the States although all manufactured thing, canned goods, furniture, etc are out of site and generally of inferior quality. I noticed a wardrobe in Puno (100.00 qualities in the States) for 1500 soles ($75.00) Iron bedsides 100-200 soles. You can buy such fruits as oranges, apples, pears, plums, pineapples, bananas, watermelons, grapes, lemons, quinces, pomegranates, etc in the Puno markets. They have been carried up from the valleys. They are all quite high priced and some of the are a very inferior quality especially the apples. peaches, and pears. Figs, quinces and lemons are fine. In this country all they raise is potatoes, barley, potatoes, onions, and a few other vegetables at some times. It frosts every month in the year so no fruits and few vegetable will grow. The Indians also raise quinoa, what we call pig weed in the States and make mush from the seed. It is not good tho but fills up. They also raise some runty corn at times. The Indians live almost entirely on quinoa toasted barley, potatoes frozen and dried in the sun, onions and other things if they can get them which they seldom can. They eat very little meat as they can not afford it. About all they get is the internals and blood which they get for butchering an animal for a Spaniard.
They are glad to butcher an animal for the parts a whit man won’t eat.
We have been gladly surprised to find nearly everything more pleasant and agreeable than we had expected. Really this is not so bad a country even tho it is very different than in the States. As far as scenery goes we have plenty of it. The lake is very pretty and the almost level pampa runs back for several miles to the large hills which are very rugged and rocky. Even the ragged Mts. That look from a distant not to have a foot of tillable land are just thick with people and houses although most of the houses can not be seen until you are right beside them. The cliff dweller of New Mexico could not beat the cliff dwellers here. They pick out the rock on a little patch build up a wall of rock on one side and have a little patch of potatoes or barley and with what they can steal or beg get along very well.
Most of the Indians here are under feudal system very similar to the middle ages in Europe. Most of the land is owed by a Spaniard and the Indians get the use of the land by working for him certain days of the year and giving part of the crop. By means of debts and fear they very seldom leave his land but work for the same man from father to son. These large land holdings are called “chalkras”! Once in awhile they are owed by Indians instead of Spaniards. If one wants to buy land you must either buy an entire chalkra of several thousand acres or buy a little 2×4 plot from some Indian who has broken away, and they very seldom wish to sell as there is no other land for them to buy. Not more than ten per cent of the indians speak Spanish and the Aymara is very difficult. Only one of the men here has tried to learn it and he has it only partly. All work is done thru interpreters and schools are held in Spanish, only. This seem to be a very healthful country for a strong person. We have not felt the altitude at all except a little mountain dysentery that every one has for a time after coming here.
We are to stay here about a month or maybe less. Then we go over to Nelson mission. We will stay there six months or a year until we get the language and then we are to go over to another place between here and there called “ Alva’ and start a new mission. We will have about 10,000 Indians to work with. Already there are about fifty believers there but no church. It is on the edge of the lake also. We plan to surround the lake with mission in time. There are thousands and thousands of Indians in this section and when these are all reached there are millions more in all the plateaus of S. America. I hardly see how all can be reached in a hundred years but it can be done by’ the help of God. There are thousands of Indians between here and the civilized part of Brazil that are still almost cannibal and do sometimes practice it. We hope this work here will spread to all the other parts.
