Tag Archives: Gail Montez

The Letter in Virginia’s Purse

[Virginia]: To get back to the letter: When Chet [Bitterman] had been—no, it was the day that we found out about Chet, Mom and Dad and I had been out of town, not very far from our center [Loma Linda], that we were on a vacation. And when we were on that vacation, there was an American couple. They were oil people. And we were just chatting away and I just said, “Oh, I’d love to work for somebody who had money.” Now I wanted money, you know, and I just thought it would be great to live with somebody who had money.

So they just took my name down. I mean, they just somehow kept our names. And then they called. She went to a hairdresser that met this other lady and, long story short, they were the Bakers and they lived in Houston. He was a former Rams football player. Her family was the Swansons.

[Eric]: Oilers.

[Virginia]: Oilers, sorry. Wasn’t it the Oilers? What?

[Marcia]: [can’t hear] for drilling with us.

[Kathy]: Houston Oilers.

[Virginia]: No. Oh, it was his friend that played for the Rams. That’s right.

green-giantAnd her family was the Swansons. You know, Swanson Frozen Foods and Green Giant? And her family had all this money. Anyway, I ended up being a nanny for them for three summers after that.

But it was her letter in the purse that had our address on it that got the purse back to me.

Anyway, so I went—and it was just that the lady that we met in Villavicencio, which we called Villao, went to the same hairdresser as Carla Baker. They talked. Carla Baker—they’re good Baptist people—said they were looking for someone to help with the kids during the summers, so they got in contact with me.

Aunt Kathryn went to visit them to check them out. She did. There you go! She went and checked them out because she lived in Houston at the time and she went and checked them out to make sure that they were an OK family for me to go stay with. Yeah, so cool.

Anyway, so then when I graduated, Eric and Mary Lynn met me in her little Karmann Ghila. I had never really driven a car and they made me drive it. It was pouring down rain and it scared me to death because I could not see. I had never really driven. I mean, there was one Jeep on the center that we could all use or whatever. Dad had taken us out once or twice in that thing. But anyway, so I was driving her little Karmann Ghila.

I worked for them for three summers after that. They convinced me I was going to go to Dallas Baptist College. They convinced me I to go to Baylor, so I went to one year at Baylor University in Waco.

Then from there, because Bruce and Gail lived in Safford, I wanted to go to, I went there to go to Bible, no, to a camp, to a church camp, and then decided to return my second year to go to Bible college there. Then I went to that Bible college. It’s not accredited. It was just with a church. I went to a couple years there.

That’s where I met my husband. He was first friends with my sister and then she went off to nursing school. Then Bill and I. I mean, they weren’t romantically involved. They were friends, but—

[Bill]: That you know of.

[Virginia]: Then I met him and we were engaged and we were going to get married one date and then—it seems to run in our family—but, however, he was the one that stopped because he didn’t feel like I had gotten over Doug’s death yet. There was. . . .

[Kathy]: So you just waited and got married later.

[Virginia]: Yeah. Mom and Dad had already gotten their tickets and everything.

[Kathy]: Yeah, I was coming up from [can’t hear], of course, too.

[Virginia]: They ended up coming up twice, just because. So then we were married in ’85.

[Dawn]: What were the dates?

[Virginia]: We were married November 9th of ’85. And then our first daughter [Ashley] was born in July 29th of ’87. Then Doug was born 13 months later, or 13 ½ months later, September 9th of ’88, Douglas. He is named after my brother. Then Savannah was born two years later. She was born October 22d of ‘90.

story told by Virginia (Lee’s daughter) with interjections by Bill Gorman (Virginia’s husband), Eric and Kathy (Lee’s kids), Dawn (Steve’s daughter) and Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

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  • What is the name of the place where Kathy was coming from in Colombia for Virginia’s wedding? It sounded like “Something anica” to me.

