Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Dream Team

Anyone who has taken care of teams that come down from the U.S. will know what I mean when I say that we had a visit from the "Dream Team"! The  Twelve people that came from Alaska, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, and Tennessee, one man and eleven ladies, all had hearts of gold, willing hands to help, they came prepared to serve and love the children at Casa de Amor. They were a blessing start to finish. 

The first day they had brought crafts for both the little kids at Casa 1 and also for the big kids at Casa 2 & 3. One of the crafts was a flagrant overuse of bandaids! Every kids dream to open bandaids and use them as stickers; at least it has been my kids' dream! All of the kids loved it:) 

Some of the team helping the littles with their craft!

Craft time!
 The team also did various project throughout the week, as simple as hanging out the wash and cleaning, and as complicated as painting the dining room at Casa 2.
Sam, Suzanne, and Mary hanging out the never ending wash.

Shawn and Casi pruning the trees along the road!
 In the afternoon we headed over to Casa 2 where they did the craft with the older children. The little boy in the picture below is going to be having heart surgery soon. The craft theme "God heals my heart" couldn't have been more perfect for him!! (Please see Hannah's blog, for how you can help with his surgery....)
K. with his band aided heart!

More crafts with the older kids.
(This room is now a cheery yellow) 
 Throughout the week there was always a game of soccer going on in  the back yard or some other fun game!

A few of the nights we ate out with the team. I only got a picture the night we went to La Estancia. This team was truly American, nice and loud in restaurants! It was great to have fun and laugh in our "heart" language and culture. We did turn some heads in the restaurant though, Bolivians throw loud parties, but are very quiet in restaurants!
The team at La Estancia
 Another afternoon we all piled into Casa de Amor's truffi and ours and took the team and the oldest children from Casa de Amor to Parque Pairumani! Most of the team hiked all the way up to the waterfall and had a great time getting wet and muddy. I hiked part of the way with Casi and Audra, two sisters on the team. We had a wonderful visit and I was really encouraged by our talk together. Both of these gals have been through a lot, but have joyful attitudes about life and vibrant relationships with the Lord.
The crowd that went to Parque Pairumani

Our family also took the team to Tarata one of the mornings. Tarata is a small town about an hour and a half out of Cochabamba. There is lots of super old architecture in Tarata, as well as native people. It gives you a feel for the "real" Bolivia, rather than just the "modern" city feel of Coch. For lunch on the way home from Tarata, we stopped at Palabra de Vida's (Word of Life) large campus to eat. Our friends there were very kind to let us crash their place!! We had packed a picnic lunch for everyone to share. Unfortunately, one of the gals on the team, Mary, does not handle altitude well. She kept thinking she would get over it, but continued to get worse as the day progressed. Rudi ended up taking her to our house to sleep. Thankfully, she was doing better by the next day. She was very brave through it all and kept apologizing for being sick. Like she could help it! The altitude affects everyone so differently, but it is a major factor in traveling here in the Andes.

After lunch Emily and I took most of the group to tourist shop in La Concha. We made quite a crowd! Emily and I were kept busy translating prices and making deals for everyone. Thankfully, two of the ladies in the group spoke Spanish also, so they could help us. We didn't get a picture, but getting the team AND all the items they had bought into our car was quite a feat! They were stuffed into the car with stuff all over them!!

Tarata and Friends!

Enjoying our picnic lunch at Palabra de Vida
Making "handprints"
All too soon it was the last day with the team. The team made a special dough and pressed each of the  CDA children's handprints or footprints into the dough. They turned out really cute.

Chelsea enjoying baby G.
During this week some of the children at House 2 and 3 had Chicken Pox. Since Elianna (14), the youngest member of the team, had never had Chicken Pox before, her mother asked if she could hang out at our house when the team was at the older homes. Our girls became fast friends with her, as she is a lot of fun. Elianna was adopted by Jessica and her husband when she was 10 years old. It is a really sweet story how that all came about. Elianna could relate on a whole different level with the children at Casa de Amor. I am glad that she and her mom were able to come together. Her mother, Jessica was also a true kindred spirit in the food department. She is an adventurous eater and she and I chowed a whole huge plate of Charque de Llama together one dinner!! I am going to write and ask for the picture she took of us on her iPhone, so come back later and see this blog updated with it!
L.toR. Audra, Abbie, Elianna, and Casi...
Love those Bolivian Sweaters and Poncho!
Everyone has cinnamon rolls that Rudi made for them in their hands in these pictures!!
Chelsea, Nicole, and Shawn

Nicole, Jessica, Rebecca, Emily, Suzanne, L. and Abbie
One of the ladies on the team, Audra, has a real gift for photography. She took amazing pictures of each of the children in the homes and then printed them out and framed them. She had brought this really nifty photo printing machine with her. I was shocked when she told me that she was giving it to us instead of taking it home. Thank you so much, Audra. It has already been a big blessing and we have been able to share it with others.
Audra in her makeshift photo booth!!
One last game of Soccer...
The last evening the team was here Rudi and I were able to have dinner with them at Elena's Guesthouse, where they were staying. It was a super precious time for us. We cannot express how special each person on the team was. Before they came they were just names on a page, but as the week progressed each persons giftings and personalities unfolded and we came to love each one.  We are so thankful that they came down to Bolivia and "visited" our orphans! I hope that many of them will be able to come again.

Mary knitted these adorable hats for Elena and Vico's
twin girls! 

Our special friends Vico and Elena with their SUPER CUTE
twin baby girls!

And here is a parting shot for you! The Dream Team with the kids from House 2 and 3 of Casa de Amor in a "silly" shot!! Thank you for coming and sharing your hearts, your resources, your time, and your smiles with all of us at Casa de Amor. God bless you all!!
Visiting Orphans/Orphan World Relief, Bolivia 2015

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