After all the flooding events, things slowly turned back to normal. Our school was delayed a month or so because of the rain. I moved out of the house with Chris and the three boys and moved into the boys dorm. I was in the boys dorm with the little kids (1st-4th grade) and Chris moved in the dorm with the older boys. One major event that took place before school started was a retreat we had on our campus. The pastor in Rurre wanted to have a spiritual retreat, and asked us if we could host it. So one weekend we had about 80 people staying on our campus (which was a little crazy). But after that the kids started coming in. This was a great time because I hadn’t seen the kids all summer break (or winder break back home)! When the school year started back up again, I was teaching 1st-8th grade math. I enjoyed this very much! I was also teaching P.E. in the afternoon. It was really awesome to be able to teach the kids math and see results. Anyways, things were pretty normal until I left in April. Leaving was very sad. A lot of the boys and girls there called me “papa” and were begging me to stay. It was especially hard to say goodbye to the boys in my dorm. I had really become fond of all of them, and enjoyed my time with them. I remember at night a lot of the boys would love for me to rub my beard on their face right before bed, they thought a beard was such a strange thing, but loved it. I loved tucking them in every night, and I will miss that very much. The day finally came and we left. Chris, Amber, and I flew from Rurre to Santa Cruz, stayed 2 nights in Santa Cruz, and flew home. Coming into the Miami airport was very exciting. I was so proud to be an American! The american airlines even had patriotic music playing right when we landed. My heard was beating so hard with pride! Seeing my parents and family was great and I couldn’t believe that just a couple days before I was in the rain forest in Bolivia. Coming home was very strange. When I was in Bolivia, home felt so distant and unreachable, but when I first stepped foot in my home after over 8 months, I felt like I had never left. It’s a feeling I can’t really describe. I have been home for over 2 weeks now and it has been so good to see all of my friends and family again, but I also miss my family in Bolivia. Nunca me voy a olvidar el lugar que se llama Familia Feliz. Siempre estará en mi corazón. I hope my path will cross Familia Feliz again, a place I will never forget.
Wow I haven’t blogged in forever! Sorry about that. Well where I left off I was in La Paz, stuck because of the weather. We’ll I was there for a couple days because I had 2 cancelled flights 2 days in a row. But I finally made it back to Rurre! When I got there, it was a complete disaster. The town was flooded and the water system was destroyed. I was lucky I made it back! Anyways, made it back to the orphanage to settle in and all my stuff was moldy. Because it had been raining so much, the air was so moist that my clothes, sheets, books, and everything else were moldy! I had to do a lot of washing. The amount of rain we were getting was unbelievable to me. The said that this never happens and it’s the worst it’s been in 10 years. Anyways, I will continue with the flooding/landslides. There was so much rain and the grown was so soft, that we had a couple of landslides in Rurre. Very sad, I think 15 or so people died in the landslide events. The flooding and landslides destroyed Rurre’s “toma” (which is their water system). So now the only water people had to drink was the river water (which looks like chocolate milk) or rainwater that they could catch. The amazing thing (and I believe that God was really watching over us at familia feliz) is that we had just put in a well a couple months before. So we had the only source of fresh drinking water in the whole area. So we began making trip after trip into town to deliver water. It was exhausting because we were making 3-5 trips a day. Town is about 20 minutes away and filling the tanks took hours. The work we were doing was very rewarding because the people really were in need of this water. I felt like I was in a movie. We would drive into town and stop for 4 seconds and we would already have a line of people with their buckets, ready to fill. Here is the video of us in that time.
