Friday, May 30, 2014

Our Last Pedestrian Day

About every four months Bolivia has what is called a "Pedestrian Day". Only cars with a permit (ie.ambulances, gov officials) can be on the road, so the roads are empty of cars and FULL of people on foot and bicycles! It is a fun day to get out and about by foot! We didn't have any plans for the day, but Tia and Javier surprised us by biking to our house from their house about 7 km away. Our oldest five went back with them to their house, after Javier fixed our seldomly used bicycles!
Javier fixing up the bicycles with a little help from the boys!

Tia Techy and Gladys relaxing after their long bicycle ride to our house.
The picture below is of them on our street heading out to Tia's house. They were one bike short, so Clancy and Myles had to share one. Clancy is in the center of the picture on the back of the bike!! They all were super excited to be going to Tia's.
A Herd of Bicyclists
Rudi and I followed them out to the main road with the "babies". Then after they left us in the dust, we got some ice cream!!
Rudi with Paula, E., S., and A.
 People set up make shift booths to sell to all the people on foot, along with an occasional band here and there. It gives the streets a real festive atmosphere.
Rudi making the big decisions... what flavors!

S. enjoying his helado!
 I enjoy taking pictures of the super empty streets that are normally FILLED with traffic. Here is a picture of a part of Blanco Galindo that is under construction and usually backed up with traffic!
Empty Blanco Galindo Km. 11

Carla and the Kiddos
  Javier drove our older children home in his car after the ban on driving was lifted, around 5 in the evening. They came home tired and with sun on their cheeks. It had been a great day! Most likely our last Dia del Peaton in Bolivia....
Enjoying the shade and ice cream!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Another Bolivian Adventure~Part 3~

As we headed out of Huacareta for Camiri we had no idea that the roads would get WORSE. We crossed more rivers, drove in deeper mud, went on more perilous drop off roads for hours and hours. In the evening we stopped for a bathroom break in a "big" town that I don't remember the name of, and Rudi suggested that we have the car looked at by a mechanic. It was starting to blow black smoke and consume a lot of gas, as well as making funny noises! We waited at the mechanics for at least an hour. When we left the car was still doing all of the above, but somehow it felt better to have had it looked at! I took advantage of the time to take a picture of how dirty our car had gotten during all of our "off roading"!
Modeling the "dirty door" at the mechanic shop

Another shot of our "Mud Stomper"!
In the morning of this day, I was actually pretty mad at Mark. I just bumped along not saying anything to anyone in my car, because I knew nothing good would come out! Wow, I must be maturing! Anyway, I really wanted to give him a piece of my mind about bringing our family over these horrible roads in our car and putting our lives in danger, etc, etc. However, it is impossible to stay mad at Mark. He is just too amiable and jolly. And besides, like he told me, "some people pay big money to do stuff like this" and "The roads were great. We didn't have to use my shovel once to move a landslide off the road!" It's all about perspective!!
Mark and Jaime jamming while waiting at the mechanics...

Waiting for our car to get done!
While we were at the mechanics we saw that the local bakery was just pulling fresh bread out of the oven. They did a great business that evening selling us yummy bread. We thought our Douglas County Health Inspector would have a fit if she saw this bakery!The oven is behind the brick wall and the bread is on the table! The chair with the plastic bag (left corner of picture) means that the bread is ready to buy, usually they use a white pillow case over a chair or stick.
Local Bakery
We had fun taking pictures of this rooster. It wouldn't stand still long enough for us to get a really good shot!
Local Rooster 
    The very last crazy mountain pass we went over was just before dark. The climb up was the scariest yet, because the mud made the one lane road slippery, and on the way down, we slid around more than one of the ten crazy complete switchbacks in the road! You can also see these switch backs on Google maps if you look at the road between Monteagudo and Camiri. After a few more hours of foot deep mud we made it to the PAVED road to Camiri. The first paved road we had seen in over twenty hours of driving!!
  Camiri seemed like downtown New York after where we had been!! We all really enjoyed being in Camiri. I hope that the pictures are able to convey a little of what it is like at the Mattixes!

Myles opening the door to the Mattix property and Campus!
Mark and Carol started a Christian discipleship school on this property in the early 2000's. Around 20-25 college aged people attend for the seven month course. The whole campus is set up on "the farm". Students who cannot pay for tuition or would like to work off some of the tuition, work in the dairy portion of the farm. Learning to work hard and serve are an important part of what is taught during the time the students are here. We enjoyed getting to know some of the students. They come from all different walks of life, but seem to have a real desire to serve the Lord!
Mark and Carol live on one side of the river and the campus/dairy is on the other side. You cross a sturdy bridge to get across to the campus. You will see lots of pictures of this bridge, as we all found it to be super interesting! The name of the river is called the assassin or deceiver in Spanish. Check out the whirlpool at the bottom of the cliff. Many people die in the river each year because they do not respect its whirlpools and undercurrents. At some times of the year it is quite shallow.

