Category Archives: Culture

The Rise in Crime

What do grocery stores, armored cars, ATM machines and my back patio all have in common? Theft.

Over the course of 2018 we have seen a rise in crime. There were at least three attacks by gangs of armed criminals on armored vehicles transporting money. That is quite an undertaking as each armored truck has two armed men with a car full of armed men following behind. Unfortunately, they were taken by surprise and some of the guards were shot. If my memory serves me well, I do believe that the men recovered, though I imagine that there must be lingering effects from their wounds. Two of the robberies were within five blocks of our home. The first was at a bank on the corner and another took place in the parking lot at the mall – both within broad daylight. Even more striking, the third robbery took place very close to the Uruguayan seat of government – the Palacio Legislativo (Legisltative Palace)!

One of the most tragic crimes took place at a grocery store a few miles away where two men entered a supermarket, robbed it and then shot and killed one of the employees on the way out. The victim was a young mother. Later, the shooter was found by police which ended up in him being shot and killed. A friend of mine had met this young man years ago – an example of what a small world Uruguay can be at times.

Very recently, I have been seeing news of ATM machines being blown to bits so that criminals can steal the cash. Some ATM’s are even equipped with an anti-theft ink system which sprays the money with ink so that it will be recognized – making it hard to spend. Sadly, sometimes the ATM machine is the only one in a small town and it can be difficult for the retired folks living there to withdraw money if the banks decide not to install a new one.

One day last month I woke up and went to the kitchen like normal to turn on the burner so that I could cook up some fried eggs. Eggs are my favorite breakfast. But to my surprise, the flame would not start. I thought that was odd and I eventually had the idea of checking the propane tank just outside the kitchen in the back patio. It was missing. Not only was it missing, but the valve and another empty propane tank were gone. Someone had climbed our roof, descended into our back patio and carried out two propane tanks! They are not easy to lift either! I filed a police report, but nothing much came of it.

As we heard news of these various crimes, we prayed – asking the Lord to be at work. Begging God to change the hearts of the criminals. Praying for healing, comfort and peace for the victims and Continue reading The Rise in Crime

Baptism and New Membership in a Dry and Parched Land

What is it like to be a Christian missionary in the most secular country in the Americas? Uruguay is unusual in Latin America for its level of secularism, as the Pew Research Center explains here and here. It isn’t just the most secular country in Latin America, it is strikingly more secular than any other country in the region. Many think that is because Uruguay is following in the footsteps of Spain, but in fact as this article in Spanish describes, Uruguay has a much higher percentage of atheists and those who are religiously unaffiliated than Spain or many other European countries. And although Argentina is the close cousin culturally of Uruguay, the religious landscape between the two nations are quite distinct. Continue reading Baptism and New Membership in a Dry and Parched Land

A New School Year

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The long, relaxing summer days are coming to a sudden end. The new school year starts again this Monday. Summer seemed to fly by. It is never long enough. But there is also excitement over new routines and new experiences. In my almost 19 years as a parent, I always saw us as a family of die-hard homeschoolers. But, I am now preparing for our second year in a local, private school. Last year we sent our then 4 and 8 year old children, reasoning that they were young enough to pick up the language. This year we are also sending our 11 year old. It was clear that in order to gain fluency in both the language and culture he had to attend school. Our church plant is small and without any other children, and his weekly lessons weren’t enough. Continue reading A New School Year

Buses, Taxis and Automobiles

TaxiWhat is it like to live without a car? What challenges does that present to the large family? Growing up in suburban America, it always seemed somewhat romantic to think of city living, where care ownership is optional and everywhere you need to go can be reached on foot or by bus. We have been living this city life now for 15 months, and I wanted to share our experiences.

Continue reading Buses, Taxis and Automobiles

Our First Year in Uruguay

On  October 17 we celebrated our first complete year in Uruguay. It was also fitting that this very same week was the week we finally received our visas to be Uruguayan residents (we have been on tourists visas until this time)IMG_20151031_223408. It is no exaggeration to say that we have had dozens of appointments at various government offices, plus a few setbacks, to complete all the necessary paperwork. Continue reading Our First Year in Uruguay

Feria

feria fruitsWhile there are several supermarkets in our neighborhood of Montevideo the best prices are found at the local feria (outdoor farmer’s market). Michele enjoys searching for the best prices for things like fruits, vegetables, processed meats and cheeses at the feria. She has written about it here and here.  Other kinds of meats can be bought at the local carnicería.

feria fiambresOur feria comes to this neighborhood once a week. There are ferias all over the city six days a week with none on Mondays. Vendors can choose which ferias to participate in or how many days they want to work, though they tend to always return to the same location week after week to build up a clientele.

Ferias are popular in Uruguay, at least around here. Thankfully they are close Continue reading Feria

Top 10 Favorite Things About Uruguay

When we boarded the plane to come to Uruguay from Florida in October of this year, I had never actually even visited the country we were intending to make our home. Sure, I did plenty of research–talking to other missionaries, talking to my husband (who had spent all of a week here), and of course getting all manner of opinions from a variety of ex-pats on the internet. So all this to say, Uruguay was very new for me. And there were a lot of surprises–some good, some bad. But I thought it would be fun to come up with ten things I love about Uruguay. Having only been here 6 months, everything is new enough for me that I am not yet taking it for granted and would love to share the best about my new home. Continue reading Top 10 Favorite Things About Uruguay

Asado

Asado cookingAsado is grilled beef. It is very common for people to eat asado (with a variety of cuts of meat), chorizo and grilled chicken (though not as popular) in Uruguay. We were recently invited to a friend’s home to eat with them after church. It was a delightful time with good company and delicious food. They also served hamburgers, which we appreciated.

Beef is one of the most important industries in Uruguay. It is all organic and grass fed. If you have purchased organic beef in the U.S., then there is a chance it was from Uruguay!