Saturday, December 24, 2016

Shopping Camiri

Lest you think that we live the easy missionary life, I decided to do a blog on how we shop here in Camiri. I must say that I think shopping is the hardest thing about living here. Not only do you have to do all of your shopping in outdoor markets, the selection is very limited and the vegetables are not usually very fresh. Even in Cochabamba we had MUCH more selection for foods and such, as well as super fresh vegetable selections. If you go in the afternoon it is HOT and smelly. The afternoon I took these pictures was close to 100 degrees! The other challenge is that you have to find parking for your car and then hike around carrying all of your groceries. One day Rudi (who, by the way, does most of our shopping) went to 12 different stores/market areas to get our groceries. It is just flat out exhausting. Thankfully, we live close to the center of town where the majority of the shopping is. I do enjoy walking out and getting this or that when I am not under pressure and it is not too hot out, in other words, not very often!!

The girls are standing in front of a hardware store. Our boys
practically live at these stores buying supplies for their many projects!

The market where I buy my veggies. You can also buy dry goods and some
canned goods, oil, etc. here.
 As I said before, I took these pictures in the afternoon when everyone takes their siesta. This meat alley pictured below usually has meat hanging in front of every shop. Just a couple die hards were out selling the day I took this! You can also purchase parts of the whole cow or pig. They sell it all but the squeal!
Meat alley in the afternoon. This is where you buy beef and pork.
 The picture below shows the chicken and cheese section. My picture turned out blurry, but the cheese ladies all sell on the counter to the right! Each lady has her rounds of cheese stacked in front of her. You can kinda see the cheese rounds that they cut your hunk off. One of the ladies had gone home and had wrapped all of her cheeses in a sheet for while she was gone. The cheese is very salty and pretty much all the same, but our cheese lady is good at finding a cheese that will melt and work for pizza, etc. You do develop a taste for the cheese here and I actually like it now!! I do not ever buy the chickens that have their feet attached. I do have a limit!!!!
Chicken and Cheese... Ahh!!! Don't forget the lemons to go with!!!
 I have really had to change how I cook. Our meals are pretty much veggies, meat, eggs, potatoes, rice, cheese and bread, but rotated to seem more interesting!!! You might say we are on a "whole foods"diet, as there is just not very much that comes already prepared. I only purchase one canned food and that is a tomato paste product that I make all of my spagetti, chili, lasagna, and pizza sauces from. I forgot, we also buy tuna in a can! We do buy noodles and when we are in Santa Cruz we stock up on flour tortillas. We don't suffer too much, because we make a lot of  treats in the house like cookies, cakes, and pies!! They also have super yummy ice cream here, so I can't complain too much!!
This is the shop where I buy eggs sometimes, as well as all my dry
 Another challenge is that you will go to a store to buy something and they will be out of, for example, bread or cream, and not just for a day or two, but sometimes up to two weeks. I often purchase the last plain yogurt from the shop pictured below and then ask every week if they have more in, for a few weeks before they finally do! It is VERY common to go by a shop that you went to yesterday at the same time, and it will be closed for no apparent reason. Or they will tell you to come back in the afternoon, because they are sold out of the item you want. You go back in the afternoon and they tell you to come back for it tomorrow morning, you go back in the morning and they tell you.... You get the idea. It can quickly become a treasure hunt you really didn't want to do or have time for. You do learn to make time for shopping, because it takes up a lot of time, whether you want it to or not!!!
Pil is our milk products store. 

Toilet paper and cleaning supplies store.
 And last, but not least, our post office! I cannot figure out their schedule, if they have one! If they happen to be open, you pop in and ask if you have mail. They don't give you a P.O. box key, because then the fella sitting there would not have anything to do. The fella walks over and sees if you have mail and gives it to you if you do! I think there are around a hundred P.O. boxes in a city of about 30,000 people. That will give you an idea of how much people use the postal service. This is also the ONLY post office in town.
Camiri Post Office
So there you have it, a little bit about the shopping experience in Camiri. Next time you are cruising the air conditioned (or heated for this time of year!) aisles of Costco or Trader Joe's pushing your cart, filling it with exotic and tempting foods, trying to decide of you should purchase the organic or conventional brand of bread (yogurt, milk, veggies, ad infinitum!), think of me in Camiri, I am happy if my store is just open and has the one choice available to sell me!!!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Springtime in Camiri

"He hath made everything beautiful in his time:" Ecclessiastes 3:11a
Cotton Trees
This puff of cotton is actually its seed pod that burst open! Super cool!
We are now well into summertime, but I wanted to show you some pictures of our springtime here!
The river that flows through Camiri. It is just three blocks from
our house!

