Tuesday, May 23, 2017

THE LAST EXPLORATORY TRIP - 2-1/2 months - December 1966 to February 1967 & Ready to launch THE ANDERSEN FAMILY PRIVATE PEACE CORP & the Crucial Role of ANDERSEN SAMPLERS & Consulting Service

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#1.   How It All Started  &   A Decade of Preparation to Avoid Failure
#2.   Como Fue El Comienzo & 10 Años de Preparacion para Evitar el Fracaso
#3.   1966 Expedition to Izapa & 3rd Exploratory Trip
#4.   1966 Report to Ex-Missionaries - "Color & Beauty a Disguise"
#5  1966-67 Last Exploratory Trip & Ready to Go  & Role of Andersen Samplers
#6.    Leaving UT. & Arrival in Guat  8/19/1967 - Traveling Movie - Poultry Farm
7.  COMING: Photo/Essay of first years at Valparaiso, never seen before
8.       "          : First movies (8mm.) atValparaiso by Bob Allen & Lou Bernstein
9.       "          : 1979 & 1980 8mm. movies by Foundation
10.     "          : KSL TV Dimension Five  1981 documentary
11.     "           :  Documentary of Corn Improvement Program--650% yield increase
#12.     "      :  The Complete History video
13.     "          : 2016 Documentary shown on National TV in Guatemala
14.      "       :  Etc. gradually added to even after Foundation closes


Several ex-missionaries injected with the desire to return....especially to Guatemala--"The Land of the Mayas,"  had quite quickly done so.  One,  a bachelor still, but interested in marrying a daughter of a U.S. family living in Guatemala, and another married whose wife didn't speak Spanish and was completely unfamiliar with such a different culture.
Neither of them lasted more than 6 months.  At all costs I wanted to avoid going off half-cocked, and so ended up investing 9 years of preparation in every way possible, including 4 exploratory trips on top of a very spiritually grounded personal conviction of mission.

The fascinating experience at the 1966 Report to the Ex-Missionaries, just reported on, had me decide to make one last--and 4th-- exploratory trip with my entire family, which included:  Maria, my wife, and 4 children:  Julie-7, David-4, Cristina-3, and Richard-2-1/2  months.  We would camp out in our relatively small camper into which I had built the essentials, on the back of  our 1966 model Ford pickup--all pretty simple back then--no 4x4, no electric windows, no A/C, no cassette or CD player, but cheap $2,150 NEW!

.......as you can see by a relatively typical scene quite symbolic of the culture of the then Mexican "common man."  

This report in no way attempts to report in detail the exciting trip, designed to introduce my family to a different culture, and have them excited about the new life we would all have--mostly in relationship to the "common man," that in Guatemalan basically meant the rural Mayan Indians who we were to live among and try and help.

Most of the report will be limited  by using for the first time many  photographs not seen before taken with a medium format camera and saved in boxes for nearly 50 years as 2-1/4" square transparencies that filled up with fungus due to the humidity of Alta Verapaz, reputed to have 13-15 months of rain a year.    I laboriously cleaned, as best I could, those that were salvageable, but most, even with impossible to repair defects and deteriorated colors were  of incalculable historical value for us.  Yet many had to be discarded.

As we proceeded down Mexico's Pacific/Gulf of California coast, we camped on  beaches discovered on my previous trips.  Fish always  became a staple of our diet as seen below.

David, who turned 4 half-way into the trip left his plate clean....always!

Christmas - 1966 was celebrated camped out too, as we had traditionally done anyway to escape the "commercialism" of the sacred event in the U.S.  Our children had grown up accustomed to spending  Christmas with the poor fishermen on the Sea of Cortez' beaches.

The above scene and following fishing scenes I believe were photographed  on our way home when from Mazatlan we crossed the Gulf of California on a ferry-boat to La Paz and swung down around  the tip of  Lower California in mid-February, and then drove north to the U.S.

Cathching a "DORADO"  even a relatively small one, was exciting from a small 12' long aluminum boat and believe me, there's no better eating in the whole world!

We arrived in Mexico City after a bit of  delay, as  between Guadalajara and Lake Chapala, I had become impatient with David for some dumb reason and felt bad about harshly chastising him, and was hugging and making up, when all of a sudden a white horse jumped in front of us, pushed in the radiator with water leaking everywhere.  I quickly pulled up to a telephone pole, put a chain around it hooked to the radiator and backed off to free up the fan.  We spent several days camped on Lake Chapala doing a temporary fix plugging all the holes, and then limped to Mexico city for a full repair that made necessary our one night in a hotel.

We took advantage of that stay by visiting some of the important historic sites like you see below.