About a week after I got back from my trip with Chris, my parents came to visit the orphanage. We only spent a little bit of time in Rurre, just enough to see the orphanage and take one hike. My family and I headed to La Paz. From La Paz we went to Lake Titicaca and learned a lot about the culture there. It was very interesting. Then we headed to Cusco, spent a day there, and made our way to Machu Pichu. Machu Pichu was incredible! The views were awesome and the train rides to and from Aguascalientes were very enjoyable. After visiting Aguascalientes, we headed back to Cusco and my family flew home, and I returned to the orphanage. Then I stayed there for two weeks. During those two weeks, we started an evangelistic series in Rurre. I was only there for the first 4 nights of it. Then I headed to Buenos Aires, Argentina to meet up with a group from AMOR projects. Got to see Kaitlyn for the first time in 6 months! It was great! In Buenos Aires, we just did city stuff like walk around, eat out, etc.. After Buenos Aires we headed to Lima, Peru. There we spent time at the beach, surfing, exploring lima, and paragliding! It was a great trip. Right now I am in the airport waiting for my flight to Rurre. I hope it’s not canceled, because the weather has been really bad here and a lot of flights to and from Rurre have been canceled. Anyways, that sums up my last two months! Sorry I left out a lot of details! Hasta luego!
Wow I haven’t blogged in a long time! Sorry about that. Anyways, the past two months have been very eventful! We started replacing one of our roofs. Almost all of our roofs are thatched with leaves. They work well, but they have SO many bugs in them and they have to be really steep to keep the rain out. So they aren’t very space efficient. Not to mention they are HUGE fire hazards. One kid lighting on match in the house and its over. So our project is to replace all the roofs with metal. That way they will last much longer and their pitch wouldn’t have to be so steep, saving us a lot of space. Anyways, we got the money for the first roof, so we started working. We worked hard all day working on the roof. Taking the old thatched roof down was very tedious. We had to punch out every grouping of leaves! I actually had to climb up on the roof to help take it down. Super sketch. We brought the soldiers in from the army base to help us lift up the new walls to the second floor. I learned a lot about construction while helping build the new roof. It was a valuable experience. Also, with all the kids gone except for a few, we had a lot of free time. So I did a lot of traveling in the past two months. First trip I went on was with Chris. We first went to Sucre. I really like it, the weather was perfect! We visited the city and chilled. Then we took a taxi, about 2 hours or so, to Potosi. Potosi was once a huge mining city. There are still miners there, but not as many. We took a tour in the mines, which was awesome and terrible at the same time. It was awesome because I love exploring and the mines were very interesting. But the bad part was that we were probably at 14,000ft, and the air was stuffy and gassy and dusty! It was really hard to breath! Anyways after Potosi, we took a bus to Tupiza. We didn’t spend much time there, the next day we started our tour of the salt flats. The salt flats tour was 4 days three nights, and it was awesome. It was kind of like camping at times, but I didn’t mind that. We saw a lot of incredible things! We ended up in Uyuni, and flew to La Paz. In La Paz, I rushed around and did paperwork and got my carnet. Chris and I watched “El Hobbit” which was AWESOME. And in Spanish! Another thing we did in La Paz was summit a close-by mountain. At the top, we were around 17,600ft! Higher than I have ever been or probably go. After La Paz we returned to Familia Feliz.
Greetings all. This week we finished School here at Familia Feliz. I gave my final exam on Monday, and most of the kids were gone by Tuesday. There are still 5 kids here that will be staying for the summer. My exam in math went very well! My exam was 40 points, and I think my lowest grade was a 32. So they all did very well! I was very proud. After that, on Wednesday, Chris, Samuel, and I went on a three day tour in Las Pamas. It was very good. The first day we drove about 3 hours up the road, and then 3 hours up the river. We put our stuff in our rooms (a shack with a mattress and a mosquito net) and headed up the river to see the sunset. After that we returned and went to sleep. It rained all night. The next day is was still raining, and in the morning we went out to look for dolphins. When we found some, we jumped in the water and began to swim with them. They were very curious of us and swam very close. I ended up touching on eventually! It was great. Then we looked at more wildlife and called it a day. The next day we went out to search for anaconda! We went to a boggy marshy area with tall grass and about a half foot of water. We began walking and searching. Finally we found one! Apparently it’s pretty hard to find an anaconda, so we got lucky! The guide wrestled it in a good position to take pictures, and we watched it for a while. Then as we were leaving, Chris and I went up and touched it tail really quickly just so we could say that we touched an anaconda! After that we headed back to the shack and packed up. The trip down the river was only an hour and a half instead of three because we were going with the current. Then we drove three hours back to Rurre, great trip. On Saturday, we had church in Familia Feliz, and it went well, pretty normal Saturday. This Sunday we took the kids again, so I am at the pool. The kids LOVE the pool. That sums up my week. I think I am staying at Familia Feliz next week so talk to you all in two weeks, thanks for reading, God bless!
