My suitcase is packed and I’m pretty much ready to leave Cochabamba (later today) to head back to Santa Cruz. I have a bit of spare time now, so thought I’d write an update… and I’d also really appreciate your prayers in this time of transition.
I’m so grateful for the community that ‘Conexiones Entre Mundos’, the language school, has provided during my time here. It’s been a privilege to study Spanish there, as well as get to know other students, several of whom are also here as missionaries. It’s also been great to have Sean Riordan, the vicar from my home church in England, with me this week, who is here as part of his sabbatical.
Living with a host family has given me the opportunity to experience Bolivian culture first hand… for example, it was special to be part of a couple of family members’ birthday meals during my time here, where everyone at the table had to take it in turns to say a few words of thanks and blessing to the person who’s birthday it was, before toasting to them. I’m learning about Bolivian people’s different sense of timing… time simply isn’t such an issue as it is for us. There’s never any sense of urgency, even if we are running late for something – it just doesn’t matter. That’s quite hard to learn, as being generally on time and at least aware of what the time is seems to be pretty deeply ingrained in me! Whenever I’ve been to church with my host family, we’ve turned up about 40 minutes late – it’s a good job the services are at least 2 hours long.
A couple of other cultural things I’ve experienced have been a traditional folkloric dance show, and a Quechua church service I stumbled across unintentionally (Quechua people, but the service was in Spanish), where we received such a warm welcome, with handshakes, hugs and kisses on both cheeks from several people. That was lovely!
Transition to Santa Cruz
Although I’m feeling sad to leave this beautiful place, I’m also feeling ready to settle down in Santa Cruz, where I plan to be longer term. I’ll be living/house-sitting in a house by myself until the middle of August, while the family of Warren (member of the Novō team) are in Canada for 3 months. I’m looking forward to having more independence and my own space there. It’s opposite the Partington’s house, so I’m hoping it will be a good way to ease my way into Santa Cruz life, which still feels a little overwhelming and daunting at the moment, as it’s a much bigger city than Cochabamba, and generally seems more crazy and fast paced.
We still have a few months before actually opening the rehab centre to residents, so I’m keen to establish as much structure as I can in my daily routine, balancing working on the programme and group materials in the Novō office, with finding somewhere to volunteer each week too. I’m excited about working on the details of the programme, and I’m keen to try and produce group materials in Spanish, based on my experience with groups from my work at Yeldall Manor (obviously to be checked and edited by someone who actually speaks Spanish properly!).
PRAISE AND PRAYER
- Thanks for safety, good relationships and progress in my Spanish while I’ve been in Cochabamba
- My transition to Santa Cruz: for good friendships and that I’d soon feel at home there; finding a church to belong to; a purposeful time of work and preparation before we open the centre to residents
Finally, a few highlights from a recent weekend trip to beautiful Toro Toro national park, known for its spectacular mountain scenery, caves and caverns:
Thank you very much as always for your support in so many different ways. It is a privilege to be here, supported by you.