Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An update from the Johnsons

So I guess I hadn't realized that it had been so long but we owe ya'll an update on what we have been up to. Let's see...where do we start...

First of all we can let you know the results of the referendum that happened on August 10th. It was a pretty big deal here. There was a country wide vote to decide the status of the president of Bolivia and all the governing officials in each department of Bolivia. We had a big ole' sleepover here at our house and invited all the interns to stay the weekend since we were advised to stay out of the city that day anyway. It wasn't actually dangerous but there were some rules that day such as no driving, no walking in groups, just to prevent any riots or violence. Anyway, we had fun hanging out and watching what Olympics we could. The results were that Evo, the president, would stay as he promises to continue to help the poor, women and those that haven't had a voice in the past. He plans to redistribute land and wealth to those who have none and wants to end extreme poverty in Bolivia. It will be interesting to see what happens. The other result that effects us is that the prefect or governing official of Cochabamba was voted out by the people of Cochabamba. He refuses to leave and is waiting for the courts to rule whether the vote was constitutional or not. So it will be interesting to see what happens with that too. Vamos a ver.

We have enjoyed having Jeff, Matt's brother, here for the past month. He will be here for about one month longer. It has been fun to show him around our life here in Bolivia and he has enjoyed having some time to rest as well. We have been impressed at how he just jumps right into speaking Spanish and getting to know the kids. He has fit in great with our friends and the ministry and it's just been great to have a part of our family here with us. We also are excited to have our friends Nate and Emily later this week to stay for a couple weeks. Well, Emily is technically our soon-to-be friend since we haven't actually met her yet but we know that if she is with Nate that we will definitely get along. Also this week our team leader and his family is coming back to Bolivia after spending the summer in the States. We are excited to have them back with us.

Other than that we have been keeping busy with work and Spanish lessons. We just had a fun but informational "Hygiene Day" for one of the homes and we plan on doing it at the other home soon. It was an attempt to get the kids excited about hand-washing, toothbrushing and general cleanliness. And they got quite excited about it all which was great and a little surprising. We didn't expect them to have so much fun with soap. We also took those same kids on an excursion to see "Kung Fu Panda". They loved it and had a great time at the movie theater and especially eating ice cream. It was a lot of fun for us too just to see them so excited. I found myself thinking that night "Wow, I really love these kids." They are just hard not to love...adorable, affectionate, so sweet to us and each other, and so fun to be around. We are constantly recalling special moments with kids and times when they are so loving to each other. It's just wonderful to see. On a similar note the two new boys, Elian and Franz, are doing better and better each time we see them. Both seem more adjusted and happier whenever we go to the house. And we can't believe how fast Elian, who is six, is learning Spanish. Before he came he could only speak Quechua and he already seems to speak so much Spanish after about only 6 weeks or so. It's just amazing and heart warming to see them progress.

Here are a few pictures from that night at the movies...

Waiting for ice cream.

Then eating the ice cream.

Roberto, Erland and Ana. Erland in the middle told us that
he liked the ice cream better than the movie.

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