The Hayes Zoo
- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.
- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.
- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.
- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.
Friday, January 29, 2010
We have had tamales in 3 different countries (although I don't think that tamales out of the freezer section of Safeway really count anymore...) and Mexican tamales are by far, our favorites.
A comparison -
(*if* I was a good blogger - I would have picture of Honduran Tamales for you....I'm not. Sorry 'bout that. We didn't have them that often so I don't know that I have even one....so you'll have to use your imaginations.)
*wrapped in banana leaves
*wet, smooth texture
* bones (of the meat option) still in the mix
*wrapped/cooked in corn husks
*dry, grainy texture - that sounds bad but it's not; similar to corn bread if that's a better description.
*no bones in them that I've seen
*small; about the size of an iphone
These tamales were being sold in the market and bless my hubby's heart - he bought some for us to have for a snack (dinner).
Green and red were the options that day.
Red to us means usually a chili colorado; which can be somewhat spicy and green has been rajas (strips of chili). THOSE are *my* favorites. Neither of these were spicy though. Just really, really good. :)
Here, try a bite - Riley will share.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thank you GratefulforGrace for the idea. I keep forgetting to wander around with my camera so I didn't have anything stashed in my back pocket for this week. You saved me!
So - we've all heard and maybe you've even experienced the horror stories of food from Mexico and the bacteria and such that makes you sicker than a dog, if not worse.
Well....we live here and for the past 4 1/2 years (Honduras too) getting 'imported' food that is completely, 100% USDA approved was just not possible so our options were and are: live and eat it, or starve. So - we've learned to manage what we can, and pray over all the rest.
Enter a new mentality and disinfectant. We assume everything has something. This is working pretty well for us. The general rule for eating outside US borders is if you can peel it - it's okay to eat raw. (Talking fruits and veggies here) Otherwise, cook it lots or disinfect it. So we always do the soak method before it goes into the fridge.
Okay so really it's more like 95% of the time - everyone has been known to snitch stuff before it gets into the cleaning vats; this is where the prayer comes in. Everyone assumes that once it's in the fridge or put in it's proper place it's free game. I set this up in years past, so it's a 'known' fact.
The only things I do NOT soak are the onions. They get g.r.o.s.s. if you soak them. Slimy from the inside out...blech. But not one single person in THIS house is going to eat a raw onion, so I figure we're good. I also wait 'till the meal we're using it for to soak lettuce and cabbage - but again - these items are not high on the 'grab a bite' menu so...
You can use bleach - but gag. It's nasty. Effective, but nasty - not to mention toxic.
THESE are our products of choice.
The pure vinegar is an effective disinfectant although I will be adding Hydrogen Peroxide to boost it after reading a few more articles.
• Use vinegar as a produce wash. Susan Sumner, PhD, a food-safety scientist at Virginia Tech, has researched the effectiveness of vinegar since the late ’90s. She found in one study, published in the 1997 issue of the journal Food Microbiology that spraying vinegar and then spraying hydrogen peroxide on produce killed a majority of E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Listeria bacteria. You can also mix it up, using hydrogen peroxide first, just as long as you don't mix the two together (they're less effective that way). Let the produce dry before you eat it.
Bactericida - It's a fruit, veggie, water and general sterilizer for decontaminating. Here's a page on it - ready to practice your Spanish??
So - honestly, we eat pretty much anything and so far, gracias a Dios, we've been healthy. I'm POSITIVE this is not related entirely to my cleaning methods either, so keep up the prayers.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Which will make my mother very happy.
We have 3. You may know that already.
We are entering a new phase of parenting. They are running toward the 'tween' phase while Alan and I are wondering where the last 10 years went. :) That in itself can leave a bit of a 'what now?' feeling in the pit of my stomach but then you add the international twist on it and...some days...we just have to laugh.
Yesterday was one of those. It has to to with a common household appliance - the phone.
We have a house phone here. We HAVE NOT had a house phone since we left the states. For the most part cell phones are what is used. I think there was a phone connection in Madera for a while but honestly, it just collected dust and never rang so it wasn't an issue.
We do have a skype phone (with video feed even!) so my kids think talking on the phone means getting to see the person you're talking to and making charming faces so you can crack yourself up.
Enter new area, new friends, new schedule, and a telephone. It never crossed my mind to do any kind of lessons with this thing. It should have.
On our way to basketball Riley and I had a conversation in phone manners after yet another, one-sided phone conversation that left me a little shocked. "So Riley, when you call someone don't yell into the phone - 'HEY! WHO IS THIS?'. The proper response is 'Hi - this is Riley. May I speak to......'."
