cochabamba - Related Content

Photo of the Week - Week 2

Thursday, January 20th 2022 3:55 pm

I have to say, I had not intended to ever post a photo of myself as the photo of the week, but as luck would have it, being in isolation really limits my opportunity to take photos. So here we are on week 2 - and here I am!

I was considering taking a photo of Anita's Silpancho. It's a traditional Cochabamba plato with a large, flat piece of beef, lightly breaded and fried with an egg on top, rice and salsa. It was delicious.

Since this was the scene for the last week, I thought this more appropriate. I have been working hard at my studies all week with the wonderful instructors at CLIMAL who have adapted their schedules to allow me to continue learning. It is such a gift to me, and they do it with kindness, smiles and (I may have mentioned this before) loads of patience. I am so grateful for Anita, who takes care of me, leaves breakfast, lunch and dinner at my door and has given me an incredibly comfortable place to stay.

I have been overwhelmed by the amount of prayer and support I have received since learning I had COVID. Thank you to everyone for their thoughts and prayers! I am doing very well and have the tiniest symptoms left at this point. On Monday, I hope to be retested and receive a negative result so I can begin experiencing what it is to be in Cochabamba again.

Paz Y Bien!

Photo of the Week - Week 6

Thursday, February 17th 2022 12:16 pm

What a strange creature! At the end of our time in Incachaca we stopped for Trucha (trout) at a restaurant and fishery. The sun finally snuck out from behind the clouds and suddenly, the place was filled with all sorts of different butterflies. They were all sorts of bright colors and all different sizes. They seemed to be too fast for me though, and I only was able to snap a photo of a small white butterfly. I didn't think anything of it and forgot I had taken it until I was reviewing the photos. Looking closer, the small white butterfly becomes an incredible wonder with striped antennae, bright green eyes and a soft yellow outline. Can you see the tongue drinking water? What a gift! I wonder if there are other things in my world right now that I need to take a closer look at in order to see the wonder. I think I'll start looking!

I'm not sure what it will be like in Santa Cruz, so if you don't see posts for a little while, don't worry! I will post as often as I can.

If you would like to be notified when I have new posts, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click Subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post.

Discovering a Growing Edge While Walking in Cochabamba

Sunday, January 30th 2022 4:30 pm

When I first joined religious life, I remember hearing the term growing edges, referring to where in my life there were opportunities for growth. I couldn’t help but think of a climbing plant continuing to fill in on the edges to grow bigger and more expansive. 

I sometimes have a hard time noticing my growth and change. Once growth happens, it becomes a part of me. It might be a better to say that my growth becomes integrated. So maybe for me it’s more like a forest. Given the opportunity, it spreads out with more and more trees on its edges in slow, less perceptible ways. 

Photo credit: Pixabay

Since I have been able to go back to language school, post COVID isolation, I have enjoyed walking to school. It is a joy to be outside in the open air. I get to look at all the activity going on in the city, see people walking, talking, eating and working. I get to enjoy the beautiful gardens and, of course, check out the different birds in the area. There’s actually a part of my walk that goes along a channel and is just FILLED with birds. Most times, I just hear them but sometimes one pops up for me to see. I don’t have my camera along as I walk to school so you’ll just have to take my word for it! But I digress…

 

 

 


 

Photo: This garden on my walk to school was being weeded by a woman (by hand) the first time I walked by and is now beautiful.

A growing edge I have become aware of this week has become apparent on my walks. First, it’s important to understand that outside of the people I interact with at school, I rarely see someone that shares my skin tone. To give you an idea, I have been here for 3 weeks and I have seen 3 people outside of the school that share my complexion. 

In my mind, I know that it doesn’t matter. Everyone I have had personal contact with has been so full of kindness and hospitality and even with the language barrier, they go out of their way to make me feel welcome. And yet…

Photo: Rain gathering in the mountains.

And yet, as I am walking down the street and pass someone by, many times they don’t make eye contact. For a moment, I wonder if maybe they don’t want to interact with me. Is it because I am different? Sometimes someone does make eye contact and I say Buenos Dias, but they say nothing back. I wonder then if I am doing something wrong because I am not from around here. At a bus stop, as I walk by a couple people sitting and waiting for the bus I say, Buenos Dias, and I can’t be sure, but it seems like an older woman looks me up and down before looking away. I wonder if it’s because of my skin tone, maybe she doesn’t like people that look like me. Maybe I shouldn’t have said hello. I am the outsider in this place. Who am I to think that people should be nice to me?

