Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Christmas Tour" part 2

On our way down to Camiri, which is only a four hour drive from Santa Cruz we stopped for Almuerzo Completo in a small town we happened to be at at 12! I am not a huge fan of Almuerzo Completos. It consists of soup and a main dish. You can order it completo, hence the name, or you can get the soup alone or the main dish alone. We usually just do main dishes. The main dish is ALWAYS mostly rice, with a piece of meat, and sometimes potatoes or a small salad. 
At this lunch stop Mark got out his harmonica and Rudi and Myles played guitars while we waited. A bit outside my comfort zone, but then again every day in Bolivia is outside my comfort zone in some way or another! Thankfully, these lunches are quite reasonable, costing about $1.50.  
Waiting for Almuerzo Completo 
 After lunch some of us walked over to an old railroad bridge that was also used for car/road traffic before they built the nice bridge that is used now.

When we arrived at Mark and Carol's house in Camiri we drove, for the first of many times, over the bridge that connects the "Farm" to mainland Camiri! We stayed this time at the Farm instead of in Mark and Carol's house, as there was more room for us to spread out over there. Rudi and I had it made in the "Mother in Law's Quarters". I can't believe I didn't get any pictures. It is a small cabin with a bedroom and bathroom on the main floor and a small kitchenette/dining room in a loft up above. The children stayed in two rooms that are part of the boy's dorms when school is in session. They were not as posh as our set up, but worked out just fine. We ate breakfasts in our little kitchen loft and our other meals at Mark and Carol's house. If you would like to see more pictures of Mark and Carol's and the Farm go to my blog that I posted about our visit there in April/May 2014 by clicking here.
Scary driving moment!
Many have asked to see a picture of the bridge we drove and walked over to get the farm, so here it is. It isn't as scary to walk across, as it is to drive across...

The legendary bridge...

Our first Cantatón wasn't till Friday night. It was held at the church that Mark and Carol attend in Camiri. There was a good turn out for the sing and we were joined by Kevin on the piano. Christopher also did a special number.

Cantatón Camiri

Back on the fiddles again!
Christopher singing "Mary Did You Know?"

Ruth loves to sing in Spanish!

Paula with her Camiri friend, Miseal!

On Saturday we took about a two mile hike up a canyon to a place where the kids could swim in the river and also to some hot springs. This hike was one of the highlights of the time for me. That is why you are going to see LOTS of pictures of the event! I almost didn't go, as we got started in the afternoon when the sun was hottest and Paula needed a nap. I decided to bag the nap and just take Paula along. I am sure glad that I did!
The trail was quite narrow most of the way, with large drop offs over the side, but the first half or so was super safe with handrails. The rest of way you just had to watch your step!
Paula ready for the big hike!

Myself and Emily ready too!
 There were lots of narrow bridges to go over. Don't look down or you will get squeamish!
Most of us on one of the many bridges.

We saw lots of lizards of all types. Myles was always clamoring for the camera to take pictures of them! I am going to include some of the pictures he took!

Lizard Beauty
 The bridge in the picture below had had weather or big boulders or something take out most of the handrails and had bent a lot of the metal you walk on. It was the scariest by far and you had to watch your step, so that you didn't fall into the deep chasm below.

Goofing off on the trail!

Mark holding the rock up, while Myles tickles him!

You don't want to fall from there!
 The tunnel we walked through was super dark inside for a little ways. Not my favorite thing... It reminded me of something from Disneyland.
Entrance to the tunnel

Exiting the tunnel

Millepeed (S?) Beauty

Dirt and rock slide on the trail.
Another Cool Lizard

Happy Clancy

Happy Hikers

Emily in the tropical rainforest portion of the trail.
The last part of the hike had a lot of small hot springs gushing out onto the trail. The water varied from warm to hot. It smelled like Yellowstone National Park!

 When we hiked down to where the kids could swim there was a group of Guarani children with some adults. They told us that they were a Bolivian Boy Scout group! They were a friendly group of kids and Mark had fun singing them the song "Con Cristo en la Familia" in Guarani, Spanish, English, and Quechua!
Guarani Boy Scouts!
You couldn't have paid me to swim in that muddy river, but our kids jumped right in!! This river is known for its surprise drop-offs and whirlpools, so we were strict about where the kids could swim. I was pretty much a nervous lifeguard the whole time they were in the water. Thankfully, nothing slightly scary occurred and the kids had a good time.
Swimming Hole

Mark playing his harmonica again!

Entertaining the kids with a song!

Enjoying the river.

Myles with some of the "Boy Scouts"!
On our hike out, some of our group got into a hot spring pool. On the hike in, Mark had placed some rocks to cut off the flow of hot water into the pool, so that the pool could cool some. As it was, it was still plenty HOT. Each person who got in had to ease their way into it. It was super hot!
By the Hot Spring Pool

Myles taking the plunge
It was a beautiful natural pool of VERY hot water.
We all hiked out in time to get cleaned up for one of the delicious dinners that Carol fixed for us while we were there!
The Rudi Boohers in a hikers paradise!!
I will stop here for now and publish part three later....