And for the girls - the lesson goes as such. "When the phone rings - you don't start running pell-mell through the house and screaming, 'I'm GOING TO GET IT!!' then proceed to chew out the sibling that beat you to the punch while they're talking to the caller."
Yesterday, as I was lamenting the latest phone call debacle, Alan said casually, "We've not had a house phone since they were old enough to do anything with it." Oh geez. Lightbulb moment.
So now we are doing little 'phone etiquette' lessons in addition to math, science, reading, and writing. I wonder what else I'm missing.
Feel free to call anytime though - you can check on their progress.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Saturday is 'market' day in Mitla. This is when lots of vendors come into town and set up their puestos on the street in el centro. The first week we were here the regular indoor market was closed on this day but last week it was open - not sure which is the 'norm'.
The whole family gets to carry the load.
This would be 'puerco'....now does this lessen YOUR appetite any?
The veggie stands.
The other end of the street where people have laid out smaller options.
The indoor market.
Fruit stands and flower stands and meat markets, oh my. There are juice stands, shoe shops, bread vendors, and dry goods. It's a hoppin' place. I realized that I only got shots from one angle though...I'll remedy that soon.
I couldn't resist the pretty flowers.
Chicken. Feet and all. Eeeecccckkkkk.
The ladies working at the chicken vendors were snickering a LOT at the faces my kids were making. 'Discreet' is not one of their life skills...yet.
This gal I found through asking around at every stand if anyone had spinach. Finally, one of the gals I bought onions from mentioned that her mother had a stand inside that sells it. We found her and not only did she have spinach - but a few lettuces and BOK CHOY too!!! It 'comes when it comes' but I'm still pretty darned excited.
THESE were the biggest corn tortillas we've ever seen.
Home again, home again. All that for about $35.00 usd.
Then then cleaning/disinfecting process.
A good day's work.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
We're watching God provide in so many big ways but the main story for today is a smaller one. Yet, for me it feels huge. Something along the lines of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. God reminding me that he sees. He cares. He provides....in lots of ways...if I will notice.
The story may be a wee bit disjointed but if you follow through to the end - the lines DO connect.
It begins with the house we are staying in. We are house-sitting. In my shift to make it home for us by moving some of their things out and placing ours 'in', I discovered the family has a crockpot. A small one but still - A CROCKPOT. I haven't seen one of these babies in ages. Ooooohhhhhh - I was so darn excited. I cooked a roast the first time I could. Had to figure out where to get the meat first but that accomplished, I set about putting that thing to use! I've enjoyed making soups, salsas, beans, granola, the roast, and many more things.
I remember this - put in ingredients in the morning - smell it cooking all day and VOILIA, you have a fabulous dinner with little effort! When you remember that 99% of our cooking is done from scratch and by hand the time factor saved with using this crockpot has been like being handed a vacation. :) VERY fun.
So - enter 'new year's resolutions' and 'make plans for future needs'.
First we'll start with 'new year's resolutions'. De-cluttering. It's big anyway this time of year but then on a homeschooling forum I'm part of, it's gained new fame through our own version of The Flylady. Each day has a de-cluttering challenge and off we go! Now, having just moved internationally AGAIN I honestly don't have that much to de-clutter, but living in someone else's house I do have some work to do in making it our own. So I'm doing a version of the project.
BUT - the kicker here is, so is my friend and co-worker, JAMIE.
Now to part 2 - 'make plans for future needs' - don't laugh. I am starting a list. IF and WHEN this is where God calls us there will be some things we need to invest in, look for, replace, on and on we go. Normally we do this when in the states because frankly, things are so much less expensive there and the quality is better.
SO - guess what little item got put on my list? A crockpot. I know we won't live here forever and the family will eventually want their house AND the crockpot back, so yes, I put a crockpot on my list.
As we're praying about 'future plans' and me writing down my 'list' I got to musing...'Okay Lord, I DO think this would be a great help in my kitchen work.' So I put down crockpot. Then I thought - 'Well....IF I'm going to choose a crockpot, what would I want in it?? Size, shape, power, lid, on and on.' Actually I didn't get that far. I went so far as to say - 'I would like it bigger, more of a flat, oblong shape instead of the cylindrical type... I like the glass lid and color well...anything EXCEPT blue - probably red or black as those are my favs.' That's about it.
Okay, off to the next thing and I didn't think about it again 'till a week or so later. I was over visiting with Jamie and in the conversation it came up that in her decluttering she found a crockpot she was going to get rid of!!! My ears and eyes perked up and I said, "I'LL BUY IT FROM YOU!! PLEASE!!!" She said, "Sure", and again...off we went with life and all that.