Hello. I don’t have a lot to write about this week. In school, I reviewed all week for the exam they have this coming Tuesday. For work this week I was in Rurre a lot shoveling rocks build a base for a water tank. We are getting a well, and our goal is to put a water tank behind each house so each house can have a water reserve when our water supply goes out. I smashed my finger while working one day. I was shoveling one direction and another volunteer was working in the opposite direction and our shovels collided. It split my nail in half and ill probably lose the nail in the next week or so. But it wasn’t a terrible accident. One Saturday, I did the sermon. It went really well, and it was my first sermon completely in Spanish. I was nervous at first, but when I got up there I didn’t even have to think about speaking Spanish, it just happened. God was definitely helping me out! I couldn’t have done a 30 minute sermon straight in Spanish without His help. Then the rest of Saturday I just relaxed and rested. That’s pretty much my week! Talk to you all later!
Hello. I have had lots of encounters with creatures this week! One day after school, I was walking back to the house and almost ran into a big green snake. He was hanging out on our door-step. When I saw him, I jumped back, I wasn’t sure if it was venomous or not. His eyes were round, but I’m sure if that rule works in Bolivia or not. For all I could know, he could kill me in 10 seconds. When he saw me, he retreated into our house and into our roof. I went to ask a local Bolivian if it was dangerous or not. It turned out to be a harmless snake that eats frogs and other small creatures. So we just let him be. After that, in the afternoon, when I was resting in my room, I woke up to the kids screaming. They were saying “hay un lagarto de bajo de tu cama!!!” which means: “there is a lizard under your bed!” I didn’t believe them. And they weren’t talking about a small lizard like you see in the States. They were talking about a lard lizard, like 2 ft long or so. I was sure that they were lying, and just trying to trick us. But eventually we let them in our room to look, and sure enough, there was a large lizard underneath Chris’s bed! They poked him, and he ran out. We had a zoo in our house! Later in the week, we were missing a lot of teachers (for sickness, not showing up, ect), so I had to teach a lot of different classes. At one time, I was teaching a class with 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th. For this class I just showed a video. I had no idea what to teach 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at the same time! For a short time in these past two weeks, we were out of water. So I had to take bathes in the creek! But one day, I was raining so hard, that I went behind my house and took a shower in the rain! It worked perfectly! I have been driving the truck into town more often lately. I had to drive some people into town in the big truck to run some errands, and then a couple other times this week for various reasons. Driving to town is a little nerve racking. The roads aren’t the best, and the truck is big! But I’m starting to get the hand of it! I got my first packages this week from my mom! They send some snacks and pictures. And PEANUTBUTTER!!!!! I’m trying to conserve it, but its already almost gone! Anyways, this week I finished off teaching new material in math. This next week I am going to review for their final exam. This past Saturday, we invited some of the soldier to come and spend the day with us, go to church, eat, ect. Ten soldiers came. They participated in church, and were very involved. Then later that night, we played lots of volley ball with them, it was very fun! That just about sums up my past two weeks. Talk to you all next week!
I forgot to bring my journal to town.. So I might forget some of the details of the week in my post. But anyways, school was good this week. I am still teaching decimals. We are working on adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals. This week for work, we didn’t work on the trial much, we did a lot of cleaning up around familia feliz. This is a lot of trash and junk everywhere so we have been working hard to straighten the place up. We have about 5 burn piles I think.. It looks much better! Also, Chris and I have started a new rule: we are not speaking any more English. We hate English (for now). It has been working! My Spanish has accelerated a lot! So basically the only time I speak English is on Sundays… A funny story from this week: we were eating pancakes on morning, and the word for pancake in Spanish is panqueque. And something during breakfast I ended up saying “pancaca” which means: bread poop. haha! All the kids had a good laugh, but I will never forget how to say pancake in Spanish ever again! Anyways, this Sunday was the Sunday to bring the kids. I took them to the pool again, they love the pool. That sums up my week! I am staying in Familia Feliz next Sunday so talk to you in two weeks!
