Friday, March 29, 2013

Memorial and More

Hi there, sorry but its a bit of a hodgepodge of things we have to share. First off we have pictures from the Memorial. It was held in a big theater that the brothers rented. We don't have many pictures because we had a bit of fiasco getting there. Our taxi driver didn't know where to go and we spent almost half an hour driving around and almost didn't make it on time. We were able to barely squeak in with a couple minutes to spare.

It was a really pretty theater, huge too!

The attendance for our hall was 207! We were pretty impressed by the crowd but the brothers here were expecting more. That night there was a big rain storm and the weather was terrible so they think that prevented a lot of people from being able to come. It still seemed pretty packed to us and there were other congregations in Sucre attending in different locations or at different times that had plenty of visitors too. We hope some of the people we invited were able to come! (we had to leave right away since another congregation was scheduled right after us so we aren't sure if calls were there or not).
We were pretty soaked but we made it! (I did take a bit of a fall on the wet floors and everyone had a good laugh about that!)

Here are some pictures from service this week. It was further out of the city than most of our territory which means lots of dogs and climbing dirt paths but the views from the top of the hills are beautiful.

                          Just some of what we climb to get to doors, a lot different from Pullman.

This is a pioneer couple in our hall. They talk to everyone, everywhere-on the streets, people working, children, everyone we pass!

 This is the house one of Elena's studies. Her house is the blue door and for work she sells food in the little store next door. I don't remember what they are called but they are made of fried bread filled with veggies and meat and pretty delicious!
 From what we could tell of the description, we think this is a huge bee with fangs instead of a stinger-yikes!

We also went to our first Bolivian party. It was a going  away party for a couple in our old congregation (Jimmy and Kilet who helped us the very first day we arrived) who are coming back to the states.
They are serious about their cake, there was a ton and it was delicious, complete with dulce de leche!

Here is the dance floor, of course no Bolivian party is complete without dancing. We have videos but I can't get them to load so we will have to share them later. Everyone dances though, especially the older sisters, its really cute. They also had some young brothers and sisters do some traditional dances and some brothers performed music (I wish I could show you the videos!).

                                             Here are some of the dancers in their costumes.

And this is a little brother and sister from our congregation, Hector and "Nena." They are so cute!!

Well that's about all I can think of to share for now. We can't believe we have less than a month left, its going so quickly! Hasta luego for now.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Comida Boliviana

 Hello, we decided it was about time to share some of the food we been "experiencing" here in Bolivia (especially since we complained to many of you about it!). Everyone here claims that Bolivian food is the best in the world but we'll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions after you see the pictures.

First off is chicken Milanesa. They serve this everywhere and it basically consists of chicken that has been squished to death until its almost paper thin and then breaded and baked (we are not big fans, its pretty flavorless and the texture is weird).

This is the dessert that came with the chicken above. They don't eat dinner here, only lunch so the lunch portions are huge and usually three or four courses (including a soup, main dish, dessert, and sometimes an another dish to start) and all of that will generally cost about 25 Bolivianos (about $3.50 and that's for the more expensive places that we trust their standards of cleanliness).

This was the pile of meat that we are pretty sure is responsible for my bout of food poisoning. I can't even describe it other than a bunch of various pieces of animal over corn. The white thing on top is just a layer of fat we pushed off to the side. Needless to say we wont be going back (especially after seeing the kitchen when we were done!).

This is another example of a main course during a lunch, meat and a beet salad.

Here is Bolivian soup that comes with lunch all the time. Its usually just a meat broth with veggies. Its not bad but we can't figure out how they eat so much soup when its hot outside.

Another example of lunch, noodles, potatoes, and meatballs. They are definitely a meat and potatoes type of people, not many veggies and not much flavor so we mostly cook (or attempt it). 

This is a salteƱa. We love them!! They have entire restaurants devoted to selling these everywhere. They are basically like a pot pie, they have a filling which is basically a chicken or meat stew and the bread is really sweet and delicious. Sometimes they have weird stuff in them though, like raisins, chunks of hard boiled eggs or olives with the pit. We eat them a lot; they are warm and filling. Apparently they are hard to master but a sister here is going to teach us how to make them so hopefully we can share when we come back.

This is one of the desserts we got with lunch. It was a mint jello, weird no? I couldn't eat it without laughing, it was just so jiggly and green and minty-a strange combination.

