Sunday, December 21, 2008

My first week at the daycare

Before I start talking about my week, let me show you my kids! But do to privacy issues, I can not give you their names or if they are HIV positive or not. Even I do not have that information. So here they are, pics of 4 of my 5 little darlings.

This picture didn't work out so well, my little escapee was... well... escaping!

This guy is awfully cute but he is my touble maker! He doesn't eat well and sleeps only when he feels like it! He's 8 months old.

He is my hyper one, never met a baby that doesn't like to be held! He wants his freedom and is well on his way to walking, he's 8 months old.

She is my little escapee! She's 1 year 2 months but not walking yet and quite chubby. Ever opportunity she gets she's making her way out the door, and the door is too big for a gate.

And she is my most precious doll baby. She is 5 months old and trying really really hard to roll over but she hasn't made it quite yet. She's come a long way in a week, when I first started she didn't know how to drink from a bottle, she downs them in no time at all now.

And this is how I like them the best! If I'm lucky, I have maybe an hour during the day in which they are all sleeping!

Not shown is my big kid. She's 1 1/2 years and walking all over creation.

So I spent my first week working only with the daycare for a number of reasons, which is fine with me. It is so close to my apt that I can walk there in 5 mins. My day begins at 8:30 AM when the kids arrive. Remember, this is a daycare to help families effected by HIV and AIDS. All the parents are positive and some of our kids are, some of them are not, and some of them are too young to test. There are 4 other older kids that come that I am not responsible for.

So the schedule looks something like this for the babies. Eat breakfast (bottle and babyfood), change diaper, bath, clean clothes, bottle if needed to go down for the morning nap. If they went to sleep like good babies, they get up at 12 and get changed and ready for lunch, lots of downtime just playing in the playroom. 1pm lunch and then bottle and naptime again, if they go down nicely they sleep till 4. 4:30 is another bottle and diaper change and change back into their clothes and wait for the parents. I normally leave at like 5:30 or so. I do have some help from the Bolivian workers as I can't change one kid and keep eyes on the others.

It is very important for these kids to eat a lot and get good nutrition. They also recieve medication (not from me) and are regularly monitered by a doctor. If any of them arrive sick they are turned away as to not infect the others. We sanititize everything after every child too. It is exhausting work and I smell and am starving when I leave there. I love these babies so much I can't even tell you. After the first of the year I will be there only every other day to guard against burnout. The other days I will be at the girls home helping with the 22 girls that live there. Update on Christmas week coming soon!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I am now starting my second week being back in Bolivia. And what a whirlwind it has been. It can only be described as my second culture shock. I say this because for my first year I was living with host families. I never had to deal with relators and finding a place to stay, I never had to wait for things to be repaired in the house, I never had to buy my own food (except snacks), I never had to pay bills or anything like that. So needless to say, these last two weeks have been... educational.

I ended up renting the first apartment that I saw. The first shock came when I discovered that for the location and security level I wanted, I was not going to be able to get an apt with what I budgeted. So I crunched some numbers and made it work. The apt is 3 bedrooms, one of which I hope to rent out short/long term. It has a decent sized kitchen and a good refrigerator (most here are very small), dining room/living room big enough to host the International Bible Study. It´s mostly hard wood floors except the bedrooms, it has two bathrooms. I did get it fully furnished which has saved me a TON of money. Just getting the things for my kitchen, cleaning supplies, TV, ect has cost me more than I anticipated. The location is perfect as I´m right in the middle of everything and have a lot of public transportation options and walking distance to many things as well. The downside, its kinda noisy. Dogs across the street bark almost constantly, traffic noise, occasional concerts and fireworks, ect. But all these things I´m getting use to and sleep quite well at night. The apt was also kinda a fixer upper and I knew that when I moved in. There was a really bad electrical porblem in the kitchen and about half the lights in the apt were burned out. After a week of people coming and going everything is just about done. One door knob still needs to be replaced and the rest of the curtians hung and the area rug delivered. Otherwise its perfect :) Pictures coming soon!

In other news, I´ve been rather anxious to get settled so that I can start working with my new ministry. At this point I´ll be doing half my days at the AIDS daycare and the other half at the Home. I´ve learned that not all the kids at the daycare are postive. Most are too young to test but all the parents are positive and the purpose is to help families that are living with HIV or AIDS. There are 7-8 babies that come daily with a possibility of twice as many. They get baths and heath checks everyday and are feed VERY well with lots of fruits and veggies. The normal bolivian diet is meat, potatoes, and rice. Not good nutrition for these kids.