Some interesting flora and fauna! I think it is a baby cactus.
We love being able to take walks and enjoy the nature around us! We have seen wild ducks, herons, hawk type birds, and, my favorite, toucans! We have been told that monkeys come down to drink in the river, but we haven't seen them yet!!
Birds in Flight...
And speaking of toucans, this spring we had a toucan that came and occasionally ate the fruit from our neighbor's chirimoya tree. We never were fast enough to get a picture, but Clara took a picture of the one below at the Santa Cruz Zoo (a zoo blog is coming soon!).
Isn't he a beauty?
"For therefore he sent unto us in Babylon (Bolivia!), saying, "This captivity is long: build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them." Jeremiah 29:28
I had to laugh at the above verse. We sometimes joke about being in captivity here in Bolivia, as we now have to stay to fulfill the U.S. Immigration requirements for our adopted children for at least another year. I guess we are obeying the verse above, because we are planting gardens and hope to eat the fruit of them!!!!

Myles putting in his garden with a little "help!"
This springtime Myles and Clancy both put in gardens. They built little fences to keep Cherry out. The picture below shows Myles'garden in the forfront and Clancy's garden by the wall on the far side of the picture. I will show you what it looks like in my summertime blog, coming soon!
Laying out the rows!
Our small children continue to love having a live teddy bear in our dog, Cherry. She can be a bit much sometimes and they scream for help when she is playing too rough! She is another thing that we are glad to have in our "captivity"!!!
So much puppy love!!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Headboard by Clancy

Well, we brought to you "Bunkbed by Myles", so I thought I would bring you "Headboard by Clancy" and show you the headboard that Clancy made for our bed.

I told Clancy that I wanted him to make a headboard for us and more or less how I wanted it to look. He spent considerable time researching how to make this headboard and finally came up with a plan. It took less than an hour to put it all together! I think it turned out awesome. It is really great to not have our heads against the rough wall in our room anymore!
Getting started with the wood and foam.
Clancy is also measuring for where the buttons should go.
 We actually bought the foam and fake leather material in Tarija.
For once Myles is looking on and Clancy is
the mastermind!

Helping cut the foam to the right size!!

Glueing the foam to the board and then
getting ready to put the fake leather over it,

We attached the material with thumb tacks that didn't really want to go into the wood, but we eventually won!
Putting the buttons on with wire. We had
the buttons covered with the leather material.

Getting ready to put the headboard on the wall.
 We realized that we had not gotten enough buttons covered to make the top and bottom row equal. However, when all of the buttons were on we decided that it looked really nice to have two more on the top, so we left it that way~!
I also want to point out that Clancy made the lamp on the left for
Rudi's birthday gift this year!
 I think that the headboard turned out awesome for our first attempt at it and also with the materials we had to work with! Good job, Clancy and thank you so much!!!!
Hung on the wall with a little help from Rudi and all done!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

"I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving." Psalms 116:17, 107:22, 100:4, 95:2, and 69:30.

Thanksgiving Day, the best holiday the U.S.A. invented! I personally am very thankful to have been born into a nation that has a day in which thankfulness to God is the purpose. Thankfulness is a virtue that is sadly lacking in the world these days. I know I need a lot more of it in my life on a daily basis. This year's Thanksgiving Day, of course, found us in Camiri without any family besides our own, and with very little friends with which to celebrate. That did not stop us from being thankful and for fixing up some yummy food and desserts!!
Myles making his famous apple pie!

Ruth whipping up some pumpkin cookies!
 Turkey is the obvious choice for meat selections, but there was not a turkey in sight in this small town, so we opted to go with its relative the chicken! Not even close to the same from my point of view, but I tried to remain thankful!!
Daddy preparing the chicken.

