A Travellerspoint blog

June 2015

Cochabamba Weekend

I should have traveled here more often!

sunny 80 °F

I don’t know why I didn’t travel to Cochabamba more frequently while living in Bolivia. It’s a wonderful city, with mountains that remind me of Utah, wonderful weather without the heat and humidity of Santa Cruz, cheap prices and cheap taxis. And most importantly the only LDS Temple in Bolivia.

This is the hometown of the Choquevillca family. Felix, Teresa, Mauro and Elias. One other son is on a mission and will be home in December. We have been wanting to go there together for a while, and it finally happened. They built a beautiful second home there. It’s finished but not furnished yet. It’s actually in El Carmen which is a small city next to Coch. They were to pick me up at 6 on Saturday morning, but didn’t show up until 6:45. With a drive time to the airport of 30 minutes and the flight was at 7:30, needless to say, we didn’t make the flight. There wasn’t any anger. They just booked another flight a couple of hours later.

Right when we got into Coch, we caught a taxi and headed to the LDS Temple. We had to rush as there was a session beginning 15 minutes after we got there. We barely made it in. It was so wonderful to be there. This temple is set on a hill overlooking the city and is so peaceful and beautiful. I so loved being there. I should have been making the effort to go more often. It might have made a difference in how I felt about staying in Bolivia. Anyway. It was wonderful being there.

After we headed to a restaurant for yummy traditional Bolivian food. Charqe is a traditional dish where they take beef and dry it like jerky and serve it with corn, eggs, and potatoes. I chose instead to have another dish with chunks of beef, eggs, freeze dried potatoes.

We caught another taxi and headed for El Carmen, about 20 minutes away. The house they built is very beautiful 3 floors. 6 bedrooms, several bathrooms. Empty. The missionaries were living there for a while, but it stands empty now. Teresa’s mom lives nearby and keeps an eye on it, and they told me the town is pretty safe, that if people break in, they are killed. That’s what they say. Mauro said don’t go breaking into any houses there. LOL

We hung out at the house for a bit. Mauro’s cousin Felipe came over. They carried some beds upstairs for us to sleep on. We then took a taxi back into town and went to a huge market to go shopping. Tons of little shops selling everything. They got some jackets. And then it was more food! Street food. Fried chicken with fries and rice. I couldn’t believe we were eating again. But, the chicken looked so good. I gave the rice and fries to a mother sitting across from me who was feeding herself and the baby from one plate. After thinking we would finally head home for some rest we headed over to Felix’s brothers house for late night visiting.
His brother is a mechanic, therefore they put the motorcycles that he’s working on in the living room. There are 3 adult children, the mom and dad and the 95 year old grandpa living in a one story house with 3 bedrooms and one bathroom. They also have a Tienda, a small 7-11 type store that they run out of the garage.

Sunday church started at 10 am. They were late….again, so I left with Mauro and we ended up missing the sacrament. However, his cousin, one that we saw the night before spoke. And of course, Mauro, the good kid he is translated. The ward was huge. There were over 100 people there. And there are 2 wards that meet in the building. The church is strong here. And they had a piano and a piano player.
After church we headed for the plaza where we had more traditional food. Teresa and Felix had the sausage dinner and Mauro and I had pork soup with Chuno, freeze dried potatoes. Followed by ice cream, and then we had to try this yummy looking thing that looked like whipped cream on top of jello. It was actually whipped egg whites with lemon on Jello. I decided after a couple of bites that eating raw eggs was probably not the best idea. LOL
We headed back to his brother’s house where they fed us dinner. Yes, more food. Needless to say, I couldn’t eat another bite. Well….I had to eat a little to be polite.

We spent several hours there and then headed for the airport. When we got there Teresa realized that she lost her wallet somewhere. They were able to print out a copy of her passport so she could travel. So sad that this happened. She had all her ID in there. We made it home after a wonderful trip.

I want to mention a few feelings I have about the Choquevillca family, who have become my dearest friends. I have written about them before, but here are some feelings I have today.