So this week, if all goes planned (and thats a big ¨if¨), I will sign my lease on Monday and get some legal stuff done with that. And then Tuesday I will run around with my team leader from Operation Harvest and do some visa stuff (blood test, fingerprints, ect). And then start working on Wednesday! Woohoo!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back in Bolivia

I have arrived safely back in Bolivia. I am staying with a missionary friend for a few days until I am able to rent an apartment. Getting the apt and then getting the unpacking and shopping done is the first thing I have to do and then I have to run about 100 errands associated with getting my residency visa (my current visa is only good for 30 days). I am very much looking forward to getting aquainted with my new orphanage and AIDS daycare.

Everyone was asking me before I left if I was ready to go back. And the answer is definelty YES! I loved being home but I had A LOT of down time, esp during the week. And I missed being busy, having a job, a reason for getting up in the morning. I also missed all the good excersize that I get here in Coch.

Rainy season has begun and it rains off and on most days. The ¨real¨ rainy season is in Jan and Feb were it might rain non-stop all day. Coch doesn´t see to much flooding but the sewers can´t keep up with a down poor so streets might be rivers for a few hours. And the market in the rain is just a slick, disgusting mess. I try to avoid it in rainy season if I can.

Politically things are quiet and will be (we think) until the vote on the constitution at the end of Jan. Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Political Update

If you would like to know the current political situation in Bolivia you can click on the link above. My team leaders inform me the next vote on the constitution is scheduled for Jan. 25th 2009.

I continue to visit with supporters of all kinds while I'm visiting the United States. I am also doing a lot of paperwork (its a nightmare, trust me) to be able to apply for my residency visa when I return to Bolivia.

Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers!

Monday, September 22, 2008


OK, I´ve been told that some of ya´ll up there are worried about the political situation in Bolivia. In all honesty, we are all worried but not many missionaries are worried enough to leave.

Things that are true:
1. Bolivia kicked out the US ambassador and the US kicked out the Bolivian ambassador.

2. There are roadblocks set up around the country preventing basic foods from going for town to town resulting in meat shortages resulting in very high prices.

3. Organizations such as the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Peace Corps have been temporarily evacuated.

4. Things you are seeing on the news are taking place on the east side of Bolivia in Santa Cruz, Pando, Beni, and the like. Coch is smack dab in the middle of the country and it is peaceful here. There has been a total of 30 deaths as a result of fighting.

Things to keep in mind:
I´m safe. I´m well cared for and well tuned into whats happening. At first sign of real danger and I´m out of here. I´m out of here in 10 days anyway.

Bolivia has a long history of ¨almost¨ having a civil war. Some think it is really going to happen this time, others believe that its going to blow over just like it always has. It depends on who you talk to really. My return to Bolivia is still scheduled to be at the end of November given things return to normal and not escalate.

For up to date information you can always go to and click on the heading ¨world¨ and then on the link that says ¨americas¨. There is usually something new every few days.

So keep praying that I can get out of here in 10 days and that I can return to continue my work here in Bolivia.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Got Gas?

Got gasoline? Because Bolivia sure doesn´t. This is the first time since I´ve been in Bolivia that I´ve seen gasoline so scarce. I walked out of my house yesterday with a friend to find a line of cars about 4 blocks long parked on the main road. Two blocks from my house is a gas station. Near to the station the cars were packed 2 or 3 deep waiting for their turn. You can see what I saw.

Now there is something that you don´t see everyday. And its funny and really sad at the same time. Sad because taxi and trufi drivers depend on their jobs for their daily bread. Suddenly there is no gas and they can´t make their daily pay and feed their families. I should clarify, there is SOME gas in the city but not nearly enough. As a result most taxi´s have doubled their nomal fares and a lot of people walk if they can. As a result of recent riots in Santa Cruz, a gas line was damaged or something like that. This is why there is suddenly a shortage. There are also major blockades between cities preventing food from getting around. In effect, the prices of meat and produce has been increased by substantial amounts.

Please pray for Bolivia right now... things are worse then ever before and many are worried about the future. For the time being I don´t have to leave... but I´m leaving in 3 weeks for the states anyway. I am concerned that I might not be able to return if things continue in the way they are going. Already some have died in the riots in other cities.

On a much brighter note... Its Cochabamba Day! Lets party... again! Here are some pictures from yesterdays parade. This parade was rather boring, as many of the parades here are. It consisted of marching bands and students marching by school and grade.

Tomorrow (Monday) is the actual holiday though I´m told nothing much happens on that day aside from lot of things being closed, including my language school and Viviana´s physical therapy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This stinks!

