Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bolivia isnt big enough for the two of us

That was a terrible blog name suggestion. "Bolivia isn't big enough for the two of us"  Really?? It implies that either we are fighting or that we have become overweight. Neither is true... I hope.
Anyways. Sorry we didn't post anything yesterday- neither of us felt up to it. It was a long hard day. But in the end we got to a different city and didn't die, met and were shuttled around by an Ecuadorean brother and 2 French brothers, got an apartment, got a little food, got cell phones that we cant get to work, and I broke my camera.
The cell phones that don't work (user error no doubt) are the main reason we are home this morning. We wanted to go in service but we were told it is too far away to walk and we could possibly get picked up in the morning. If only we could somehow contact the brother who told us that and ask for a ride.... Although after 5 days of transit I think a break is acceptable. Last night was the first night since Sunday night that we slept for more that 5ish hours. We are also 4 hours ahead of you all and have been waking up responsibly around 5 or 6 everyday. So perhaps a break today is a good idea.
Bolivia from the plane-- so glad we didnt take it by bus! Crossing the Andes without paved roads for 13 hours? No thanks

Bolivian airports do have security-technically. They sort of x-rayed our bags but didn't make us remove everything like the American airports. Elise made the metal detector go off and the security guard asked her 'Do you have a belt?' She said 'Yes' and was prepared to take it off. He said 'I believe you' and let her walk through. I think we could've easily snuck in a bomb but Elise brilliantly pointed out that in order for us to be suspected as terrorists we would probably have to have a master of the Spanish language so we wouldn't stick out so obviously. We make terrible spies here. Although we've been through so many airports and security checks that I was happy for a break. And of course our flight was delayed and we were an hour later than we told the brother who was picking us up.
A married couple picked us up. He was from Ecuador originally but spent 18 years in Brooklyn and she is from Chicago. They have some rentals back in New York and a business that supports their service in Bolivia. She was the one in the 'Come Preach in Bolivia' video (not the actual title but it is all that I can come up with) that talked about how to deal with dogs in service. They said they watch the video whenever they get discouraged and it helps them continue their service. She was terribly ill so we just spent the day with her husband Jimmy. He spoiled us and drove us around the city and out to lunch and to meet with the woman about renting an apartment (along with the help of some French brothers who we are so unable to communicate with even in Spanish- accents maybe??)
We (Elise because my camera died) will put up pictures of our apartment when we get the whole furniture situation figured out. We have too many desks and dressers and only one bed. The manager will take care of all of it Monday.
Our apartment is super cute though. It has a kitchen with some appliances and dishes, a dining area, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms with hot water (!!!), internet and cable (a lot of American tv dubbed in spanih- watching the spanish That Thing You Do right now, pretty cute). We are really spoiled. They also come in once a week when we aren't here and clean everything for us. It is about $400(US)/month but includes everything. We are going to try to just rent it for the first half of April and spend our last weekish in Santa Cruz. We'll see though, that is a long ways away.
Last night there was a big thunderstorm. We lost power and I screamed at Elise 'I TOLD YOU SO!!!' Before our trip she mocked me for packing candles. I said the reason was there was a possibility we'd lose power or the apartment could smell. I'm glad it was only right about the power. It didn't stay off long, but I will be keeping a candle and a little lighter from my papi next to my bed from now on.

Sorry I went on and on, Elise is sleeping and there is nothing else to do. Here are some pictures that I took while we were driving around yesterday!
Jimmy took us to a really touristy place really high on a hill so we could see all of the city. Probably wont put up many videos here, it takes ages!!!
 This is the square where I took the video. We were going to eat lunch at a restaurant here but when the brother saw the cost was 40 Bolivianos ($5.75 US) he said it was outrageous so we went to another restaurant where we paid 22 Bolivianos (a little over $3) for a four course meal. Elise was lectured by the brother for not eating enough. Apparently they don't really eat dinner here but big breakfasts and lunches.
A side note about money- it really stretches here! We have $65 (US) each and it bought us plane tickets to Sucre and some food with change left over. We bought 1kilo of grapes (and she threw some others extra for buying from her for 10 centavos which is about a penny and a half in US dollars. And for 1 Boliviano (about 14 cents) we got 2 chunks of break for breakfast this morning. The conversion at the bank is $1=6.96 Bolivianos, but on the street you can exchange it for $1=6.92. In our heads we always do $1=7 Bolivianos or use a calculator.

