Thursday, May 29, 2008

Roasting some coffee

This past weekend we had a chance to roast some coffee with our team leader Mike. The name of the coffee is "Bolivia's Best" and is one the business' that helps support our orphanages. Most of the unroasted coffee is shipped to the States where it is roasted and sent out to whoever buys it (look below the pictures for information on how to buy it). All the proceeds go to the orphanages. Anyway, we roast some of it here in Bolivia as well which I love cause we can buy it here and have it to drink.

If you know me, you know that I have worked in one coffee shop or another since I was 16 so I loved seeing the process of roasting. And for those of you who are also interested, here are some pictures...

Juan, our coffee roaster, has some coffee trees in his backyard.

The coffee cherries up close. Juan said that these cherries would be red in a few months.

Our unroasted coffee. These beans come from a different part of Bolivia called Yungas. They are shipped to the States to be roasted in Michigan and then some is shipped to Juan to roast here in Bolivia. They looked like peanuts.

First step: pouring the coffee into the roaster.

Then the roaster gets to work.

Once it's ready to come out it starts popping like popcorn. Then it's poured in this bin that helps spread out the coffee to cool quickly. It is really hot and steamy when it comes out.


The very beautiful finished product.

Last step: weighing and bagging. I felt like I was back at work.

Also, if you're interested in buying some of our coffee you can go to
and buy some. And just so you know, it is very good coffee!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My first futbol game

So we spent a quiet afternoon at a soccer game here in Cochabamba. Well, it wasn't quiet. No soccer game in Bolivia is quiet. But it was fun and it was my first soccer game in Bolivia. Unfortunately our team lost...badly...but it was okay. On the plus side the view from the stadium is just beautiful because it's surrounded by mountains. I couldn't really capture that in my pictures though. There was a lot of chanting, singing, fireworks, flying objects (example: full bottles of shaken up coke) and craziness from both teams' fans.

But the big finale came once we left the game. We were walking out of the stadium and were on our way to find a place to eat dinner. As we were walking in this very crowded area there were suddenly tons of people running from something. There were at least 100 people running as fast as they could and we couldn't figure out what it was. At first I thought it was an out of control cooking fire or something until we saw people covering their noses and mouths. And we soon found out why. As we crossed the street...bang...the tear gas hit us all of a sudden. And I now know why they call it tear gas. It hurts! So we all started running away as fast as we could to get out of there and away from it. And eventually we did.

So I guess that's something that doesn't happen every day.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dedication of House Number Five

There is a team from North Park here right now. They are a great team and it's a lot of fun for Matt and I to make connections with them. You know how the Covenant is.

They have done a lot since they got here but one special thing that they were a part of was dedicating and praying for House 5. We went to the future site of House 5 and took some time to pray for the house, the building, the house parents and especially for the children that will one day live there. It was awesome to be a part of the dedication and to think of how children that might be losing their parents and losing hope as we speak will have hope soon because of living at this house.

Mike talking to the team

Part of our team including me, Mike and Bonnie Timmer, Gracey Timmer breaking ground, Kristen, Michelle, Tiffany, Andrea and a couple of kids from Villa Israel. Villa Israel is one of the orphanages and is not far from this new site.

Looking on the bright side of things

Our car has been in the shop almost once a week since we got it. Not a good track record so far. It's been having some problems starting. So last week when this happened again we decided to bring it to a new mechanic in hopes of getting it fixed once and for all. The best part about this new mechanic was that we got to have the car towed to the shop in this antique tow truck. I had never seen one like it and thought I would snap a few pictures.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Little story...

I thought that just the mere presence of scorpions and two inch spiders in our house was bad enough. It turns out I was wrong. Yesterday morning as I started washing my face I was still pretty groggy and out of it from waking up. Just as I was about to close my eyes to rinse my face I looked in the mirror and saw... a scorpion climbing on my shoulder!

It was a small little guy but still; a scorpion is a scorpion, right? Well, needless to say I freaked out a little trying to get it off without really touching it. I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked flailing about. But I did so successfully and was fully awake from that moment on. Not the best way to start the day but I'll take a scorpion over a spider any day.

Monday, May 5, 2008

La Casa de los Johnson

So it's about time that we posted some pictures of where we live. We live in an area called "Ciudad del Nino" which is a bit out of the city. But it only takes about 15 minutes to drive here from the city. And that's nothing being from Chicago, right Chicagoans!

We are blessed to live in a very nice house though because it is a bit farther away from things. If the same house were in the city we would probably not be able to afford it. I guess no one wants to live where we do because we can't believe how cheap rent is! That seems like the only explanation. In return for being further away we get a beautiful view of both the mountains and the city. Another nice thing about the house was that even at a low rent price it came fully furnished! It was very nice not having to worry about getting everything once we moved in. We even have some beautiful Bolivian paintings.

We have enjoyed living here so far and hope you enjoy some pictures of the place.

The mountains in the distance on our road.

Our street. Doesn't have a name but we think it should be "Johnson" street. A lot going on out here, huh?

Here she is. Every house here has a fence or wall to protect from getting robbed. And we have some very spiky metal spikes and an electric charge on our wall to go with it. So don't even think about robbing us.

Here is our door from the inside of the property.

Our sad little palm tree and some statues. One of them is decapitated.

I think this looks oddly realistic up close.

Our car.

Another view of the yard and front of the house.

A spot to barbecue. You can't really see in this picture but
there are beautiful green mountains in the background.

The pool which is so gross right now that it has fostered it's very own ecosystem. I swear I have seen fish in there and cannot figure out how they got there. We also have our very own little Chosa...CBCE, you know what I'm talking about.

More yard. View from the front door.

Front of the house.

Front door from inside the house.

Dining room.

Living room. We put fleecy fabric over all the couches because they were very uncomfortable. It's like sitting on plastic. Someone once said here that there is no comfortable furniture in Bolivia and I believe it.

The kitchen.

Gotta have clean water.

Going upstairs.

The upstairs landing and also our office for now.

Our bedroom.

One of our views. And that's also a mountain that we climbed.

A view from one of the back windows.

So there you have it. La casa de los Johnson. I know I love having a mental picture of where people are so I tried to give a complete picture of where we are. And if that's not enough than you can just come down and stay here with us!
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