Thursday, January 26, 2012

Guests

Kaylee's mom, Winona, and her husband, John, were able to visit us for ten days last week. Although things didn't go exactly as planned we thoroughly enjoyed their visit.


Our first unplanned event happened they day they arrived. In good American style we arrived at the airport in plenty of time for our departure from Santa Cruz to Cochabamba. But in good Bolivian style we waited an extra hour and a half after our scheduled departure before we even boarded the plane!

We took a walk on one of their first days here, just around the neighborhood. Nathan had found an old Catholic mission on one of his previous excursions and wanted to show it to us. We were happy to take a look inside when a little woman from the Catholic retreat center nearby saw us loitering and asked if we would like to see inside. She opened the doors and gave Nathan the history of the church. Fun! But on our way there our second unplanned event happened, a neighborhood dog almost took a chunk out of my mom's calf! Thankfully another woman started throwing rocks at him and he went away.





Our third unplanned event occurred during their third night in our home. Around 10pm Nathan and I were headed to bed when I thought I heard men arguing outside our window. We got up and saw quite the commotion on the street behind our place. People were yelling, a young man was attacked and people were searching for something. We continued to watch as people loitered around the two empty lots behind our house. We found out later in the night that a gang of ten guys were stealing in the neighborhood and had been found out. Six of them were caught that night. We praise God for His protection and that they didn't try entering our house (that we know of!).

The fourth unplanned event happened two days later. Nathan and I had a big shopping trip planned in the large open-air market, La Cancha. We headed to town with Mom and John (the girls had a sitter) and found ourselves in the midst of blockades. Yikes! Once again God protected us. We had just stepped into a Christian bookstore when they closed and locked their steel gate. You could hear the crowd going by outside. We stayed for a while and ended up leaving by the back door. I think I can say we were are relieved when we finally made it out of the blocked area, into a taxi and into a more peaceful part of town. Thankfully it was a pretty peaceful blockade! We ended that day at another market in town where we purchased produce for the week.

Blocking the road and protecting themselves from the sun!
Rocks, garbage cans, people, whatever it takes!
The market we went to for fresh produce
We did have some uneventful experiences while they were here as well. Praise God! We enjoyed our first trip up to visit the statue of Christ, otherwise known as the Cristo. The girls have been asking for a long time and with Mom and John here we finally had a good reason to take the time.



Addi looking over the city
We also took them to the local pension, or diner, at our neighbor's place. The food served that day was Sopa de Mani (Peanut Soup) and a beefy lentil dish with the required rice and potatoes for seconds. It was very tasty and gave them a very Bolivian experience.




 We then went back to the Cancha later in the week and were thankful to have a "normal" Cancha experience. We bought souvenirs, showed them around, and picked up a few gifts for family too.

Shopping for toiletries
Shopping for bags
The "Tourist" aisle: not a great photo of us but perfect of the merchandise!
Our last unplanned experience happened during a day in the country. We were grateful to be able to borrow the car of some coworkers and head out to a reservoir outside of town. We crossed 12,000ft in the process, saw lots of beautiful landscape and had some new adventures. We loved going to the old water mill outside of a small country town, where the old grindstones were still there and old, unused rock and brick homes. The unplanned experience came in when we all got a good taste of Bolivian driving. Nathan was about to make a left-hand turn when someone in the line of cars thought the line was moving too slow and decided to pass at a break-neck speed. Thankfully the semi behind us blew his horn, alerting Nathan and maybe the other driver of the danger. Nathan straightened out his wheel and the other guy drove in the ditch. It was close but God protected us!

Our friends and language helpers, Emerson and Suellen, joined us for the day



Making a music video in the countryside

Local transportation
One of the mill houses
The old grindstones, we saw several



During their visit they also experienced a power outage and a flat tire on their taxi on the way to the airport! The girls loved having Grandma Noni and Mr. John around to play with, read to them and spend time with. They also enjoyed the gifts they brought! We all enjoyed the conversation and the continued break from our normal routine. We actually got to be tourists a bit.

Thank you, Mom and John, for setting aside the time and expense to come for a visit!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Conference and a Break

The past two weeks have flown by as we enjoyed fellowship with coworkers and a nice break out of the normal routine in Santa Cruz, a lowland city. The girls loved being outside several hours a day, playing in the dirt, swimming in the pool when available and playing with their cousins and new friends. Nathan and I enjoyed the time away from formal classes, the opportunity to meet future coworkers, and time to rest. This was the first break we have taken from our routine since we started our language study and it was very refreshing.















We are now enjoying the company of my mom and her husband for 10 days. It's fun to show them around our home and give them a taste of Bolivia. You can pray for Nathan as he prepares for a trip to the town where our (potential) future coworkers live to take a look around. He'll be gone for 4 to 5 days and we're looking forward to the pictures he takes to share with us!