Doug Wants to Chase Somebody

[Virginia]: Every year, the seniors would go on a senior trip. There were all four of us seniors. There was only four of us. Two of us decided we would go to—there was a New Tribes base that was in a town a ways away. And they did let us go, but the other two seniors’ parents wouldn’t let them go because they were too afraid to let them go, which, as a parent now, I wouldn’t let my kids go. I would be like, “You’re staying with me!” At the time, being me, I stood up in the—we had meetings at the base so they could update them as to the what was going on and everything. And I stood up there and I said, “Guys you’re missionaries! You’re supposed to trust the Lord!” And that was my, I was kind of, I was mad because the other two kids couldn’t go. Their parents wouldn’t let them go with us.

[Heidi]: Those people wouldn’t trust the Lord.

[Virginia]: I know. I was like, “Come on!”

[Kathy]: [laughter; can’t hear]

[Virginia]: But anyway, then Chet got killed and of course that was very traumatic.

[Heidi]: Did that end the hiding?

[Virginia]: Yeah, then Dad was back.

[Heidi]: How did they figure that was the end of the crisis?

[Virginia]: I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t remember all of those details.

[Kathy]: I just reread the book. It’s called. . . .

[Virginia]: Oh, yeah. I knew Chet. I took care of his kids during conference.

[Kathy]: Called to Die. It’s very good if you want to read about the whole experience.

[Marcia]: Who wrote the book?

[Kathy]: Steve Estes.

[Virginia]: And someone said, who was it I was talking to? Oh, Jim Suderman. He said he kind of took, . . . or was it Jim? Anyway, he said they kind of embellished a little bit on that, in that book.

[Kathy]: It tells the story very well.

[Virginia]: Yup. Anyway, so then I graduated, and then Doug paid for you and Bruce and you were already down there for my graduation, right? Weren’t you in Colombia for my graduation?

[Gail]: [can’t hear] I don’t think he paid for my trip to go down there.

[Virginia]: No, I paid for your trip to go down for Doug’s graduation.

[Kathy]: No, I went down for your graduation.

[Virginia]: I think you were already—weren’t you already there because Allan was there?

[Kathy]: [can’t hear] Bryant College. Allan and I came—that was the summer we got. . . .

[Virginia]: Oh, Doug paid for everybody. I think, that could. . . . Oh, you didn’t?

[Kathy]: No, because we flew. Actually, Chet Bitterman’s sister’s, oh, no, Brenda Bitterman’s brother flew the plane down with the New Testaments. We flew with him from Dayton, Tennessee to Loma Linda in a little plane.

[Eric]: Where was I all this time?

[Virginia]: I don’t know.

[Kathy]: You were probably, I think you were in Peru.

[Virginia]: This was ’81.

[Eric]: Oh, we were still, we may have been, if this was ’81, we were still in the States. We had just gotten married.

[Virginia]: I don’t know, but I know that he paid for you [Gail] and he paid for Bruce and Brenda to come down. And they had Brett. Was it Brett?

[Bruce]: It was Brandon.

[Virginia]: Brandon. So, anyway, so they came down and the reason I brought that up was because then when I traveled to Bogota before I left, then—Doug had always said, you know, Bogota was notorious for pocket, you know, people that pick pockets and people stealing purses and whatnot. He used to say—you know, tough guy, as you all know—“I just wanna put money in my pocket. You know, I just wanna have the chance just to chase after somebody and grab somebody.”

[Kathy]: Egg somebody on.

[Virginia]: Egg somebody on.

Anyway, I had gotten this purse for my graduation gift. And we were in the taxi. We were in a taxi and I guess he and mom and I were in the back. Dad was up front with the driver. Well, I was sitting on the left hand side and I just happened to look up and there was a guy standing there. And I’m thinking, “I wonder if I should lock my door?”

Next thing I know, somebody’s knocking on the opposite side of the taxi. The guy that I had been looking at opened my door and pulled my, took my purse off my lap and started running.

Well, Doug had his chance. He and dad got out and they pursued those two guys and they. . . .

[Kathy]: Didn’t they go in opposite directions?

[Virginia]: Opposite directions, so Dad was going one way and Doug was going another way. Doug was so mad that he did not catch that guy. He was so furious with himself that he didn’t catch him, but Dad caught the other guy, the guy that did not have the purse. And they did take him to court, but—it’s just really weird—so the purse was taken, but somebody found it. They guy had gone through it. Didn’t find the money because I had the money in a pocket and he didn’t see it.