I live in this mind space for a short time wondering about my place in this country that is not my own, in this place where I am different. This place where I don’t fit in. This place where I am an outsider. 

In time, I consider my thinking more deeply. I remember that in the United States, where I am the majority and my skin tone affords me unwarranted privilege, that people don’t make eye contact with me, people don’t say hi back and that sometimes people give me looks I don’t understand. I remember that no matter where I am, there are people who have bad days, who are tired. There are even more in their own thoughts and not noticing the people they meet. In big cities I’ve lived in, it’s rare that people make eye contact or say hello.

Then I decide to stop and look around. I resolve to try to see the similarities I have with the people around me, and not make assumptions about them. I resolve to stop projecting my thoughts on other people. I continue walking.

Yesterday, I was heading back home and it was raining, so I hailed a crowded bus (that’s how it works here – pretty cool!) and jumped on, paying my 1,50 bolivianos, the equivalent of about 50 cents US. As I hopped up the stairs, a young woman left her seat and moved to the back so I would have a place to sit. I was grateful for the kindness. As we drove through some water that was tumbling down the road, the splashes were pretty spectacular. The older woman I was sitting with and I both said “wow!” in unison as we went through a particularly large puddle. The doors of the bus are always left open and we were in a really good spot to see it. We laughed and although she said something I couldn’t understand, I knew we shared a moment of connection.

Photo: The buses in Bolivia are brightly colored, they look happy to me!

That’s my growing edge to work on. I will no doubt have more experiences of otherness in my time here. And yet, I know that I am called to find connection and relationship, not difference. And so, I will continue to do just that because that’s one of the ways I know how to share my love.

Buenas tardes mis amigos!

Photo: Even the insides of the buses here have colorful decorations. I really like them!

Photo of the Week - Week 3

Thursday, January 27th 2022 7:25 pm

I had some great ideas about which photo to present this week, but then God made such a pretty rainbow, I jumped up, grabbed my camera and snapped a bunch of photos. Rainbows are so beautiful and they whisper to me of promises and hope. My heart smiles when I see rainbows - they have ever since I was young. It's obvious that rainbows are visible to everyone, but I guess a part of me thinks, somehow, they're also just for me. I realize that's how I feel about God's love. It's for everyone, but somehow, it's also something special, just for me. I feel such gratitude for this gift.

Note: This photo was taken over the neighbors roof. You might notice a tank there. The tank is how water is delivered to homes in Cochabamba. Throughout the week, a truck drops off water to the houses in the city. It is very interesting to know of this alternate way of getting a vital resource like water. I hadn't ever considered there were different ways to get water. I wonder what other interesting innovations I will discover!

Me gusta comida! Togetherness with Traditional Bolivian Foods

Sunday, February 6th 2022 3:48 pm

Me gusta comida! I love food! We were learning the names of different foods in my Spanish classes and when in conversation if I liked this or that food, my response was usually, "Si! Me gusta comida!"

For me, food is more than just the actual dish, although the flavor is very important. It is conversation, relationship and friendship. It is an expression of love from the person who prepares the food and an expression of togetherness for all who partake. It is a social connection that is formed around the table in which all participants are included and invited to share in life-giving sustenance.

While in Cochabamba, I have had the opportunity to enjoy many meals with my host mother, Anita. She is an excellent cook and always makes healthy and delicious meals. From time to time, Anita brings in traditional food or we go out for something special. I've been out to a couple of meals with others too. And with each meal, there is a growing sense of comfort as well as the bond of getting to know each other.

Here are a few of the unique foods and drinks I have enjoyed in my time here. I've included some links you can click on to learn more and even see videos about the food and Cochabamba.

Mate Coca

I know I've talked about this before but wanted to give this wonderful tea the spotlight. This is the first traditional item I had when I came here. It is said to help adjust to the altitude. Close your eyes and imagine the smell of freshly cut grass. I've always loved the smell, and now I know I love the flavor too! Mate Coca tastes just like the smell of freshly mowed grass. It is fresh and herbal. Now, each morning and evening, Anita includes this with my meal. It is warming and delicious.

