Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our Language School

I am going to give you a short tour of our language school that we go to at least twice a week each. This is the apartment building it is held in. You have to go to the "Tienda" first and ask for the key to the gate. Our classes are held on the third floor. It seems that I am always winded by the time I get there. Only when I am climbing stairs does the 8,400+ feet elevation get to me!

Here is the view from the third story window. You are looking out at one of our favorite markets "The Ingavi Market". Myles is going to do a blog about the different markets we go to in the near future.

Rudi looks like a giant next to these Bolivianos!
 Rudi with our three favorite male professors! From left to right Alejandro, Daniel, Rudi, and Jose. They have all been teaching Spanish here for a very long time. Alejandro and Daniel both teach Quechua (a native Bolivian language), as well. We have very much enjoyed getting to know these teachers and really appreciate their patience and encouragement as we climb the mountain of language learning. Emily and Myles have really hit it off with the instructors and really look forward to the days that they have lessons!
Emily goofing off with Alejandro and Daniel!
Myles hard at work with Jose!
 And last, but certainly not least, the only female teacher and director of the language school, Gladys! Gladys is a real bright spot to any day. She is also a dynamite teacher. She speaks Norwegian, English, some French, and I think some Quechua, as well. This language school has been open for over 30 years. The collective teaching experience is awesome! We always have a great time and are learning so much!
Carla studying with Gladys....
We always go for two 45 minute sessions and have a new teacher for each session. This way we get a variety of teachers. The different teaching styles are great for challenging us and for covering all of the bases! We are thankful to Jennifer for letting us know about this language school. It has been a lot of fun!
We also have enjoyed meeting people from Norway, Finland, and Switzerland. We look forward to having some fellow American volunteers from Casa de Amor joining us at the language school soon!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Learning Through Trials...

 When I left you last blog it was with optimism that it would be a better week ahead... Well it wasn't... It was actually worse. Thursday afternoon I came home from Spanish class and went straight to bed with the worst achy flu I can remember having in six years. It was a long and sore weekend. One by one all the rest have gotten sick with the exception of A. and baby L. Thankfully, Rudi waited to get sick until after I was back on my feet, in a wobbly sort of way, Monday! He wasn't hit as hard thankfully and is recovering faster. I think it has to do with my amazing concoctions I have been giving him.

 Below Emily took a picture of me giving out some of my narly health tonics! The one below has lots of fresh crushed garlic, crushed onion, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and honey. It is sure to cure what ails you... if you live through eating it!!!
 In the blue cup is the "potion" and in the little cups water and peach yogurt. First you eat a spoonful of the potion, followed by a water rinse, and then the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down, yummy yogurt. Want some?

A now for a series of reactions from Emily!


Finalmente! Not so bad!

I think this face says it best!!
 And as if being terribly sick was not enough our water system failed this past week also. This means that we did not have water Monday through this morning. (With the exception of Tuesday afternoon!) We figured out that we could pull water up out of our tank to flush toilets, wash dishes, and even take a "camping bath"! It was not the most convenient, but we were thankful to have any water at all. Our laundry has stacked up nicely and boy did a shower feel great today!
Ruth and Paula on "Bucket Brigade" duty!
Myles our main water gatherer!
 We are so thankful that Tia Techy was here all week to make food for us and clean, and clean, and clean! She is such a blessing to us everyday! Don't let the serious face fool you, this gal has a great sense of humor!
Our favorite Tia!
 Our little girls on loan and little boy continue to grow and do super well! We have lots of fun with them and are thankful to be here to serve them. Baby L. is always commented as being "gordito" and is sleeping through the nights like a champ! Now that he has begun to smile we are given lots of these every day! A. and K. love to sing songs and play with puzzles and are generally busy little girls all day long! I still love to hear them laugh!
Happy Baby L.
This past week two different women, who I appreciate very much, sent me these verses as an encouragement... I really felt that this is what the Lord wanted me to think about and attempt to learn through these trials.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 " For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
I know that I am beginning to learn just a little to lean on the never ending resources in Christ Jesus. I am thankful for the "stretching weeks", especially when they are behind me!!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Of Trials and Triumph

Lest you think that we just have fun down here... I decided to post what our week looked like last week and then about the great day we had today!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will start with a picture of where we spent a lot of our time last week... No, we are not potty training, both of these girls are potty trained. However, both had Ameobas and DID NOT have bowel control night and day! Rudi joked that he had a "CaCa Factory" with two employees! We were up and cleaning up sometimes every fifteen minutes for three nights in a row...
Want to trade places????? 
Partners in....Crime!
 I decided to add both pictures because they are so cute... the little Potty masters!
My Amazing Cloth Diapers
These gals managed to soil ALL 32 of our cloth diapers in one night and then moved on to disposables. Our amazing Tia washed all of these by hand. They look downright beautiful on the line! I would like to add that my super generous cousin Clayton, and his wife Kim, donated 16 of these beautiful bumGenius diapers to us. I don't know what we would have done without them. THANK YOU AGAIN. You guys are awesome!
Paula "Just resting"
My Inside Dryer
 They say when it rains it pours and last week it did. I had a hard time drying the clothes because I would just get them on the line and it would start dumping rain. We are in our rainy season here, even though it is Summer. I have a backup dryer that runs on propane that I thought was broken. (Forgot to check and see if the propane was full or empty...hmm) So we ended up drying inside during the night! Not as fun as it sounds.... Truthfully it was just a long rough week in many ways. I think the sleepless nights played into it all!

