Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It didn't feel quite right for us celebrating in 85 degree weather. We celebrated with the Timmers and the interns. Bonnie and the girls made a wonderful meal and it was nice to have people to spend the day with. It would have been a much harder day being so far away if we weren't heading off to the States in just a few days. We can't wait!

And yes, we were able to have turkey!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Viviana update

I just wanted to say that Viviana is back home from the hospital. She is doing well and from all her energy you wouldn't know she just had two surgeries. Thanks for all your prayers!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Many of you probably don't know the Viviana's story. She lives at our orphanage in Zona Frutillar here in Cochabamba. Before she was living in this house she was living in a small village in the jungle. She was orphaned at three years old and lived for about three years on food hand-outs and sleeping in different houses and huts. When she was about six she either fell or was pushed into a fire on her back side and was left with 60% of her body burned. Luckily, or more accurately, by the grace of God, a missionary/pilot from our church flew into her village a day later and was able to rescue her. With no one taking care of her she was left by herself for about 36 hours by the time he arrived.

This missionary took her to the burn unit of a hosital in Cochabamba where Mike and especially Bonnie Timmer ended up spending tons of time with Vivianna as she had surgery and healed from her wounds. And when she had recovered she came home to Marcelino and Sofia who are the house parents at her home.

So that's her past and now her present. She goes to physical therapy three times a week to continue recovering. But as she grows her skin grows. And as her skin grows it stretches and rips because of her burns. So it was time for more surgery. She went into the hospital about three weeks ago to have two surgeries and is recovering from those right now.

As you can see from this picture, her spirits are high! It is pretty amazing how happy she is when you consider everything she has been through. She has the best smile and the most contagious laugh. One time I was at her house, pushing her on the swing, and she laughed for literally ten minutes straight...for no reason! And she's smiling and laughing just as much in the hospital. She is still in the hospital now because some of her stitches have torn but she will hopefully be at home by next week. So you can be praying for her for a quick recovery and that she will get home soon.

*Picture courtesy of Kristen's blog

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Around the city

Cochabamba really is a beautiful city. There are so many wonderful parks, plazas and old, picturesque churches and buildings around town. Here are some pictures of some of those beautiful things around town...

This church is kind of hidden in a little plaza close to downtown.

A strip of park that lays in between two roads in an area called El Prado.

A plaza at the end of El Prado called Plaza Colon.

A fountain in the main plaza.

An interesting statue that you drive under as you go to the airport.

Katie and Kristin with Santa. It feels a little strange with everyone getting ready for Christmas while its 80 degrees. It just isn't right!

The best part about our buses, which we call trufis here, are the way they are decorated.

And Luka just got fixed but she looks just as cute in her cone.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Another tarantula

We were sitting by the pool yesterday afternoon when I saw this little guy in our yard. He was about five feet away and running straight at us! I don't even want to think of what would have happened if I hadn't seen him coming at us. It's not every day that you yell, "Ah, tarantula!" I got better pictures of this one than the last one so I wanted to share some. This makes three tarantulas that we have seen in our yard or on our street. The one good thing about seeing these tarantulas and other huge spiders all the time (the huge spiders are usually inside our house) is that it's making me less afraid of the little ones. And I'm pretty proud of myself for getting close enough to even take some pictures.

Very hairy

This is for you, Mom. We tried to save this one and just throw it over the fence since you made me feel a little bad about killing the last one, but... fell in the pool. But then we threw it over the fence.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We celebrated Halloween here in Bolivia as best we could. Bolivians seem to want to celebrate Halloween but just haven't gotten it right yet. It seems that the younger generation is trying to pick up the American traditions and some children get dressed up and go trick-or-treating. But many older Bolivians and Evangelicals I think just see it as an evil holiday and don't quite get it. The Latin American celebration of Day of the Dead on November 1st and 2nd overshadows Halloween. This holiday involves celebrating deceased loved ones and includes many interesting customs. There are different traditions in the city and in the country but it usually involves making the favorite food of your loved ones and a traditional corn-based drink and making a table for them or bringing the food to the graveyard. This is done with the belief that their spirit will come back on this day. There are many other traditions more common in the country such as building stairs or a swing with the belief that these will help the spirit up to heaven.