Because it had a letter—and this is another story I’ll go into—I had a letter from a couple in Houston, who I ended up going to work for. They had my address. Anyway, somebody called the group house and said, “We found this purse.” It was kind of cool. I still have that purse ‘til this day because of the journey it went on.

[Kathy]: So they took what they wanted, what they could get in haste because Doug was chasing them. Then they, in case they got caught, they just dumped the purse and kept going. So Doug didn’t catch them, but then the purse was returned.

[Eric]: So had Doug not been chasing them, they would have had more time to go through the purse. He would have found the money.

[Kathy]: Oh, yeah.

[Virginia]: Yup. I think he found the pesos, but he didn’t find the American money. There was American money that was still in there when I got it.

story told by Virginia (Lee’s daughter) with interjections by Bruce, Eric, Kathy and Gail (Lee’s kids), Heidi (Steve’s daughter) and Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

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  • Who else has pick-pocketing stories that you can tell us?
  • Can you tell other tough-guy Doug stories?

Virginia’s Senior Year Wasn’t a Great Year

[Virginia]: I had my eighth grade year and then through high school, but of course, I got accustomed to the kids. Now I would say I am closer to those kids than I am to the Peru kids because it was in the high school years. So graduated in ’81. I went. . . .

kathy-gail-virginia-will-lee-doug-ca-1981

Kathy, Gail, Virginia Will, Lee, Doug; Texas, ca. 1981

Oh, and then my senior year was the year that Chet Bitterman, one of the missionaries, got kidnapped. They were after the director, who was my—Dad [Will Kindberg] was the director. During that time that Chet had been kidnapped and before he was killed, my mom and dad were in hiding. They had to keep moving and I was left by myself out at the base with one of the single ladies. But I didn’t know where my parents were and that was a very, very traumatic time for me.

[Heidi]: What? Really?

[Stephanie?]: Really?

[Virginia]: Yeah.

[Dawn]: So wait a minute. [Can’t hear], why didn’t they take you?

[Eric]: [Can’t hear] at all.

[Virginia]: Because they were after my dad, not me.

[Mary Lynn]: What do you mean, they were in hiding?

[Virginia]: They had to move from place to place to place so that the guerillas—so they were after the director and because they had to keep him hidden, so that they [M-19 guerillas] couldn’t find him. He was the goal. He was the target. They took Chet because Dad was not in Bogota. They were after Dad, so in order for him not to be, you know, them not come back and try to get Dad, Mom and Dad had to move.

[Gail]: But he was on the base the whole time?

[Virginia]: No.

[Gail]: Where was he?

[Virginia]: I think he was in Bogota.

[Lots of Voices]: He was one of the negotiators?

[Eric]: Right.

[Virginia]: He may have been, but he was not—nobody knew where. I mean, he was in an undisclosed location and he had to move around.

[Kathy]: They had to keep the base secure.

[Heidi]: So you knew that he was in hiding?

[Virginia]: Yes. Oh, yeah-yeah-yes. I didn’t know where he was, but I knew he was. . . .

[Heidi]: How long did that go on?

[Virginia]: It was only a few months. Oh, I cannot, I can’t remember.

[Kathy]: Well that whole ordeal, I think, was two months.

[Eric]: Chet Bitterman had been captured. He was held for a long time. It was probably a year.

[Virginia]: No. No, no, no. No, it wasn’t because it was during my high school months. And it was during that time that Dad and Mom had to move.

You guys [Steve’s family] were talking about soldiers. During my high school years, we always had soldiers around our house because when my dad was director. That was kind of weird because I had curtains that were almost like these curtains. You know, being a teenage girl, and these guys are right outside my window. You know, it was a shock, I mean, you know, when they’re not shot guns, but machine guns. So we had, we had a lot. And we had curfews during the whole time we were there. We had to be in by 10:00. There were shots, you know, occasionally we’d hear shots in the middle of the night and wonder what’s going on.