Api con Pastel

I do wish I had remembered to take a photo of this! One evening, not too long after my isolation ended, Anita asked if I wanted to enjoy this traditional treat. The pastel (pastry) is delicious. It's a dough that is deep-fried and poofs up like a big pillow that takes up the whole plate. Inside is a small amount of simple cheese and the top is covered in powdered sugar. You have to deflate the pastry before eating it and puffs of steam escape as it collapses.

You would think that that was the best part of the treat, but no! The Api is a traditional hot drink that is sweet and comes in a glass mug so you can see layers of purple and white. The most amazing part of this drink is that it's made of corn! No fruit added (although I am guessing a fair amount of sugar). The different colors in the glass are actually different kinds of corn. It was thick, creamy and so delicious!

Silpancho

Silpancho is a main dish that consists of a large flat piece of meat, pounded thin and fried with rice, potato, finely diced veggies (tomato and onion) and a fried egg on top. This was the first traditional meal I had and Anita was kind enough to leave it outside my door while I was isolating.

Trancapecho

Imagine taking everything that is in a Silpancho, sticking it in a bun and you've got Trancapecho! Inside the bun are some potato, rice, beef, egg and a tomato-onion mixture. I added a bit of the Picante peppers too. This was such a fun treat. On a chilly, rainy night we drove to La Isla, a drive-up grouping of restaurants that offer sandwiches and other food prepared quickly and served on plastic tables - or to go of course. We decided to eat there and I had the BEST time trying to eat this sandwich. It was so good! I am not an experienced Trancapecho eater though, so I made such a mess. I also had a traditional juice that is popular in Cochabamba that is flavored with cinnamon and has a peach pit on the bottom of each glass.

Rellenos

One afternoon for lunch, Anita surprised me with Rellenos! When I first saw them they looked like large fried potatoes but after I cut into mine, wow! It was a work of art. Inside the delicious ball of mashed potato, there was a hard-boiled egg surrounded by meat (beef and chicken) and veggies. The whole thing is fried. They were really great. These were originally made as a handheld lunch that was quick to eat (and delicious!)

 

 

 

Pique Macho

This may be the most fun out of all the traditional foods I have tried. We ordered it for dinner before going to the Parque de la Familia on Wednesday evening. This dish is made to share. On a large platter, the first layer is a mound of fried potatoes, a lot like potato wedges. On top of that, there is a delicious, marinated beef. On top of that is a healthy number of sliced hot dogs (I really appreciate the respect they give to hot dogs here). There are a few tomatoes, a few green peppers and it's all topped with onion. It's not in the photo, but there's also a hard-boiled egg. Served on the side is a thin beef sauce as well as mayo, ketchup and mustard. Eight of us split two platters and it was difficult to finish!

You may notice a pitcher next to the pique macho. At the restaurants I have been to, they offer freshly made juice. This one was passion fruit. I had a little, and it was delicious. I had to save my carbs for the potatoes though. I admit, it has proven difficult to be low-carb here!

 

Pique Gordo

Later in the week, my friend Victor and I went out to lunch after CLIMAL, our language school, took us on a fun tour of Cochabamba. Victor hadn't been with us for the last pique so we decided to get it at La Casa de Gordo for lunch. It was SO BIG! On top of the traditional toppings, the dish also included a piece of chicken, an extra egg, a plantain, a chorizo and meat that we weren't sure about. (Later Victor figured it out - cow udder!) We both ate some of everything and didn't come close to finishing it. Lesson learned for next time - bring a couple more friends for pique!

Torte and Chocolate Caliente

I considered not including what I enjoyed at the Chocolateria because it's not traditional but in the end, I decided to anyway. Sister Tere, a Dominican sister living in Cochabamba, and I went here to have coffee. Well, she ended up having fruit tea and I decided to have a hot chocolate as a treat. I also had a piece of torte as a treat too! The cake was delicious with layer after layer of cake and filling. I am only sad I couldn't try them all. As you can see though, they were huge! This is not the best photo, but you can see half of a mug next to it. That was my hot chocolate. It came out and had three jumbo marshmallows on top, torched just a little bit so they were golden brown. What was amazing was how the chocolate was more like melted chocolate and so rich and wonderful - like they didn't put water or milk was added. Sister Tere knows the owner and told me she has traveled the world to find the best way to make all of her creations. I can't imagine having anything better.


There are a few things I would still like to try including Sopa de Mani (peanut soup) and Chicharrón (grilled pork). I only have two weeks left here so I am not sure if I will get the chance but I am hopeful!