Anyway, we celebrated Halloween with the interns at the Hacienda and here are a couple pictures from the night.

I was a librarian and Matt was some sort of teacher or something. These costumes were definitely last minute as we came not dressed up then raided the ministry room for clothes to wear.

And Luka was a garbage can. Just kidding, this is when she got her head stuck in the top of the garbage can because she was digging through the usual.

While we do have a lot of pumpkins here because it is a common vegetable to eat, it's hard to get your hands on a whole Kristin carved a watermelon.

We had a nice bon-fire at the fire pit.

And of course went trick-or-treating. But we went to the
gringo neighbors of the Hacienda just to be funny.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

You know you live in Bolivia when... find tarantulas in your yard

...cows in the field in front of your house

...and a rotting car frame in the lot next door where little girls and street dogs play inside.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Having the kids over

This last Saturday we all the kids from Villa Israel (one of our orphanages) to our house. It was a lot of fun with some swimming, playing and hanging out...

(P.S. I couldn't figure out how to turn off the underlining.)

Neydi, Katie and Brandon

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Visiting Chapare

We went to Chapare (jungle region of Cochabamba) last Friday to visit a few of our orphanages there. One of them is done and waiting to be inspected and approved by child welfare and the other is in the beginning stages of being built. This is the one being built...

Working on the foundation of house number 5

Matt, Jeff and Kristin in front of the newest house

These kids were just so cute. They lived in the second village we were in that day. We were at the site of the house that is complete. These kids shyly walked up to us asking our names and they ended up hanging out with us for a while.

Since we were in the jungle it was very hot and a popular activity for playing and bathing is going down to the river. So we walked down to the river with the kids and put our feet in while they all stripped down to their undies and jumped in. It was fun until all the kids ganged up on us and decided to splash us until we were soaked. But it did feel good to cool off.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

So our friends and teammates Nate and Kate went home to Australia for four months on Sunday. We are sad to see them go for so long and will especially miss not hearing all of those Australian phrases when we just have to say to each other "we have no idea what you're talking about". But we'll be excited to meet their new baby when they return since Kate is pregnant and will have the baby while at home. This will be their second as they have a one year old named Lily.

So Kate and I tried many times to get some good pictures of the two of us but came up with a lot of funny pictures. And there are a ton more bad pictures that I didn't even put up.

Matt and Nate. They didn't have any problems taking some good pictures.

Here is an actual good shot of Kate and I.

And below are some mess-ups.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our newest visitor...

We have been lucky to have so many guests recently and now Luka had a guest of her own. Her sister, Blossom, has been staying with us for a couple days while their mom that she lives with is recuperating from being spayed. They have had fun together over the past couple days. They walk around everywhere together and play but most of all Luka likes to dominate Blossom and rough her up a little. She's a bit of a bully.

They don't look alike at all.

But they're both cute!

And this is what I was talking about before.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chapare con Nate y Emily

We went to Chapare for the day to do something special for Nate's birthday on Wednesday. Chapare is the jungle region of Cochabamba. It was a really good day and I think Nate enjoyed his birthday. Here are some pictures...

On the way there

Getting some fresh air and good pictures

We stopped at a lagoon on the way for a swim. This was on our walk to the lagoon.

And this is at the lagoon.

It was SO pretty there and it felt so good to swim since it was so hot and humid.

But when we got back to the car the battery had died. Here are Matt and Nate trying to help with clutch starting it. It didn't work but fortunately there was a car shop close by and we got a new battery. It could have been a bad situation since we were basically in the middle of no where.

Then we went to an animal park where they rescue animals from the black market and other bad situations. There were monkeys that were VERY people friendly. Here is one that became very attached to Matt.

This guy is having fun playing on a swing.

The monkeys would take anything you had on you or in your pockets. This little guy climbed on me and is checking if I have anything in my camera case.

Matt received a lovely grooming from this monkey. He was checked and picked through his hair, picked off dry skin on his face and licked off the sweat from his forehead. It was quite a sight.

Nate was groomed as well and the monkey made sure to check through his beard.

This little guy jumped onto Matt's leg when we started to leave.
I guess he just didn't want to see him go.

There were turtles.

And some pretty birds.

We also took a hike to see the town of Villa Tunari from above.

And on the way back we took one more swim.

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