One thing they are great at here is ice cream of all kinds. This particular dessert is coffee, honey, ice cream, and of course, sprinkles. Its a good thing we walk as much as we do because we eat so much ice cream here.

More ice cream....

 We also are pretty familiar with almost every pasteleria (bakery) in Sucre. They always have something covered in sugar or filled with dulce de leche or both. We usually reward ourselves with a treat after a day a long service.

This is fresh fruit juice. There are women with fruit stands and blenders and you can choose any fruit you want and they will whip you up something delicious for somewhere around 50 cents. This one is maracuya, a sweet yellow fruit they have here. If you want it to go you get a plastic bag and a straw. They drink lots of stuff out of bags here like milk or servings of yogurt.

Wow! That was longer than I expected, sorry. Anyway, to everyone in Pullman, it was nice getting to see you all last night and we really do miss you guys (almost as much as food!) and we enjoyed getting to catch up with everyone a little. Well, its time for a siesta before service in the evening so more later.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

CO Week

I can't believe this week is over already, it went really fast. We have been really busy with this week with the CO visit which we've really enjoyed. And, this next week we have our 2 day assembly and the pioneer meeting to look forward to. There has been so much support this week for the service meetings between the CO visit and all the auxiliary pioneers. For March we have 31 auxiliary pioneers!(That means for March, more than 60% of the congregation is pioneering). Here is a quick video we took of everyone at the pioneer meeting with the CO (as promised)

They provided cookies and hot chocolate for everyone after the meeting. It was very sweet. There were so many people that we ran out of chairs. (also sorry for the bad lighting, one of the lights was broken so we all crowded in really close).

We've also been enjoying the start of the Memorial campaign. Its great here, not only are we able to handle the presentation in Spanish (its nice to get all the way through a presentation at a door by myself), but almost everyone accepts the invitation with enthusiasm. We've had lots of people tell us they will be there for sure. For the campaign the brothers here asked that we take not-at-homes (since they have a limited supply of invitations), something they don't usually ever do so we got to show them how to fill it out. They were so cute; They kept asking questions about how to do it or what to write. We are really loving our new congregation, everyone is so loving and accommodating. They will try to shield us from mean dogs (my partner almost got bit this morning!) or share an umbrella if the sun is really hot. They also help us with our Spanish, correcting our mistakes tactfully, speaking really slowly, or repeating things multiple times until we get it . We got really lost one day for service (we took the right bus but in the wrong direction and ended up on the other side of the city) and we were really late so now we've had a lot of people try to help us to figure out where the service meetings are. Its nice to have brothers and sisters looking out for us and since they aren't many other foreigners in our new congregation they are very happy that we are there and so are we.

                  Here's a picture from our territory this afternoon. Our territory is great here but the only downside is everything is uphill!! (you would think we would be used to it in Pullman but somehow its so much harder when you've been walking all day in the sun). One sister bought everyone Popsicles today because it was so hot and we walked so much. 

People also recognize us as witnesses everywhere. They will stop us and ask us if we are sisters and the talk to us. Today a woman stopped us asking if we were sisters and asked for the magazines, so Elena was able to give her the latest issues and the invitation which she was very happy to receive and thanked us repeatedly. Its not the first time that we've encountered that either. Also today, an older man stopped me and asked if he could ask a Bible questions. Of course! He said he was reading his Bible last night but had trouble with part of Romans. I was more than happy to try to answer his question until he revealed he was confused about the part on circumcision. That would of taken me off guard in English not to mention Spanish! I struggled to try and answer him semi coherently until, thankfully, a brother who was close by came to my rescue and was able help better answer his question. Still, its nice that so many people recognize the Witnesses and what we are doing and are eager to talk about the Bible.

Also this week (on a less spiritual note) we got a package from home! Which was very exciting (especially since everyone here kept telling us that it probably wouldn't make it here), we now have things to cook! (Thank you!!) We have learned how to successfully use a pressure cooker (did you know they can explode?! We were a bit apprehensive about it at first) so now our cooking is getting better and we also have spices!! I have never been so happy to see a pepper grinder or a box of mac and cheese. (Elena got jerky and bacon bits so she's pretty ecstatic too). We've been so thrilled to be able to season anything. Hopefully since we can cook halfway decent food, now we can try to have some of the friends over for dinner. 
Well that's all I can think to share tonight (we are pretty brain dead after a day of sun and Spanish). I'm sure we will have more after this weekend.