Mark and Carol's "Castle"
You have to drive under Mark and Carol's house to exit the property.

Under the Castle
Inside the "Castle"!
On the bridge going to the "Farm"
All our pretty girls!

One of the mornings we were in Camiri, Rudi made his famous Cinnamon Rolls for the students, teachers, and all of us, of course!
The Maestro at work
He made the dough and assembled them in the Mattix kitchen and baked them in the school's larger ovens.
Rolling them up!

Finishing touches with the school's cook helping!

Rudi serving the students!

Some of the students enjoying the Cinnamon Rolls!
For some reason blogger did not upload these pictures properly. I will replace them later with good ones, but you can get the jist of the picture, I thought.
School Campus
Part of the Dairy Operations

Paula and Ruth in one of their favorite spots!
Some of the flora and fauna is very different than other parts of Bolivia. It felt a lot more tropical than where we live in Cochabamba, but not a tropical as Chapare or Santa Cruz!
Ruth in front of a "bottle tree"!
Cool Ant Hill!
We all were affected by the "no see um" bugs to one degree or another! Emily got bit the worst. I don't think she will mind that I posted this picture of the back of her legs. The front were just as bad! She said that some of the nights reminded her of when she had chicken pox. It was so hard to sleep because of the itching!

Pobrecita... Emily!

We met so many very nice people in Camiri, but Efrain and his wife Yaneth really stood out to us as people we could be friends with for years! Efrain teaches in the mechanic portion of the school. Paula really enjoyed playing with their oldest daughter, Misael, who is three years old! Efrain took Myles fishing early one morning and Myles caught two fish. Only one was really worth mentioning though!
Myles and Efrain

Myles with his prize Catfish

A close up of the beauty!
Everyday we walked back and forth to the school several times for this or that. Our children loved to run and play on the trail!

On your mark, get set....
Another highlight was the motorcycle. Our girls were constantly begging to ride with Mark on his motorcycle. They only went to the school and back, but boy did they LOVE it!
Happy Campers

Paula "Lovin' It"
Saturday morning a lot of folks from the church that Mark and Carol go to, came to use the river for a baptism. All four of the members of this family have been recently saved and they all wanted to be baptized.
I wasn't sure about the location, but everyone was safely baptized and no one was swept away by the river!!
It was a beautiful morning and a beautiful time of celebration as well. Mark gave a short message and we sang some songs together!

The family waiting to be baptized!

Gathering by the river for the baptism.

And of course, we could not have come to Camiri and not shared some music. Actually, every night that we were in Camiri at least two of us shared our music at a church or gathering. One afternoon we went to a children's home/boarding school and played music for about sixty boys and girls. I am sad I did not take my camera, as it was a very special time. Myles got surrounded by about ten teenage girls who asked him lots of questions. He reminded us of a treed coon and ended up escaping and running off!
The Grand Finale was Sunday night when we did another two hour sing!

The Band at work again!

Clancy helping out with the vocals!

The Guitar Band on the other side!
Now I am going to just post some random pictures that don't really have any rhyme or reason!!
Mark demonstrating his unicycle skills!! Impressive!

Paula with Misael

Only certain vehicles fit on this bridge!

Booher Family Picture!

On our last day in Camiri, Efrain totally fixed our car that hadn't really gotten fixed before! For lunch we went to lunch at the house of one of the elders of the church. Along with delicious food, they had an amazing parrot that the kids had fun taking pictures of! It was not friendly and acted like it would like to eat one of their fingers for lunch!
Parrot Deluxe

Enjoying our last lunch in Camiri
In front of this couples house is the most amazingly beautiful trees I have ever seen! Notice the old truck below the tree. This couple drives into the countryside around Camiri to minister to the Guarani people!

The last night of our trip we spent in Santa Cruz. Other than avoiding large herds of goats and going through lots of little towns, the driving was a dream!! We stayed at the New Tribes Mission Guest house. It was wonderful. We drove all the way home from Santa Cruz to Cochabamba in one day in just nine hours. That was wonderful too! We stopped in Villa Tunari and bought some bananas... The bunch below cost two dollars!
Home again...with Bananas!!
Thank you for "joining" us on our adventures! It was an unforgettable trip! Thank you to the Mattixes for hosting us for the ten days we were with them!