To translate for my English-only folks, that says “My first week in Bolivia”. From time to time I will be writing in Spanish because I need all the practice I can get. Honestly, it is a bit overwhelming to be surrounded by only Spanish speakers. I do know that this will help me immerse even faster and speed up my learning process, but sometimes it is a little discouraging. I really want to connect and build lasting relationships with the people here, but I feel like my lack of Spanish proficiency hinders that. However, the people here have been incredibly nice and welcoming. I have met several young adults my age in the church and I already love them so much. They love practicing what little English they know with me, and they help me a lot with my fragmented Spanish.
I’ve had my first few homemade Bolivian meals since I’ve been here. They all consists of rice, potatoes, meat, eggs and a few veggies. I added some pictures at the end of the blog so you guys can see. All I can say is that I am going to gain some serious weight while I’m here. Mostly everything is fried and very starchy, but I have no complaints. Cochabamba is the food capital of Bolivia, so just be ready to see many pictures of the Bolivian cuisine 🙂
Right now I am in “quarantine”. I have yet to meet my host family because they have a grandfather at the age of 81 who is dealing with sickness, and they ask that I quarantine for two weeks as best I can before I live with them. I always wear my mask, constantly sanitizing everything and keeping my distance from people whenever I am out. I am not able to use public transportation or go anywhere by myself yet. In this house I live with a woman named Chelli, who is a RN and a professor at the university for the school of nursing here in Cocha. She is so amazing. She only speaks Spanish, so sometimes our conversations are very short or limited, but it is very obvious she has a heart dedicated to the Lord and is vey kind. The other night we sat in complete silence while we ate dinner together… a bit awkward but I didn’t mind. The other two girls I live with are 19 & 20 I believe. They used to live in the orphanages here in town, but when they turned 18 they were able to come to the mission house. Veronica, my supervisor, has a ministry that helps and rescues young women who have from suffered sexual abuse. 2 girls every couple of months get to live here once they reach the age of 18. They are able to finish their studies, work, and have a stable foundation until they are ready to move out on their own. It is seriously such an awesome ministry that is offered to these young women.
Initially, I was supposed to be volunteering in a clinic and a daycare center, however plans have changed. I will actually be working in a Neuro Rehabilitation Center called Luz y Esperanza (Light and Hope). It is for children and adults who suffer from neurological disfunction and basically have no control over their nervous system. They do such amazing work at this center and I am absolutely stoked I get the opportunity to volunteer here. I will be assisting the nurses and physiotherapists with certain therapies for the children. I will also be in charge of communicating with the parents on how to properly care for their child’s disorders at home. I get to be an encouraging, reassuring, and positive ally for them as well. I can’t imagine the emotional stress these parents go through when having to care for their children with such serious needs. I was told that many of the parents know little to nothing about their child’s problem, therefore are unable to care for them in the right ways at home. Because they are paying for the therapy, they cannot hire at-home help. Last week, one of the patients passed away due to asphyxiation in his sleep. He was not positioned the right way and was unable to turn himself over to prevent from choking on his vomit. This broke my heart when I was told, and I assume yours broke a little too when reading that. Something so simple as knowing the position to put your child in when they are asleep is vital information for these parents. They need so much help and guidance when it comes to caring for their child, and I am more than willing to help provide this for them. I know God has placed me at this specific center for a reason and I am so eager to see how His miraculous works will unfold.
Please, please, please be praying for these children and their parents. And for my immersion as well. I have a deep knowing that my time here will be life-changing and I am embracing it with open arms, hardships and all. Glad you guys are willing to follow along 🙂
With so much love, Sun