TODAY was the wonderful day in which we got our passports back with our one year visas. We also completed the process for our Carnet, a national identification card that we all have to have.
We started out the morning by leaving the house at 6:15 to be at SEGIP (Don't know what it stands for sorry!) in time to meet with our lawyer. It was a perfect morning to be up and out. The picture below shows some of the zoo that outside SEGIP is before it opens. There are lines at least five people deep about 200 ft to the right and left of this door. See if you can find Rudi in this "Where's Waldo" type picture... can you spot the Extranjero. One clue, Rudi has on a white shirt with Paula on his shoulders. Okay, another clue...He is behind a Bolivian man and you can just see a corner of his shirt and Paula on top.
 Our fantastic lawyer, who has made this whole process a piece of cake for us, had an appointment and like Rudi said "it was like having a fast pass at Disneyland." We went straight into our appointment for pictures for our Carnet. Our lawyer will pick them up when they are ready and we will pick them up at her office. Most people get in line outside of SEGIP as early as 3 a.m. to be able to deal with Carnet stuff before they close at 5 p.m. 
The family with our Awesome Abogada, Janeth!
 After our appointment we walked to breakfast. Here we are waiting for our fresh squeezed orange juice. A favorite for all of us! For 3 bs. (Approx .45 cents) you can enjoy fresh squeezed juice. These carts are all over the city!
 It is very common for the street vendors to have a child with them. Sometimes on their back in a blanket or just playing at their feet. This is the child of or our orange juice lady. He was so cute I had to snap a picture!
The little boy of the Orange Juice Lady!

On the way to breakfast we stopped and visited the mechanic shop where "the Happy Mobile" has been staying for the past month. We were glad to hear that our car will soon be well enough for us to take for the next "safari" soon! 
 For breakfast we had a traditional Bolivian treat of Saltenya's (Bolivian Spanish buffs, I know that this is spelled wrong, but I cannot type the "Spanish n" on my keyboard and I want people to know how to pronounce them!) They are a mixture of sweet and savory. I think I would like them to be one or the other! They are very yummy and very Bolivian!
Pastry filled with meat and veggies!
Just because I know you wanted to see what was inside.....

 To really celebrate our Visas and Carnets being done, (I don't know if you know that getting a one year visa is a really big deal here for a North American?) we went to our favorite espresso place here in Cochabamba.

 Their outdoor sitting area is al fresco and was perfect today for waiting for our drinks.
 This picture is for our employees back home. They have the same machine that we have at Main Street Espresso!
Waiting for our Raspberry smoothies and Coffee drinks!

Myles and Clancy, "Happy Boys"

 This picture is not an announcement... I put all eight of our passports in my money belt for safe keeping. I was joking to Rudi that I looked at least three months prego and we decided to snap this picture for you all! Those passports are seriously thick... I promise!
With our Mocha Frappes! In any language....Yummy!
 It was a blissful beginning to a better (?) week ahead! If the picture below means anything I think it will be!

Beautiful Paula...feeling better!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Visit to the Campo

Last week we were able to visit a wonderful place outside of Cochabamba in the countryside. It was the personal property of some folks who have been serving as missionaries here for four generations.

Our friends Richard and Gladys Scoggins drove some of us out in their car and the others rode in the back of this small pick up truck. Definitely the "fun" ride!
Here we are taking a tour of the property. Jonathan and his Bolivian wife, Monica, live here with their four young sons. This is one of two of the ponds that are used to raise Catfish and as water storage. The tour included goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, llamas, ducks, and, of course, dogs! They eat the various animals(except the dogs!), when they get too old or have too many of them. On this property they also experiment with different types of fuel, and water sources and then train others how to use them, who are serving the Lord in remote locations.
A highlight for Clancy riding the friendly llamas

While we were there the heavens opened and poured rain. The children had a great time getting out in it!

On the way home we drove past the highest tech dairy I have seen here. I thought some of our dairy friends and family might enjoy seeing what a super nice dairy looks like.

These are the most cows I have seen on one dairy. There were about 40 including the young ones.

A field of Alfalfa
Each dairy or farm grows their own food for feed for their animals. A lot of alfalfa, corn, and a variety of grasses/herbs are grown.
This picture was taken close to our house, but it shows a farmer taking cuttings for his dairy cows. It shows the variety of feed they give the dairy animals. I have only seen Holstein dairy cows here. They are all much smaller than the ones at home.

A comfortable home in the Campo!
Children in the Campo
I asked Richard to stop so I could take this picture of some children with their pigs! You can't see them very well, but the children are absolutely adorable! Their house is in the picture behind them.

    This is what the roads looked like driving home. Wet and full of puddles!

The Scoggins took us to a delicious traditional Bolivian food restaurant on the way home. The kids had fun with the indoor play equipment!
Gracie, Paula, Ruth, and Clara "Bomberas"
The Children's favorite dish
Chicken, rice, noodles, french fries, and a fried banana, this is Bolivian food at its best. The little dish to the right with a green sauce in it, is locoto and no respectable Bolivian meal is good without it! I eat it on practically everything and LOVE IT! The brown bottles are full of delicious, jugo de manzana (apple juice). It was a great meal!
Silpancho, One of my favorite Bolivian meals!

Enjoying our meal with our friends

Rudi, Carla, and Paulita

Gladys, Richard, and Gracie
If you can't tell from the picture above, Richard is from the good ole' USA. His wife, Gladys, is Bolivian. Gracie is Clara's best friend here in Bolivia. They also have two teenage boys. Richard moved here in the 90's. Gladys and Richard host the Saturday afternoon fellowship for children that we have very much enjoyed going to the past few months. It is the highlight of our week. It is on holiday for now until school starts again. Hopefully, when it starts again I or Clancy will take some pictures and post a blog about it for you all to read about in detail.
Thank you Scoggins for a great day in the countryside!