Quite literally. This city stinks. OK, cultural snapshot... garbage.. 1) its everywhere because people throw it out of cars and buses 2) there is no house to house garbage pick up. There are community dumpsters scattered every couple of blocks around the city.

OK, so then we have another problem. Street dogs and trash pickers, people who look for anything of value or that can be recycled. This is how some people make a living, esp at the Coch city garbage dump where all the garbage ends up eventurally, a whole community makes a living from picking through the garbage. Anyway, much of the garbage ends up outside the dumpster that should have been inside the dumpster. The dogs of course are just looking for food.

Next problem and the reason the city stinks at the moment. Garbage pickup seems to be on strike. The dumpsters have been full for a while and now the garbage is just piling up next to it. You can´t get within 10 feet of a dumpster without having to hold your breath. They stink normally but this is terrible. My house is a half a block from the dumpster, I walk out the door and want to hold my breath. Hopefully things return to normal soon.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day of the Walker

Bolivia doesn´t go for very much time without have some kind of holiday! And yesterday has to be one of my favorites. Day of the Walker is a day when no cars are allowed on the road (with the exception of a few taxis with special permits). So there were no taxis, no buses, no cars, almost no motorcycles. I really wish motorcycles would have been banned just cause they are so noisy on an otherwise peaceful day. So quite literally, all over Bolivia (I would have given anything to get a birds eyes view of Cochabamba) people took to the streets, on foot, on bike, on skateboard, on rollerblades... anything that had wheels... and it was quite a sight. I was in Coch once before on this special day but unfortuntely, I was terribly sick and unable to leave the house. So this year, I took some pictures.
This is a view looking down from the top of El Prado, the nickname for a very popular street about 5 mins from my house.

There were so many bicycles on the street I thought they might as well have a bike-a-thon. Two seconds later, I saw this...

Turns out there was a bike race as well.

I came down to Prado in the morning as my church was having a sort of service/outreach time in the midst of all the actvities. We had to relocate due to the loud speaker competition that was going on all around us. It was loud and it was in English, go figure that one.

Prado looked very much like a ¨taste of...¨ in chicagoland. Including many activites for the kids.

The rest of Prado looked a lot like this

There was a lot sitting around in the shade, a lot of entertainment and concerts and games.

And I´ve saved the best for last. I asked a stranger if I could take a picture of her dogs as she was arranging them. Hands down the most wackiest thing I´ve seen in 10 months in Bolivia

Thus concludes ¨Day of the Walker.¨

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Road trip

Yesterday I woke up at 4:30AM to make a day trip into Chapare. 5 of us met up at 6AM to make the 4-5 hour trip into the jungle (or the rainforest, whatever you want to call it). On the trip this time was our SEDEJES social worker, the psychologist for our homes, the construction manager for the 2nd home, my teammate Nate was driving, and of course I was there too.

It was a dreary morning with low clouds that made it so that you could only see about 6 ft in front of you. It was cold and rainy too. Mountian roads in Bolivia are something you just have to experience. Even though this is the road that connects Coch and Santa Cruz, its a two lane road and is made with stones in some places and is paved in others. You are either surrounded by mountians or very sharp drop offs. There are no emergency exists, or exit ramps, or turn around points. Or if there are, they are very few and far between. And don´t even think about there being street lights. Every other vehicle is a semi truck loaded with heavy something or other that makes the trucks move at a snails pace. The rest of the vehicles are inter-bolivia buses, also called Flotas, that travel between all major Bolivian cities. They are a very cheap way to travel around Bolivia. When a friend and I traveled to La Paz earlier this year we were told one or two very specific bus lines to travel on, not all are safe.

Well... about an hour into our travel we came to a dead stop. Everyone was getting out of their cars to see what had happened up ahead. So we joined to crowd. Less then 1/2 a mile ahead a crowd was gathered looking over the side of the road into a short ravine of sorts. And thats when we saw the huge inter-city bus lying completely on its side, all wheels in the air. It was laying about 20-30 feet down from the road. The cause of the traffic stop was not a gaukers delay but rather an equipment delay as the heavy machinery was blocking both lanes. We got there in time to see them pull the bus back onto its wheels. My friend took a picture and I´ll send it as soon as he sends it to me. As soon as that was done, the crowd started hightailing it back to their cars (and buses and trucks). It looked like a stampede. And we joined them of course. So we had sat there for about an hour, more or less.