Anyway, so that was my senior year and so that wasn’t a great year.

story told by Virginia (Lee’s daughter) with interjections by Eric, Kathy and Gail (Lee’s kids), Mary Lynn (Eric’s wife0, and Heidi, Dawn and Stephanie (Steve’s kids) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter) 

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  • You mention your Dad/Will writing memoires. Did he publish those? Are those available? Is it possible to add them to this collection?
  • The Steve Duncan kids didn’t receive trauma counseling. Did Wycliffe/SIL provide any kind of trauma counseling for you or your folks? Was that a known necessity at that time?

Kathy and Virginia’s Dad Lets Them Dance

[Virginia]: I was born in September of ’63. So I was born in Peru as well and lived in Peru until I was at the end of my seventh grade year. Then we took a ship, an Italian ship liner, from Peru up over the western part, up north, through the Panama Canal into Colombia. That was kind of interesting, wasn’t it Kathy?

first-class-ballroom-ss-raffaello

[Kathy]: Yes.

[Virginia]: We had never danced before and we got on the ship and they had a dance every night. And so Kathy. . . .

[Kathy]: These guys kept hanging around because Virginia’s so good looking. They were like, “There’s gonna be a dance. Can you guys dance with us?” And we’re like, “No, our dad won’t let us. No, our dad won’t let us!” And they kept asking and asking and finally we were near dad [Will Kindberg] and they asked again and he said, “Yes, you can.”

[Virginia]: So that was kind of interesting: our first, first exposure to dancing. And, of course, didn’t know how to.

[Kathy]: Crossing the equator was a big, a big event while they were having this dance party.

[Virginia]: Yeah.

[Marcia]: What was the name of the ship? Do you remember?

[Virginia]: It was Italian, but I don’t. . . .

[Kathy]: It’s an Italian liner, but it was the last time it was going to run.

[Marcia]: You don’t remember the name of the ship?

[Kathy]: But I don’t remember the name of it.

[Marcia]: Because we crossed the ocean on two. . . .

[Victoria]: Raffaello?

[Steve]: Raffaello.

[Marcia]: We crossed the ocean on the Raffaello and also the Cristoforo Colombo.

[Steve]: It’s the Titanico.

[Virginia]: Yeah.

[joking and laughing; can’t hear]

[Gail]: That was in, that was in ’76. . . .

[Kathy]: You flew out.

[Gail]: I’d already left. Yeah.

[Kathy]: And you had already left. We were moving to Colombia and that was the cheapest way to move us and all of our stuff. Oh, and then we had the bomb as soon as we got this boat to dock.

NB: The Raffaello was indeed withdrawn in April of 1975 and sold to the Shah of Iran in 1976. In 1983, it was torpedoed during the Iraq-Iran War. 

story told by Kathy and Virginia (Lee’s daughters) with interjections by Gail (Lee’s daughter) and Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

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  • What else happened on that ship? How long did the trip take? Did Doug travel with you? Tell us about dancing for the first time.
  • If Gail had already flown out, where did she go? Where was she?
  • What do you recall of your parents during that sail?
  • Who else has crossing the ocean in ships stories you want to tell us?

Duncan Laugh Gene

[Eric]: Some of these pictures in here—I don’t know if you had a chance to see them while Mary Lynn was talking, but—Uncle Tad and Uncle Steve joking together.

This is not the photo Eric was looking at, but it is evidence of the genetic nature that Gloria describes below. On the left, Tad with horns. On the right, Steve with horns. 

[Gloria]: Yeah, that was a good one.

[Eric]: Uncle Tad laughed and laughed. I mean he always was laughing and I love to be around Uncle Tad.

[Gloria]: And, you know, he thought he was the funniest person. He would tell a joke and he’d laugh like it was. And Chris and I—‘cause I do that now. I’ll tell a joke to them two and I’m just a-laughing. And they think, “Why do you think you’re so funny?” My dad was the same way. He just thought he was the funniest person.

[Gail]: It’s the Duncan gene.

[Gloria]: He was a good person.

