Tag Archives: Peru

Yarinacocha Snoopy Crashes Steve’s Red Baron

red-heinkelIn 1966, while I [Steve] was in Yarinacocha, Peru, and the Kindberg parents were out in the tribal area, I utilized their high-class motor-scooter (with permission) to get back and forth from the Summer Institute of Linguistics base-camp to the nearby town. I was aware that dogs did not like the motorized vehicles passing on the road and would nip at the heels or legs of foreign cyclists. Plus, at the medical clinic, we’d been warned about an increasingly rabid population among the fauna.

On a pleasant afternoon, as I passed the Albert Schweitzer Clinic on this same road, yours truly was approached by what seemed to be an insulted mongrel; he started at my left leg. Kicking him away only enraged the beast, but kicking seemed to be my best defense against the supposed bearer of rabies. He started to win the battle and so I veered right, just as a small bridge loomed to the left, traversing a creek in the jungle.

With great aplomb and no bridge under its wheels, the man/machine unit flew over this waterway. The prized Heinkel-two-wheel-wonder landed just below the brink of the distant shoreline. The bad news was that its front axle and fork bent, squashing the wheels into the rest of the body. The pinky of the driver’s right hand got “broke.” The good news: the canine stood smiling on the proximal side, wagging his tail as he put another victory scratch in the mud beside the takeoff point.

No more rolling or even limping for the German red metal mass until an airplane mechanic at the JAARS hanger worked to give it a new, though dented, life. As Lee and Will got off the float plane coming in from their tribal stay, each Kindberg kid was sworn not to mention the flight of the Red Baron and the resulting modification of its function and appearance.

But . . . wouldn’t you guess, even before Will stepped from the Piper Cub’s pontoon onto the dock, little Dougie proudly broadcast that “Uncle Steve wrecked Daddy’s Heinkel.” Surprised, but gracious, Will received the news flash and waited a week or two until the vehicle resumed its function.

As for the victorious dog, he still walks with his head high, but no foaming at the mouth. Check one for the animal world.

story told by Steve via email on October 11, 2016; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

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  • What other Uncle Steve stories can you generate: Virginia? Kathy? Eric? Bruce?
  • Or how about stories from France: Sandy? Debby?
  • DD? Jimmy? Gordy?

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?

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)

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  • 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?

Kathy Recommends Jungle Reading

[Kathy]: Ron Snell writes these. You can get them off of Amazon.It's a Jungle Out There!

It’s written from kind of a young boy’s perspective. Very humorous. But Eric and Bruce and Dad [Will Kindberg] are all mentioned in the books and it kind of just gives a taste of what it’s like as a missionary kid living on the. . . . You were commenting on “Really, your parents let your brothers do that!” Well, he kind of makes reference to many things his parents, who were also translators in a related language that we worked in, what his parents let them do as kids. Anyway, very fun.

[Eric]: They’re like kissing cousins [the Machiguenga and the Ashanica Campas]. They’re very closely related, so the stories he tells about his experiences, we could have told some of the same experiences.

[Kathy]: The river, going down the river on the raft, you know, that kind thing. But just living out in the jungle area and living on the Yarinacocha center where we were. so anyway, if you’re ever interested in some light reading, you can look that up on Amazon.

recommendation by Kathy (Lee’s daughter) with help from Eric (Lee’s son) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

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  • What books would you recommend that capture the experience or place where the Eight worked, lived, grew up, etc.?

Shoot Between the Eyes

[Dawn]: You said “alligator hunting”? Lots of it? Successfully, obviously?

[Bruce]: Yeah. We would get the smallest. No wrestling. I actually did taste them . . . [can’t hear] . . . oral cavity was smaller.

[Dawn]: Oh, that’s right. You had a stuffed one that you brought home, right, Dad?

[Steve]: He was a pet [joking, I think].

[Marcia]: Yeah. He did.

[Marcia]: But you would go out at night?

[?]: Yeah, we did.

[Marcia]: And shine the flashlight out and see the eyes.

[Dawn]: And then what would you do?

[Eric]: Shoot between the eyes!

[can’t hear; joking through the following]

[Dawn]: Put your hand in?

[?]: Jump in?

[Bruce]: You have to save yourself.

[Marcia]: Oh you reached in with your hand to get it?

[Steve]: I only did it once.

[Eric]: I’ll tell another story or two. Anything else about Peru, right off the top of your head?