We didn´t travel far at all when we again came to a stop. This time there was no one getting out of vehicles, no explaination at all. But there we stopped for almost another 2 hours. I had the unpleasant experience of using the bathroom in a bush on the side of the road. Every now and then we´d move up a couple of feet and then stop again. Turning around wasn´t an option, plus the other side of the road wasn´t moving either. Finally we were on the move again. Thank God there wasn´t any more delays. We finally arrived in Chapare and pulled up to the orphanage at 1:30PM, after 7 hours of traveling.

And the first word out of my mouth, and the psychologist was laughing at me, was ¨wow¨! Same in English and Spanish by the way. And here is why:

This home is HUGE! It will very easily be able to hold 12-15 kids. Its even more imposing for two reasons. Its on stilts of sorts and the houses surrounding it are small, nothing more then shacks. There is a very good reasons why the house is raised up. And these houses tell you why.

The blueish looking house during last years rainy season had flood waters past the first board of the house. Every house has stilts, every year it floods. In other parts of Bolivia, people literally lose their houses every year and rebuild them because they live in poverty and cannot afford to move to a different area.

The return trip was mostly uneventful, just normal traffic and normal stops. Until we reached the place were the bus had gone off the road. By now its about 8pm, over 12 hours since we had been there. The bus had been pulled up to the road and was now on something that raised it up off the ground and there was a man with his head in the engine. I couldn´t believe they were trying to fix the bus on site, but then again, this is Bolivia. So traffic was taking turns going around it on the one lane road. In addition to this accident we saw about 4 other trucks turned on their sides against the mountians durning the trip, no of which were obstucting traffic. I finally arrived home at 9:30PM and went stait to bed, it was a long day. My house mom had heard about the bus accident on the radio and assured me no one had died, though some had been injured. If it hadn´t been for the mountian, the bus would have surely rolled. Thank God for the mountian!

So that, friends, was yesterdays adventure.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Moving at the speed of... a trufi

I spend a lot of time traveling around the city in Micros, Trufis, and taxi trufis. It is the cheapest form of public transportation available but its not without its downside. Somedays I spend close to 3 hours in these things and believe me, I feel every minute of it. I often times come home and need to just rest to relieve the ¨trufi headache¨ that is pounding inside my head. A LOT of missionaries skip this cultural transportation and simply buy a car. Which I could do if I wanted to except for the fact that on average, my teams vehicles are in the shop about twice a month. It would save time but waste a ton more money, something I really don´t want to do. The other option is to take a taxi everywhere I need to go in the city. And that folks would get expensive really fast as well.

So even though I get a headache, or get frustrated with the traveling speed, I continue to ride this transportation because I do actually like it! I like seeing the people, making little babies smile, watching the culture out the windows and knowing, whether I ride for 5 mins or 1 1/2 hours, it will only cost me about 25 cents. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sunday´s results

The best that I can understand that voting went as follows. Something like 60% voted in favor of Evo´s new policies, effectively keeping him in presidency. There was also a vote taken on all of the department govenors. The govenor of Coch´s name is Manfred and he has always been against Evo and actually ran against him in the last presidential election. As of Sunday, Manfred was voted out of his position. Manfred is yelling that such a thing is unconstitutional and the whole ordeal will now be going to court. I heard that there has never been so many people to show up for a vote in the history of Bolivia.

Watching the ongoing coverage on the TV was almost painful. Watching video of someone reading the ballet while someone else marks the vote on a chalkboard... not my idea of fun. The interviews were nearly impossible to understand, not only because it was in spanish, but because microphones and the sound stuff is really not great. You end up with a lot of white noise and background junk and bad speaking (mumbling). But I did try!

So what does all this mean? At the moment, not much. There is peace in the city and thats good. For the future of Bolivia... I can only hope and pray. Because I really don´t understand what Evo is trying to do, I do know that he is doing a lot for the extreme poverty, even if I can´t see it. I have been told several times now, if you want to know what Evo is trying to do, look at the governing styles of Fidel Castro and whats-his-name in Venesuela (sorry, brainblock). And thats all I have for now folks.

Friday, August 8, 2008

6 de Augosto

Happy Bolivia Indepedence Day, well, two days to late anyway. There is really not too much to say about Aug. 6th except that you saw a lot of Bolivian flags. There was a very long military parade that lasted almost all day. I only saw a few different divisions march by, it does get rather boring after a while. And I didn´t know that I would be seeing it so I didn´t have my camera with me. And when I was warned that it was dangerous to go to the parade, I kinda shrugged it off. If I always listened to things like that I would never leave my house! As it turns out, it was good to be warned. I was with a friend and was getting VERY squished. I had a small purse and my cell phone in my pocket. I was very paranoid about being pickpocketed. In the end, I didn´t loose anything that day, praise God! So the parade completley changed traffic routes that day and I ended up walking to just about anywhere I wanted to go. So that was Happy Birthday Bolivia Day.