During the last 10 days, while waiting to leave Boliva, I have been able to spend more time with them. Cooking, going to parties, and traveling this weekend to Cochabamba, where Feliz and Teresa grew up, met, fell in love, married and lived for many years. Here are a couple of examples of the love and respect they have for each other. Several months ago Teresa was carrying several thousand dollars in cash for their business. She set it down while using the bathroom and it was stolen. No anger from Felix. The other day Teresa and I were going to pick up Elias after school and she forgot to open the garage door. She backed up into it. Luckily, no harm was done. Because of a really horrible marriage where every time I made a mistake, or an accident happened, I was treated with anger and hatred that went on for hours, days, or even months. I paid dearly for spilling paint or not painting perfectly, getting pregnant, punch tipping over in the car, small accidents where the car got scratched, the kids playing on the grass and “wearing it out”, you name it, and on and on. I was expecting at least some anger or frustration from Felix, her husband. Not a speck of anger was shown. In fact he was loving and kind. In the airport tonight while checking in, Teresa realized she had lost her wallet with everything in it. All her ID, green card, credit cards, etc. And did Felix show any kind of anger? Nope! Not one bit. No frustration or unkindness. And the boys were also kind to her. Mauro went upstairs and was able to print out a copy of her passport so she could get on the plane. On the plane Felix put his arm around her to comfort her, and although I don’t speak Spanish and don’t understand what was said, there was no raised voices or anger. I thought about this experience on the way home and cried tears of sadness that for 35 years I was so afraid to make a mistake, and that I paid so deeply for being human. That if something happened my first thought was that my ex would be angry and I would pay for it. I was worried every night when he came home from work, wondering what kind of mood he was in, and what I would be in trouble for. If I have a next relationship and marriage, this is the kind of man I will be looking for. I have worked hard myself, not to get angry over small things. I’m not perfect, and I do get frustrated over things, but I’m working on it. Life is too short to live in anger.


Posted by dianeski4 12:17 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Sunday - Best day of the week

I'm A Mormon!

overcast 60 °F

One of the best parts of my stay in Bolivia has been attending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints (Mormon) Church here in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. I made instant friends, as it is every time you attend church in another place. It’s like having a built in family.

The building I attend is about a 7 minute walk from my house, so very easy to get to. I was lucky that a couple I met in a restaurant helped me find the place as it’s off the main road.
As of January 2001, the church reported 172,640 members in 24 stakes and 10 districts. 253 congregations (172 wards and 81 branches) 3 missions and one temple in Bolivia. The church continues to grow here and the missionaries are very busy. I attend the Anfogonista ward.

My first Sunday was very interesting. I walked in just before it started, and immediately noticed that I was the only gringo besides one of the missionaries. There were people looking at me. Yes..understandable. I introduced myself to the gringo Elder and explained who I was. It was Fast Sunday. This is always the first Sunday of the month and members are welcome to stand and share their feelings about the church, if they wish. I decided to share my testimony and let people know who I was, and that I would be in their ward. So, the missionary got up and translated for me. When I finished the place was buzzing. The missionary mentioned that I was the new celebrity. After the meeting several people came up and welcomed me and some spoke a little English. I met the Choquevillca family. Mauro was working hard to learn English, so I began to teach him lessons, and then got to know the family. They have become wonderful friends! I love sitting with them at church.

The entire service is in Spanish, so for the first 6 months I didn’t understand anything. Finally after Christmas break, Marlene, a beautiful young returned missionary who spoke English started translating for me. It was so nice to finally understand what they were talking about. This ward is strong in their faith. They share it in their testimonies and the way they treat each other. I have been attending the investigators class where I can pull up the lesson on my phone or ipad and follow along. Sometimes the teacher puts us in groups and I’m able to speak English with the missionaries. That’s always nice to be able to speak about church things in English. I do have to admit that many times during Relief Society I would head home so I could watch a live performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It felt like church to me, and I was able to see my sister. And it was in English!

The bishop and his counselor are about 34. And the newest counselor is just off his mission. They are young, but wonderful leaders.

There are always BBQ’s going on where they are earning money to help each other out. They put on BBQ’s for missionaries leaving, and youth activities that need to be paid for, and to help sick members. It’s a fun occasion where they have karaoke after, and can go late into the night. Especially since they don’t start until after 8 pm.

They asked if I played the piano, and so I became the pianist. I’m not that good, but it’s better than nothing.
The difficult part of playing was the Spanish Hymnbook. They have some of the same ones we have in the states, and some are different. And the book is in Spanish. So, the chorister would give me the number. I would have to use this “cheat sheet” to see what the number of the song was in English. I’m not good enough of a player that I can just look at the music notes and play. I needed to know the name of the song. LOL So, therefore. Sometimes I was winging it and playing songs I hadn’t played before, or practiced. Another problem is that sometimes they don’t sing according to the way the song was actually written, so I would be playing and they would be singing way ahead of me or in a different tune. It was interesting.

I have made so many wonderful friends in the ward. I hope I have helped them, but I’m sure not as much as they have helped me. I began financially supporting a missionary who live in a single parent family. Daniel left a couple of months after I arrived here for Peru. Such a nice young man. I was able to teach several families to cook cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies. I have fed the missionaries and supplied them with goodies. I’ve played the piano, I’ve donated lots of clothes, and paid my fast offerings. It’s been a wonderful experience. I hope I have helped this wonderful church in some way.

I am so grateful to be part of this worldwide church in Boliva. It is the same wherever you go. I am so thankful for knowing where I came from, why I am here on this earth, and where I might return, if I try my best in all I do. I am truly blessed.


Posted by dianeski4 13:47 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

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