Crafts, Carnival and collectivism…

As part of our work at the youth prison we have the opportunity to teach art. We just work with a small group each week, which is perfect for being able to chat and answer questions. Recently we drew portraits and it was amazing to see their self esteem grow as they realised their potential. The following week we went and they had all been practicing and showed us their work with immense pride. Since the New year there have been a group of Bolivian volunteers working alongside “Save the Children” following an educational program in the prison. 

Knowing that we are leaving in two months we have been trying to encourage others to get involved in the work at Cometa. There are a number of local volunteers who are going to carry on the work of Transformations. We are supporting a group who teach basketball and volleyball on Monday and Friday afternoons. 

A few of the young people we have got to know well have recently been released from Cometa. We have tried to keep in touch via Facebook. We have unsuccessfully arranged to meet up with a few of them outside… This often means waiting around for a few hours at a time. Many of them have had to return to family and friends and our worry is that without support they will fall back into their old habits There is no social safety net to catch these vulnerable young people. Please keep praying for them.

I had the opportunity to go to a Women’s conference with a large group of ladies here in Cochabamba (IF Gathering). It was a lovely day to listen and chat with people working here and sharing about our experiences.
Carnival was, as always, crazy! Random water balloons and foam sprayed at you from any angle at any time of the day or night. There are bands marching around the streets and people dancing in national folkloric costumes. We actually escaped the city on the main parade day this year to go for a walk in the mountains. It was a nice route alongside a river in Tiquipaya. 

There has also been a referendum here to see if the current president can stand for another term. This means changing the constitution. There have been lots of protests and marches. The voting took place yesterday so we will wait and see what happens.
One of the loveliest things about Bolivia is how we feel part of the family. We get “collected” by people in the culture of “collectivism”. It means we are never without a lovely invitation to go somewhere and spend time with people. It is one of the things we love most about Bolivia, the most important thing is time. Time spent with people you love and time developing friendships. We had a delicious BBQ with friends who are part of a couples group from church. We cooked, ate, told jokes, laughed, sang songs and shared stories. 
We are looking forward to having a creative arts team of three people from the UK to visit us from 16 March for three weeks. We are planning to show them all our projects and take them to various youth centres and churches in Cochabamba, Sucre and Santa Cruz. Please pray for safety and for many opportunities to share the Good News.

If you would like to give financially towards our work here in Bolivia please use the following bank details.

Fundraising account: Mr D Such Barclays Sort code 20 39 07 Account no. 50163678

 

Playing volleyball with the boys in cometa

  

The girls are already much better than us at knitting!

  

Having the opportunity to chat to one guy who was reading his Bible.

 

The IF conference for ladies in Cochabamaba

 

Friends and teachers from the language school

 

Our friends invited us to their house for a bbq.

 

Joel was in charge of the meat feast… This was ten minutes after he’d used an air compressor to blast the coals into action – spraying them all across the floor! it was delicious.

 

Someone always has a guitar
IMG_0629
Somebody generously gave us a bag of clothes to give out to the kids in Cometa and the girls refuge. Another case load turned up soon after this one!
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