Clara with the beginnings of an Oreo Chocolate Cake!

Adding the delicious frosting!!
 As you can see we did not lack for desserts! I was very thankful for this!!!

Its beginning to look like Thanksgiving!
 Here in Bolivia it was business as usual. A fruit truck came by with its megaphone announcing that it had papaya, pineapple, and bananas for sale. I got the cutest video of Adriana watching it and telling me about what it was selling, but I don't know if I can upload it or not. I will have Emily try it for me later!
Update: It has been confirmed that the file is too big to upload to blogger...Sorry! It is still a really cute video!!
"Papaya, papaya, papay, platano, platano, platano"
Myles and I were in charge of the barbque for the chicken. It was soooo hot that we practically scalded our faces and hands making it.
B.B.Que Chicken for Thanksgiving!
 Our only guest this year was, Christopher Mattix. The only picture I got of him is from the back working on the 1000 piece puzzle we had started for Thanksgiving Day.
Christopher and Co. working on the puzzle.

Ready to eat....

Clara and Paula decorated the table!

The Amazing Oreo Pie!
 The highlight of the day for me was Skyping with my family back home. They were all together at my parents house and we were the only family not there (again, sniff, sniff).... I am thankful for some of the things about modern technology that allow us to see and hear our loved ones far away.

We also called and were in contact with most of the Booher side of the family, as well!
Skype time with the Johnson side of the family!
 We actually finished up the puzzle that we had started that morning, before we headed to bed!!! Out of the 1000 pieces, I am thankful that there were 999!!!!
Almost done with the puzzle!
God has been so good to us during our years here in Bolivia. We are so thankful to Him!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tarija Cantaton

Those of you who have followed this blog for awhile know that we occasionally venture forth to do what we fondly call a "Cantaton." This is the name that our friend, Mark, came up with to describe the singing and playing events that we do at churches. It is not a concert, but rather a time of congregational singing and praise that is led by our family playing instruments (and others), with Mark leading the singing. It is a lot of fun.
When we got back this time Mark had contacted the Saints in Tarija and they planned on having us down the second weekend in November. We had never been to Tarija before, but had heard that it was a beautiful place. We had also heard that the road getting there was a bit sketchy, it did not disappoint!
On this trip Mark and Carol, along with another family, Efrain and Jeaneth and their two daughters, went with us. Mark led the way in his truck and our faithful truffi followed along behind!

The road to Tarija begins!
We left early Friday morning around 6:30 a.m. and arrived in Tarija around 7:30 p.m. Only four of the driving hours were on pavement... And there was tons of road construction. Thankfully, it didn't rain or it would have been a total mud bog, instead we got plastered with dust!
This road is narrower than it looks!
We did not know about the road construction when we left, but they close the road so they can work without traffic on it. There were two different sections that they closed. Going to Tarija the timing worked out that we got through the first section during the time it was open...whew. However, we did have to stop for two and a half hours for the second section and wait for it to open.
Some of our children took advantage of the time and took a swim in the river below. The men made a fire to warm up by afterwards and we all enjoyed eating watermelon together.

Waiting for the road to open. 

The river where the kids swam and waded.

Translation: Restricted Vehicle Traffic
Monday-Friday     Saturday
7-11/1-6                 7-12
We appreciate your cooperation    

My handsome Hubby and Emily the photo bomber in the background

Our setup for the long wait! The booth with the blanket was
our dressing room!

Getting a fire going!
Most all of our clothes and things were packed up on top for the journey. After the little kids got wet they found out that I wasn't joking about not having anything for them to change into!
Just because he is so cute in pink!

Me and my little lover boy, Peter

Rudi served us all watermelon!!!

David, Abbi, Adriana, Misiel, and Paulita

And some of the rest of us!
When we arrived at the church where we were going to stay. We found very adequate accommodations  with mats to sleep on.
 They also had showers in the Men's and Women's restrooms and boy did they ever feel good after a day of dusty roads with the windows down! Just our family stayed at the church, the others stayed with family and friends.

The next morning a family from the church served us breakfast in the church kitchen and dining room.
Breakfast half American and half Bolivian style

Happy kiddos!