[Gail]: He had such a good laugh.

story told by Gloria (Tad’s daughter) with interjections by Gail and Eric (Lee’s kids),) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

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  • I’m not in possession of this particular photo, but how about everyone send me or post your photos of family members laughing.

 

Kathy Breaks Up with Allan at the Wedding

kathy-josh-joe-allan-kim-katrina

Josh, Kathy, Joe, Kim, Allan, Katrina, Loma Linda, Colombia,  ca. 1994

[Kathy]: I’m Kathy. I’m the fourth of the family there, also born at Yarina. All of us were born there except Gail, so we always said she was the odd the one—ha!

[Gail]: She was adopted.

[Kathy]: She’s the adopted one.

[Dawn]: Gail, where were you born?

[Gail]: I was born in Newton, Massachusetts.

[Marcia]: Oh, Newton Wellesley Hospital?

[Gail]: I don’t know if that was the hospital. Is that the only hospital in Newton?

[Steve]: That’s the main one.

[Marcia]: Yeah, that’s the major one.

[Gail]: I guess.

[Kathy]: So what am I supposed to say? Just kind of a little background? Um, so yeah, so almost all the years, all my years were in Peru—school years—except kindergarten, when we were on furlough in New Jersey, and my eighth grade year were on furlough. That’s when. . . .

No my kindergarten year was when you [Eric] had the accident, the car accident. My eighth grade year was when you and Bruce were going to start in college and that’s why our family moved back. So we had very few times in the States before. Then my senior year of high school, we actually moved to Colombia and I thought that was the worst thing ever, to have to leave. But I had a great time in Colombia, too, after I adjusted. Then came to the States for college in Dallas Bible College and then transferred over to Bryan College in Tennessee. That’s where I met my husband Allan.

allan-and-kathy-march-13-1983

Allan and Kathy Courtright, March 13, 1981

So Allan and I met at college. I was playing volleyball and he was like the student volleyball coach. And so we made all of our away trips, away game trips. He was there with us and we got to know each other and got married.

Actually, I have to back that up. He came to Dallas when Eric and Mary Lynn got married—poor guy. Met all the Duncans. What?

[Gail]: You broke up, too, didn’t you.

[Kathy]: I broke up with him, while he was there at the wedding. I mean, there in Dallas for the wedding time, not at the wedding itself, but I guess I just got scared off. Too serious, too fast. It was very, very mean of me to do that, but he met the whole Duncan clan and he still decided to propose later on.

We got back together at school and so, um, after he graduated, that summer, he came down to Colombia, kind of like the Eric and Mary Lynn thing you guys did. But we ended up getting engaged there at Loma Linda in Colombia. Then I finished school and got married the next year [March 13, 1981].

Soon after we got married, we joined Wycliffe and went through all the training and all that.

Doug, the brother between me and Virginia, Virginia and I—he was killed in a motorcycle accident when Kim was just born, so that was thirty years ago, last month. And we were doing our support-raising.

Oh, by the way, I was born in June of 1959. I think you were writing the dates down.

[Dawn]: So you were here when he was killed, in the States?

[Kathy]: We were actually in Waxhaw. We were in Tennessee at my Dad’s parents’ place. We were traveling around doing deputation, raising our support. We found out when we were in Tennessee. The next day, two days later, we were coming here anyway as a planned thing. It was really hard because we were speaking in a church the night we found out he was killed. We were doing a slide show. Allan was doing the speaking and I was clicking the slides. As Allan was speaking, we came across a picture of Doug and I was like aaaaagh. Anyway, I won’t go into that. But we came here [Waxhaw] soon afterward and we were with friends of his and family. Otherwise, we didn’t really know anybody. The others got to go down to Loma Linda, but I didn’t have a passport with me.

Loma Linda was where he was killed on a motorcycle after traveling from Dallas through Central America. The night he got to Loma Linda, just a freak thing that he was killed. He lived to the next morning, but then he died.

[Eric]: The neat thing about all that was when he arrived, on the morning he arrived, I guess, he had lunch with the family and started telling the story of his travels all the way from Texas all the way down to Colombia and so they recorded it all. They got it all on tape.