It included the National Archaeological Museum, important to get the kids thinking about the historic past of the area we would be living in. 

I was amazed how quickly the truck had been fixed, and soon we were on our way towards Veracruz, where I believe the following pictures were taken.

For sure this one was in Veracruz

Eventually we made it to Guatemala, entering the country at the border, near Tapachula, and then traveled along what is called the South Coast from which the photo below was taken looking back at the Volcano Tacana, 13,350 ft. high--high enough in January to have just a little snow up on the summit.

This tree, "Primavera," made official our arrival in the 

Back at that time it was a little unique to see groves of rubber trees, while today, as you might have seen in the YouTube video of the trip to IZAPA, their has been a lot of growth of the rubber industry.

We soon arrived at   Guatemala City, about the same elevation as Provo, Utah, and changed  our diet just a little by eating at the old missionary hang-out, PECOS BILL  which, by the way is still there in 2017!

We had no time to waste, so after a quick visit or two, headed for the Central Highlands, passing through Antigua and from there continued up into the high valleys planted with corn, and wheat,  with the Indian's homes scattered all over as far as the eye can see. 80% of Guatemala's population is rural, and most of them are those of Mayan descent. Their isolation from opportunities and services is just one of their many problems.  We had to find a way to at least help a few solve that and more.

David showing off the harvest of wheat.

Our first really important stop was at the Patzicia Mormon chapel, where, as mentioned in the ex-missionary reunion,  more needy babies were again found with mothers in the Sacrament Meeting.  

We gave  some advice, and bought some  medications for several of them,  and then made  a couple of visits, like to the Branch President, Pablo Choc family, we see below. 

We then camped along side the chapel, and that night I told the family the exciting story of how our friend,  Berkley Spencer, had opened up this Indian town to missionary work.  The area was known for extreme and even bloody friction between Indians and Ladinos, and I began making a point that in our family we couldn't let that happen.  The exciting story Berkley had lived, was retold years later in Dr. Melvin Lyman's book, AS A ROSE.   

But, I could have never imagined then how much trouble I would get into by mentioning--both in the '66 Ex-missionary reunion, & later in Foundation newsletters-- the suffering  and death of LDS babies, children and others, much as was also the case with non-Mormons.  However,  from the get-go  it did enter my mind that our small example could and  would motivate others to action, and even influence the establishment of humanitarian projects on a wide scale, that really did happen as we were told in 1973 by the LDS Regional Representative, and our friend, Harold Brown.

At the end of my mission I had visited Patzicia on a cold, rainy, dreary day, with muddy streets, and it seemed so depressing I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I had to one day do something of importance there. 

But,  I did not envision then how  deeply involved we would become with the people of Patzicia by  first having one of my students, Daniel Choc, become the first full-time Indian missionary for the LDS Church, nor that I would be deeply--and even comically --mis-judged by showing there a very Catholic movie, THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN, but persist anyway  helping a Credit Cooperative among Mormon heads-of-household & through them get 34 of their children going to school, and then  operating there for  more than 30 years a unique private school that would help thousands have a better life.

The next day  we were on our way again, heading  west towards  Patzun, totally oblivious  to what the future held as we passed  through the Chuluc Hamlet, where 20 years later we would help create the "Ariel & Ines Andersen Chuluc School,"  and be involved in its operation 30 years later right up to our GOLDEN ANNIVERSAY in 2017!
Patzun,  we were heading for,  was    another Cakchiquel/Mayan town, famous back during missionary days as being where Elder C. Jess Groesbeck became likely the hardest working missionary in the modern history of the LDS Church....I recall with 115 hours of proselyting in one week!

Not being neither Sunday, nor market day, Patzun was just another sleepy Indian town. We hurried along on our way to Lake Atitlan.

Here also, as well as in many villages and small towns along the way, like  Saquiya, Las Mercedes, Xepatan, and Chuinimachicaj, and more--where we  were destined to have many projects from helping establish potable water systems, a dental clinic, strawberry grower's cooperatives,  building new classrooms for schools,  providing furniture,  and be heavily involved in the rebuilding after the Great Earthquake of 1976 that killed 25,000 Guatemalans.  In that effort, other than helping to organize cooperatives in Comalapa, and Patzun,  we would cooperate with the Canadian Embassy at the  Saquiya Village to 
 " rebuild the first school  in the whole country after the earthquake!"  

Soon breathtaking Lake Atitlan came into view......

...and here I'll have to confess that the 1st of 3 photographs, that were to make a panorama, somehow got lost--but above is  the middle one, and below the right one.

Again, please forgive me for the fungus spots that I just couldn't heal!