Saturday morning after breakfast Mark and Carol showed us around some of Tarija. We went to two different parks. The first overlooked the airport and had some great toys for the kids to play on. The second was a beautiful garden.
Tarija Airport

Myles and Peter waiting for the plane to take off!

Pretty Kiddies

Solving the world's problems! Actually rejoicing in
 the results of the recent U.S elections!

Fun slide! Paula with David behind!

Ruth with Peter

Love this picture!

Peter about to take the plunge!
The Men and Boys!

Cool looking cactus modeled by Clancy!

All of us, with Rudi taking the picture, by the "Welcome to Tarija" sign!

The older kids had such a great time riding around in the back of
Mark's truck!

The second park we went to was beautiful with lots of lovely pathways,
flowers, and water features.

A family photo opp! Getting everyone to look at the same time was a challenge!
The park from below!

Sharing after lunch on Sunday

Sunday was a full day with lots of eating!!! After church in the morning we were invited to a family's house for lunch. We had Almuerzo Completo that was delicious! Afterwards we were able to share some music with the family. They also asked Rudi to share something from the Bible. Rudi was able to testify of the many things that God has done in his life, as well as his testimony of how he came to the Lord.
After a short rest back at the church we went to dinner at another families house. This house was a kids paradise with all kinds of toys and a small car and truck to drive. I commented later to Rudi that the children that lived at the house were so kind in the way they shared their toys with our kids.
Kids Paradise

I think  the batteries were mostly dead, so they took turns pushing each other!

Dinner time! Everyone is singing before dinner!
We returned to the church just in time to get changed for the reason why we came down to Tarija, the Cantaton! It was our most well attended Cantaton yet, with more than 300 people attending. There were also many other musicians, mostly guitarists.
Getting started with the music!

Now it is Myles turn!

Ruth and Paula helping Uncle Mark with the
song "Quien Hizo Las Lindas Estrellas?"

The church had set up a stage and all of their chairs and benches outside in the gym area, as the actual church was too small for that many people. The weather was perfect for an outside event. It was such a great time.
Creation Cataton 2016 Tarija, Bolivia
The next portion could be titled "The Long Drive Home"... I am going to stop and publish this before I go to bed, so that this blog will be in November!!! Stay tuned, as I will finish my commentary (hopefully) tomorrow~ Dec 1!

Okay, it's morning now and after school. I will take up where I left off!

We left at five a.m. en punto, because we hoped to get through at least one of the road construction areas, remember there were two, before it closed for the day. Looking back we should have left at 4:30 because it would have saved us at least four hours of driving and STRESS, but more about that later!! We all had slept horrible, because for some reason mosquitos had decided to attack during the night. Our children checked in with us periodically, like every hour, to let us know how the battle was raging. Our last wake up was at 3 a.m. and I didn't sleep after that! Most of the children moved outside onto a patio/walkway to sleep, claiming that it was better outside! I do know that Ruth had something like thirty bites on each arm and all over her face. Thankfully, they weren't too itchy, like the mariwee bites. Anyway, if we hadn't been traveling with others we probably would have taken off at 3 a.m.!!
So sleepy and so sweet!
Our car was pulling really slow on the hills, like 20 miles per hour, so we took an early morning break to see if we could adjust something. Efrain is a mechanic, handy to have around on these journey's! It did a little better, but it still was a slow go on the hills.
Engine check!

Ready to be on the road again!

Others were also getting on the road early. It made for DUSTY conditions.

Coming right at you!

A beautiful morning right outside of Tarija.

Lots of road construction

A house right on the side of  the dusty road! I would hate
to live there!

One of the MANY rivers we crossed that day.

Caution  Landslides from 300 m.
Unfortunately, we missed making it through the second area of construction by about twenty minutes. That meant that we could wait until 12 noon when they opened the road for an hour, or we could take a detour... Since we arrived at the closure at 7:20ish that meant waiting for more than four hours. That is what I voted for, to wait in Entre Rios. However, the men wanted to take the detour. Surprise!

We took an hour or so break to eat breakfast, cheese and bread out of the van, use the restroom and get some gas in Entre Rios.

