Monday, February 25, 2013

Cerenid


After a long day of travel (2/15/13), we trudged into the campus of Cerenid shortly before supper, and were greeted with shouts from all corners! Our German friends, who volunteer at Cerenid, had aquatinted the boys with our family prior to our arrival. There was a general fuss as boys clung to one and then another saying, “jon? yoshua? natacha?”... (the parents were detained in Santa Cruz securing vaccination records and arrived a couple of hours later) There was general disappointment when they realized the 6th “Nebblett” was not going to be showing up. [You were missed Chantée! :)]

Our weekend at Cerenid was a joy. The boys here are not all truly orphans. This is a home for street kids- boys from Santa Cruz and other urban centers that were brought in off the streets. The youngest is 6 and the oldest 14. Each one has his story. They certainly have their rough edges, but they soak up love and affection. 

We shared several messages at the little church on campus the next day. In the evening just before sunset we climbed up one of the mountains overlooking Cerenid [pictured] and walked back by torch light. It was refreshing to get some good exercise after days of intense but sedentary speaking and travel. 

Since that weekend we have had a few unique changes of plans. We had planned to volunteer at Cerenid for the remainder of our time in Bolivia. However, the “orphanage” is in a time of uncertainty, and had to make a sudden move from its home of over 15 years. We helped them pack up and moved with them up the mountain chain to the town of Samaipata. Here, another orphanage agreed to house the boys temporarily, and we found a charming little house on the outskirts of town to rent for the remaining 17 days of our stay. We have spent many hours at the orphanage helping with the boys and other children. 

Our days are filled with Spanish learning, volunteering at the orphanage, and writing. The quiet of our quaint domicile has proved a great blessing as we work on the family writing project. 


Sabbath Breakfast at Cerenid

Josue, Misael, Jaron

A little friend

View of Cerenid and village from hill


Sean playing with a few of the boys

Updates of our present arrangements to come.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Villa Tunari


2/14/13

From Cochabamba we descended into the jungle to spend two nights at the orphanage in Villa Tunari. It is the largest of the three orphanages with 70-some children. We enjoyed the privilege of sharing messages with the house parents and children in the one full day that we had. We had speaking appointments at the orphanage in Cerenid on Sabbath, and 7 hours of taxi ride to get there, so we soaked in the humid surroundings and packed up all too soon. 

While in transit on the roads, any time the taxi or bus came to a checkpoint or toll booth, vendors pressed around the windows offering their goods. Once we bought 5 softball sized avocados for $1.30.

The fruits around here are amazing! It seems that almost every day another fruit surfaces that we’ve never seen or tasted before. Some are definitely now on the favorites list. 

One of the new favorites is Chirimoya- a custard-like fruit. This particular type grows only in this region of jungle. Mom was sure we should go through the hassle of paperwork through US customs to bring some of these seeds home, but then these fruits will surely only grow where one can swim through the air anyway. 

Our time in the jungle drew to a close and we caught a taxi for the 7 hour trip to Santa Cruz and on to Cerenid. 

Leaving Cochabamba

Sleep while you can. Bus ride to Villa Tunari

Chirimoya

A mighty jungle man


Sean and José

Speaking at the orphanage 

Riverfront view

José




Monday, February 18, 2013

Cochabamba Campmeeting


Upon leaving our little hotel room in Cochabamba, we were driven to a local church where we boarded a bus with fellow brethren headed for the camp. On this ride every passenger had a seat- a rare thing with any means of transport here. [side note: It’s amazing  how it’s permissible to pile as many people as one cares into a taxi or bus, or how the bed of every truck is as liable to have passengers as not. Here you can sit on top, hang off the sides, or do just about anything else you care to, in the middle of the city or on country roads- no one objects.]

The campmeeting was a baptism (in more ways than one). Blessings did abound for all of us. The camp timekeeper faithfully had everyone out of their rooms with the familiar sound of his persistent whistle and in the amphitheater singing by 5:45 in the morning. One thing’s for sure; our Bolivian friends gave the North Americans present a new understanding of the word earnestness. :) It was a joy to forge new friendships and strengthen old ones. 

One of the highlights here was witnessing a new birth by baptism on Sabbath afternoon. 