When we go out on a new mission we are to put a house and a church. We take a few of the advanced students from Platerea and put them out in the neighboring vicinity in native houses donated by the Indians and let them carry on a school. We visit the different schools every few days and see that they are getting along all right and visit the people in our section, treat all the sick, and hold School and church on Sabbath. After a few years the more advanced students are brought to our mission and trained to go on to a new station as teachers and those that are capable are to be put on missions of their own. There are two or three Indians missions now. They are able to do really more than an American if they are well enough trained as they can get closer to the people, speak the language and live on half the wage of American can. When we visit we have to take an Indian boy along who speaks both Spanish and Aymara and let him translate for us. We have to do the same on Sabbath. With the start we already have here in this section it seem like it a few years we would have enough trained native to open up all S America, of course at their best the Indians have to be closely supervised by some one as they do not no how to carry on the work with out every little thing told them as the work spreads it will take many more white workers to supervise. With that help the Indians themselves can open up all S. America. It surely is going to be interesting work and I am anxious to get the Spanish so that I can get to work. Of course it means lots of work. The workers here are kept busy from morning until night riding over the county, treating the sick and keeping the Indians at their proper work. They have to be on the go rain or shine. You are in reality their chief and they look to you for every need, judge, doctor, teacher, preacher, and ideal. I have gone out with the men here on their trips and it is hard work to ride all day up and down the mountains in the rain or hot sun eat in an Indian hut who think he is treating you if he give you a dish of dirty beef intrals soup in dishes so dirty that you could not tell their original color. The roads over the mountains are always the creek bed which may not be so bad if it is not raining and no water is running. Last evening I was out on a trip and the water in the road was about a foot deep and coming down the steep hill side that in several places we had to dismount and wad the water leading the horse so that he could climb over the steepest places and large rocks. Some times they get to far away to return at night and then they have to sleep in the native houses, which are the rendavou of all kinds of lice, vermits, dogs, and more times domestic animals. Their houses are rarely larger than six by ten or twelve. The doors are generally about eighteen inches wide and three feet high, no window, a fireplace with no chimney but the door in one end and the beds in the other end. The bed is a place in the end raised about a foot above the floor and built of adobe as is the rest of the house. All the interior is as black with sut from the fire places. The roof is of grass and where a piece of grass hangs down it looks like an icicle only it is black, sometimes the sut is an inch deep. Not a very good place for white dresses. If it is your lot to sleep there you must lay down with a dozen Indians a half dozen dogs and more flees, lice and other varmints than could be counted. If you should be able to doze off you would probably be awakened before long by the long snout of one of the Peruvian razorback hogs rutting you in the face. To get inside the house in the rainy season you generally have to wade as bad a mud hole as you sometimes see around a barnyard in the States in the rainy season there. There is never such a thing as a chair or table. Of course it is needless to say that we rarely plan to spend a night in an Indian house but sometimes you must and it rains every night in the rainy season and is desperately cold if it doesn’t rain so one almost has to do it if caught out from home at night. It is impossible to go over the roads they have here after night. and even if it were you would be almost sure to be robbed. The Indians are sure some pack animals. Mrs. Barrowdale went down to Ariquipa the other day and she didn’t want to have her suitcase strapped on to a pack animal so she gave an Indian boy twenty cents to carry them in to Puno for her 23 miles. They carry most all the lumber used here by men. A man will carry a sixteen foot 1×12 on his back the 23 miles. The boy that carried in the suitcases had to be there for the seven oclock morning train too. The indians all go barefoot even in the snow and rain. Some that come to church have bought shoes but they carry them on their backs until they get almost there then put them on and after church take them off and carry the on their backs. They make their clothes out of a course wool they weave themselves. Almost as coarse as sackcloth. The womens skirts sometimes weigh as much as ten lbs. and they wear from five to ten of them at once. They all wear a heavy felt like hat which they make from llama wool and wheat flour. Some of them look real nice when they are new and clean. Some of the boys and girls in the states would probably think they had a very novel sporty hat if they had one like them. They will go all to pieces if they get wet.
All the women folks here at the mission have an Indian girl to help them. You can hire them for three Bolivians a month (less than $1 .50) and they do good work after you get them trained. They are not very neat at first but they are willing to learn. They are greatly pleased to get the opportunity to work for a white women. I think most of us would too if we had to live as they do in their own home. Altho all the people have very simple houses but to the Indians they are the grandest palaces. They like to come and even look in. We have hired a little girl and she is learning fast is already quite a help to Lillie. When you have one of the Indians eat at your place you never can pass them foods but you have to serve them. If you pass them the big dish they immediately start eating out of it and will not stop until all is gone. You have to careful with the hired girl at first or they will make themselves sick eating so much. Our girl is getting about filled up now and eats little more than and American.
We have been here a little over a week but I will save the other interesting things until next time.
Yours from the Inca Mission
Orley Ford and wife.