4 Oct. 2013 Fri. ... In the afternoon went to visit a few folks and on the way we ran into the Q's. Bro. Q has a homade and operated distilling operation for producing various health products from natural plants. His business isn't doing so good and it looks like they are going to have to pack it up and move south and do something else. I told him I knew a little about manufacturing process and I offered to take a look at his process. He got tears in his eyes he was so thankful. He said that is exactly what he needed, to be able to increase his output and sell more but he didn't know how. He said he'd been praying to God to help him find a way.
They getting ready to move because they can’t sell enough or make enough product to make a go of it. He takes a truckload of one type of plant and boils them down to get two little eyedropper bottles of product, one of which he GAVE to Carolyn as a gift. That was humbling. It represented a significant sacrifice for the family.
9 Oct. 2013 Wed. .....After zone meeting (around) in Ilapel we went looking for Maicol’s house, the young man who thought I was gifting him my triple combination but I said I’d have to get him another…. Well I got the new one, and it is very nice brown leather with gold trim and finger indents… much nicer than mine. After asking around, I found he lived up on the highest street on the side of the mountain up from the church, a street they are tearing up and paving with concrete.
Once we got the car up there (after spinning wheels on the concrete on the steepest parts) I parked at the start of the construction and left Carolyn at the car (who wasn’t up for walking with her sore knee), and went looking. I found his house (not home), but on the way I also ran into another one of those drunks who flagged me down and insisted I climb up the temporary construction wooden stairs up to the store where he was, and talk to him about his questions about God. I’ve been telling Carolyn I’m some kind of drunk magnet. I’m not sure this guy was drunk, but the way other people looked at him when they walked by us told me they knew him well and were leery of him (or me). I got his name and reference so the Zone Leaders can teach him.
We then picked up Sisters Valencia and Cazaut and gave them a ride to Los Vilos for Sister Valencia’seye doctor appointment. Remember Sister Valencia is a convert of less than 2 years and has been on her mission 6-8 months now I think. She is the one that left her glasses home and did not dare to ask her parents to send them because they are not members of the church and not happy she joined and went on a mission.
After getting her all taken care of at the eye doctor and back on a bus to Illapel, we ran into our friend Patricio, the ex-drunk we met a couple of weeks ago. An update on him... he has changed significantly since we first met him, and started coming to church with his daughter who just moved here and is not a member. We have been talking to Patricio. He was in need of bedding. He says they don’t have enough bedding where he lives (with an older lady,he said) and they are cold. We told him we had an electric blanket we could give him, if he could use it. He said he would find a way (I don't think he has electricity, the way he said that). So when we saw him, we offered him a ride home with his new blanket.
We were saddened to see where he lived, far on the edge of town where there was a small hut with lots of piles of rubble on the side made into a shelter. We dropped him off at the edge of the pavement at the top of the hill. He would not start walking to his house till we were out of sight. We think he was embarrassed for us to see he did not live in the hut. We are afraid that he lives in the rubble next to the hut, which we think is the Lady's. It is on a hillside right in the wind and in front of the ocean. It would be very cold (we know because our house gets the ocean breeze and it gets down in the 40’s inside at night and our house is enclosed and we have an electric heater going all night. It made us sad for him and his daughter.
His “job”, or work, is putting on a bright colored reflective vest and standing outside the local “home depot” helping cars park and leave parking on the street, looking for oncoming traffic, etc.,. It is a job he has created. It is a service he provides drivers, hoping for tips.
He also hustles car wash jobs down town. Guys like him can get a car amazingly clean with just a dirty rag and a half bucket of dirty water. At least he has initiative and is not sitting around begging for coins and drinking like before. He is hoping to soon be able to by a part for his bicycle so he can ride in to town for “work”. The part he needs costs about $11, which is an awfully lot of money for him. Now I understand why he is always telling me some guys in Vina del Mar ( the big city 2 hrs away) charge $10-12 for a car wash and asking to wash our car. He always asks when we see him. He is probably hoping to score a big paying wash job and be able to fix his bike. At least I hope that is what he’s hoping, and that that is not the cost of a bottle of liquor. Around here, $3-4 is an expensive car wash. I think we're about due for a $12 wash.
10 Oct. Thurs. Spent the morning with Bro. Quintanilla, Carolyn spent the morning with Sister Q.. They are a nice family, members, with a home business that is not making it. I showed him some things he could do to improve his business, a natural products health products business, extracting helpful stuff from native plants. He uses very very simple equipment and processes he does not know he does not understand, but which are basic chemical and mechanical engineering stuff. He told me he had tried some things I had suggested after our last conversation and had already DOUBLED his output. He was blown away. I think he's still only getting a few percent of what he could.
I also showed him how he can sell his stuff via the internet, and import raw materials much cheaper than he can make them from around the world. His eyes were as big as silver dollars and blown away by what is available that he knew nothing about. He has 3 computers at home... a desk top and two laptops. I wonder what he does with them?
I am surprised at how naive some folks still are as far as the way the world has become a global market in the last 10 years or so, and how the internet has transformed the way people all over the world do business. Most folks have laptops or tablets or internet phones here. But there seems to be few that are really internet literate.