Mom's Blog

Monday, September 25, 2006

Holiday Weekend

It's Monday night, the end of a long holiday weekend in which Santa Cruz celebrates its independence day. Each department (state) here has its own day, besides a National Independence Day. Here this holiday falls on the beginning of spring - celebrated like Valentine's Day in the States, and the opening of the largest fair in Bolivia, Santa Cruz Expo. It is huge and since it is only a couple of blocks from our house, while it is in session (about 10 days) we have a very congested highway to traverse, especially this weekend.
Sunday was my niece Marcia's 15 birthday and the family celebrated it with a huge party at a private restaurante. The invitation indicated that the event would begin at 8:00 ; most people arrived at about 9 or 10. Tio Ruben made the official presentation of his daughter at midnight. He danced the waltz with his daughter while in turn each of the Tios (uncles) cut in one by one to dance with their niece and then each of the male cousins present danced with her. It was beautiful to see and I wished my boys could have danced with their cousin. After that the general dancing and celebration began. We left early, arriving home at almost 3:00 in the morning.
Today we got up early to attend a Nazarene Retreat in which all of the churches were invited. It was a pleasure to see so many people we had met during our Work and Witness Trip 2 years ago. There were about 20 people baptized, mostly teenagers. The baptism took place in the swimming pool of the retreat/conference center the church had rented for the day. The Nazarene church is a very young church - young pastors, mostly young people. It has many needs as you can imagine in a fast growing young congregation. And we have been asked and we ourselves are asking, "How can we most effectively help?" This is a matter for prayer. There are many opportunities for service here in Bolivia and everywhere we go, there are areas in which we see needs.
Sunday morning , for example, we attended the Templo Evangelico where we used to attend twenty some years ago. There we were also asked to come and be part of the church. We need some time to reflect and pray so that we follow God's lead in what we should be doing with our time without neglecting family concerns as well.
I miss family and friends very much, and yet we are delighted at the opportunities to celebrate and spend time with Daniel's family. Please feel free to comment on this blog. Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads this, excepta couple of my children who regularly post. I'd LOVE to hear from some of you!!!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Today is my father's birthday and in thinking about a personality trait that best describes him would have to be committment. Happy Birthday, Dad. I know that your sense of being committment and constant has been what has made you respected by so many, and most of all blessed by God. In conversations with my Dad during the last weeks before leaving for Bolivia, I was impressed by the constancy he has shown with his family and in his faith. He stood by his own parents in their aging years, beisde the bedisde of his own dad as he passed away. He stood beside us his children in all of the ups and downs of life. He stood by his church, not just with attendance, but with giving of his time and sacrificially giving of his income. I remember a picture of my dad standing on the entrance of the church bus. He gave his time in trying to reach more children. Both he and my mom gave years of time with Jet Cadets, a youth program that I know was an influence on many of us there at Immanual Baptist Church. He stood beside several young people, helping them move forward with their lives in times of crisis. And he gave of his income. We talked of how the IRS was surprised at how much he contributed to his church even when his income was on shakey ground. He gave, he said, because he had made a commitment and that no matter what he would fulfill that promise - there were missionaries who depended on that money. God has blessed him and I don't think it is just conincidence or his own finanical manipulations - he was wise in his choices - not selfish, but trusting God to meet his needs while he fulfilled his commitment to HIM. Need we a better example? I thank God for a father who has been constant and I pray that God will continue to use and bless him. Happy Birthday, Dad.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fishing out of Town

Well, we took the plunge and bought a used car on Friday. Today, Sunday, we took a trip out of town - about45minutes outside of Santa Cruz with two of Daniel's brothers to a 'quinta' which is like a hacienda or ranch. There was a lagoon there and Daniel caught two huge Pacu - fish. They were about 10 inches wide and probably 18 inches long - maybe about 5 or 6 pounds each. We cooked them on an open fire and ate under a thatched roof and then Daniel napped in a hammack. (We took some pictures and hope to send some soon. There were chickens running around, cattle grazing off in the distance and a huge ostrich type bird keeping careful eye on us. We enjoyed the day.
Yesterday we went to the cemetery as it is the 2-year anniversary of Daniel's dad death. As a family we sat, remembered and spent time together.
In all of this coming and going I still cannot believe how much this area of Bolivia has extended and grown. The second ring of the city is 8 lanes of traffic zigzagging in and out. The highways are in good shape with easy access to nearby 'pueblos'. I am constantly amazed at the contrasts and the movement withing this metropolis. Factory after factory on the outskirts of the city and new subdivisions of condomimiuns like ours springing up all over the region. More and more Santa Cruz reminds me of Chicago!

Sunday, September 10, 2006


As we ride down the street to market we pass a corner there a woman with a wheel barrow full of sugar cane stands ready to grind the cane into the sugary syrup that many enjoy. On another corner is a man with his orange juice stand. A tub filled with oranges and a simple machine that peels them squeezes out the sweet juice. Nearby is the Toby hamburger franchise with drive through service and a new product - a steak sandwich. The automatic bank machines are always in use. We see that many things haven't changed amidst the rapid modernization of such a fast growing metropolis. I do think that for the most part the city is much cleaner and so many areas now have paved streets and there are even divided highways running through the city. Huge billboards advertise a myriad of products.

Sidewalks are still uneven in the center of the city, making walking more difficult for me. But with my cane and a very patient husband we make our way around. Tomorrow we need to pick up a watch that Abuela wants to present as a gift. Getting it a new face and battery is much cheaper than buying a new one. We will also pick up the cut glass and mats that we need to replace from the couple of pictures we attempted to bring along with our luggage. Usually every day there are one or two errands to run like this. We will probably also get a mail box downtown. There is still no house-to -house delviery of mail, so renting a mailbox at the post office is the only way to get mail.

All seems calm here after a one-day strike by four of the nine Bolivian States. The streets were quiet with no major incidents. We;ll see what affect this had had in the next few days.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Birthdays and More

Happy Birthday, Sam! Recently I commented on Andy's nickname and so I can't resist mentioning Sam's. Casperin (Casper the ghost) and Elmer Fudd. Guess why - Sam was so white and had a pretty large head with no hair at first. Three grandsons were born within one month. Grandma Centellas was kept pretty busy helping. Sam, sept 3, cousin David, sept 4 and cousin Oscar sept 26. Three boys in one month. In case you didn't know, the Centellas Family is pretty male dominated. I want to wish the best for Sam and in my daily prayers I remember him as well as each of my children. May God grant you a year of challanges and opportunities to grow spiritually. May you become the man God wants you to be.
The Centellas family has grown and the family is looking forward to some celebrations here. On September 24 Marcia will celebrate her Quinceara (15th birthday), a very special event here for a young lady. Ruben and Graciela are planning a big party. Then on October 28 David and Veronica will be married. They have waited a long time to be able to get married. DAvid now has a good job and Veronica is finsihing up her degree and so the time is right to get that wedding gown ready . We had them over for dinner tonight and talked a bit about the upcoming wedding and the different traditions.