An update

17 05 2009

I have no idea where to start. I suppose I ought to start with the plane trip, since that was my first ever, but that has already been two days, and today was even more exciting. Am I writing that? I think it’s the truth. Really, my mind is too scattered to write things out the way I would like to, so for now you’ll just have to take what you can get. Due to an extremely slow dial-up internet connection, you’re not going to be getting this the way I meant for it to be, and I also can’t access any pictures from this computer (it is at the host family’s).

So I arrived yesterday (Saturday) at about noon. I spent all day Friday flying, and spent the night in Santa Cruz. After getting here, I called home, ate lunch, slept a couple of hours, unpacked, and found that I couldn’t remain three minutes in the same place. After a while, I decided to go ahead and get in touch with a missionary family that I knew was here (it’s a long story – the whole chain bringing me here amazes them, and they have hardly heard half of it). Needless to say, they were rather shocked to hear from me , not knowing I existed, but they have taken me in like an old friend. In fact, in true holiness folks style, we spent half the afternoon today trying to come up with common acquaintances. The field was surprisingly barren … for those who are interested, we had one preacher (Winfield Poe) in common, and the husband went to the Bible college that my grandmother attended in … one of the states north of Kansas, whichever. For holiness folks, that is pretty slim pickings!

They picked me up last night and took me to their young people’s meeting, which was very small. I got to meet the native pastor’s family. (For future reference, his name is René – that’s the only one I remember.) The missionary wife (Barbara) plays the piano, but this is the last weekend they will be here until I am gone. So this morning, she was tending a fussy baby, and she asked me to play the piano. After they consulted with René after the service, I was informed that I have a job.

I was supposed to get the tour of the town tomorrow through the school I am attending, but as circumstances would have it, I got it this morning, and perhaps a more thorough one. When the missionary family (the Biggers) came to pick me up, they were fifteen minutes late. They said that for some reason, police were blocking off many of the roads. We drove around town for an hour and forty-some minutes trying to make the 10-15 minute trip to church! Finally, they figured out it was a bicycle race. If it had been me, I admit I eventually would have given up and sat in a park somewhere until things cleared up and we could go home for lunch. An hour or so into the “trip,” the three-year-old asked if we were almost to Tarija yet (the town where they usually live)! Finally, at 11:40, they parked and we started to walk to church, only to find that the race ended just then. So we piled back into the truck and drove on over, where, to my surprise, the congregation was still waiting for someone to come and unlock the door. We went on in and had church, the service lasting until about 1:00. After that, we took a couple of women home, one of them an older woman (so I saw more of the “slum” section than I probably will tomorrow), and they took me home with them for Sunday dinner.

After dinner, Barbara and I took a taxi and went to visit a lady in the hospital, and then she had the taxi driver drop me off here (at “home”) where I am now. And I decided to see if I could get my blog to work from here. I believe it will. However, my Yahoo email isn’t working, so I’m not going to be able to notify everyone that I want to right now.

I am going to go again to the church service tonight, and I think they plan to introduce me to another Bolivian lady that lives nearer to where I am tomorrow (she’s gone this weekend), and then school starts tomorrow afternoon. After that, I will be on my own as far as Americans go. I was more relieved than I thought I would be to be in contact with this family yesterday and today, though. I think it helped me get my bearings as to how I will be negotiating this. Also, I can understand some 85+% of the native preacher’s message. I found that exciting! I can communicate fairly well here, although I think part of it is that most of the natives I’ve been in contact with so far are used to horrible accents.

Anyway, I had better close before this gets so long that nobody will read it all. Once I find an internet place where the computers are a tad faster and my regular email works, I’ll try to officially launch this thing … right now I’ll just be able to email the addresses that I have memorized. Talk to you all later!

Oh, by the way, it’s 6:00 local time.

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