The elevation of Lake Atitlan is good for coffee production, and we stopped momentarily to talk to a young boy harvesting coffee beans, and tried to ask him about his life, but he spoke no Spanish so ......

...... we continued on to the main tourist town on the lake, Panajachel.

From our boat  we view one of the 12 towns that are found on the lake's shore, this one I believe is Santa Catalina  Palopo.  As almost anywhere in the Highlands, you can see cornfields decorating  the steep mountainsides, and wonder how the heck the Indian farmers can do it! 

Climbing up from Panajachel, there is a famous lookout where many stop to take in the beautiful view and have the opportunity to buy colorful textiles, famous all over the world for their wonderful designs and colors.

As we drive up the mountain towards Solola, we see below us to the west San Jorge la Laguna, just another of the typical small towns of Guatemala. 

We drove through the large Indian town of Solola which was quiet, and then on a bend in the road ran head-on into a religious procession of the local Cofradia--the Mayan Indian brotherhood.

I immediately went into action with my twin lens Mamiya camera, but as you can see I was approached by one of the men who seemed a little upset (and drunk) indicating  I couldn't take pictures.

I had taken a few already you see here, but fearing my camera would be smashed, I passed it to Maria and the kids, and attempted to talk to the man.  He grabbed my arm and I was pulled inside the house you see in the background.  

Communication was impossible and I was getting a little worried, and Maria and the kids too, so they rolled up the windows and locked the doors of the pickup.  

Then a young man came to my rescue who could translate.  He told me they wanted Q. 20 for the pictures I had taken, but I wasn't prepared and only had Q.50 bills.   Quetzales and dollars were the same back then.  I wasn't about to give them $50.  The young boy offered to run and get change and he disappeared down the street with my $50....and I began wondering whether I would ever see him again....and ever see my family again!

But, the young man shortly appeared with change and all arrangements were happily made, including $5 for the translator and money changer!  And, we had some great photographs, and also recordings of real Mayan/Indian sounds.

We drove up to the PanAmerican Highway and on to Nahuala, where I was interested in visiting a special school and  cooperative run by Catholic Priests, and got at least one picture that was salvageable.  Several years later, after living in Guatemala I visited  the school and cooperative and was quite inspired by what they were doing, and for a number of years kept in touch with them.

We continued on to famous Chichicastenango, learning in the museum there more about the famous Sacred Book of the Mayans--the POPUL VUH, which is still one of the foundation stones of our Good Life Method of helping Indians, as is also the case with Garth and his project at the Ancient City of Izapa.

Once again we are seeing one of the Cofradias, or Indian Brotherhoods in action, functioning with their own systems and ordinances right inside and on the steps of the Catholic Church.

Every now and then, over the years, there were news stories about Cofradias literally taking over Catholic Churches and kicking the priests out -- so it is one fascinating aspect of the Indian culture that needs to be understood to work effectively with Indians.

NOTE:  In a Newsletter from 1999 recently made available on the Foundation's website, there is mention of me finally being accepted into the inner-circle of a Cofradia from San Cristobal Verapaz, which will be another chapter in this long history.  

The market in Chichicastenango. 

From there we backtracked towards Guatemala City.

We stopped for lunch at the famous Katok Restaurante near Tecpan on the Pan American Highway.
The above photograph was taken on a previous exploratory trip with a Dodge Van into which I had  built a camper.  In 1966 I sold it to Garth Norman prior to the Izapa trip.

We came back through Guatemala City, always a great contrast with the rest of the country.  


From Guatemala City we took the Atlantic Highway that goes all the way to Puerto Barrios.  To get to Coban one drives about an hour or 60 miles and then turn north as you can see on the map.  We first went about halfway to the Atlantic and turned off to visit the famous ruins of Quirigua you see in the following three pictures.

On our way to Quirigua.

Here we see pictures of the two most well known monuments there, both considered among some of the best in the Americas.

Until the Tree of Life Monument at Izapa became better known due to Garth Norman's work, this very intricate sculpted rock was renowned by some as the most amazing in all of America.  
We need to have Garth share with us a brief explanation...which I'll do as soon as possible.

We are now on our way to the main objective of our trip -- Coban and area to do final investigations and lay the groundwork for our move to Guatlemala.  In the interest of full disclosure, the above picture that represents us going to Coban on this Exploratory Trip, is actually from the previous trip with Garth Norman who is seen in the cab, and without the rack that we had for the Final trip....but you get the point, that there wasn't a freeway going to Coban.  In fact it usually took 10-12 hours, with the fording of 11 small streams along the way.

