Thursday, June 21, 2007

Back to Bocachica Life

On June 10th we arrived back home to Colombia!! We spent the first night in Cartagena at the YWAM base and then the next morning took the boat out to the island. It has been SO HOT since we got back; we are still trying to get acclimated to the heat and humidity once again. It´s not just us though, it really is extra hot right now... even the locals agree!

Another thing that has been really hard to get used to is seeing how the prices of everything have gone UP and the value of the dollar is going DOWN!!! Unfortunately for us, this means that our money doesn’t stretch as far as we wish it would! This also means we won´t be able to get as far on the clinic construction as we had hoped. But we are trying to take it in stride, knowing that this too is under God´s control!

On our first day back to Bocachica we received a team from YWAM-Hurlach, Germany who were on their DTS outreach. The team was made up of Germans, Americans and a Brazilian and they were with us for their last 4 days of outreach.

One of the team members gets braids by one of our neighbors, Sorleis. Sorleis could probably win some world record at speed braiding…seriously folks, she braids at the speed of light!

It was great to be back with our staff again… our first week was spent unpacking, and meeting with different staff, getting updated on all the latest happenings and starting the transition of taking back the reins of leadership once again. We are very blessed to have such a fine group of people that God has brought to work alongside us! We also are praying for a few more long-term staff members to fill some key positions.

Three days after we got back I celebrated my 37th birthday! We had a little get together with some friends. I got sung to several times during the day… first by Jorge at 3:00 in the morning, then by our staff and the German team at breakfast, then by our two cooks at the foot of our stairs, then by a group of about 15 young boys at our front door…and then finally again in the evening over cake and Coca Cola.

You may have noticed that I have put on some extra pounds... I only mention it to share a funny part of the culture here. In Bocachica, having some meat on your bones is a very good thing! It means that you are healthy and strong, not weak and scrawny! One thing I love about Bocachica is that every time I come back from the USA and I have put on some extra pounds…this is what I hear from people in the community (and this is what I have been hearing the last few days): ¨Sister Karen you’re fat!!! You look so PRETTY!¨ ¨Karen, you came back fatter!! You look so ELEGANT!¨ ¨Karen, you are wider… you look GOOD!¨ It´s amazing how acceptable it is here to comment about people´s weight right to thier face! This is a shock to a lot of our visitors! Two nights ago a guy even told me that he felt like he was looking at 2 of me!! Now that one wasn´t so nice but still, I just chuckle and think, it’s so funny, in the USA it´s just plain fat, nothing glorious about it! But, here I am pretty, elegant and I look good!!! It does a lot for a full- figured gal’s self esteem!

A day in the life… this is me doing laundry last Saturday! One bucket is the soapy water, the other one is the rinse water, and a third one has fabric softener… so it goes like this: scrub, scrub, scrub; ring it out; soak, soak, soak; ring it out; soak again; ring it out one last time, and then hang it on the line to dry! It only took me about 2 hours to do 5 days worth of clothes.

PS: We do have a washing machine but here on the island there is no running water so the process is to fill up the machine by hand with buckets of water for each wash cycle and then again for each rinse cycle, so by the time you do all that, it just seems easier to do it by hand, unless you are washing hard things like jeans and towels. Also you use so much more water doing it that way and here water is at a premium and we have to use it sparingly.

This week our dog, Estrella, got really sick… she wouldn’t eat or drink hardly anything and all she wanted to do was sleep and sleep. For about 3 days she was so pitiful! We were worried about her. But finally on the 3rd and 4th day she started to wag her tail again and started wanting to play. She´s still not back to normal but she is getting better. We have also been trying to keep her separated from the puppies in order to wean them and let Estrella recuperate. It’s pretty funny trying to keep them apart. When they slip by us they look like little sharks running towards Estrella to try to get a few drops of milk and we are all running behind them, trying to pull them off her and get either them or Estrella into a closed room. Estrella seems to be grateful to us for this, we can see that she feels relieved not to have the three of them pushing and pulling at her all the time! They are the cutest things though; we get a lot of laughs just watching them play, even though they will steal our flip-flops right off our feet if we aren’t careful!

Jorge and Erika working in the office.

Relaxing on Sunday afternoon with Marley and Astrid over a ¨friendly¨ game of Phase 10, our newest form of entertainment (thanks Carole, Sue and Gram!)

This is Anne and Chienye! They are here with a University exchange program that YWAM operates out of Madison, Wisconsin. Anne (left) is from Singapore and moved to the USA 6 years ago. Now she lives in Delaware and is a Pre-Med student at Yale University. Chienye (right) is from London, England and is a Pre-Med student at Queen Mary, Universtiy of London. Chienye´s father is from Nigeria and her mother is from the Philipines. They are both sweet girls and we are looking forward to hosting them over the next 6-7 weeks as they have the opportunity to see first-hand how the Lord can use them and their professions for His service!

The other day I was sitting on our front steps and I got a kick out of this... this is Yesenia giving her little sister and a friend a ride in an old suitcase!

These are our special friends, Luis and Diati Luz with their little boy, Isaac David, who is 4 1/2. Diati was scheduled to go in for a C-section the day after I took this photo but when she was in the operating room, before they started, the equipment stopped working so they had to cancel the surgery. Since it was a Friday they didn´t want to schedule it for the weekend and Monday was a national holiday so they told her to come back early in the morning on Tuesday. She returned on Tuesday and was suppossed to have the surgery at 8:30 am but just as they were going to take her in there was an emergency surgery they had to attend to so she had to sit there and wait for 6 hours until the surgery was over so she could have her turn. They next day at around 10:30 am (less than 7 hours after having surgery!) she was bouncing in the back of a speed boat, headed home to Bocachica (ooouuuucccchhhh!!!).

This is the new arrival, a little girl named INDI JOANNA.

She weighed in a little less than 7 pounds.

A lot of you were asking me what our living arrangements are so I wanted to show you some pictures so you could have a better idea. We have a small apartment inside the mission compound. It has a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen and a living room.

Four and a half years ago, in February 2003, we held a construction seminar for some of the men in the community and as part of their practical experience they helped to build our apartment. We still have a few things to do to complete it but it is a nice place for us to live and have a little more space than just the bedroom we used to have downstairs.

This is our living room. We still have to buy and install the double doors to the balcony so in the meantime we have clear plastic hanging to keep out the rain.

This is our kitchen and as you can see, there is still a way to go to get it ready. Jorge is working on finishing the walls and getting some cabinets and counters built and installed. Hopefully we can post some new photos soon.

This is our bathroom…notice the buckets on the floor. We have no indoor plumbing in Bocachica so even though we have a nice bathroom we have to bring our water upstairs in buckets each day. The white bucket is fresh water to use at the sink. The red bucket is salt water that we use to flush the toilet and the small garbage can in the shower is fresh water for bathing!

This is our bedroom and it is pretty much completed, except for a few decorations and a few pieces of furniture.


Desteni said...

Karen, I love you! It is so good that you guys are home!! I love seeing the pics there...WITH YOU IN THEM!!

But more importantly, had a Brazilian at the base and didn't tell me ;)

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