So the week didn´t exactly go as planned. Things here rarely do. If you can´t be flexible, you´ll be miserable. So you just have to learn to roll with it. I still had a full week though!
Monday morning began with meetings with my team leader. It was good to just sit down with my ministry goals in front of me. Quite thankfully, we are on the same page and will be working towards those goals together. It will take time to learn all that I need to know. Unbelievably, Spanish is only a small part of it. But sometime in the near future I will be able to be a big help to my team. There are some ways that I can start to help immediately. For example: responding to email inquiry´s regarding the ministry to the orphans, the culture, money issues, fundraising helps, ect. We will have weekly communication meetings so we are always in touch.
Monday night was Natalia´s Ballet at the biggest theatre in town. It was so fun to see the family all dressed up for this important event. In most of the cultural dances there are 6 couples on stage so we can always pick out which one is Natalia. Mamá made all of Natalia´s dresses and that helped to pick her out to. We had a front row seat in the balcony. The dancing was amazing, I´ve never seen anything like it. I got a very short video clip with my camera and will try to post it to this entry from an Internet café later. It was such a wonderful night! The next day at lunch they told me that there was a young man that was watching ME the whole night and not the dancing! I was, of course, totally oblivious to it! Papá said he almost went to tell him to knock it off. That was hilarious to me!
Tuesday I went with my team leader to drop off the needed paperwork to get my one year visa in progress. That was the first step. Next comes a drug test, a criminal background check, and one more thing but I forgot what it was. Pretty normal stuff I guess. I meant to go to Villa Isreal orphanage that afternoon but was feeling ill after lunch and needed to stay in and rest instead.
Wednesday the country was on strike. Yes the whole country of Bolivia was on transportation strike. There were some blockades set up in Coch but nothing that you couldn´t get around. But all the trufies were not running, though I´m told some taxi´s and mini buses were. I still had tutoring that day as well as studying but I took the time to get the photo´s posted from the Internet café.
Thursday I went with my team leader to the Sedeges office (which is kind of like a DCFS branch office). 4 brothers from the Villa Isreal home had to meet with their mom for the first time in 4 months. The children were reported to Sedeges because the mother would leave the 4 boys to beg for food in the community while she took off for days at a time. She has another son that she has been taking ok care of, he´s now 2 years old. She is also 5 months pregnant. She is saying she will abandon the 2 year old when her child is born. This is the sad, sad reality in Bolivia. If she does abandon him, he will come to live in the orphanage with his brothers. It was a very emotional morning and I found myself fighting tears as the children cried and even when one of children led the group in prayer for his mother. Yes we certainly do tell the children about Jesus and teach them to pray!
Today, after my Spanish lesson I spent that afternoon with another missionary with International Teams checking out a new area of the city for me. Prado is where a lot of American tourists go and there are a lot of restaurants and such there with good safe food to eat. I hardly ever eat out as the house food is excellent but its nice to know I can go out somewhere good when I want to. And believe it or not, at the plaza (park) at the end of that road there was a huge craft fair. A lot of tourist type stuff that can be bought in Concha for a little cheaper, but it reminded me a lot of the community craft fairs back home. Then we went to her apt and drew some maps and talked about how to get different places ect. She has an open door policy, I can always go there to get away if I need to. She´s not on the orphanage team so I won´t see her unless I intentionally make time to see her.
And now I am exhausted from my long afternoon walk and looking forward to dinner with my family. Tomorrow afternoon is Babywashing, I just need to figure out which bus will take me there. Check back soon!