Coban was very remote and isolated back then.  It's electricity came from an antiquated hydroelectric plant that was very erratic and unreliable.  There was no telephone service, only a telegraph line, and a very slow and untrustworthy mail system.

You saw this shot of the the wonderful soccer stadium in my last post.  I show it again, as it was just outside of the area that we camped out while in Coban as seen below.

Here you see a legitimate picture of the truck with the rack & kids.

We visited all over the town and area getting to know as many people as possible and discussing business opportunities-- including the General Store--EL GALLO, seen below,  owned by Don Carlos Daetz, a fine man of German descent who also owned coffee plantations, and processing plants in the area.

Coban had experienced two immigration's of Germans, one back in about 1875, and another in the early 20th century.  They mixed readily with the Indians, as we'll see in a moment, and contributed to the development of the isolated area.  Prior to World War II the Germans were very influential, even with a German newspaper in the area, and it was common to see them greet with hiel Hitler and there was fear of their influence in the Americas and so they were rounded up and either sent back to Germany or to concentration camps in the U.S.--where Carlos Daetz ended up and learned to speak  English.  Their properties were confiscated by the government.
After the war many returned to Guatemala and some were able to recover their properties.  I even came to know one LDS member who by appearance was a pure-blood Mayan, but she was married to a Wellman, and so spent the war years in Germany.  So she spoke her Kekchi language, Spanish, and German.  Carlos Daetz spoke those three, plus perfect English.  You can even see tombstones in the cemetery with epitaphs in 4 languages!
Years later, Mr. Daetz assuming, me as a gringo, had tons of money, offered to sell me his store that by then had grown and expanded a great deal.

Research and experience showed that living in the Coban area would be inexpensive, especially by making most of the food purchases at the Indian market, rather than at 

Above we see a tall "Kekchi Indian," selling in the market. 
 I saw more than one Mormon missionary begin talking about her being proof that Nephite blood had somehow persisted over the millenniums.  Then I burst their bubble telling them the history of the Germans in the area who mixed freely with the Indians, creating often quite light complexioned "Indians,"  Indians because of their language, their dress, and their customs.

I even researched where the tortillas came from that we would buy in the open air market -- with a mother and her daughters working hard to keep everyone happy.

Of course on Sunday's we attended the Mormon Church, with a small group --actually the group on our exploratory trip was smaller than you see here, as these pictures were taken  after our arrival in late August 1967, when we were able to help stimulate more  activity.

I actually recall there only being an average of 7 attending prior to our arrival--a place where there had been missionary work going on for at least 12 years--but many of those years without missionaries who were pulled out due to no success.

It is worth mentioning, that now for several years there has  actually been a Coban-Guatemala Mission, and  for probably 20 years an LDS Stake in Coban, and, as has been reported recently, an LDS Ward at Valparaiso.
It did not happen easily!

After a couple of weeks investigating and poking our nose everywhere in the area, including putting on several Firesides in the LDS Chapel, showing slide presentations with many non-member friends invited, and discussing business opportunities, I finally thought I knew how I would support my family in the area -- and so we headed for home, but couldn't resist the Lake at San Cristobal Verapaz.

So off we go, Julie, me, and Dave....and as usual the fishing for large mouthed black bass was fantastic.

NOTE:  Years later when living in Guatemala, late one afternoon fishing in the same lake, there was  a huge alligator-like lunge at my floating lure with drops of water landing on me in the boat--from at least 20 feet away!  A week later a skin diving fisherman with spear gun got a 27 lb. large mouthed black bass in the same spot--which easily would have become--and still would  be,  the WORLD RECORD on fishing equipment!

So the sun set on THE LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING and we headed north with several adventures still ahead of us.

When crossing an area called "La VENTOSA" near the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, we went through a tremendous storm with trucks blown over, and more than once the wind hit us and lifted the tires on the left side off the ground.  I yelled at everyone to get into the back and get on that left side to weight it down.  Once more a blast hit, and lifted our wheels off the ground and then we came back to level, and soon turned east to cross the Isthmus with the wind at our back.  WOW...a close call!

We heard on the radio that far to the north that storm had been a blizzard, and even in the Mexico City area 8 inches of snow had fallen.  From Veracruz we headed west up into the mountains, but stopped to sleep in Fortin de las Flores.  We first parked in a residential area, but were told it was dangerous and best to park out along the highway where vehicles were continually coming and going.

