Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Holidays, the little town of Mamiña, and Doug's birthday

Time is moving on with our great mission. We want to share some pictures of events and places. May 21st is a national holiday in Chile. It marks the anniversary of the great naval battle of Iquique that took place on that day in 1879 during the War of the Pacific. The war was between Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. This particular battle was between Peru and Chile. What is fascinating is that Chile technically lost this celebrated battle and had to leave Iquique, which was then part of Peru. The great ship Esmeralda was sunk with significant loss of life along with her Captain, Arturo Prat.  So while this battle was lost, it became a great rallying cry for Chileans and the memory of Prat's heroism encouraged a surge in recruitment. This enabled Chile to ultimately win the greater war and claim a large part of land that is today the extreme northern part of Chile.  Prat is now considered a national hero and at least one street is named after him in almost every Chilean town and city.

We were able to tour the reconstructed Esmeralda, saw Iquique from the ocean view via boat, and enjoyed being with the Chileans on their special day.  It was a unique moment to be in the city where the battle took place.

    The Esmeralda is now a museum and we loved touring it.

 These are the cannons that didn't have enough power to overcome the Peruvian battleship.

                                    Some views of Iquique from out on the ocean.

We went back to Pica, which is part of the Pozo Almonte Branch, for a Family Home Evening.  We took the elders - a threesome with us. Pictured below are Elders Aquino/Argentina, Barrington/UT, and Sargent/UT.  Next are Victor and Taciani, Brother Varela, and Mikki.  It was a small group but we enjoyed spending the evening with them.  On the way back to Pozo Almonte, we stopped to look at the stars.  Pica is at least 35 miles beyond Pozo Almonte and with no lights around us we were amazed at all the constellations we could see. It was easy to see the Milky Way. Truly amazing!!

The Vera's invited to their home for lunch as Cecilia's parents and aunt were visiting from Santiago. They'd also invited another couple from their ward in Iquique to join us. The Vera's daughter, Anita, will leave in a few weeks to serve a mission in the Argentina Posadas Mission, which is in the northeastern most part of the country. It includes Iguazu Falls, which on the Brazilian side was included in our daughter, Nicole's, mission.  She'll be a wonderful missionary!

On Doug's birthday, May 25th, we drove up to the little town of Mamiña, which is northwest of Pozo Almonte, up in the mountains.  It's a town of hot springs and we're sure it's a bustling community during the summer but May is late Fall and it was a quiet day except for the Catholic church, which was having some sort of celebration.  It was Memorial Day up in the States and when the people in the church were asked to remember their ancestors we felt like we were able to have a little Memorial Day of our own.
                                            Even our car celebrated Doug's birthday!!

Mamiña is a town where legend has it that the waters of this place cured an Incan princess of blindness.  The name means "the little girl of my dreams" and is known for its healing hot springs.

Here are some views of the town.

The little church, tiny plaza, and inside the church.

We celebrated Doug's birthday that night at the home of Oscar Rozas and his wife Olfa Montenegro (the wives usually keep their maiden name after marriage). They'd invited the Hernandez-Pino and Aldunate-San Francisco families over for pizza and birthday cake.Olfa is a fantastic baker and has a business from her home for bakeries and private orders.
Starting from the left:  Nancy, Melisa Hernandez, Alexandra holding Melisa's new baby, Julio Hernandez, Ivan Rozas, Joshua (Alexandra's boyfriend), Oscar Rozas, Ismael Aldunate, Angelica San Francisco, Ema Pino, Mauricio Hernandez, and Olfa Montenegro.
 Olfa made darling cream puffs into the shapes of swans. She also had a lemon pie plus the other treats on the table. Yum!! Then at the end she brought out her Tres Leches cake. Double yum!!!

                                 The next day we celebrated with the elders in our zone.

                                             Doesn't this look like a happy group?!!
From the left (back): Elders Silva/Argentina, Mariscal/Bolivia, Medina/Paraguay, Campbell/CO, Modawell/MI, Barrington/UT, Sargent/UT, Aquino/Argentina, Balmeceda/Peru-Chile, Wanderley/ Brazil, Cable/CA, Martins/Brazil, Childs/CA, and Lopez/UT. In front: Elders Herrera/Chile and Solis/Chile

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