From Cochabamba we took a 4 hour bus ride to the jungle orphanage in Villa Tunari, but I will pick up from here in a forthcoming blog post. (probably weekend coming) The camera battery is dead, and I foolishly left the charger in my suitcase at the orphanage- a 45 minute drive down this mountain valley. We’ll wait to post when we have access to the accompanying pictures...

 Bus ride to the camp

Walking to church

A view along the way

Church

The amphitheater 

New friends!



Practicing for a special music

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Travel Notes

At 03:15 Wednesday morning, we climbed out of bed after only 2.5 hours of rest to head for the airport. After a layover in LAX and a 6.5 hour flight south and east, we arrived at the tip of Central America in the country of Panama. Sights and sounds are different down here. The first to greet us was the music playing in the Airport- sounding almost an exact replica of that from my high school spanish curriculum video tapes. Incredible.

We hadn’t been there long, though, before we were canned up in the red-eye flyer bound for Santa Cruz. That flight debuted what has since been dubbed our most unnerving flight experience to date.

Most in the plane had to have been sleeping, and lights were off. All was calm and peaceful when without warning the plane plunged violently towards the earth. The ensuing mayhem couldn’t have lasted more than 60 seconds, but it was long enough. After the plane had dropped forcefully for what I’m sure was several hundred feet, everything snapped back to full gravity. This was then followed by violent turbulence- the kind where you’re sure the craft will snap- then by another equally long plummet earthward, accompanied by a decided pitching/tumbling sensation. This unusual plane behavior was accompanied by a great number of its passenger’s voices crying out with fear, saying their Ave Marias or just weeping. Other passengers just clutched the seat backs in front of them in silent dismay. As suddenly as the unrest had started, it vanished, and the plane sailed on without so much as another bump. Interesting.

Well, we got to Santa Cruz alright, and worked our way through the customs routine after finding ourselves at the very end of every queue. Another shocker was seeing our garment bag pleasantly claimed and loaded on a stranger’s luggage cart. Sean walked over and said with confidence “Esto es mío” while unstacking the cart to get our bag. The porter (who was just following the instructions of the lady and majority baggage owner) replied with little fuss, “Oh, si? Okay, okay...”. We were finally able to check in to our Bolivian national flight. 

As we descended into Cochabamba, the teaming green testified to the fact that we are indeed in rainy season. The climate here is said to be ideal. It is cool in comparison to the tropical temps in Santa Cruz- probably mid 60s (thanks to a recent rain) when we stepped off the plane, and trotted towards the terminal in leisure as guards watched on in full camo. This time no stolen bags, just misdirected ones. Natasha jumped over a “authorized personnel only” line to rescue her bag from entering a building on an incorrect carrousel. No harm done. 

Met up with our party and piled into a little taxi to get to our one-day domicile. Yeah, seven of us and our luggage crammed in a 5 seat car- two in the passenger’s seat, and 4 grown men in the back. Love it! This is how we do things around here.

So here we are. Rested up a bit, went to a little Adventist restaurant for some soup and salad, and then to visit the Cristo de la Concordia; a larger version of its Brazilian predecessor in Rio de Janeiro, Christo Redentor. Christo de la Concordia is currently the largest statute of Jesus Christ in the world.

Tonight is spent in this nice hotel, and tomorrow we head out for the grounds where the campmeeting will be held. I hear tell there is no internet there, so we’ll be off the map for a while. 

Counting our  many blessings. This is a neat place with neat people.

Waiting for flight in LA

Waiting for flight in Santa Cruz

Cochabamba at last!


Our lovely room. Trust me, it feels good to get horizontal- can't you tell? ;)

Brunch.

Bienvenidos a Cochabamba!

Christo de la Concordia


Sweetness

Cochabamba from the hill










Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Make Me Your Hands

That's the simple prayer on our hearts this morning, standing on the edge of a new adventure.
We're off for a month in Bolivia, to share a message of hope in a land where the idea of familyness is a concept of yesterday. We're off to practice a language-- two languages. Spanish, and Service... We're off to find orphans to love in mountain orphanages, because love is the best gift we can give.
And we hope you'll uphold us with your prayers.

We'll try to keep up with posting photos and tidbits, internet allowing. :)

the kiosk doesn't like us. (go figure.)

LAX


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