Thursday, January 29, 2009

Random moment...

So we were driving today and came across this car. At first we saw that it had something on the top of the car and couldn't tell what it was...

See, it just looks pretty normal, right?

Then we got closer and realized what it was...

See the one with it's head up? There were about ten of them, I think. Who does that?
Only in Bolivia. And there were a few in the car too.

On an unrelated note...

We've been back for about a week and a half now. We have been able to see all the kids who are doing well. Right before we left in December we had changed the house parents in one of the homes and are pleased to see all the positivity that has come out of that change. We went to the park Tuesday with all the kids from one home and it was great just to see them playing and having fun. One of them was standing at the top of the slide pretending to be the president of Bolivia saying, "Evo, Evo, Presidente" with a piece of fabric around his neck like the flower lays that Evo always has around his neck when he speaks. It was cute.

Anyway, it has been great to reconnect with friends and teammates here and has been especially great to see all the kids and house parents again. There was some stress with our house situation coming back but its all good now. We are actually going to need to move out of this house by March 15th because the owner has moved back from Spain and would like to move back into his house with his family. So we will start looking for a new place soon which shouldn't be too hard...we'll see.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Our trip through Peru

This is actually from awhile ago but we wanted to share a little about our trip through Peru about a month ago. Our first big flight to the US was from Lima, Peru so we had to get there one way or another. We chose the long and cheaper way of taken buses to get to Cuzco, Peru and then fly from Cuzco to Lima. From Bolivia to Chicago we spent about 50 hours in transit but at least we got to see some more of South America on the way.

While it took a long time to do it this way it was wonderful to see the city Cuzco which is very beautiful. It holds a lot of history as it was once the central city to the Incans then taken over by the Spaniards. There are both Incan and Spanish buildings which makes for an interesting mix. Cuzco also happens to be the nearest city to Machu Picchu, a fully preserved Incan city, so we stopped there for a day.

This was a Spanish built church in the main square. In the background is
"Viva el Peru" written in the hill.

A lady walking her llama down the street in Cuzco.

This was a monastery that also had some Incan worship temples inside. When the Spanish came they built the church around the Incan worship space and left it intact.

A typical street in Cuzco.

Me and my llama friend.

This was at Machu Picchu. These are the tiered fields where the people who used to live at Machu Picchu would grow their crops.

The whole city of Machu Picchu. Also we climbed both of the
peaks that you can see in the background.

Getting to those peaks became rather interesting at some points...
This was on the way up to the larger peak of the two.

Yes, that is a shear drop off a cliff if you should fall. And anyone who knows me knows how clumbsy I can be...especially with stairs. While climbing I realized I have fallen down at least 5 full staircases in my life but I did not fall down any on this day...whew.

Here is Matt on one of the ladders on the way down.

This was at the top of the bigger peak. It was still pretty early in the morning so the clouds hadn't quite burned off yet which made everything seem mysterious. Later on we were able to see all of Machu Picchu from up there.

This is an Incan built door in Machu Picchu. It is so well constructed, the whole city is actually, that is has withstood eathquakes better than modern buildings. And people still can't figure out quite how they did it or how they got all the materials up to such high ground. The city is way high up in a mountain and totally invisible from below. That is why is it so well preserved because the Spanish never found it.

The majestic llama. I was a little afraid that it was going to jump down onto me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We're back

We're back in Bolivia! We had such a wonderful time in the States and are thankful to all who made it so wonderful. We got to spend a lot of time with and celebrate Christmas with family and friends, had a great time being a part of my sister Greta's wedding, got to meet our new adorable niece Sonja, loved spending time with loved ones in Washington and being able to go to our home churches. It was a wonderfully enriching and refreshing trip. We were so appreciative for all the little things about home that we may have been taking for granted before. But driving to the airport in -15 degrees did make it a little easier to leave.

We made it back without too much drama. It was quite a long trip though; we left Friday morning from Chicago and arrived at our house at 10:00 pm on Sunday night. Our trip was from Chicago to Toronto then Toronto to Lima, Peru. We waited at the airport in Lima from 11:00 pm until 6:00 AM for our flight but then ended up waiting 3 hours on the plane when we were told that we had to get off the plane. I, Elsa, didn't even know it had been 3 hours though because I was passed out sleeping. So we got off the plane and waited another hour or so then re-boarded and took off for Cuzco, Peru where we stayed the night. The next morning we flew to La Paz, Bolivia where we thought we would be for just two hours. Well, it wasn't that simple. Our flight was delayed four times and we ended up getting back that night instead of the afternoon. One thing is for sure: you've got to be flexible living in Bolivia otherwise you'll go crazy!

But it's good to be back. Thanks to all who prayed for a safe trip. We'll keep you posted.
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