Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hospitals

Before Saturday  I had never been to a Bolivian hospital. Since last Saturday I have been to two different hospitals and a doctor for myself. I have learned lots of new words, and have lots of memories I won’t forget soon.

This last week when I didn’t have a shift at the girls house, I had the opportunity to stay with the children of the Booher family. The Booher family is a missionary family working with Casa de Amor, and they have six of their own children, and four Casa de Amor children. Rudi and Carla, the parents had several deaths in the family and went back to the States for a week, and so the other volunteers and I got to spend a lot of time with their kids. (It’s amazing to see the difference in kids who have loving parents that can give them the attention they need!)

As great as the week was, it wasn’t without accidents. Saturday morning I was at the girl’s house doing laundry and got a call from the oldest girl saying that we needed to take one of the younger girls to the hospital because she had fallen off of her bike. I made it in record time to their house, and realized that it wasn’t as serious as I had thought. One of the tias who wasn’t on duty offered to come with us to the hospital, so we met her and went from there. I prayed the whole way to the hospital, and we were able to walk right inside and they gave her a bed. The nurses were very nice and helpful, and did a great job. R ended up getting five stitches, and didn’t cry at all. After the 3rd stitch, the electricity went out. That isn’t unusual for Cochabamba, but I wondered why  they didn’t have a back-up generator or something for emergencies. It turned out that a flashlight was the back-up and it worked just fine. R did a great job, and I was thankful it was not a serious injury. All in all it cost about $10, so I guess you get what you pay for. I think I would be willing to go without lights in the U.S!

Then yesterday I was doing the dishes at the girl’s house after lunch and talking with one of the girls, when I heard one of our girls crying. She is one of the most dramatic six year olds I have met, and so I didn’t think anything was really wrong. But I was wrong. She had been sliding down the banister and fallen the rest of the way down. We couldn’t tell how seriously she was hurt, so we decided to take her to the emergency room. The emergency room we went to on Saturday was nice, clean, and not very busy, but also one of the more expensive ones according to the tias. One of the tias daughters works at the hospital in Quillacollo, and so she said we could bring B there. The daughter was very helpful, and saved us probably an hour of waiting. The doctors were very friendly again, and decided to do an X-Ray to figure out if any bones were broken. I felt like I had gone back in time. The machine was very old, and the X-Rays were developed and then held up to the light to see “clearly”. The doctor was very  talkative, (maybe too talkative) and had lots of questions about the U.S and how long I planned to stay in Bolivia. There were also lots of interesting pictures of Jesus on the wall that helped distract B from the huge machines.  After seeing no less than 4 doctors they told us that she was just bruised and that she needed to rest.


The whole trip including X-Rays was less than $10, but the Tia’s daughter told me that there are many people who come in that can’t afford to pay that. She works as the receptionist and considers it her ministry to help these people whenever she can afford to. (And sometimes when she can’t.) It was a humbling experience to be reminded that what I consider inexpensive is out of the question for so many people. Not only that, but to see someone my age who is doing her job with a purpose, as an opportunity to show people God’s  in a real way made me ask myself how faithful I have been with the things the Lord has put in front of me. And the answer was not very. The story in Luke 12:35-48 talks about servants that are waiting for their master. One takes good care of what he has been entrusted with and one does not.  I wanted to encourage you all also to be using the opportunities God has given you to serve and share God’s love, however that might look. We have been given so much, and I believe that God expects us to use that for his Kingdom. The story ends by saying, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." How good is our God in the ways he cares for His people, and lets us be part of it!

Mostly trying to distract her, but I might have really made the face if it had been appropriate.:)


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Babies!

The other day I was talking with another volunteer Carlee, and we were talking about how we have yet to experience a normal week here. Everytime we think the week will be normal, something else comes up. This week lots of things have come up, but it has been an interesting week to say the least!

Last Thursday I had an opportuity to go with the social worker for Casa de Amor to do an investigation for one of our smallest babies. The baby was found in late February in a corn field out in the country, and in order for her to be adopted, we needed to be sure her mother was not in the picture. 

We started out meeting up with the woman who found her, and she showed us around from there. We met in a plaza in downtown Quillacollo, which is the next city over from Cochabamba. The plaza is one of the busiest ones I´ve been too, and there are vendors all over the street selling food, and other random things. This plaza is also the main destination for public transportation, so you have to wind your way through the vans and busses. I had to keep reminding myself that this was real, and not a scene from a movie. How often do you get to meet a stranger in a plaza to look for a missing mother? Pretty often, it seems, if you are a social worker in Bolivia! Tia Rosa, the social worker was very patient and answered all of my questions about the Social Services system in Bolivia. 
The woman we were meeting was definitely running on Bolivian time, but it was a great opportunity to talk with Tia Rosa, and read the initial reports. The woman came after about 30 minutes, and brought her 4 year old daughter with her as well. Both were very dissapopinted that we had not brought the baby, and the woman teared up as she asked when she could see her. Tia Rosa assured her that she was doing well, and after paperwork was done she could see her. We then followed the woman and her daughter to another Trufie that would take us up farther iup the mountain where the baby had been found. After about 30 minutes I felt like we were in a totally different place. The city is fairly modern, and has become familiar, but I had never been up into the country before. Cows lived on the side of the road, and the trufie was so loud I couldn´t hear any of the conversation. The houses became much simpler, and poverty was much more apparent. We finally got off, and walked for about 20 minutes to the place the woman lived with her family. And extended family. Our plan had been to ask the neighbors if they knew anything about the baby girl, but there really were no neighbors to ask. We passed the house where the woman lived, and she took us out to the corn fields where she works. The farther out we went, the harder it was to believe that someone had delivered a baby in this place. We finally made it to a place with some bushes and cactus, and the woman told us that she had found the baby underneath the bushes covered in ants, and without any clothes. She had been collecting the last of the corn, and heard a baby crying. She immediately took the baby to the hospital, and hadn´t known if she would survive. 