 There are lots of cars, but they cost soooo much. A 1994 car can cost around $9000 (US). They also honk contantly and try to hit pedestrians. Bolivia reminds me a lot of the Bahamas
Sucre prides itself on being the White City. There is a rule that the only color you can paint your house is white, all are made of brick. We like Sucre so much more than Santa Cruz (far less scary too, we feel very safe)
There are many Mercados (markets). This woman is dressed in traditional clothing. They often have their babies on their backs and these kids are adorable. The sun is very strong here because the elevation is about 9,000 feet. It is about 70 degrees but in the shade you feel cold. It is the craziest thing. Also no humidity which is amazing compared to Santa Cruz.

Only in Sucre the people watch out for each other and there is no stealing. If you close your store for the day all you do is put broom sticks across the entrance like this woman and walk away. If someone does steal something, everyone runs after the guy and beats him up. There was a police strike a while back for 2 months- for that whole time no one stole a thing because they knew there would be no police to stop the people from killing the thief.
Spanish Memorial invitation! They call it the commemoration which threw me off initially
This giant church is right next to the plaza and it is so tall that we use it as a landmark for how to get home when we go wandering just the 2 of us
Jimmy closing the doors of the kingdom hall. 2 (possibly 3 with out of date boards) congregations meet here. The sign says La Plata and the Sur congregation meet here, but I think Sur just split and the new one is called America. When Jimmy joined Sur 3 years ago the publisher/attendance count was 130. Now both Sur and America have 130 publishers each! Amazing. 
The growth in Bolivia has really exploded the last few years. It is because of 2 things: the society began translating into the 3 other languages common in the country and sooo many need greaters have come to help ever since the society produced the videos I mentioned earlier inviting ones to serve here. Out of the 160 (about) elders in Bolivia, a third are foreigners that have come here to help. AMAZING!!! Jehovah is definitely supporting them here.

Picture of the main plaza in the center of town. Service meetings often meet here in the mornings. There are little plazas everywhere so if you ask directions for the plaza be specific or else you will end up even more lost. Lesson learned... We probably wont be spending much time here for the next few weeks. Carnival is coming so there are always little kids around with water balloons wanting to soak you. Some of the bigger kids have water guns for that. Yep we were sprayed.

BTW thank you for your comments! I read them and in my voice I hear your voices and it make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :)

I'm going to wake Elise up and then we need to wander around markets to get things for the apartment. Coffee maker is high on the list along with dish soap and towels. 



  1. I knew you guys could get it all figured out :) lots of friends to help you and the best friend of all, Jehovah. Sipping my coffee wondering if you found a coffee maker at the market, I sure hope so. Cant wait to hear about your service experiences. Have fun!

    1. No coffee maker or towels, we looked for the maker though! We'll find a way, so far we can make tea haha. We did get lots of fruits and vegetables however. It was cool- we went to a store where a woman had a worn out Teach book. We asked her 'Usted esta estudiando la Biblia con los Testigos de Jehova?' And she said yes so we chatted a little in our broken spanish. And at the supermarket one worker had a 'Quien es Jehova' tract. Business witnessing is definitely happening here

  2. Papi is with 'uelita but I will tell him he made a comment! He will be so happy! Hope your language transition continues smoothly--sounds like you are understood by the locals which is most important. Love the pictures! Looks like the plaza's I studied about so long ago--especially with the big church on its edge. Hope you find a coffee maker! Love you both!

  3. Maybe the boys just meant that two girls with such great personalities couldn't possibly be contained in such a...small country? IDK. Hey, if you get the chance, I hear Bolivian coffee is amazing!! :)

  4. Thanks for correcting me mom! $1US=6.96Bolivianos at the bank. I fixed it up above too

  5. I am happy you arrived in Bolivia safely. You will find that the security risks that are associated with the USA are not the same with Bolivia so the hassle at the airport is substantially lest. Do enjoy yourselves and also enjoy preaching in and to another culture. However, always be careful and cautious. Don't venture into places that you do not know well without being accompanied by another brother or sister. Also, don't be too trusting of others, because in developing countries there are always those who are out to con a foreigner. May Jehovah's blessings be with you both.