Once I arrive in Santa Cruz, there are all different traditional dishes so I will have to start over. That sounded like I wasn't looking forward to it. Really, I can't wait! I hear rumors that they are known for their cheeses, so I am looking forward to that! Also, fruit is popular in Santa Cruz's tropical climate, so it will be fun to try some new types of fruits.

(I just had to include this photo of Coca-Cola sin azucar (without sugar). I have been here for over a month and only had soda twice. It's a special treat for me and went great with the Pique Gordo!)

May you all find some togetherness around a dinner table sometime soon - God bless!

Compassionate Care

Sunday, January 16th 2022 3:29 pm

Compassionate Care

I arrived in Cochabamba, Bolivia a little more than a week ago. The words I would use to sum up the time here so far are compassionate care. Compassionate care of me, what an incredible gift!

When I landed here, I was greeted by three friends and my host mother, Anita. It was a surprise and very much appreciated after the long flight. It was a great start to this adventure! We arrived at my home here, which is a lovely single room house with a bathroom. It is just a perfect place to stay! Pictured here (starting on the left) are Anita, Domo (Franciscan Mission Service), Paul (Maryknoll), myself and Victor (Maryknoll).

Anita is an amazing host. I receive the most incredible and healthy homemade meals, here. We have had great conversations as we eat as well. Our phones are always next to us, so we can find the right words to talk about our homes, growing up and our families. I was surprised from the beginning how much I can already understand. At one point, when some of Anita’s family was visiting, we were talking about COVID, and how some people don’t want to get vaccinated, and they expressed how frustrated they were about it. I thought it was interesting how the conversation was so similar to those I've had in the states the weeks before I came.
Roadside Hawk
I also started school on Monday. Anita was kind enough to drive me the first day, and I arrived at the Maryknoll Center here, full of gardens and (wahoo!) birds singing. Inside, we met our instructors who are all very kind, full of joy and super patient, which I really appreciate! This week I learned how to greet people, ask some general questions and describe people. I had fun using all the best descriptors for my family and friends! Pictured here is a Roadside Hawk that I found one day at the Center.

Cochabamba Street DogWalking to and from class was a nice way to get to know the area and practice my Spanish: Buenos Dias! Buenas Tardes! I also greet the dogs I see along the way, most of which are street dogs: Hola mi perro! Pictured here is a local street dog I pass each day. They are not mean, but also uninterested in being friends.

Breakfast During IsolationLate in the week I woke up with a bit of an itchy throat. I was hopeful that it would be allergies, but unfortunately, it was COVID. Somewhere in my travels, I picked it up. I will be isolating in my little home for 10 days. I have been overwhelmed at everyone’s kind response to getting sick. The school had to be closed, disinfected and everyone there tested. They have been so gracious about it and even held online class with me for a short time the next day. Anita has been leaving me breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, and whatever else I need, outside my door. She always waits so she can see me and make sure I look ok – but from a distance of course! Pictured here is breakfast: some carrot bread, a blood sugar regulating smoothy (Anita found the recipe which contains mango, almond milk and cinnamon, num!) and Mate de Coca tea.

So far, COVID has not been too rough, just like a bad cold. It’s early, but the symptoms are mild and should begin dissipating in a few days, which I am grateful for. I worry most about the people I came in contact with, especially Anita, my friends, as well as the instructors and the students at the school. It is quite a burden being the one to bring COVID to a place. I continue to pray for their health and wellbeing.

When I was learning about Bolivia I heard about how full of hospitality the Bolivian people are, and this first week has proven it to be true! I am so blessed to be in this place at this time, and blessed by everyone around me.

Photo of the Week - Week 5

Thursday, February 10th 2022 2:51 pm

Normally, on my walk to class, I take a road that is between the walls of the Maryknoll Center (where we have class) and a bike path that winds through the city. Just beyond the bike path on the side farthest from me, I have seen clothes hanging all day, every day. I always assumed it was someone who had a laundering service of some kind.

Lately, the road in front of the school has been under construction, so I have had to walk another way. It takes me beyond, to the other side of it all. As I've taken this way for quite a few days now, I have become curious about the area.

There are signs on my current route and I've learned that this is a public lavanderia, or clothes washing area. People come here to hand wash their clothes and then hang them on the lines to dry. This one is called "Lavanderias Traditionales de Cala Cala" and has been here since 1860. Cala Cala is the bario, or neighborhood, I live in.