I have heard stories like this often, but this was a new experience for me. I knew this baby. I had held her, changed her diapers, and fed her bottles. I had prayed for her, and watched her sleep. To realize that she could have died here was hard to grasp. And my first response was to question how it could have happened. I wanted to be angry at the person who left her here, and question everyone around until we found out who it was. 

And then God reminded me that He cares for her. He didn´t leave her there, and it really is a miracle that she was found. He formed her in her mother´s womb, and He knows her story. More than that, he also knows her mother and father, and loves them, just like I love her. And to think that God loves us in that same way is crazy. He loves us when we do horrible things, and He gives grace. What a great God we have! 

After we left, we went to the Defonsoria, (which is kind of like CPS in the United States) to see if anyone had come to ask about the baby. No one had come, but everyone remembered her, and was happy to hear that she was doing well. Please continue to be in prayer for this baby, as well as her parents. Our God is a God of healing, and love, and my prayer is that this baby girl would have a loving family, and know the love of God that saved her from the corn field, and saves us all from oursleves. Not only for her, but for all of the children in the homes here, that they would have families of their own, but more importantly, know the love of their Father that cares for them more than I do. 

Love you all! If you would like to know more about what you can do to help, please email me or send me a message!
The baby on the right in pink is the baby girl found in the corn field!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

So Many Celebrations!

It´s hard to believe it has been three weeks in Bolivia so far. Time is going by so fast! These are a few of the things that have been happening:

At the beginning of last week on Monday, we celebrated Mother´s Day in Bolivia. Mother´s Day is celebrated on May 27th every year, in remembrance of a battle that women in Cochabamba fought in 1812. While all of the men were fighting in the war, the women were home, and the army came to invade the city. The women fought with sticks and rocks, and obviously lost, but they are remembered for their effort. :) I was able to attend  Mother´s Day celebrations with two of our girls who go to different schools because of special needs that they have. At J´s school, they celebrated with an all day picnic, complete with straw huts, llamas, ducks, turkeys, and traditional dances.And there was even a scheduled time for a siesta during the day. :) J´s class performed a special dance, and all of the mothers recieved a lunch and special gift from their son or daughter. It was my first time to celebrate Mother´s Day as an honorary mother!

The next day I went with another of our girls S, to celebrate at her school. To celebrate, the mothers participated in contests, and thankfully, I was never picked to participate! The contests included potato pealing, braiding hair, and lots of other things. It was definitely a different sort of celebration than anything I had done before. It was also a great opportunity to talk with the other mothers, and learn more about life in Bolivia.

J in her traditional Bolivian outfit at the Mother´s Day Picnic.

That same day, I drove for the first time in Bolivia! Out of all of the staff, only one of the Tias is able to drive, and they begged me to drive their van to help out when Tia Luz isn¨t working. It was not nearly as bad as I thought, but the rules (or lack of rules) are much different here. There are also lots of speedbumps on the road that are not clearly marked. On my second trip out with the kids, we were going to take a group picture, and I had 15 kids, and 5 tias in the van. They all offered their help in finding speedbumps, and notifying me ahead of time! We did make it  safely, and ended up with a beautiful picture of all of the kids at Casa de Amor.
All of the kids from Houses 1-4.

This week I was also blessed to celebrate my birthday in Bolivia!On Saturday I went with several other girls, Emily, Hannah, and Carlee to the big market, La Cancha, the girls took me to eat Enchiladas, and then Emily even took us to get Frappuccinos! I was so thankful! Sunday for the day of my birthday, the Tias gave me a cake, and all of the girls sang to me before going to church. They tried to convinve me to keep Bolivian tradition and bite the cake with my face, but I was lucky to have the excuse of going to church! :) Hannah and I took some of the youngest babies to church, and they didnt cry at all- which was a great present! 
When I got home from church, they had made lunch with chicken (Which is not common!) And had finished a scarf that I was trying to learn to knit. I think they realized it would probably be next year if I had to finish it myself. After lunch, we had a nail painting party, and my mom had sent tattoos for the girls in my birthday card. I think the kids might have liked the singing card better than the tattoos. They had never seen one before, and were so confused.haha Then Tia Annita asked me to drive across town and I had a suprise birthday party at a pizza place in town. My mom had asked Jennifer, the director, if we could do something, and the kids had a blast! On top of all of that, I was able to Skype with friends from home who were having a birthday party for another friend. I even got to pretend to blow out a candle on the birthday cake in Denton! Thank you to everyone who helped celebrate! I am so thankful for this life God has given, and thankful for where He has me now. 
   
Enjoying her Pineapple drink at dinner.
Yes, that is Mustard AM is putting on her pizza.
O and AM playing at the pizza place.

Love you all, thank you for your prayer and support!