September 22, 2013
What a fun day! We headed into town about 10:00 this morning. Each staff member was assigned two or three kids to watch for the day and every child was given $5 bolivianos that they could spend in town. You should have seen the look on their faces! :) Each staff could decide what activities his/her group were going to do that day. We packed lunches for everyone to take as well. So when we got to town, Oriel, Wanetta, Vilissa and I all took our groups on a short hike near the mountain where a creek was. We ate lunch there in the shade and just talked with the kids. Then, the girls and guys split. The girls wanted to go shopping. Ori and I took our boys to one of the swimming pools in town and paid for them to get in and swim. Sam, Hunter and Chris were there was well. (It was a very HOT day and the idea was spending it in the cool water of the pool was too tempting not to do! :) ). I didn’t go swimming because my allergies were really acting up. :( But I did enjoy the time in the hammock. To make up for not being in the water, I bought me a tamarind juice to enjoy in my hammock. :) Our boys also bought some popsicles with their money.
The truck loaded up to head back home at 3:15. The kids really enjoyed the day and were talking to each other about what everyone did. I made sure everyone was on board and then the truck left, heading back to Familia Feliz. I stayed in town with David and Jorge because I wanted to do something special with them. So we all went and got a haircut, then we went out to eat from supper. Both of the these boys have had many discipline problems in the past (which is why they are living with me), but have really, really made a lot of progress and have not gotten in any trouble in several weeks. I am very proud of them and wanted them to know that. I am a firm believer in not only punishing negative behavior, but rewarding positive behavior as well. So we went out to eat and they were able to order whatever (vegetarian) meal they wanted. We also got some mango/strawberry juice to go along with it. We had a really good time and the boys really felt special.
We got home, ate supper, had worship and got ready for bed. It has been a full day and now we’re ready to go to sleep. Until tomorrow...God bless!
September 23, 2013
This past Saturday, Sept. 21, was national student day here in Bolivia. Since it was on the weekend, we decided to celebrate it today with our students. It’s a big deal here in Bolivia, with some schools taking ALL of their students on field trips or overnight trips, making elaborate meals for them, etc. Since we are on a tight budget, those activities weren’t possible for us, but we still wanted to do something special for the kids and have a good time. We decided to have a field/game day. Classes were “cancelled” for the day and everyone played group games all morning. We did three-legged races, water balloon toss, egg-in-a-spoon races, relay races tug-of-war, etc. The morning ended with cake, juice and candy for all the students. I couldn’t stay for all of the activities because Juan and I had to go into town to see about processing some paperwork, as well as to get some parts for the truck (that is broken down again). But I heard that the morning was a complete success and that everyone had a great time.
This afternoon was just wonderful! The kids played soccer all afternoon with some of the staff while the rest of us played volleyball. We played for almost 4 hours!! I have parts of my body yelling at me now that I didn’t know existed before! Lol. But we laughed so much! We only stopped playing because supper was ready. :)
After supper, my boys did their homework, got their showers, had worship and got into bed. I’m about to follow. All that playing has worn me out. :) Hasta manana!
September 24, 2013
Today was a regular day. The boys and I got up, had worship, did the morning chores and had breakfast. I taught my classes in the morning and oversaw the work program in the afternoon. Nothing very significant to write about today. It wasn’t a bad day by any means, just a normal day. :) So, sorry about the short entry, but there isn’t much to write about. Maybe tomorrow there will be more. :) God bless!
September 25, 2013
Today was a full day...made up for yesterday. :) We have a visitor that arrived in the middle of the night. He is a missionary from Hawaii that has been in Bolivia for a year now and is about to head back home. His name is Elijah and he’s 18 years old. He has worked with several of the staff here during the year and wanted to come and spend a few days here before leaving the country. So he’ll be with us until Monday morning.
This morning, after making sure Elijah was settled in and had everything he needed, I had to go to town with Jodi. All of the directors and principals from the district were called to a meeting with the Minister of Education and the Mayor. The meeting started at 9:00 and lasted until after 11:00. It was quite an interesting meeting, to say the least. First of all, the Minister of Education was the most dressed up person there (of the officials) and he had on a pair of slacks and a button-up shirt, with the sleeves rolled up. All of the Mayor’s personnel that were up front had on jeans or exercise pants and t-shirts. The Mayor had on jeans, a t-shirt, windbreaker and a ball cap! Jodi and I were kinda caught off-guard. But hey...whatever floats your boat, I guess. :) Secondly, it was made apparent very early on in the meeting that this was a political meeting with the Minister of Education and Mayor belonging to different political parties. And finally (and what’s worse), the meeting didn’t apply to our school at all, as we are a private school. It only applied to public schools and even with that, there was nothing accomplished at the meeting. No decision made, no voting, nothing. So basically, we wasted our morning. :( We have another meeting in the morning with the Minister of Education and the School Board members of the district, so we’re hoping that one will prove more beneficial.
After the meeting, we ran some errands to buy some groceries and other things we needed, then headed back home. We got home about 2:00. After the work session, we had supper and then headed off to prayer meeting. It was my turn to lead it out. We talked about the attitudes we are to have when addressing God in prayer. We then had prayer in small groups and sang some hymns.
Now it’s off to bed. May not seem like so on paper, but it was a busy day and I’m tired. Good night! God bless!
