Contrasts

25 05 2009
La Casa Magariños (the family where I'm staying)

La Casa Magariños (the family where I'm staying)

Finally, some more pictures.  I hope to be able to help you guys understand a little bit better what I’m seeing here.  The Academia has placed me in a very nice (very, very nice) home in Sucre.  As you might be able to guess, it’s quite a bit nicer than the one I’m used to!  I believe my room might be showing at the far right of the second story.  And yes, that’s me in front.  I got one of the students to take my picture when they were over for lunch this afternoon.  The family has three maids, girls probably in their teens.  I would guess that they are quite happy to have a position in a family like this one (and they do seem to enjoy themselves most of the time).  It certainly is something that seems strange to me.

Lady visiting the houseI was surprised one day last week when I came into the kitchen at lunch time and looked at the window to the “little house” where the cooking is mostly done.  There was an old lady sitting there, obviously (from her dress) poor and probably indigenous.  I asked the family’s son who she was, and he explained that she is an acquaintance of his mother who comes periodically to sit a while and for them to give her something to eat.  I happened to be watching after dinner as a maid helped her across the slick hardwoord floor and out the front door.  I had my camera, but was a little hesitant to take a picture, but the maid signaled me to, and I did as she went past the bushes toward the gate.

Gumy and me

Gumy and me

On Thursday, I got an invitation from a lady who is so kind to come to her home at supper time.  (That’s a light meal here; the main one is lunch.)  She brought me across town to her home, in a relatively poor area.  She shares a courtyard with her sister’s family and one or two other families.  Her home has two rooms; one of them is simply a short hallway between the door and the bedroom with a table, phone, and her sewing machine and ironing board.  She earns a living sewing.  She brought up her best dishes (I know they were) to serve me, along with her 8-year-old niece and 4-year-old nephew, a chocolate cake made with a recipe she got from the missionaries, and tea (she hoped I would like it….)  She took a picture of me with the children, and the niece took one of Gumy and me.  It is all so nice and clean that you can’t tell the floor is concrete, and the wall decorations are just posters with scriptures on them, or that there aren’t many windows, or that she has to go out to the courtyard where there is a bathroom and pour water in the toilet with a bucket.

Children on the outskirts of town

Children on the outskirts of town

She made my day by asking me to come with her Friday afternoon to the outskirts of town, where she goes weekly to give the children there a little bit of a Bible lesson.  We climbed the hill past pigs, dogs, five sheep, women sitting on the sidewalk trying to do handiwork, and lots of dirty children, to a house right before the dirt turned to pine trees.  Gumy knocked on the door and a little girl let her in.  She introduced me to the woman who lived there, who I think was spinning wool into a coarse cord tied to a tree, which eventually, when it got long enough, would go into the trademark woven products characteristic of Bolivia, which tourists can go into shops and buy for a few dollars.  We went into the adobe “hut” out of the sun, where the flies were staying out of the heat by hovering above the three wooden benches the children would sit on.  Gumy sat and coaxed the children.  A couple of little girls came in, and then eventually two or three more, but they tried to get a very little girl to sit by me and she started crying and left; then some more children came in, and then all but one went out to try to get some others in, and then he went out to, and then they started straggling back in.  Gumy said it was normal.  Eventually there were 10, I think.  We sang some songs, and then Gumy prayed (she asked me to, but no way in Spanish … probably the children wouldn’t even have understood.)

Children & their puppy at this home

Children & their puppy at this home

She used some pretty pictures to illustrate her Bible story … somehow, Bible stories seem more accessible here sometimes.  Or more relevant?  The Old Testament seems more real, anyway, when you’re seeing aspects of the setting in front of you.   (The pictures were A Beka ones … I have an idea she might appreciate more; I don’t know what all she has.)  After she passed out a puzzle/coloring sheet,  she told me to go ahead and take a picture of the youngsters.  Inside the dark hut, the flash scared them all at first.  But within five seconds, they were clustered around me, clutching at the camera and begging to see, begging for me to take another picture while they posed, and another, and another “of me by myself.”  Yeah, my nice new digital camera has fingerprints on it.  I haven’t wiped them off yet.

Children from the "Friday School"

Children from the "Friday School"

I didn’t get pictures of the pigs, or the sheep, or the woman working, or some of the other things I wish I could show you so you could understand how things are here.  But it certainly is different from where I go to sleep at night.

Casa Magariños

Casa Magariños

"My" sala ... the 3rd floor of the house devoted to the students' use

"My" sala ... the 3rd floor of the house devoted to the students' use

OK, I have already spent over an hour online, and it’s getting dark.  I had better get off of here.  I was going to write another post about our trip to Potosí on Saturday, but I don’t have time right now.  I don’t feel like I have done a very good job of getting this across at all, but it is the best I can do unless you want to come see what I’m talking about.  Anyway, my throat is getting tired of breathing cigarette smoke here around this internet cafe…

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2 responses

26 05 2009
Corina Dodson

WOW! I wish I was there with you Amy. Reading and seeing your pics brings back memories of when I went to Mexico. I’m sure it’s quite different then Bolivia in some ways but similar in others. Keeping you in my prayers!

26 05 2009
AmyR

It seems kind of wild to me that I am in a place like Bolivia when Mexico would be so much more “normal.” But all of the little things here that point to God’s hand in this are wonderful.

I’m glad you’re enjoying the updates!

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