Since I have come to Cochabamba, I have have felt challenged to reconsider my assumptions and standards. This lavanderia has given me pause for thought. I see women throwing day-old pan (bread) to the pigeons, talking and getting started with their day in the morning. I see people there all the time in conversation. I see an older gentleman on crutches there every day, acting as caretaker. This place creates community by giving people the opportunity to get work done and get to know their neighbors at the same time. The caretaker recognizes me now and greets me as I pass by. It is this small gesture that invites me to the neighborhood.

Photo of the Week - Week 4

Thursday, February 3rd 2022 1:43 pm

This week's photo comes from the Parque de la Familia (The Family Park) where I was invited by CLIMAL, my language school, to go to last night. A total of eight of us went. We enjoyed traditional Bolivian food at a restaurant (more on that another time) and then walked over to this spectacular show. For just 8 bolivianos, we were treated to bright lights bouncing off of water from different fountains, choreographed to music. There were lights like this, images and even video of flowers blooming in the fountain, all bright and colorful.  It was great fun. It started raining right before it started so we ended up standing pretty far away under a building. A few of the people with me said that since I was Franciscan I should pray for the rain to stop for an hour, hoping to watch the show and stay dry. I did better, I prayed for the rain to stop for TWO hours with a por favor and a gracias. The rain did stop, just as the light show was ending, DOH! I am pretty sure it started back up two hours later when everyone was home and tucked in for the night. I would say that still counts as an answered prayer!

Photo of the Week - Week 1

Wednesday, January 12th 2022 10:24 pm

Mountain View on Main Road in CochabambaMountain Views in Cochabamba

They are possibly the most breathtaking part of Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Cochabamba is a beautiful place. It is a large city, but even so it is full of lush, green grass, shrubs, trees and flowers. There isn't much - or many times any - space between the buildings, so the people of Cochabamba have utilized their boulevards to create places of great beauty.

It's easy to focus on the city itself. I think I did that for the first two days I was here. It wasn't until I was walking to Mass at a little local chapel down the road on Sunday when I looked up and saw the amazing mountains. They are immense and beautiful, ringing the city in a natural embrace.

I hope to get an opportunity to travel into the mountains a little before I leave, but in the meantime, I will appreciate and be grateful for such an immense work of art.

Bendiciones!

Photo of the Week - Week 1

Wednesday, January 12th 2022 10:24 pm

Mountain View on Main Road in CochabambaMountain Views in Cochabamba

They are possibly the most breathtaking part of Cochabamba, Bolivia. 

Cochabamba is a beautiful place. It is a large city, but even so it is full of lush, green grass, shrubs, trees and flowers. There isn't much space - or many times any - space between the buildings, so the people of Cochabamba have utilized their boulevards to create places of great beauty. 

It's easy to focus on the city itself. I think I did that for the first two days I was here. It wasn't until I was walking to Mass at a little local chapel down the road when I looked up and saw the amazing mountains. They are immense and beautiful, ringing the city in a natural embrace. 

I hope to get an opportunity to travel into the mountains a little before I leave, but in the meantime, I will appreciate and be grateful for such an immense work of art. 

Bendiciones!

Poco a Poco - Learning and Growing Little by Little

Monday, February 14th 2022 3:01 pm

On Saturday, CLIMAL hosted a trip to Incachaca, a beautiful natural area a few hours outside Cochabamba. I had such a great time. It was drizzling while we were there, which was appreciated because the hike was challenging! Thanks to the instructors at CLIMAL who served as guides, we learned all about the area, enjoying the mountain view, a roaring river and breath-taking waterfalls. I found myself sighing contentedly. To be embraced by God’s creation brings me such peace.

“Poco a poco!” Karla, one of my Spanish instructors, said encouragingly as we slowly made our way back up the mountain, wrapping up the beautiful hike in Incachaca. 

I remember the week before when Osvaldo, another instructor, said to me “poco a poco” as I tripped over words trying to form questions on the things we were talking about.

I have had poco a poco, or little by little, bouncing around in my head lately. As with many things that are difficult for me, I tend to get frustrated with my progress in learning Spanish. It takes contemplation, discernment and prayer to realize that I’m trying to measure my progress, something that isn’t meant to be measured. How far along should I be in my learning? There is no marker, no invisible bar I have yet to cross. Holding onto an internal messaging with suggestions that there is can only lead me to an ugly spiral of self-criticisms.