The good thing about that day was that it was a break from the blockades and protests and everyone was celebrating. Thursday it was back to normal. The referendum is in 2 days now and the tension is getting worse. If the vote passes with the majority accepting Evo´s new policies Evo´s stays in power. If the majority vote against the new policies then Evo is not allowed to stay in power and a new presidential election will be held. When Evo was elected he won with 54% of the vote. My church has partnered with two other churches and there will be someone constantly praying for 72 hours strait. I had 6:30 last night, a time just to pray for Bolivia.

For the first time since I arrived in Bolivia, church is cancelled on Sunday. Mostly because 1) they want people to vote and 2) there are no cars allowed on the road that day. People will walk to their nearest school to vote. I was told today by my spanish teacher that ¨you are too blonde to go out of your house on Sunday.¨ I just had to laugh! I love my teacher. I had no intention of going out that day anyway.

And with that I will let you know what happens on voting day sometime next week.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

In response to John

I recieved this comment from a blogger named John who I can not reply to personally.

¨Believing that your heart is in the right place, I can only believe you are somehow misinformed. In an effort to inform you, as you attempt to inform others, I am left to ask in amazement--HUH? You want us to "Pray for President Evo and that his heart might be changed by the power of God?" I can understand the first part all right--it might be good to pray for others--but the second part?
In what way exactly, would you like "God" to change Evo's heart?
To be less good to the poor, the less educated and the elderly?
To reinstate the governance that has kept the impoverished in destitute circumstances? To not redistribute the 50% of Bolivia's arable land now owned by .2% (yes, that's point 2% or .002) of the population, much of which was stolen or gained through graft? To not gain for all Bolivians, the excessive profits that before nationalization went to foreign owners while Bolivia received a mere pittance?
I understand you not wanting to debate your blogged views, and ask instead for clarification. Precisely how would you like "God" to change Evo's heart?

So here is my clarification...
I have never claimed to be a political expert on Bolivia´s government. I hear bits and pieces of things both for and against Evo. I do believe that he is doing everything that you mentioned in your comment. However, I know that he and others in power hate the US, which is my home. They are making it nearly impossible for me to obtain a Visa even though I have come here to HELP with his countires over 200,000 orphans. And not just me but thousands of vounteers like me who don´t care about coca and cocaine and stupid politics. I know that he takes advise from other presidents from other countries and that he wants to president for life. I know that because he is indiginous that his religion does not focus on God, the creator and sustainer of life. But that is where my knowledge of the man ends. I DO know that everytime there is a vote like this the Christian churches spend DAYS on their knees praying to God for their country. Now if Evo was such a wonderful man doing such great things for their country, why would they be petitioning God in such a way? I realize from your comment that you think praying to God is some kind of joke. Thats a whole nother issue I´m not going to address here. And with that I think I am done responding. I´ve intentionally linked my email to this blog and you can feel free to respond via that link. However, I can not debate something such as politics that I don´t fully understand. And as for God, prayer, faith, ect... I still don´t understand that fully and thats the most wonderful part about it. I don´t know it all and never will. John, this is the best I can do. respectfully, Kim

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pray for Bolivia

OK, here is a bit of a political update. Those are always fun. But just in case something manages to make it into the US world news reports I don´t want anyone to worry.

First the fun stuff. Aug 6th is Bolivia´s Independence Day. There is no school, most business will be closed, and there will be a city wide party. I hear there will be a few parades as well. There are Bolivian flags for sale everywhere and trufi´s are being decorated with colored streamers. I´m not sure what I will be doing that day but I would like to see at least one of parades. Hopefully be able to take some pictures without my camera being stolen.

Aug 10th (a week from tomorrow), there will be a referendum regarding the president. From what I understand, if the vote passes, Evo remains president. If it doesn´t, then he is not allowed to stay president and there will be an election. With the elections in the states fast approaching, it is good to remember that Bolivia is a different world. When this kind of vote is coming up, inter-bolivia travel is nearly impossible due to the blockades on all major roads between cities. There will quite possibly be blockades within Cochabamba as well as the two political parties try to make their point. All of this is normally non-violent but its recommended that white folk like me stay away from demonstrations, stay home the day of the vote, and watch the news carefully. And to stock up on food as business will more then likely be closed for a day or two. And I´m no fool, I will do as I´m told.

