Vamos… Let’s go!

Although we are officially still at Language school we have been so busy this week, getting involved with different churches and projects here in Cochabamba.

On Monday we moved house to be closer to the centre of town. We gave in our visa application at Interpol (stage 3 out of 6 complete) and now have to just wait until the certificates come back before going to the next place. We have run two drama workshops for a church group and are going to accompany them this afternoon for a presentation in the main plaza (square). It’s great to see all ages in the Church getting involved from the under 10’s to the over 60’s!

At language school we get to meet lots of people who work for various projects in the town. Sarah and her brother work at Casa de Amor, looking after children who have been at risk on the streets. This week they introduced us to baby ‘B’, who is making good progress after being abandoned by his 15 year old mother, who was not able to look after him. The aim for Casa de Amor is to find local Bolivian families who can adopt the children as soon as possible. He is 5 weeks at the moment – and really cute as you can see in the photo below.

One evening we went with a group to Salsa dancing classes. It was so funny. Salsa dance teachers (except the gorgeous Daniella Hobbs) all seem to have a thing about having their trousers just a bit too tight and a bit too short.!! Actually it was quite hard work dancing at altitude. Dean was one of only four guys, so had a queue of lovely girls wanting to dance with him…

Saturday is Market day. Time to stock up on delicious fresh fruit and vegetables from a local street market just 10 minutes from our house. It was a colourful experience, fruits, uncountable varieties of potatoes, yukka, real herbs, mountains of bananas and the innocent looking – yet deadly-  hot chilli peppers. We came home laden with stuff to try.

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Ahora, tenemos que hacer nuestro tarrea…. por favor Dino… No puedes copiarme!! Vamos.. poco a poco.

Sarah and Baby 'B'
Sarah and Baby ‘B’

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Ruth teaching drama
Ruth teaching drama
View from our apartment!
View from our apartment!
Our new church...
Our new church…

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Dram workshop
Drama workshop
Street drama...
Street drama…
Feeding the pigeons.
Feeding the pigeons.

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Children on the street corner.
Children on the street corner.
The drama group
A few familiar faces!
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Spanish School and Culture classes

This week has been mainly based in Cochabamba. We have had some really interesting Culture classes with Mauge and have continued to have Language school to improve our Spanish.

It was great to learn more about the history of the country we love so much, and finally understand a little more about how the culture works. Having lived here for two years it felt like a ‘lightbulb moment’ to realise why people behave in certain ways. We learnt that here in Bolivia it is very much a Collective culture and rules are more like suggestions than ‘rules’ as we know them. It makes for quite a culture shock when you first arrive. On the plus side it is totally relationship orientated and people love to spend time together, so we feel really welcomed and loved.

Our Spanish is improving. We have spent time with friends who we met 5/6 years ago in Sucre and celebrated their son’s first birthday (happy birthday Lucas). We are moving house on Monday to be closer to the centre of town and the language school. We have had a lovely time staying at Gwen’s house… (thanks guys).

Last Sunday we introduced ourselves at a local church. We had a chance to present a short drama – which everyone seemed to love. The young people want us to do a short set of workshops to teach them drama and mime, which they will then be able to present all over the city. This is planned to start this Wednesday.

Today is the day of the General Election which means no one can meet outside of their houses except to vote! We are having an amazing time with our friend and spanish teacher Mauge who is looking after us very well indeed.

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Our preferred mode of transport...
Our preferred mode of transport…

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Lucas 1st birthday...
Lucas 1st birthday…
Waiting with Anjelica for our visa papers
Waiting with Anjelica for our visa papers
It's amazing what you can buy for a fiver!!
It’s amazing what you can buy for a fiver!!
Proving my identity..!!
Proving my identity..!!

 

First week and a bit…

We arrived in Santa Cruz and were met at the airport by William and Liz Moscoso. Liz has been our friend for about 14 years, since she spent a year in Britain and stayed at our house.

It felt strange being back. Familiar in so many ways, yet so totally different to life in England. The noise, dust and how the cars literally swim through the streets like fish in the sea. There do not seem to be any rules of the road. The bigger you are the more space you need. But cars literally weave and honk their way, wherever they want to go.

We visited their church (La Roca) for a four hour service.. yes, a four hour service!! It went surprisingly quickly and we enjoyed meeting people there. We met up with Juanita who came to England a few years ago to volunteer with Care-force. They took us to a small town outside of Santa Cruz where we saw sloths in the trees on the plaza. These animals are soo funny and move really slowly, a bit like Dean in the mornings. It was so sad to see people drunk on the streets and so much rubbish everywhere.

Liz invited us to the La Roca school to share our testimonies with the children and do some drama and games. She is an English teacher, so we knew that if our Spanish was a bit rusty she could step in and translate for us. It was great because we spent time with 13 year olds, 16 year olds, 6 year olds and 11 year olds. We introduced ourselves in English… a basic name, age, likes, dislikes, what we do in our free time and they understood that. Then we explained in Spanish why we are here and showed some dramas. We were able to explain them in Spanish – amazing how the words just flooded back!! The younger ones enjoyed seeing the puppets and playing parachute games.

We were sad to say goodbye to the family in Santa Cruz, but we flew to Cochabamba to start Spanish classes with Serve Abroad. This is the mission organisation that we are working with here. The language school is based in a house in the centre of town and has cultural classes and organises events / volunteer projects for the students. We will be having classes together for about a month.

We are currently staying at a house on the outskirts of town that belongs to a friend of ours. She and her Bolivian husband and 2 children lived here for about 9 years working with a community, building a community centre and pre-school. But now they have returned to Scotland – so it feels kind of quiet without them here. We are hoping to help there in the next few weeks, painting a mural or doing something practical.

We spent time with Rodrigo and his family yesterday. They are running a youth church here in Cochabamba for Brazillian students. He has already booked Dean in to preach at the end of the month. Tonight we are meeting a church youth group on the edge of town to teach drama and spend time with them. We are also invited to their Church service tomorrow morning. Really looking forward to meeting them… vamos a ver!

If you would like to send us some goodies through the post please send your items to the address below. Parcels could take up to 3 weeks to arrive. Thank you:)

Dino & Ruth Such
Connexiones Entre Mundos
Cassilla 15
Cochabamba
Bolivia

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