It’s not healthy and it doesn’t honor the nurturing love I have for myself. I take the opportunity for a deep breath. Ahhhhhh. It’s at this moment that I invite my inner encourager to start rooting for me and she begins the simple mantra – poco a poco. Things get brighter and, interesting enough, easier.

On Saturday, I leave for Santa Cruz where I will be ministering with the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis. These six weeks have gone so fast, I realize I have so much left to learn. Still, poco a poco, I will continue to move forward, continue to learn and continue to grow.

Muchas gracias, Dios, por poco a poco!

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Photo of the Week - Week 6

Thursday, February 17th 2022 12:16 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a strange creature! At the end of our time in Incachaca we stopped for Trucha (trout) at a restaurant and fishery. The sun finally snuck out from behind the clouds and suddenly, the place was filled with all sorts of different butterflies. They were all sorts of bright colors and all different sizes. They seemed to be too fast for me though, and I only was able to snap a photo of a small white butterfly. I didn't think anything of it and forgot I had taken it until I was reviewing the photos. Looking closer, the small white butterfly becomes an incredible wonder with striped antennae, bright green eyes and a soft yellow outline. Can you see the tongue drinking water? What a gift! I wonder if there are other things in my world right now that I need to take a closer look at in order to see the wonder. I think I'll start looking!

I'm not sure what it will be like in Santa Cruz, so if you don't see posts for a little while, don't worry! I will post as often as I can. 

If you would like to be notified when I have new posts, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click Subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post.

Photo of the Week - Week 5

Thursday, February 10th 2022 2:51 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Normally, on my walk to class, I take a road that is between the walls of the Maryknoll Center (where we have class) and a bike path that winds through the city. Just beyond the bike path on the side fathest from me I have seen clothes hanging all day, every day. I always assumed it was someone who had a laundering service of some kind. 

Lately, the road in front of the school has been under construction, so I have had to walk another way. It takes me beyond, to the other side of it all. As I've taken this way for quite a few days now, I have become curious about the area. 

There are signs on my current route and I've learned that this is a public lavanderia, or clothes washing area. People come here to hand wash their clothes and then hang them on the lines to dry. This one is called "Lavanderias Traditionales de Cala Cala" and has been here since 1860. Cala Cala is the bario, or neighborhood, I live in. 

Since I have come to Cochabamba, I have have felt challenged to reconsider my assumptions and standards. This lavanderia has given me pause for thought. I see women throwing day old pan (bread) to the pigeons, talking and getting started with their day in the morning. I see people there all the time in conversation. I see an older gentleman on crutches there everyday, acting as caretaker. This place creates community by giving people the opportunity to get work done, and get to know their neighbors at the same time. The caretaker recognizes me now and greets me as I pass by. It is this small gesture that invites me to the neighborhood. 

Me gusta comida! Togetherness with Traditional Bolivian Foods

Sunday, February 6th 2022 3:48 pm

Me gusta comida! I love food! We were learning the names of different foods in my Spanish classes and when in conversation if I liked this or that food, my response was usually, "Si! Me gusta comida!"

For me, food is more than just the actual dish. It is conversation, relationship, friendship. It is an expression of love from the person who prepares the food and an expression of togetherness for all who partake. It is a social connection that is formed around the table in which all participants are included and invited to share in life-giving sustenance.

While in Cochabamba, I have had the opportunity to enjoy many meals with my host mother, Anita. She is an excellent cook and always makes healthy and delicious meals. From time to time, Anita brings in a traditional food or we go out for something special. I've been out to a couple meals with others too. And with each meal, there is a growing sense of comfort as well as the bond of getting to know each other. 

Here are a few of the things I have had while I was here. 

