Mom's Blog

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

They were hectic Saturdays, running from one soccer field to another and often from one city to another as the kids played travel soccer, did some refereeing, even coaching. Often grabbing a MacD on the run, or running in for Slurpees. Much of our parenting was done standing on the sidelines during some chilly, windy, and even rainy afternoons.
This past Saturday was no different. It was dejavu. Our grand nephew Oscar Luis, Claudia and Sandro's six year old goalie called us and asked if we would come to his game. Of course! He is playing with the Tahuichi training program and this is his first experience. He's very proud of being the goalie. So we laughed as we saw the socks up to the mid thigh, shorts down to the mid calves, and shirts down to the knees on the enthusiastic six-year-old teams out on the fields behind the Santa Cruz stadium. It was windy!!!!! Dust and dirt blowing in all directions, sweeping over the poorly seeded fields. It was hot! The dust stuck to our sweaty bodies like flies to honey forming a layer of grit. But we clapped and cheered for Oscar's team. They played two games and won them both! OF course, next was spending the night at our house and so we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon in the pool washing off the grit and then headed over to Ruben's house for a birthday celebration and topped the evening off with a Simpson movie Oscar had selected to watch.
Tonight we are taking Marcia and Myra to a mime concert that had been advertised in the newspaper. Should be fun. We miss our grandchildren in the States, but here we have opportunities to kick up our heels with the younger generation of Centellas.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

miscellaneous confusion

Some random thoughts on some of the things going on here in Santa Cruz:

A new law or decree has been passed to require that US citizens wishing to come to Bolivia must first obtain a visa. Why? Because Bolivians who want to go to the US must have one. That is the rational for this bothersome paperwork that will make it much more likely that persons wanting to travael to Bolivia may just decided to go somewhere else to spend their vacations and along with that their dollars. Bolivia offers varied and quite unique vacation options, but if the country is in constant turmoil and then on top of that the added paperwork of obtaining a visa? Well, where would you rather vacation? I'd say go to Chile. The law has NOT been put into affect yet even though it has been passed. So when? who knows.

Something else that is confusing and frankly frustrating: The politiicans are now arguing about moving Bolivia's capital to the city of Sucre. Sucre is the 'other' capital, actually the official capital of Bolivia with the Supreme Court there. But the working capital is La Paz where the legislative and executive branch of the government rests. Why move it? Because according to some, Sucre was the original capital. So months of debate which will probably entail road blocks, protests, stirkes of all kinds will take most if not all of the extended four months that were supposed to be used to finish the re-writing of the Bolivian Constitution - which was supposed to be done in a year, but didn't 'quite' make it. Don't ask me why they are rewriting the constitution., Can you imagine the cost involved in moving the capital? Jobs lost in one city, expenses of rebuilding, etc.? Does Bolivia have extra money to spare?

And now, the political party in majority, MAS, is requesting that in the new constitution, a new flag be ADDED along side of the traditional Bolivian flag. The flag which has been used to represent their movement. So how much time will they debate that?

Iknow I am probably trivializing all of this. I am not Dr. Miguel who understands all of this. But I do know that there seems to be very little progress made toward deeper issues. So I recommend you read Miguel's post from time to time if you are interested in really understanding some of these issues. If not, just read me from time to time to get a 'gringa'
viewpoint for what it is worth.

I must end on a positive note: I just went on the diplomat website e-diplomat and it confirms what I have known for a long time about Bolivia,. The people are warm and friendly and respond positively to people who are courteous and friendly. So, I guess that's what I like about Bolivia and my Bolivian family.

And by the way, if you want to see photos of Javier Enrique go to for a quick uploade of our newest Centellas.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Reflections on the "Parada Militar"

In my previous post I mentioned the upcoming 'parada militar'. Parada as you may guess is the translation for our word parade. But when we think of parades in the USA we think of something like the Macy's Thanksgiving or homecoming parades. The 'parada militar' is the once-a-year formal presentation of the military forces as a part of national pride, but also as the day in which all members of the military formally and officially give their pledge of allegiance to the flag accompanied by the singing of the national anthem.

We didn't go to the parade, although I wanted to. Daniel persuaded me to stay safe and secure watching it live on TV as there had been rumors of unrest regarding the President's rather last minute call that this year's parada be held in Santa Cruz instead of in the capital, La Paz. All military units stationed here in Santa Cruz as well as units from all over the country - calvary, navy, army, colorados (special forces) and others were in formation here with the president leading them in the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the national anthem. It was impressive.

In the USA the anthem in usually led by a famous singer who may take great liberty with the actual music and most people just listen. This demostration had the many thousands of soldiers standing at attention singing all four verses. How many in the US have ever heard the other verses of our anthem? There are three, I believe (oops, not three people but three stanzas, although maybe close to that many people)

Included with the military in this unusual 'parada' were indigenous groups from all over the country, brought into Santa Cruz to be included. It was an impressive undertaking to try to house and maintain that many people here without an eruption of violence. Many protested the bringing in of so many non military units from outside of the area. Many were worried about the andean militia unit called the 'poncho rojos' - known for their red ponchos and the WWII style guns they use. These groups were trucked in from where they were being housed into the Trompillo Airport where the parada was being held - no it wasn't a march down main street.

In Spanish the verb "parar" means to stand. So "parada," really means "the standing". And yes they stood - for hours this morning awaiting the arrival of the President, through the speeches and other fanfare. The sight was impressive: literally thousands upon thousands standing, then slowly marching with the German type, difficult long step past the flag and the president. And the red, green and yellow furling in the strong cruceno wind like an ocean of ribbon candy. I was truly impressed. Bolivia may be a nation that suffers from disorganization, corruption, lack of political stability, but it sure understands the word 'respect' when it comes to their flag and their nation, even in the midst of national crisis and disaccord.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Almost a year..

.August is upon us and this month sailing in marks one year that we are in Santa Cruz. Time doesn't stand still by any means and as we look around us, we realize we have created what we think is a cozy home, have reunited with a very close-knit family and have found a church family where we are serving and loving. So I guess we are home.

This week I am battling the first head cold I have had in a long,long time. But as I sniffle I also nibble - having found a great brownie mix here that can't be beat! I also must let family know that we have found bacon here as well. I complilaned to many on our last trip how much I miss bacon and, once again, Daniel was right: There is bacon here - we just weren't looking in the right place (with the more expensive smoked deli cuts). So we had blt sandwiches one night.

Daniel is kept very busy with the church project. The roof tiles have been removed and the heavy duty work is upon us. Re-roofing also means redoing the ceiling and so this is quite a project. We pray it does not rain for the couple of weeks this work will take. The US dollar is also fluctuating quite a bit - dropping steadily - and so Daniel is being very cautious about the use of the money for this project.

Bolivian independence day is August 6. There is some unrest as the president has ordered that the traditional military parade be held here in Santa Cruz rather in La Paz. Crucenos are not happy and it remains to be seen what will happen. Not only is the president sending in the military, but also about 2, 000 highland indians to march in the city here. Our own Santa Cruz indigenous peoples have refused to march under these conditions. I'm not good at explaining what is going on, nor am I sure I really understand, but Miguel's blog - has more details. As for us, we are well, house is stocked with food and we rest in God's grace.

Daniel and I are reading the Purpose Driven Life together for the next 40 days along with 40 day period of prayer and fasting that our church in undertaking. We are again reminded that God has a purpose for each of our lives. May we find it and fulfill it.