(Today's guest blog comes from the infamous Chris Taylor, Manna Project International's state-side, go-to, answer-anything man. Currently residing in our Ecuadorian home for the next week, Chris was coerced into contributing to the blog to make up for the fact that I have missed three of the past 5 days. You're welcome.)
"Today’s blog is exciting for two reasons. The first reason is because I, Chris Taylor, legendary suspense writer, will be penning this week’s chilling edition of “The Guest Blog”. The second reason is even more exciting but you will have to read on to discover what it is.
When I arrived in Conocoto I quickly remembered how easy it is to get into the good graces of Americans living abroad in Latin America... and also how quickly they can turn against you. A quick, pre-flight stop at CVS for a bag of candy or a jar of peanut butter is really all it takes to ensure a warm welcome and pleasant stay. How foolish I felt upon arriving empty handed, having forgotten that the only real currencies down here in the Manna house bear the names Hershey’s or Skippy. I realized my fatal mistake only just before entering the doors of the Manna house where the PDs were hungrily awaiting my gift bearing arrival.
In a meager attempt at friendly relations I greeted the kitchen full of PDs with a sheepish smile, arms outstretched, hoping that my visitor’s faux pax would go unnoticed. My hopes were frighteningly dashed as the entire household shoved me out of the way and began rifling through my suitcase. I watched with terror as their initial disappointment quickly turned to a quiet rage. “Where’s the durned peanut butter?” growled Dana, the house’s newest and apparently hungriest arrival. “He didn’t even bring Pop Tarts,” a gaunter-looking Eliah mumbled and then their eyes... their eyes… eerily calm, turned to me in unison. The next words I heard will remain burned into my memory for years. A sinister curl of Dunc’s lips and then, “Let’s give him the treatment.”
At this point I must warn you dear reader that the following is not for the faint of heart or mind. The description of the aforementioned “treatment” is not an exaggeration but the actual events, which I have barely managed to survive through this past week.
First of all, they began making me throw my toilet paper in the wastebasket. Yuk! Also, I got a painful sunburn on my shoulders from rafting, which they all secretly knew would happen. I have tried unsuccessfully for days to email my mum while Jocelyn, Holly, and Serena continue to delight in sucking up the bandwidth with YouTube videos and Skype conferences amongst themselves. Mark, their de facto leader, remains secluded in his temple of an apartment whispering, “The horror, the horror” over and over again. He has bravely assisted my plight at his own risk by sneaking me portions of his delicious Nutella stash. But take hope reader! Their barbarism has slowly waned as the days pass and one named Seth has began regular communications with me. Still, as late as last night I was subjected to a two hour long meeting about programs and house topics. Bleh!
I have recently begun to see a glimmer of hope that I might survive my visit. But please dear reader, take note of the important moral to my horrifying tale. Any time you’re coming to visit Program Directors living abroad, know that a simple treat will make the difference between being warmly accepted and being subjected to their worst tortures. I bid you safe travels.
Yours in unnecessarily suspenseful writing,