Mate con Coca

Api con Pasteles

Sillplancha

Tranca Pecho

 

 

 

 

 

Rellenos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pique Macho

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pique Gordito

 

 

 

 

 

Torte and Chocolate Caliente

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of the Week - Week 4

Thursday, February 3rd 2022 1:43 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week's photo comes from the Parque de la Familia (The Family Park) where I was invited by CLIMAL, my language school, to go to last night. A total of eight of us went. We enjoyed traditional Bolivian food at a restaurant (more on that another time) and then walked over to this spectacular show. For just 8 bolivianos, we were treated to bright lights bouncing off of water from different fountains, choreographed to music. There were lights like this, images and even video of flowers blooming in the fountain, all bright and colorful.  It was great fun. It started raining right before it started so we ended up standing pretty far away under a building. A few of the people with me said that since I was Franciscan I should pray for the rain to stop for an hour, hoping to watch the show and stay dry. I did better, I prayed for the rain to stop for TWO hours with a por favor and a gracias. The rain did stop, just as the light show was ending, DOH! I am pretty sure it started back up two hours later when everyone was home and tucked in for the night. I would say that still counts as an answered prayer! 

Photo of the Week - Week 3

Thursday, January 27th 2022 7:25 pm

I had some great ideas about which photo to give you this week but then God made such a pretty rainbow, I jumped to my camera and snapped a bunch of photos. Aren't rainbows so beaufiful and whisper of promises and hope. My heart skips when I see a rainbow - it has ever since I was a young girl. I know it's shared with everyone, but I guess a part of me thinks, somehow, it's also just for me. I realize that's how God's love feels for me. It's for everyone, but somehow also something special, just for me. Thank you God! 

Note: This photo was taken over the neighbors roof. You might notice a tank there. The tank is how water is delivered in Cochabamba. Throughout the week, a truck drops off water to the houses in the city. 

Photo of the Week - Week 2

Thursday, January 20th 2022 3:55 pm

I have to say, I had not intended to ever post a photo of myself as the photo of the week, but as luck would have it, being in isolation really limits the opportunity to take photos. So here we are on week 2 - and here I am! I was considering taking a photo of Anita's Silpancho. It's a traditional large, flat piece of beef, lightly breaded and fried with an egg on top, rice and salsa. It was delicious. 

Since this was the scene for the last week, I thought this more appropriate. I have been working hard at my studies all week with the wonderful instructors at CLIMAL who have really taken great care of me and adapted their schedules to allow me to continue learning. I am so grateful for Anita, who takes care of me, leaves breakfast, lunch and dinner at my door and has given me an incredibly comfortable place to stay. 

I have been overwhelmed by the amount of prayer and support I have received since learning I had COVID. Thank you to everyone for their thoughts and prayers! I am doing very well and have the tiniest symptoms left at this point. On Monday, I hope to be retested and receive a negative result so I can begin experiencing what it is to be in Cochabamba again. 

Paz Y Bien!

Celebrating a Culture: Happy Diá del Estado Plurinacional! (Day of the Pluri-national State)

Sunday, January 23rd 2022 3:05 pm


Yesterday, January 22nd, was a very special day for the people of Bolivia. It marks the anniversary of their constitution. Over ten years old, it's a young constitution. To my understanding, this new constitution was written and ratified in the hopes of expressing a nation that cherishes diversity and respects the needs of all of its people. With the new constitution came the addition of another flag full of colors to symbolize the people of the country. Photo credit: Pixabay


Normally, there would be a great celebration throughout Bolivia, including parades and fireworks. As you may guess, these were canceled this year due to the pandemic. I considered how, in my isolation, I could honor the day. Yesterday I enjoyed some wonderful Bolivian music filled with guitars and flutes. For me, the music is full of emotion, hope and energy. I really like it. Photo Credit: Pixabay


Today, I felt called to delve more deeply into the constitution. I wondered how a constitution could possibly address all that might entail such big ideas like equity, interculturality and the environment. The best way to find out, I decided, was to read it! I found a copy of the constitution in English. I was a bit intimidated when I saw it was 131 pages. After starting to read however, I realized that there is a lot of instructional detail in the Bolivian Constitution. It’s kind of a one-stop shop for all the ideals and expectations of the Bolivian people. Photo Credit: Pixabay

The document started with: In ancient times mountains arose, rivers moved, and lakes were formed. Our Amazonia, our swamps, our highlands, and our plains and valleys were covered with greenery and flowers. As you can imagine, I was hooked and wanted to keep reading. I am on page 36 now, and am impressed by how it handles so many things. The term “Communitarian Democracy” was used to express both the diversity and the community form the country strives to include in their democratic nation. Sentiments regarding decolonization and environmental sustainability and protection were contained throughout. Photo Credit: Pixabay

Below, I highlighted a few of the areas and language I found particularly interesting that relate to some of the social issues I have worked with.