Well, I’m second [child]. One of the things I remember the most about Peru, one of the favorite trips, was a trip around the southern part of Peru on motorcycle. Bruce had a Triumph 500 at the time and he and my dad went on that motorcycle. A friend of ours went with his dad on another large motorcycle. I went with a Peruvian on a BMW 500 or 650. It had . . . so we got to see all the Inca sites along the way. We have a whole carousel of slides, but that’s too boring to show all of you. It was really quite a trip. I think I was 16 at the time, or 15, and you were 16 or something like that.

[Bruce]: While we’re talking about motorcycles, I want Uncle Steve to talk about his Heinkel, his Heinkel experience.

[Steve]: My what? Oh. Ha-ha.

[Eric]: I refrained from bringing that one up last night.

[Bruce]: A Heinkel is like a scooter. It’s like a Lambretta scooter. That’s what a lot of people had down there. Uncle Steve liked those scooters. He got around quite a bit on that one.

We used to carry our dog on the floorboard of that. He stuck his head out one time and went tumbling.

[Dawn]: Awwww.

[Bruce]: From that point on, that dog would not leave the side of that scooter. He was guarding that scooter because—at first we couldn’t get him on there at all. Then once he went for a ride and was able to survive the tumble down the road, then he wouldn’t leave the side of that. He would guard that scooter.

[Kathy?]: Good old Snippy.

[Eric]: Yup. Snippy.

[Gail?]: Snippy.

story told by Bruce and Eric (Lee’s sons) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

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  • What kind of dog was Snippy? How’d Snippy get that name?
  • How’d you come to get the dog? Was he a guard dog or just a pet? Was it common for people in Yarinacocha to have pets?
  • Approximately what length were the alligators in this story?
  • What was the bit I couldn’t hear with reaching down or into the alligator mouth?
  • Did the alligators come up onto the compound regularly or were you going out to find them?
  • Bruce said he tasted alligator. Did you eat them when you killed them?
  • What did you shoot them with? 

 

Bruce and Eric Ride the River

[Eric]: What did you like about Peru? What were some of the things?

[Bruce]: In Peru the way we got around was not by four-wheeled vehicles, but on motorcycles, so from the age of probably twelve. We learned to drive fairly early. There was no pavement. It was all dirt and mud and in summertime it’s dust, four inches thick. That’s how we got around.

Then, of course, alligator-hunting was a favorite. What else did we do? We would climb sheer rock cliffs where we would go vacation once in a while. There was a waterfall that we would mess around in.

We took river trips where Eric and I, at one point, it took us—how long did we figure it took us to get out of one whirlpool that we were stuck in?

[Eric]: Around and around.

[Bruce]: It seemed like it was hours, but it was probably, maybe twenty minutes or something.

[Eric]: Huge, huge whirlpool. Our raft was kind of slender and long. Of course, he was on one end and I was on the other end. When it made it made one swirl around, he would be underneath the water, chest deep, and I would be way up in the air. Then it went around the other way and we reversed, so I was deep in the water, scared to death, and he would be up, laughing at me. We went around and around in this thing. We didn’t know how we were going to get out. Finally, it just swirled us out. It took forever. Later on, I think, we saw a skeleton down on the beach.

[Steve]: Who didn’t get out.

[Bruce]: Spit it out on shore. Did a Jonah.

[Eric]: I just couldn’t believe that our parents let us do that, thinking back. How on the world, did they let us make this two-week trip down the river, in an area where only the Ashanica [recorder off].

. . .

[Eric]: So Bruce ran as fast as he could to get there in case the plane were to take off again. And fortunately, you know, they had room for us. But, I mean, it was all by the seat of our pants. Crazy.

[Bruce]: The year before, they’d had a flood, bigger than usually, so all their bananas and yucca had been washed out, as I recall, so there was very little food. We ended up eating with the Indians as we stopped at different villages. And we were so hungry at this one village we stopped at, I had to brain the head of the fish and it tasted so. . . . Remember that? And then once we got to where the plane was. . . .

[?]: So what? It wasn’t so good?

[Bruce]: Yeah. It was delicious. But we stopped and we ate two loaves of bread each when we finally got to civilization.

[Eric]: Mmmmm.

[Bruce]: We hadn’t had any carbs and we were. . . .

[Eric]: We would get to a community, a Campa community. Of course this was all area where my parents worked and they knew my parents. We knew they knew my dad’s name and so they associated us with him. Some of them knew us as kids, but, I mean, we didn’t know really the people. So we would ask them for a place to stay and they’d put us up for the night, give us some food, and we’d go on the next day. It was quite an adventure.

story told by Bruce and Eric (Lee’s sons) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 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.)

  • How old were Bruce and Eric when they took the river trip?
  • What year(ish) would this have been?
  • What was that bit that wasn’t recorded? I seem to remember something about Eric getting sick.
  • What’s the name of the river they were paddling down?
  • Anybody got a photo you want to add of that kind of raft or the boys/kids in a raft at about that time?

