I’m 6 months in, and am really appreciating having a good sense of routine and structure now, having had quite a time of settling in to the culture and being in transition. I thought I’d take you through my last week, to give you an idea of what my routine roughly involves.
The week started with a day off (this doesn’t happen every week!), when I joined a couple of families on a day out to one of Santa Cruz’s tourist attractions, Güembé. It is described as a ‘natural paradise’ with a butterfly park, a huge aviary with toucans and parrots, and some lovely swimming pools to relax in.
That evening, I took a 50 minute bus journey to Kairos church’s weekly women’s bible study. There tend to be about 10 women there (all Bolivian), and they’re very welcoming. I’ve managed to join in with the discussion a little bit, but reverted to English when I was asked to pray… I need to practice praying in Spanish, as it feels a bit more vulnerable and scary than just conversing for some reason.
I went for a short run with Barney, the Partington’s dog. I miss my regular cycling journeys for keeping fit, but am managing to keep up a little running here.
The rest of the day was based in the Novō office, where I’m continuing to work on the resident’s group workbook, which seems to be coming along well.
Novō’s latest news is that we’ve launched our appeal – we have an ambitious fundraising target of £95,000 overall for 2016-2017, and more immediately, £30,000 to get the Novō centre up and running in October. We’re trusting in God’s provision. Look out for fundraising ideas we’re working on so you can get involved, and in the meantime, if you feel able to support in any way, find out more here. Thank you!
Early in the morning I went to a large market area called the Ramada to buy some things for the flat I’ll be moving into very soon. I’ve never had to kit out a house before – it’s amazing how exciting buying kitchen utensils and lamps can be!
In the afternoon, I visited a lady I’ve been bread making with at El Jordan, the ministry that supports people who used to live on the streets. She is being encouraged to start making bread from her home to sell, using a large oven which was purchased by 6 months worth of bread selling from El Jordan. We had a lovely time together – she talked to me about her life and sufferings, but how life is so different now – we made bread, and as I left, she was selling it to various neighbours and a little shop down the road. She asked if I could teach her to make pizza next time.
A day in the Novō office, re-drafting groups I’ve been working on – topics such as Temptation, Denial, Emotions, Meeting my Needs and Foundational Beliefs. It’s great having the time to work on these materials in the lull before the centre opens.
In the evening, it was lovely to get together with and introduce to each other two Bolivians I’ve met independently who have both lived in Reading, England, attended Wycliffe Baptist Church, and know about Yeldall Manor! A small world.
First thing this morning, I had my weekly Spanish lesson. I’m keen to continue working on my Spanish, and am enjoying it. This was followed by another day in the Novō office. The weather is heating up now – 34-35°C the past few days (and it’s still winter here!).
OTHER OBSERVATIONS… just for interest
- Some examples of what you might get presented with while sitting at the traffic lights: windscreen washing by guys who live on the streets (the going rate is about 10p); travellers juggling/dancing/fire throwing; beggers; people selling sweets/drinks/fruit through your car window.
- Taxi drivers can’t be relied upon to know where they’re going and they often charge you more than they should… they might also eat some of your naan bread when delivering an Indian take-away to you (that actually happened!).
- Women in Santa Cruz like to dress up whenever they leave the house – seems to be part of the Latino culture. I’m in the minority that I don’t wear make-up to church or to town. Nail salons and stalls selling stilettos are commonplace.
- Bolivians don’t generally do tea with milk. Generally when I ask for tea with milk in a café, they bring me a mug of hot milk, with a teabag on the side. It’s quite nice actually!
PRAISE AND PRAYER
- Thanks that I’m feeling settled and happy here, am getting to know people, and have found a church community to be part of – these really are answers to prayers, if you scroll back through most of my previous prayer requests – so thank you for praying.
- Pray for Novō’s launch appeal – that God would provide the finances we need to be able to open the centre in October.
- That God would continue to inspire and guide us in our preparations and in planning the details of the programme.
Thank you for your interest and support in so many different ways.