Hello all. This week started off with a quiz. I gave a quiz over decimals in my math class.. they did okay… But over all pretty good. I saw a lot of 15/20’s. The next day I showed a video in class as a slight break between sections. It was a perfect day to show a video because it was raining all day during class. Usually we cancel school for rain but it started raining after we had all already gotten to school. Anyways, the tops of the roof’s aren’t the best, so I had a line of rain in the middle of my classroom! But we made due. This week for work Chris and I starting building a nature trail around Familia Feliz. So far we have about 142m completed. It’s good hard work. I like trail-building much more than working in the garden. I have also been working on a scaled map of the property. I bought a GPS app that has been really helpful. I have been walking around, marking house’s and trails. One of the boys in my house had to go home (he is not an orphan) because of discipline problems. Here is an example. In our house, we have a no eating rule, because the bugs are terrible, and all the eating is done in casa grande anyways. Another rule: they are not allowed to come into our room. One day, Chris left the room for like 2 minutes, and Moises, the youngest, went into our room, stole Chris’s cookies, and he was found eating them inside his bed! So he broke 3 rules: no entering our room, stealing, and eating in the house. I am sad that he had to go, I’m sure his life at home is much worse than here. Another boy had to leave to for stealing problems as well. On Friday, there was no school and we had a parent teacher meeting. About 10 parents came, and we handed out report cards, it went well. None of the parents had any problems with my class. On Sabbath, we went to church in Rurrenabaque. Chris, Agustin, Sam, and I did special music. We merged three hymns together and I played my ukulele. Our song kind of had a island sound. I think they liked it. On Sunday, I drove the big truck into town for the first time (which was a little scary) but it went well. In the picture you see a small section of Familia Feliz. You can see Casa Grande (the big house). This is where the girls live and where all of us eat. The little house next to it that says “Mi casa” is my house. You can see the beginning of our trail (the brown trial the goes down from my house). The field you see is where we play soccer and volleyball! Anyways that’s my week! Thanks for reading!
Hello all. Sorry I wasn’t in town last week to update. It was my turn to stay. Last week was my turn to make fires. So I was up at 5:30 making fires every morning. That week was fairly normal. School went well, I started teaching decimals in 5th and 6th grade math. They are staring to catch on. It is a new concept for them though. Anyways, the Sunday that I stayed at Familia Feliz was pretty relaxing. I just got stuff done around the house and watched the boys. In the afternoon, I played a lot of volleyball with the kids. It has rained a little bit in the past couple weeks. We missed one day of school for rain. Yes, they cancel school for rain. Then, on Tuesday, we went to the birthday party of Sergio, the restaurant owner of Nargillias. He is Adventist. We were the first ones to the party (because time is not as important over here), and it was big! I was expecting a small meal at the restaurant. But it was under a big tent-like thing with lots of tables and decorations. A lot of people were there, and there was a live band! It was quite the highlight of the week for us volunteers. But these birthday parties go late! We didn’t eat until 11! And we left at 12, and they hadn’t even eating cake yet! But I’m glad to say that I’ve been to a true South American birthday party! One interesting story from this week. I was working with Sam and Agustin in the rainforest, getting some fruit or something for the kitchen. We starting walking off the trail, and I figured that they knew where they were going. After about 30 minutes, we didn’t know where we were! Everything looks the same! So we were lost for a little bit. But we eventually found our way to the chaco (a clearing in the rainforest) and found our way back. But it was quite the thrilling experience. Also, I saw a HUGE lizard this week! Like three feet long! Then on Saturday, we had some visitors, the pastor of a church in New Jersey and his wife. They brought little gifts for all the kids, it was really nice. Then on Sunday we had pathfinders and I came to town, and that brings me to now! Talk to you next week!