Last weekend we were at her house for church and she said, "Let me get that crock pot for you!" "YYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!", I inwardly screeched. She pulls one out and I kid you not - it was oval, big, and black with a glass lid. I don't think I screamed out loud at her house...but I can't remember because I was a bit beside myself. :)
Sometimes pictures of God's faithfulness and gifts to us are big ones.
Sometimes they are small little things like crockpots wrapped up in the dreamy package you only imagined they could be.
So the challenge today is to think of the little things that God sends your way to show you that he does care for you more than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. I would LOVE to hear your stories.
Friday, January 8, 2010
When most Americans think of Mexico, they think of tacos, burros, resort beaches and Spanish. Although everyone and their perro knows that they speak Spanish in Mexico, this, in fact, is only partially true. According to Ethnologue, there are 291 'living' languages in Mexico - languages that are still in use - with anywhere from several hundred people to tens of thousands of people speaking any given individual dialect. Of these languages, most are languages of the indigenous peoples of various areas; about half of them are found in the southern state of Oaxaca. The languages within Oaxaca fall into 16 major language groups.
We are in Mexico to help with the recording and distribution of audio recordings of the New Testament, the Jesus film, and a few other works in these indigenous languages. We work closely with Wycliffe Bible Translators here; in a nutshell, Wycliffe sends linguists to the native villages, and the Wycliffe linguists will spend anywhere from 5 to 20 years learning a single native language. Once the linguist is fluent in the language, they will create an alphabet for the language - most have no written language - and then several more years are spent translating the New Testament into the language. The manuscript is painstakingly checked and rechecked, with the help of several native-speakers of the language, and also other linguists. Finally the manuscript is released and printed in the native language, and those people who learn to read the written form of the language are able to read the bible in their native tongue.
Basically, our work here allows the people of these language groups to listen to the New Testament in an audio form, rather than having to learn to read. Once the bible has been translated into the language, we can find native speakers of the language who can read the bible out loud in a recording studio, and then essentially load the whole thing onto the equivalent of an mp3-player which can then be distributed to the people to listen to. Each chapter is read - or in the case of non-readers, spoken by a linguist and repeated back by a native speaker - and recorded as computerized wave-files. The recordings are then edited, and then played back and checked by native speakers. Repeated parts are removed, badly-read or mispronounced sections are re-recorded. It generally takes several weeks of work to produce a single New Testament in a single-voice recording; multi-voice recordings, and tracks for movies like the Jesus film and the Luke video are more complicated and require more time.
A side note - the ethnologue site referenced above is a wealth of world-class information on languages and linguistics for anyone who is interested in such things. It is put together by SIL International, which is what Wycliffe is known as in most of the world.
One of the organizations that we work closely with on various projects here is called Faith Comes by Hearing, also known as Hosanna ministries. They have samples of several projects they have done in numerous languages available on their website for people to listen to. Many of these languages are incredibly complex, and amazing to hear. FCBH's website is full of good information about audio-bible projects around the world.
The town we now live in is located within language group 247 on the second map above. Several of our neighbors here are Wycliffe linguists and translators, or are related in other ways with Wycliffe's work here in Mexico.
Here's an interesting one.
It took me a while to figure out what this is. I'm not sure I've done it yet actually.
Chocolate. It's Mexican chocolate though - has a cinnamon flavor along with the chocolate. This stuff actually grates really well. I added it into a coffee cake batter I made and a bread recipe.
Alan thinks I bought crystalized sugar and cinnamon with a chocolate dusting, in the shape of a boot heel. Yep. That's exactly what it looks like.
I haven't tried melting it down to use in recipes though. If you have an ideas, feel free to send them my way.
I bought 1/2 kilo for 30 pesos. At the rate we use this stuff it will last me 'till next Christmas when I need cocoa powder for cookies.
Friday, January 1, 2010
I like routine.
Foodie Friday - or better named - "SAY CHEESE"
Yes...THIS is cheese. Oaxacan cheese. It's pretty darn fabulous...and famous. I can remember my teachers in language school 'ooohing' and 'aaahhhhing' over this kind. It's not nearly as salty as the queso seco we used to get in Honduras, or wet like the quesillo. For taste it reminds me of a mild mozzarella. Texture-wise it's like string cheese, the skinny version.
SEE???? Yes, we play with our food.
There is a store here in town that does milk products and Alan just wandered in and asked about cheese. He did pretty darn good. :) He needs to go back as we've eaten it all by now.
This was about one half of a kilo, or about 1 pound. Nice - 1/2 kilo is way taller than I am. Cost - 30 pesos or around $2.20. Fun stuff. I can't wait to make chili rellenos with it. Mmmm.....
'Want to come over for a bite?', she says with a cheesy grin,