In Article 24
Anyone who has been granted asylum or refuge in Bolivia shall not be expelled or deported to a country where his life, bodily integrity, security or liberty is endangered. The State shall attend in a positive, humanitarian and efficient manner to requests for family reunification presented by parents or children who are given asylum or refuge. Photo credit: Pixabay

In Article 33
Everyone has the right to a healthy, protected, and balanced environment. The exercise of this right must be granted to individuals and collectives of present and future generations, as well as to other living things, so they may develop in a normal and permanent way. Photo Credit: Pixabay

In Article 48
The State shall promote the incorporation of women into the workforce and shall guarantee them the same remuneration as men for work of equal value, both in the public and private arena. Photo Credit: Pixabay


In Article 98

Cultural diversity constitutes the essential basis of the Pluri-National Communitarian State (Estado Unitario Social de Derecho Plurinacional Comunitario). The inter-cultural character is the means for cohesion and for harmonic and balanced existence among all the peoples and nations. The intercultural character shall exist with respect for differences and in conditions of equality. Photo Credit: Pixabay


If you are interested, I invite you to read the constitution to get a better idea of the ideals expressed. It is really easy in this polarized world to immediately begin to compare one nation/culture with another, or even to be cynical because of our differences. In the spirit of this very special Bolivian day, I invite you to put away that desire and enjoy!

I am looking forward to experiencing more of this diverse country!

Celebrating a Culture: Happy Dià del Estado Plurinacional! (Day of the Pluri-national State)

Sunday, January 23rd 2022 3:05 pm

Yesterday, January 22nd, was a very special day for the people of Bolivia. It marks the anniversary of their constitution. Over ten years old, it's a young constitution. To my understanding, this new constitution was written and ratified in the hopes of creating a nation that cherishes diversity and respects the needs of all of its people. With the new constitution came the addition of another flag full of colors to symbolize the people of the country. 

Normally, there would be a great celebration throughout Bolivia, including parades and fireworks. As you may guess, these were canceled this year due to the pandemic. I considered how, in my isolation, I could honor the day. Yesterday I enjoyed some wonderful Bolivian music filled with guitars and flutes. For me, the music is full of emotion, hope and energy. I really like it.

Today, I felt called to delve more deeply into the constitution. I wondered how a constitution could possibly address all that might entail such big ideas like equity, interculturality and the environment. The best way to find out, I decided, was to read it! I found an copy of the constitution in English. I was a bit intimidated when I saw it was 131 pages. After starting to read however, I realized that there is a lot of instructional detail in the Bolivian Constitution. It’s kind of a one-stop shop for all the ideals and expectations of the Bolivian people. 

The document started with: In ancient times mountains arose, rivers moved, and lakes were formed. Our Amazonia, our swamps, our highlands, and our plains and valleys were covered with greenery and flowers. As you can imagine, I was hooked and wanted to keep reading. I am on page 36 now, and am impressed by how it handles so many things. The term “Communitarian Democracy” was used to express both the diversity and the community form the country strives to include in their democratic nation. Sentiments regarding decolonization and environmental sustainability and protection were contained throughout. 

Below, I highlighted a few of the areas and language I found particularly interesting that relate to some of the social issues I have worked with. 

In Article 24
Anyone who has been granted asylum or refuge in Bolivia shall not be expelled or deported to a country where his life, bodily integrity, security or liberty is endangered. The State shall attend in a positive, humanitarian and efficient manner to requests for family reunification presented by parents or children who are given asylum or refuge.


In Article 33
Everyone has the right to a healthy, protected, and balanced environment. The exercise of this right must be granted to individuals and collectives of present and future generations, as well as to other living things, so they may develop in a normal and permanent way.

In article 48
The State shall promote the incorporation of women into the workforce and shall guarantee them the same remuneration as men for work of equal value, both in the public and private arena.

In Article 98
Cultural diversity constitutes the essential basis of the Pluri-National Communitarian State (Estado Unitario Social de Derecho Plurinacional Comunitario). The inter-cultural character is the means for cohesion and for harmonic and balanced existence among all the peoples and nations. The intercultural character shall exist with respect for differences and in conditions of equality.

If you are interested, I invite you to read the constitution to get a better idea of the ideals expressed. It is really easy in this polarized world to immediately begin to compare one nation/culture with another, or even to be cynical because of our differences. In the spirit of this very special Bolivian day, I invite you to put away that desire and enjoy!


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