 

Polly Prays Hard

Taylor Sr, Marcia, Steve, Virginia, 12.10.1966

Taylor, Marcia, Steve, and Virginia at Steve and Marcia’s Wedding, 12.10.1966

[Marcia]: Steve was a little bit conflicted about whether he should ask me to marry him and then go off to Peru because he had the plan to go down to Peru for a few months. He went and consulted with Dr. Ockenga [pastor, Park Street Church] on the matter and Dr. Ockenga told him to “Give her a ring. Give her a ring!” So he did, actually.

[Steve]: I went out from his office and went down and bought the ring. From then.

[Stephanie?]: Really?

[Marcia]: From the office.

[Kimberly?]: Oh, I was expecting a telephone call. He said “give her a ring.”

[Marcia]: So on Easter Sunday morning, he said, “Let’s go to a sunrise service.” So, OK, I got up and got ready to go to a sunrise service. It turns out we never got to a sunrise service. We did go to a beach.

[Virginia]: Sneaky guy.

[Marcia]: We did go to a beach and he proposed to me and I came home with a ring.

[Kimberly]: Tell about your love-letters over the radio.

[Marcia]: Oh, OK. So previously though—this is probably why Aunt Polly was praying hard—previously we communicated by letters when he was in Peru. Oh, OK, that’s after the engagement. I’m getting confused.

So then he went off to Peru and we would write to each other. When he went out to the tribe with Bob Tripp, then my letters to him would come as far as the base where Lee and your dad were. So then they would have a radio hookup on a regular basis and she would read my letters to him over the radio.

[Kathy]: Where everybody who was on ham radio could hear it.

[Marcia]: Absolutely. Everybody would listen in. “Oh, we used to listen to those. We used to tune in at the appointed time and listen to those love letters.”

[Gail?]: Like a soap opera.

[Marcia]: No, I didn’t know. He may have, he may have written to me and said, you know, just something about that.

[Heidi]: It’s doubtful.

[Stephanie]: Knowing my dad.

[Steve]: Cool it, Sweetheart.

[Marcia]: Anyway, so what did happen to me was—because we had only dated for four months and he was gone longer than that, I started to wonder: do I really know this man I’m going to get married to? That started to be reflected in the letters and he did decide to not stay as long. I think he was going to stay to the end of November and pop home and we were going to get married in December.

[Gail?]: Get married the next month?

[Marcia]: So anyway, he came home sooner and we got reconnected.

That’s probably why Aunt Polly was praying hard, see, because she and Bob had worked hard to get us together. She didn’t want us to break up.

[Dawn]: Well, and I there was that one letter that Dad wrote to Grandma [MacGregor], right? Or didn’t write to Grandma.

[Heidi]: Oh, yes. It showed up empty.

[Dawn]: It was empty. He just folded up a bunch of those air forms and he. . . .

[Marcia]: Oh, and he didn’t write anything.

[Kathy]: He had it all addressed and everything.

[Marcia]: Oh, to Grandma MacGregor?

[Dawn]: What is this about?

[Marcia]: So we did get married, December 10th, 1966, at Newton Presbyterian Church.

Some of the people in the tribe—because he used to keep my picture up, somewhere on the radio or somewhere—so they told him to come back and bring Marcia and “the baby.” I guess they presumed that, you know, there would be a child involved already.

[Steve]: One of the things they gave to me was a long strip of sacha bacha [sic], you know the miles cake [sic], a strap of that, and that was called a “wife-beater.”

[Victoria]: Really?

[Steve]: Yes. And I use it all the time.

[Stephanie?]: And on the girls.

[Victoria]: Oh, come on!

[Marcia]: So you know who the joker is in our family, right? You’ve got that figured out.

[Steve]: It wasn’t a joke.

[Dawn]: Spousal abuse is not a joke.

[Marcia]: That’s right.

[Dawn]: It’s not.

[Steve]: But that wasn’t spousal abuse. It was training.

[Bruce? groaning]: Oh.

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with additions from Kathy Courtright, Gail Montez, Bruce Kindberg, Virginia Gorman (Lee’s children), Steve, and Steve’s daughters Heidi, Kimberly, Stephanie and Dawn; recorded and 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.)

  • We have Betty’s courtship and engagement story. Anybody want to relay what you recall of the others?
  • Kindberg kids or Lee: can you confirm the name and spelling (English and Amarakaeri) of the plant about which my dad is joking?
  • Marcia, Steve: Are we still in possession of these letters? Could I have them or copies, please? Remember, all of Peru has already heard them, so what’s a few more family members?