[Kathy]: Mom turned on the tape recorder.

[Eric]: So the very, almost the last hours of his life, he was telling his experiences, laughing and joking. So we’ve got all of that on tape recording.

[Kathy]: It was actually within a few hours because he didn’t arrive until evening, at late afternoon. They had supper. He was telling his experiences at supper. They went out riding right after that with just kids around the center and that’s when that happened.

Anyway, so we were preparing for mission work when we found out about that. And then Allan and I went through the rest of training. We were in Colombia for, assigned to Colombia for eight years of the fifteen years we were with Wycliffe. And then we were here at JAARS Center part of that time. Allan was in charge of—you saw the tour?—Allan was international computer services. He was the director of international computer services for a couple of years after were from Colombia to here.

[Eric]: He actually helped design the building that the IT center was in, the Languages Services Center.

[Kathy]: Language Services Center. I couldn’t remember the title of that building.

Then we ended up, while we were here, and on that assignment, we started. Our kids were in soccer. We did a lot. We volunteered for a professional, all Christian soccer team, which is under Missionary Athletes International. We ended up switching over to that. The last fifteen years, we’ve been with MAI. That’s kind of our ministry background.

story told by Kathy (Lee’s daughter) with interjections by Gail and Eric (Lee’s kids), Steve and Marcia (Steve’s wife), Dawn (Steve’s daughter) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • Kathy, what helped you adjust to Colombia?
  • How did the two schools compare?
  • What did you like to do for fun, both at Yarina and then in Colombia, besides ride motorcycles?
  • Did your folks help you choose a college? How did you come to be at Dallas and then to transfer?
  • I’ve guessed at the first photo date. Do you have a better idea of the year?

Gail Gets Her Sprint Training

High School, Yarinacocha, Peru, courtesy of Kathy Courtright, May 20, 2013

Gail’s High School in Yarinacocha, courtesy of Kathy Courtright

[Gail]: So, I’m the third child [of Lee] and I think my mom had a miscarriage between Eric and I.

[Eric]: That’s right.

[Gail]: Didn’t Mom? Do you know how far along Mom was when she had that miscarriage?

[Kathy]: She was out in the tribe. I don’t think she knew very well.

[Gail]: OK. I was born in 1958. . . .

[Mary Lynn]: What’s the best thing about growing up at Yarinacocha?

[Gail]: I enjoyed the freedom of being out on motorcycles. I mean, I was one of the ones that just enjoyed being out, you know, being out on the motorcycles.

[Kathy]: Oh, yeah, going out on motorcycles and then going to the teachers’ houses and raiding their underwear and short-sheeting their beds.

[Gail]: I was this prankster, that’s for sure.

[Kathy]: She got sprint training by—we’d go out in a group to throw mangos on the roofs, the tin roofs and then we’d all go running, so Gail got her sprint training trying to keep up with people.

[Gail]: Yeah. I was a prankster and I was known for it, too. Yeah.

[Mary Lynn]: I didn’t know that about you.

[Gail]: Oh yeah, I was really bad.

[Steve]: We thought you were perfect.

[Gail]: Pardon?

[Steve]: We thought you were perfect.

[Gail]: Oh, gosh.

[Dawn]: She’s telling you she was.

[Gail]: I was.

[Steve]: Oh.

[Mary Lynn]: How about the social part of Yarinacocha?

[Gail]: The social part? I was a social person.

[Eric]: Gail was known as a very social person. All the guys liked Gail. They would hang around her because she was a good friend to them.

[Mary Lynn]: Would you ever like to go back to live?

[Gail]: Um. I would like to go back and visit, but I don’t think, don’t know if I’d want to go back and live there. I think things have changed too much.

story told by Gail (Lee’s daughter) with interjections by Kathy and Eric (Lee’s kids), Mary Lynn (Eric’s wife), Steve and Dawn (Steve’s daughters) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • Please! We need to hear more prank stories.
  • Anybody else have a Yarinacocha story to share?
  • Anybody else have a mango story to share?