So please pray for Bolivia in the coming week. Pray for peace, but most of all pray for justice. Pray for President Evo and that his heart might be changed by the power of God. I´ll let you all know how things go this week!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


ok, so not a whole lot has been happening since the crazy days of VBS. I´ve restarted Spanish tutoring at a different school. I´m now there 3 days a week and working mostly on remembering what I actually already know. Its just lost somewhere in my brain.

Last week I was ALMOST run over by a bicycle, remember, pedestrians have no rights whatsoever on the roads. Anything that has wheels has the right of way. I ALMOST took out a motorcycle with the door of a trufi, though I could swear I looked over my shoulder first... they appear out of thin air it seems. I also was ALMOST robbed on a trufi (this would have been the second time, the first time I lost my camera). However, I am proud to say that I have learned a thing or two in the last 9 months. I figured out quickly that something just wasn´t right. I put my hand to the latch of my purse to find the man next to me´s hand in my purse (not an easy task, my purse is hard to get into). When I looked at him and said ¨SEÑOR¨ he immeditaly took has hand out and got off the trufi. I checked and he didn´t take anything, didn´t have enough time before I caught him. So praise the Lord for that!

The rest of life continues on as normal. I´ll soon be preparing a special day to teach the kids about dirt and germs and the importance of washing their hands, ect. Having come from the street, our kids normally put any food (or anything for that matter) in their mouths that they find on the ground. Even after living in a good place for months, they still have this habit. So thats the next project. I´ll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The new kiddos

ok, well, on top of everything else last week, we had two new children arrive in our orphanage in Villa Isreal. Also known as home #2. Here they are, in all of their cuteness.

Their story is a sad one. The older brother will be 6 years old in September. His name is Elion (I don´t know if that spelling is right). The baby is 2 1/2 years old, his name is France (again with the spelling). The little guy doesn´t respond to the name France but to the name ishmeal. But we do have their birth certificates and that is his name. They are not completely orphans. Their mother died of an epileptic siezser (I am sooo sorry about my spelling!). Their father is an out of control alchoholic. They have old siblings but none are able to take care of them. It is hard to try to comfort them, talk to them because they don´t speak spanish, only Quechua. They are both extremely small for their ages and terribly malnourished. The little guy is worse off then his brother. In the 6 days they have been in the home, he has been to the doctor every day, some days twice. He has a skin infection and resperatory something that needs in office treatment. They both needed several shots to get rid of stomache bugs.

This is sadly the story of nearly every child that comes to us. In a few short months the children will be much healthier and adapting to their new home and family. Please pray for this home and the house parents. There are now 9 children living there (8 boys, 1 girl) and the parents have one child of their own who is often sick.

During our VBS days at the home, the older boy kept saying something to me in Quechua that I couldn´t understand. Ana, the only girl, translated for me into spanish. She said that he was saying that he missed his family. That was his first day. It was all I could do not to go to tears right there. It broke my heart! I just got down on my knees and just held him. And he didn´t respond, that made it even worse. ok, I gotta quit now or I´m gonna cry in the internet café!

Sunday, July 6, 2008


ok, deep breath. Last week was a little crazy in my life. ¨Little¨ being an understatement. My team and I held a VBS for our kids in home #2. Keep in mind, that home is on the complete opposite side of the city from where we all live. 30 mins in a car (if your lucky) and 1 - 1 1/2 hours in a Micro (bus). Well, things got intresting when neither of the two vehicles owned by our team were working. Yep, both were at the mechanics. So we all were traveling in Micros. Not bad per say, its just long travel time.

Even with the travel complications VBS went very well! And I took plenty of pictures so here you go. As I´ve mentioned, I was preparing 3 days of puppets. Here is Day 1, Jonah and the whale. Taking the styrofoam on the Micro was quite a trick! With a little team work, it survived the trip.

I had chosen a theme verse for each show. Here is a friend helping to teach the verse and the kids standing up to recite it from memory.

The each day we had a craft time as well. A friend made a fishing game and others had drawing and coloring crafts for the kids to do.

I really enjoyed the time I was able to spend with the kids during VBS. I feel like I have finally connected with them and they accept me as part of their lives. After the final puppet show they were chanting ¨una más, una más¨, I guess they wanted an encore :) Finally, here are just some cute pictures of our kids.

Check back soon for information on our two new arrivals, pictures too!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I´ve have become rather lazy when it comes to updating this blog. I did promise to update every week. As I kinda expected, the longer I´ve been here the busier I´ve become. Somedays I´m lucky if I can spare 30 mins to sit in an internet cafe. And even then, thats not enough time to write my family and post a blog. So there is your reason. However, when I have had a crazy experience or there is important information to pass along, I always ¨make¨ the time to update.