September 26, 2013
What a day! Jodi and I were in town for this second meeting this morning. The meeting started at 8:00, but when we pulled up, ours was the only car in the parking lot, beside the Minister of Education’s motorcycle. Shortly after, however, more people arrived and the meeting started. A representative from the State Department of Education had come to talk to us about how a school board should be formed, as well as about some governmental funding. Well, this meeting lasted 3 hours and, guess what?! Didn’t pertain to us at all either! The rules for school boards are different for public and private school and we are the only private school in the district, so they only read the information about the public schools (which didn’t make much sense at all, if you ask me. Get this - it’s against the law for a principal, director, teacher or other administration staff to form part of the school board! It should only be composed of parents. When have you ever heard of such?! I mean, parents usually have no idea of what really goes on at schools and what the needs/issues are. Crazy!). And there is NO government funding for private schools. So here we’ve missed two days in our classrooms and spent 6 hours in meetings that didn’t have anything to do with us or our school. :( Not fun.
After the meeting, we had to pick up some supplies for our garden and greenhouse, then headed back home.
That’s when things got even more “interesting”. I found out that neither of my boys (Jorge and David) turned in their homework today and that both had gotten in trouble either at school or right after school. Not what I wanted to hear, I assure you. So I had to take care of that and issue a punishment. They missed supper tonight, had to clean the classrooms and do extra work around the house. Needless to say, they were not happy at all, but we have to be consistent with all the kids and treat them all the same. Jorge, then, told me that he cleaned the classroom but, when I went to check, it wasn’t clean. So I had to address the issue of lying and he had to go back to clean it. As I write this, neither boys are really talking to me. They’re still upset. But I explained to them that they chose this course of action and this is simply the consequence of that choice. Hopefully, they will learn from this and will remember it next time they are tempted to not do their homework and disobey the staff. It’s definitely not been one of my best days, though. :( But God is Good and I still praise Him for today and all that He has done for me! :)
September 27, 2013
This morning was the first morning in a very long time that I didn’t have class to teach, have to travel, have a meeting or something else pressing to do. Amen! :) So I decided to take advantage of this “free time” and go for a hike. I’ve been here 3 months and still haven’t explored all of our property. So, with a machete and camera in hand, I went on a 2-hour hike through the jungle. It was a beautiful morning and I saw all kinds of interesting bugs, plants, birds, etc. Plus, I had some great “alone time” with God, praying and thanking Him for all that He is / does for me. I felt really refreshed by the time I got back to my house. It was a good morning!
After lunch, several of us headed into town. I had the Bible study at the Army base tonight (since it’s Friday night), so I went in with the truck and just stayed in town. One of our girls, Amy (she’s 21 years old, but mentally is only 11-12 years old...but such a sweet girl!), was walking last week and stepped into a hole in the ground and fell. Her foot started hurting and was swollen after that. We figured she had sprained her ankle, so we soaked it, wrapped it, etc. but it didn’t get better. So today, we took her in to get an x-ray and see the doctor. I took her to the doctor. Turns out she does have a sprained ankle, but she also had dislocated one of the bones on the top of her foot. So the doctor had to set it back in place. :( I felt SOOO bad for Amy! It was like watching a kid having the bone set again. Her foot was already in pain and to have the doctor move it and pop it back in place was almost more than Amy could bear. But she’s a fighter and did very well. He was able to get everything in place and gave some medicines for the pain and swelling. After we left, I got Amy some coconut ice cream with chocolate and sprinkles. :) Hey...she deserved it!
Soon, the truck headed back to Familia Feliz and I stayed in town and waited for the Bible study. I was able to call family and church family and get updated on things back home. I also was able to enjoy some very good pesto pasta! :)
At 6:45, I was at the army base. Some soldiers were still eating supper, so I waited for them to finish, then set everything up for the meeting. We had over almost 50 soldiers there tonight! I am still amazed and excited about their enthusiasm. It’s so contagious and such a blessing to see! What was even more exciting was, out of the almost 50 that were there, there were about 17 new soldiers who had never come before! I believe a new group of soldiers has arrived on base. I had made about 10 extra copies of the Bible study for this evening, just in case. But even that wasn’t enough and some people had to share. What a WONDERFUL problem to have! :) And did I mention before that these soldiers like to sing?!?! Lol. I had the computer and projector hooked up to the speakers/sound system and they still sang way louder than the music...so much so that they kept getting ahead of the music because they couldn’t hear what part of the song was being played. :) I laughed inside so many times tonight because of that. Lol. But what a blessed evening it was! We talked about the origin of sin. They were genuinely interested. I truly love giving these Bible studies and talking with these young men. What an opportunity! Please continue to pray for them and their new walk with Christ.
Well, about to head to bed. Once again, another Sabbath has come and started off wonderfully! I know tomorrow will be just as wonderful. God bless you all!
September 28, 2013
Today we had a special treat. We got to sleep until 7:00! :) And boy did it feel good! We had church this morning here on campus and had a lovely service. I love seeing and hearing the kids lead out song service. It’s such a blessing to me. Then, the girls had special music. From 4 years old to 16 years old, all of them sang “You’re my all in all”. Another blessing. Then, Elijah, our guest, had the sermon today. It was a very nice Sabbath morning.
After church, we had lunch and, again, had a special treat. Wanetta and the girls in the kitchen had made cake for dessert (vegan, mind you!). :) It was delicious!! I wish you all could taste it. It was so moist and delicious! And the icing (made with powdered sugar, almond milk and orange zest) just melted in your mouth! Okay...I need to stop now. :) It’s not often that we have a treat like this, so everyone really enjoyed it.
In the afternoon, some of the staff took most of the kids on a long hike to a nearby small waterfall. I decided to stay. I really wanted to finish listening to a sermon that I started two days ago, as well as do some reading. So that was a nice little “break” and alone time. The kids really enjoyed the hike.
Just before sunset, we all met in our circle on the front lawn to close out the Sabbath with worship. It’s always a special time for me. Then, we had supper and put on a little video for the kids. Overall, a very good day indeed! Thank you Lord for the many blessings you have so graciously bestowed upon me!
God bless you!