We had been told that you needed to have a four by four to go on the detour. If there had been recent rain we would not have made it in our van, as the ruts and slippery surface would have been too much. The first detour was 18 kilometers(approx 12 miles), it took us 1 hour to do this detour. The road was basically a off roaders track. We did not meet any cars or buses, thankfully, but we did meet up with one gentleman on horseback!
I must say that this area is one of the most beautiful and peaceful that I have seen in all our many journeys. It would be a wonderful place to live... that is if you didn't mind being at the ends of the earth!!
Our horseback guide

Adios, Amigo! In this picture the fella is reading a Gospel
tract Efrain gave him.

Some of the detour road

Off roaders dream... Not mine!!

It is hard to capture just how bad the road was, but take my
word we had to go very slow over the rocks and riverbeds!

As always, you must take baby wipes!
The second detour point we reached at about 10:30. This is where we should have stopped, as we barely made it through a riverbed during this second detour. This is also where we lost a lot of time driving, driving, driving, without going very far. At one point it looked like we were going to have to take another even longer detour, because we couldn't find a way to get into the riverbed that took us to the next road we needed to get to. Finally, after much trial and error we found the best entrance into the river and were able to pass, as long as we didn't stop. If we stopped we would have sunk down in the sand and lost traction! At the last part we did have to stop to help push some other travelers out of the mud/sand. Thankfully, we were able to get started again!

I know it is blurry, but this is the river we were driving in.

Riverbed driving at its finest!
I want to pause and give glory to God for our supernatural car. After we had been driving for about five hours in the craziest conditions, it hit me that our car is being supernaturally powered by God! There is just no other answer for why our car does not break down and just goes, and goes, and goes. These roads, if you want to call them that, are VERY hard on cars. Our car is a 1988 Toyota, it is old, it is low to the ground, it should not handle what we have put it through and yet, it just keeps chugging along. God gets all the glory for it, for sure!!!

David all tired out!
Around 2 p.m. we stopped for lunch. We hiked down to be by a river, but found out that instead of being refreshingly cool, it was quite warm and salty... weird!
Paula and Missi wading in the bathtub warm water 
Our lunch spot left a bit to be desired, as it was really hot, but the "shade trees" were full of super poky spines. However, it was shade, so we didn't complain too much...

Lunch time. Sandwiches and watermelon!

After the riverbed driving it was about two hours back out to the main road. At some points the construction stopped up the road completely.
Watching the large equipment move rocks out of the road.
About three hours from home we came to the worst part of the journey for me, The Narrows. There is a flagging system in place for stopping the cars on one side or the other, because there is two way traffic on a very one way road. However, I do not have much confidence in the flagging "system", because we met up with plenty of traffic coming at us. You honk on every blind corner and super hug the inside wall and hope for the best. We lived through it, but I say that it was another great ONE time experience for me!! At one point they stopped us all with the "red" flag and made us wait. I thought, "great, now it will be safe." Ha, ha, we still met up with traffic coming towards us and come to find out the flaggers leave at 6 p.m. and it was 6:15 while we went through this part. The wind was blowing and rain was sputtering, it was absolutely eerie being on the side of that mountain in those conditions. I'm sure you can see this road on Google maps. It is the road between Villamontes and Entre Rios and it is called El Angosto.

Safety first... That's why they put up the sign!!
The day we were traveling was Efrain's birthday. We stopped to celebrate with cake and ice cream at Jeaneth's mother's house in Villamontes. Bolivians must celebrate no matter what! Cake and ice cream was pretty much our dinner, except for the left over crackers we had in the van!
Happy Birthday, Efrain

Complete with travel weary musicians.

A firecracker candle!
We arrived home at 11 p.m. that night! Tired is an understatement. Thankful is also!!! It had been a long and grueling journey. Most of us did not go to bed without a shower first! It had been a long, hot, dusty journey!

The next day we were up and at ém cleaning out our God powered van!
Cleaning crew

It was a big job

Clancy and David getting it all detailed out!

David carrying in some of the shoes!
I don't know where our next Cantaton will take us, but I am thankful we were able to finally see Tarija, meet some great people, make new friends, and make it home again safely to Camiri! Thanks for joining me as I reminisced the journey!!!