Last Sunday I preformed my first real puppet show. It was a crazy time getting it all put together. I spent a lot of time shopping (sorry, no hobby lobby here folks), spent time writing a puppet script and finding a place I could print it out, and creating the puppet stage and props. And I am glad to report that all that time I invested made a for a very sucessful puppet show! One of my good bolivian friends helped me to perform the story of Noah and the Ark. I wrote the script in a way that it was a Grandmother telling her granddaughter the story. I also worked it so that my bolivian friend had the majority of the speaking parts as my pronuciation and speaking speed still need a lot of work. I also found a Noahs Ark childrens song in Spanish and we sang along with the CD as part of the show.

The children loved it! We had their complete attention the whole show (which, granted, wasn´t THAT long). A friend did a practical application afterwards and then I gave out coloring sheets related to the story.

This week coming up is pretty much the same for me. My team is planning a VBS for our orphanage kids and I have written a 3 part puppet performance. The theme is Obedience. I´ve almost completed the shopping portion and now I am working on creating the props and other helps.

I´ve been despartely looking for something I can make props out of instead of posterboard. Posterboard is rather ¨floppy¨ and can´t stand on its own. I decided that I needed styrofoam. And then I saw someone carrying a huge sheet of it in La Cancha. If the man hadn´t been a soldier I would have asked him where he bought it. I described in spanish the best I could to my house mom but she wasn´t understanding. Then I was talking to my teams interns and one guy said ¨You mean the stuff they sit on at futbol (soccer) games?¨ I was like, you´ve got to be kidding me, could it be that easy? That what I told my house mom and she´s like ¨of course! We call that ´plastoformo´¨ and she told me where I could find it. Well, that turned into an adventure all its own... and in the end, I did find my styrofoam! And its soooo cheap too. Now to make the props out of it, hahaha. So thank God for plastoformo!

I´ll update up the VBS as soon as its completed :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Finally starting to feel like...

A Missionary! After 7 solid months of having restricted time available for ministry due to langauge tutoring, I have finally cut back to just one hour of class a day. There were multiple reasons for this one of them being that my team leaders are now on furlough and I wanted to have more time available to help my team. All my newfound ¨free time¨ is getting scarce because something good is happening. I´m busy preparing and doing ministry! I can´t tell you how good it feels to be helping my team and bringing my own gifts and abilities into play.

For example, last week I spent a good deal of time preparing for an upcoming puppet show in my church´s ministry in Sacaba. There was a lot of shopping for supplies, creating a puppet stage, and most important, writing a script in Spanish. It is looking very probable that early next month we will be hosting a VBS of sorts for our kids as they are on their winter break (remember everything is opposite here). I am excited like you wouldn´t believe to begin preparing a three part puppet show for our kids. I have also begun going to our 2nd orphanage once a week to help ¨watch¨ our kids for a few hours. I prepare some small things for the kids to do during this time as well. I´ve also picked up some misc chores that the team needs done.

I´ve been praying a lot about what my role on this team is suppose to be. And at some point, I couldn´t tell you when exactly, I discovered that I have a really strong desire to see these kids develop their individual personalities, gifts, and strengths. What exactly this will look like I don´t know yet. Mostly I think it will have a lot to do with giving them opportunites to express themselves, be it artistically, with writing, with music, ect. Please pray for me as God continues to reveal this vision to me. Its quite a stretch for me considering I´m not artisitic, or musical, and not entirely too crafty. But it is what God has laid on my heart and He will enable me to fulfill this vision. How would you know if a child was created to be a painter if no one ever put a paintbrush in his hand? Think about that.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

random bits and pieces

First of all, I´ve made changes to my blogspot profile and you can now email me from my blog.

This past weekend I went to the main plaza to help out with babywashing. Earlier I had been walking around the down town area with a friend and noticed that the 7th Day Adventist church was having a parade (and totally screwing up traffic!). I didn´t think too much of it as different groups have marches, demonstrations, ect all the time. My friend and I grabbed some coffee near the plaza and noticed that the parade had entered the plaza. I swear it was like a never ending line of people in this parade. We couldn´t see much from the coffee house so after the marching stopped we went to the plaza. The parade had congregated exactly where babywashing would have been set up and there were hundreds of people in the plaza. My friend, being more observant then I, noticed that the whole thing was against SMOKING! There were large cigarettes on top of cars, huge blackened lungs, a coffin, a few different floats, ect. We didn´t get close enough to hear what was being preached to the crowd but I think we can guess what the message was! I couldn´t stop laughing! Only in Bolivia would that happen.

