Mom's Blog

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Come,sit, and share my latest read.

I just finished reading Barack Obama's "Dreams from my Father." Do I recommend it to others? Not really sure. It took me two tries to get through it, having to push myself a bit when I finally was determined to read it ALL. Having lived and taught and Saginaw, I think I understand many of the issues of racism and the struggles for betterment in our society. Having an intercultural marriage and children from two very different worlds, I understand quite a bit of the personal identity struggles of Barack Obama whose mother was white and his father an African from Kenya. I do believe there are many passages in the book that are truly insightful and I especially think my children would appreciate much of Obama's story. For our son, Miguel, chapter three deals with Barack's arrival in the United States (coming from Indonesia, yet with an African heritage) at about the same age when Miguel entered the rather 'elite' Handley School. The struggle to fit in for a preteen having a different cultural background in a closely knit school is quite similar.

For all my children, the sense of belonging that each of them feel when they visit Bolivia is very similar to Obama's awakening to his African heritage when he finally travels to Kenya to discover his roots and learn about his father. I'd like to quote a short section of that which is a conversation with one of the first Kenyan he meets in the airport upon arrival:

" I found myself trying to prolong the conversationm encouraged the fact that she'd recognized my name. That had never happened before, I realized; not in Hawaii, not in Indonesia, not in L.A. or New York or Chicago. For the first time in my life, I felt the comfort, the firmness of identity that a name might provide, how it could carry an intire history in other people's memories, so that they might nod and say knowingly, 'oh, you are so and so's son. ' No one here in Kenya would ask how to spell my name, or mangle it with an unfamiliar tongue. My name belonged and so I belonged, drawn into a web of relationships, alliances, and grudges that I did not yet understand." (page 305)

Obama's visit to Kenya, as an economically independent and well -educated American is in many ways much like our visits here to Bolivia. The expectations that our family often has of us because we are American reflect the stereotypes that seem to dictate our relationships in subtle ways.

But is Obama pushing an agenda? I don't think so at all. This seems to be his way of coming to terms with who HE is and who his FAMILY is. His expressed desire for his own daughter is one that I also hope for my children: "I'm less interested in a daughter who's authentically African than one who is authentically herself." (page 435)

Come visit me and I'll let you borrow the book!

A couple of 'in process' pixs to go with previous blog

I realize that perhaps many readers - that is if anyone reads this - may not have much idea of what the work at our Galilea church involved and so I'm trying to add a few previous pixs. The original roof was older tiles that were in bad shape and the roof leaked and sagged. Inside the ceiling was just painted cloth that too had grown old and was water stained. Along with the new ceiling ,new lights were installed, we reused the ceiling fans and this was all re-wired. Not shown in these pictures: we added a expanded front door, the Sunday school rooms, bathrooms, and pastor's apartment were repaired, painted, ceiling fixed. We were busy. Now it's time for the wormen's group to tackle the yard and small garden of flowers and plants. The couple of major things we would have liked to do and need to wait for more funds is the floor in the sanctuary and the kitchen in the pasonage. Our pastor's wife doesn't have an oven, only a two burner plate. They need a sink, countertop, and some cupboards.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sunday's Celebration

Sunday, Oct. 7 was the desnignated date to celebrate and reconsecrate our church sanctuary. Few days before there was talk that maybe we had been too optimistic with the date, but with hard work both Friday and Saturday nights the painting was finally done so that the curtains could be hung and the service held. Not all of the work is done. As in any renovation, there are always those additonal costs that creep in and our finance's were tight. We can testify that on three different occasions we were without the needed money, we prayed and within the next 24 hours funds arrived. We still have parts of this project that we would like to see completed, but until funds are available we stop for now. There are also other churches that are needing some similar work. We are taking time to wait to see what God would have us do before beginning anything new. We appreciate your prayers for this. Daniel was certainly busy; he was the official 'gofor' getting calls that more cement was needed, another pail of paint, etc. He put lots of miles on our vehicle and loaded it full many times. He also took care of all the payments and each week had to be sure there were enough funds to pay the workers. He was busy, but very content, and I know that God has used him in this way.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

"Bajo el Cielo mas Puro de America"

The above words in Spanish is the first line of the national hymn of Santa Cruz: Under the purest skies of America....... pure skies?
Often when I've shown people pictures of Santa Cruz, they comment on the how blue the skies are. Well, not so these days. It hasn't rained for over 2 months and this is the season that the farmers burn their fields with the harvesting of sugar cane. So the air is filled with smoke and due to the dry weather and terrific winds there have been terrible fires, gone out of control in many farming areas just outside the city. The smoke in the atmosphere is causing not only gray skies, but serious health problems and even poor visibility for driving. We are keeping our windows closed with the air conditioning going to keep out the smoke. I do not remember experiencing anything like this before. It has been awfully hot as well. Officials are doing what little they can, but until we get a good hard rain there won't be much change.

Other news..... Daniel and I visited the fair, ExpoCruz 2007. We didn't take the camera because we took lots of pictures last year impressed by all the glamour and glitz. Wow! What a difference this year. It was just fabulous! The only negative being the crowded stands and lines. We went on a week night thinking it would be less crowded and there were reported 45,000 in attendance that night. We stayed from 8:00 to closing at midnight and only got to see about 1/2 of it all. We were really impressed with the atmosphere, the use of technology with the different displays, and the music, etc. Several countries like Brazil and Argentina and USA have entire buildings for themselves. Impressive stands were Indonesia and Kenya. We wanted to go back a second night, but the crowds were so thick we changed our minds.

And a final note... Daniel's cousin's son, Rodrigo, is coming to live with us for a short time. He has taken a job here in Santa Cruz (he's from La Paz) . He's Andy's age and very much like him - in personality and career focus; it will be interesting to have someone here with us again. We pick him up at the airport tomorrow.