An hour or so later we heard voices and looked out to see that the area was enshrouded in thick fog.  We could barely see the lights of vehicles going by, but they couldn't see us.
Then, all of a sudden there was loud knocking on our back door.  We could dimly see several men.  I yelled, "MARIA, PASS ME THE GUN!"
With that they moved off some, while I was waking up Julie who was asleep in the front seat.  Maria was watching them out the back door, and all of a sudden yelled,

Just in my underwea,  I  quickly  slipped through the boot between the camper and the cab, started the motor and  we screeched out of there leaving them in the fog!  
By then we were all wide awake and we just kept climbing up into the snow covered mountains, and then sped around Mexico City with it's 8 inches of snow,
 and out the other side and just kept going until we felt we were in safe, warmer  country.

Note:  By the way, WE DIDN'T HAVE A GUN!

So, we made it back to Provo, Utah and after a day or two of rest, I announced to my father that in 4 months I would produce for him a 2 year's supply of ANDERSEN SAMPLERS,  and train my brother, Howard, how to do all the shipping and office work, so they could continue the business without me.  We would  then  prepare to leave  by July 1967. 

For those who might not know what an Andersen Sampler is, below is what I got when I Googled  the other day  "Andersen Samplers illustrated" 

It was the supreme invention of my father, whose Andersen Sampler for many years was a basic component of the 
United State's Biological Warfare Detection System.

It became our family business, called, ANDERSEN SAMPLERS & CONSULTING SERVICE, with all of us siblings:  Marlo, me, Gayle, Howard and Jolene, as partners with my father.  It was basically run out of my father's home, his garage turned into a shop, and one basement room, plus an 8' x 8' den as the office.  It was a part-time business for all of us, until I graduated from BYU in 1963 and went to work full time--with my basement also being used, and me creating the brochure you see above, promoting it in scientific journals, making the samplers  each having 2,400 air jets, and doing the packing, shipping and accounting.  Six months later sales had increased and Dad quit his government job at Dugway Proving Grounds, just 2 years before qualifying for full retirement, and we then worked together full time.  

Eventually we had sold in all 50 states, and in 30 foreign countries and even the Russians had got one and were manufacturing, claiming they had invented it--which all of a sudden had FBI agents call on us to figure out how Russia had got one.

The business made possible me working overtime, and getting way ahead  with Samplers on the shelf that Dad just had to package and ship when orders came, and thus I had b
een able to make the 4 exploratory trips in preparation to move to Guatemala.

For example, one of my photographic projects was to photograph the wildlife of the desert for the Audubon Society, so I would camp out in the Kaibab National Forest in Arizona, set my live traps  in surrounding desert country,  collect the live animals, and during the day use my Honda Generator to operate the jeweler's drill press to drill the air jets, the smallest being about the diameter of a  human hair.  

I would then head for home with the animals, and buckets full of rock, sand, and props to recreate the natural environment for each animal in a terrarium, and in those controlled circumstances take large format color transparencies on 4" x 5" film--as I also had done on the Expedition with Garth Norman in southern Mexico.

For the the first years of our residency in Guatemala I would receive almost every month a check from the Audubon Society for photographs sold, all of which helped us survive and finally get established.

To meet my promise to my father of
"In 4 months produce  a 2 year's supply of ANDERSEN SAMPLERS,"
I worked an average of 19 hours/day, 6 days/week, only taking off Sundays, and in 4 months--almost having ruined my health-- delivered to my father the Samplers, like you see him examining below. 

We then began our preparations to leave, selling or giving away all my guns,  our appliances, furniture, and things we couldn't take with,  and accumulated the things we would need:  4 Bell & Howell 16mm. movie projectors, two 9' x 12' professional movie screens in rolls--one on each side of the boat, besides my Honda Generator, two much more powerful ones, a Public Address system,  etc.  

We were a tad short of the $100,000 one astute ex-missionary said we would need, but counting the value of the vehicle, camper, boat, outboard motor, and equipment....all worth around $10,000, and in cash we had a GRAND TOTAL of $4,272!

But, you know we had faith that was backed up with 9 years of preparation, and knowing that the Lord wanted us to do this -- and,  that our basket would somehow be filled as long as we kept the faith and persisted in helping those the Lord told me were his, 
But, the truth is that DAD WAS ALSO ANOTHER  TRUMP CARD!
He for years did what any good parent would do, and try and talk me out of such a crazy scheme.....but when he saw me working 19 hours a day, day after day, and week after week,and all of that on top of having made 5 serious exploratory trips, and never-ending study and research, he finally realized this was no joking matter, and--maybe since I didn't leave him any other choice--he joined us!
He didn't make any promises, but since the family partnership's profits were distributed:  20% according to investment (I had 22%), and 80% according to hours worked..... and from then on he would in just a few hours every day do the work of packing and shipping samplers, but earn 80% of the profit for work I had done....it was sort of understood that if the business did well, he would share with me bonuses from his share, for all the work I had done.

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