Walking down the street yesterday I saw a man walk strait into a post, hey, he even thought it was funny.

Last sunday while I was helping my group in Sacaba they left me alone with my kids. Not two or three mind you... but 30! I had brought photocopies of coloring sheets for them to do but no one remembered to bring the coloring pencils. So someone bought a pack of 14. 30 kids, 14 colored pencils... hmmmmm. I learned the word ¨to share¨ and they actually did a halfway decent job! They didn´t get a bible lesson from me but they had a great time coloring and were so happy they were allowed to bring what they had done to their homes. Next week I will be much more prepared. These kids become more and more precious to me every week.

Everything that happens to me ends up being so stinkin complicated. Last week I had an ATM malfunction and not give me any money yet it was debited from my account. This actually happens to a lot of people. Normally you just call the number on the back of your reciept, tell them what happened, and they credit your account. Well, I didn´t get a reciept! So I wrote down the number on the ATM and hoped that would work. I went to the bank that owned the ATM, explained what happened and they said a lot of things that I didn´t understand. But I did understand that I didn´t need to do or call anyone else and it would be taken care of. haha, no, didn´t happen. A week later I had a teammate help me make the call but they couldn´t do anything over the phone, we had to go to an office building downtown, which took a while to find. Once we did they said they needed a copy of my bank statement to prove the money had been debited. So we had to find an internet cafe with a working printer. Easier said then done. Then we got back to the office and he sent a message to the bank in the states and said that they money would be put back in 1 or 2 weeks. Pray that the money gets credited soon!

I visited an english church on sunday and enjoyed singing in english and hearing a friend preach. More odds and ends later!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Well, it finally caught up with me

After a very proud 7 months of being free from any serious stomach bugs, I came down with terrible stomach pains at the beginning of this week. After a sleepless night with frequent trips to the bathroom, my house mom called in a doctor to see me. Yes, they do that here for only about $20 US. Oddly enough, by that time I was feeling much better, just tired and weak. He didn´t do any tests but made sure I was ok, assigned some meds for pain and what not and left. That night I started feeling bad again so my house mom decided we needed to go for blood and stool tests. 8AM the next morning I had blood drawn for 3 or 4 tests. By 5pm we had results. Again, costing only about $13. Really a waste of money to have insurance down here! But anyway, the tests showed no stomach bugs, THANK GOD, but a high white blood cell count. Meaning that I had an infection in my intestines.

So basically I laid around and slept for 2 days, didn´t eat a whole lot and by Wednesday I was back to life as normal. But it has been a very odd week! I am very happy to be eating normally (after having a somewhat restricted diet for the week), feeling strong, and alert.

This week also contained a ¨surprise¨ party for my spanish tutor and a going away dinner for another one of my teams interns. This morning I took two of our newer interns to Viviana´s physical therapy as they are psychology majors and were curious as to what kind of therapy she had.

This afternoon I began a log that I will continue to update every month on our kids. Simply put, its a height and weight chart. But I am trying to make it as fun as I can by using fun stickers, asking questions about what they want to do when they are grown up, and possibly building on those answers in the future. What did you want to be when you were 9 years old? I think I wanted to be a nurse! The chart will be used for when the kids go to the doctors so we can give a month by month history of their growth. I believe it will also help us to see if they are having a stomach issue if they are not growing and gaining each month. Many of our kids came for very malnurished situations and are still on the mend. I look forward to getting to know our kids more personally in this way as well.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

ok, so my actual birthday was a week ago today, I´ve not had a chance to post since then as my birthday was actually a birthday week! On May 20th I gave myself a break and took the day off of Spanish tutoring :) I slept in and relaxed during the day. I was able to talk to my family at home during the day as well.
I was very happy to find out that Viviana and I share the same birthday! She turned 7 and I turned 27! Here we are, the birthday girls :)

Birthday night I met up with some of my Bolivian friends for dinner at an Italian place. There was much talk, laughter, and good food. Thankfully they didn´t sing, but then again, the whole youth group did that on Friday night. So here are some pictures from that night.

The next day, I met up with some of my teammate for cake and coffee and one of my favorite resturants cause they make a killer frozen cappachino. More pics of us.

And of course my house mom had a cake for me too.

And over this last weekend, I had two meals out with friends who couldn´t make any of the other get-togethers. All in all, it was a wonderfully exhausting week. I can´t tell you how many phone calls, text messages, ecards, facebook messages, cards, and gifts I recieved. It was a very good birthday!