Sometimes I forget where I am and what I am doing. It is starting to feel normal here, and I sometimes go through my days looking at the beautiful scenery without really appreciating it. It’s beautiful here. Breath-taking. How do I look without seeing? Sometimes I get so involved in the teaching or washing the dishes or watching a movie that I forget the blessing of being in Bolivia. I’m here. Finally. It has already been five weeks. It has only been five weeks. Today we went to the river for some baptisms and I got to see some parts of Caranavi that I have never seen. As I walked back toward the plaza, I found some orange juice made right there, fresh-squeezed. I bought some and kept walking, sipping my orange juice in a little bag. Then I found a big office/school supply store. As I looked around (that is my favourite kind of store), the owner asked me if I could help him read his error messages (in English) on his copier. Sure. I’ll read them, but I can’t even figure out copiers in the United States, so good luck sir.
We had an hour of praise songs and almost another hour of announcements and special presentations at church. I enjoy going to our church, and I love seeing the Casa de Esperanza kids (our neighbors) waving me over to sit with them. Sometimes it is hard not to be a distraction to them, though, as they want to look at the English in my Bible, my watch, my water bottle…hopefully someday we will treasure what we have in common more than those things that set me apart. I am preparing to sing in a concert in La Paz with a few of the Casa de Esperanza kids. I think there are five of them that are going. They sing for us in church quite often, and their voices are so beautiful. The two boys I have heard don’t have the high little boy sound I expect, they have low and seemingly hoarse voices. So beautiful. I will be singing a couple songs with a group of Casa supporters, people from the church. The kids have been working with Freddy, our friend from La Paz who has lived here for two years and has a wonderful gift for teaching music, as well as a unique talent for playing instruments. He is a great guitar player, he teaches voice, guitar, and bass, at least, and on Friday night I saw him with an accordion.
It is summer time here, and the school that the Kraft kids used to go to had its graduation on Friday night. It was cool to see the comparison. In many ways, the graduations are the same in the United States as here. It was great to see the friends I have made here and to meet some people who were so excited to support the graduates.
I live at a camp of sorts. It serves as a retreat center, a camp, a base for service projects, a discipleship training center, and a house of prayer. It is a great place to live. We have some kids here from La Paz this week. They attend the La Paz version of the school that had its graduation; they are sister schools. They are here for a week of service, togetherness, and time with God. They are wonderful students and are graduating in just a few days, but not before they have a retreat together at a hotel after this week of service. They have been great with the Casa de Esperanza kids, and offer a nice change of pace from the quiet CEC we usually live in. The students of the actual CEC will arrive in less than a month! (The CEC has a 10 week program during the summer months and another shorter course in the winter break of June and July) will I am excited to get to know the next students as well. Things are a bit different when other people live with us, and I must admit I think it brings a lot of fun adventure and great opportunity to get to know people and speak in Spanish with them.
We have many blessings, don’t we? Whether they be as simple as a piece of yummy, juicy fruit, or as complex as a family member, let’s appreciate. And remember: a washing machine is a beautiful gift. Wash your clothes once by hand, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. And don’t get me started on the joys of dryers. Especially during the rainy season! Another beautiful thing here: the fruit is really cheap, so it is often cheaper to make natural fruit juices than to buy a processed and bottled Tampico sorts of drinks, though I also appreciate Tampico. I also noticed in our kitchen last night Cola flavoured kool-aid. Hmmm, I can’t wait to try that one!