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tia's Suegra (1947- Dec 10, 2014)

Carla and Tia's Suegra, May 2014

      In the early hours of this morning, the beautiful woman with me in the picture above passed into the arms of Jesus. This woman, whom we know as Tia Techy's Suegra (mother-in-law), was a very special friend of mine. It wasn't until last month that I realized that I didn't even know her name! Every time we would stop by to visit, she would be sitting in this area where the picture was taken, right outside of her outside kitchen. She was always kind and peaceful. She loved to have someone just sit and visit with her. Since her first language was Quechua and mine is English, we communicated great in our heavily accented Spanish! She had a fun sense of humor and was a true "kindred spirit". She was super excited to hear that we were coming back to Bolivia. I am sad that we only got to see her a few short times since we got back.
       Tia's Suegra was not very old, just 67 years, but she suffered from a lot of pain in her knees and finally these last months in her back. We knew that she had been suffering from a lot of pain these past months, but did not think that she was near deaths door. It was a real blow and surprise to receive the phone call from Javier this morning, that his mother had died during the night. Tia's Suegra and Suegro (father-in-law) have been married for over 34 years and were together all the time. Their relationship was very close and sweet to watch, in a culture where a lot of marriages are not that way. She died in his arms and he kept saying to Rudi and I, when we went to see them this morning, "She's left me. Who am I going to talk with? Who is going to keep me company?"
While we are mourning with those left behind, we are rejoicing that Tia's Suegra is with the Lord and is not suffering from the terrible pain that she was experiencing these past months and years. She will be remembered by me as a joyful Sister in the Lord. She will be very missed by everyone who knew her. Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints"

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Casa de Amor Celebrates 10 Years

My six awesome kids at the parking garage!!

    Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Hogar de Amor para Ninos, the orphanage that we worked with for the first (almost) two years we were in Bolivia. I usually refer to it as Casa de Amor in my blog, don't exactly know why! We thought it was important to go and show our support and celebrate with Jennifer and the Hogar team for this grand accomplishment! The event started at 9 so we once again had to get up and going early!
     We arrived fashionably Bolivian late... And Tia Rosa was speaking about the Hogar when we arrived. She gave some really neat facts about the Hogar and the things that it has been able to accomplish over the past ten years. The Hogar has received 145 children during the past ten years. I believe that 119 of those have gone either back to family or have been adopted. Incredible! This Hogar works so hard to place these children into families. They believe that every child deserves to grow up in a loving home. Basically, they want to work themselves out of job with these children. Of course, the need doesn't stop for a safe place for children while they are waiting for families, so "job security" is unfortunately always there!

Tia Rosa sharing about the accomplishments of Hogar de Amor

Some of the statistics of Hogar de Amor
 Next Tia Maria shared on the health of the children. She is the nurse/person in charge of health in the Hogar.
Tia Maria
 A lot of the Tias came and brought some of the children from House One, Two, and Three!
Tias listening to the speeches
Tia Sarin shared from her perspective of working in the Hogar for almost the whole ten years. She is one of the original Tias to work for the Hogar. She is also one of our most favorite Tias!
Tia Sarin sharing..
I really enjoyed seeing some of the babies from the Hogar with their prospective parents. V. was assigned parents this past month! They are from a town outside of Cochabamba and only speak Quechua. They seem super sweet and we are super happy for V. to have a family. I remember the day she arrived at the Hogar at just a few days old. Her hair reminded me of a newborn baby goat, so thick and curly!!
V. with her new Mommy!

I don't know if any of you remember baby F. that we cared for for two months, but she was also there with a lady who is in the process of trying to adopt her. She looked healthy and so happy! She also was running around everywhere. A big improvement on the "baby blob" we took care of!
Baby F. with her prospective mother!
 Rudi and Jake had a good time chatting in back. There was quite a echo in the building and so it was hard to hear exactly what was being said from the back! I think they both enjoyed an English speaking guy moment.

Paula commented later that the event was really short. Rudi commented that she had been in Bolivia for too long, as it seemed pretty long to us!! I think she was expecting another long wedding type event!
Ruth and Paula taking it all in!
 One of the children who came was S.! He sure gets cuter every day!
S. and "Daddy"
 You can see from the picture below why Myles is his favorite!!

Quite a few more people spoke and then Tio David presented Jennifer with a plaque commemorating the 10 year anniversary of Hogares de Amor para Ninos.
Tia Jennifer receiving her plaque!
Another highlight was seeing previous children from the Home that have either been adopted or returned to their original parent(s). Below are the famous triplets that the Home raised until they were about 18 months. Some of the former volunteers will remember Ruth who came with her adopted mother. There were others also, but I don't remember their names!
The Famous Triplets with the founder of the Hogar, Jennifer Beaty!

Congratulations, Jennifer and the team at Hogar de Amor for a successful and blessed 10 years! May there be many more children blessed and impacted by your service to Cochabamba, Bolivia in the future!
    Mark 10:14&15 "...Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."