Thursday, March 31, 2011

Holding the Tarantula

Tarantula in the school!!

On Wednesday, a couple of my students found a baby tarantula in the playground.  They brought it to school.   As you can imagine, this caused quite the excitement. . . the girls screaming at high, ear-piercing pitches,  the boys acting tough but cowering when it came near them.  The teachers, most of them, not going anywhere near it. . .
I set up a habitat for the tarantula, putting rocks and leaves and a few flowers in it  (not sure what they eat besides birds and lizards).  The kids came and looked at it all day every chance they got, it was the high-light of their day.    Gracie, my 3 year old wanted to know if it was REALLY REAL!?!  Many kids asked me where his fangs were and where his head was (the head and rear are very similar. . . ).  All in all, it was a good, calm day of viewing, until Marcy (an American teacher) wanted to take a picture of one of her sons holding it.  That is when it got exciting!  At the end of the day, we walked out side and began trying to get it out of the fish bowl.  The squills and shrills began – also random running and jumping .  In the end, 5 of the 19 students held the tarantula and 2 of the teachers (myself and Julie).  It felt like a giant grand-daddy long-leg in my hand – kind of neat, but don’t want it on my face!!
Afterwards, we sent all the kids home.  Esteban, a 9th grader asked me to let me let it loose again.  So, he took it to a rocky area and released it.  But, we set the fish bowl with the lid back in the school.  Can’t wait to see their reaction when they think the tarantula has escaped!!  (details to come. . 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More Flooding

I took these photos this morning, after carrying the dog across the water so he could go to the bathroom.  I have to carry him because otherwise he has to swim!  These are my feet, you can see the black rubber boots and how the water completely covers my feet.  Down by the quincho, the water comes up to your knees! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Answered Prayers, Bridges and Chicken Pot Pie

My student who was sick with Hepatitis A is feeling much better now and out of the hospital  Thank you for all of your prayers.  He will be staying home for several more days just to be on the safe side.    We had a late start for school this morning, at 11:00, because  we had to disinfect the school to keep the Hepatitis from spreading, it is spread through food, water and direct contact with the sick person.
The lake continues to rise, I am using a “bridge” made from some construction boards.  The problem now is that the stagnate water is breeding mosquitoes.  As I started writing this blog, I got bit about 6 times in 5 minutes!  Then I sprayed the house with some strong bug spray.  A little while later, the dog, Oso, looked like he wasn’t conscious , I grabbed him up and ran outside to give him some fresh air.  I think I was about to give him mouth to mouth when he woke up!  He was fine and I sat on the porch and laughed out loud.  Ha ha.  More adventure!!  (Note:  this photo was taken yesterday, Sunday.  All the fore-ground is now underwater and the bridge doesn't work anymore)

Finally, I broke down, after 5 years and made homemade Chicken Pot Pie. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like something difficult, but the recipe calls for Veg-All.  We don’t have Veg-All here, so I had to clean, cut and cook all my veggies, then put them with the chicken and crust.  It took a while to get it ready; but it turned out delicious!  Also, to make it even better, I found some cranberry sauce at the grocery store today (they usually don’t carry cranberry sauce).  I made enough to last several meals, which is awesome.  

The Evangelism and Discipleship Center for Word of Life Bolivia starts in two weeks.  They are expecting over 40 students this year!!  The Word of Life missionaries are putting the finishing touches on the dorm rooms and getting the property ready in general.  Pray for the students as they are preparing to come here to the property to study God’s Word this year and prepare themselves to serve in their local churches. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sick Student

I just found out that one of my new students, a third grader, has been admitted to the children's hospital here with Hepatitis A.  Please pray for his speedy recovery and that the other students, who have not been vaccinated will not be affected.

First Day of School Photo

First Day of School

Happy Father's Day

Today is Father's Day here in Bolivia.  Don't panic all you Americans, Hallmark did not forget to tell you about the date change.  We celebrate Father's Day on March 19, whatever day of the week that might fall on.  Yesterday, all the missionaries, their families and the teachers (about 40 of us) had lunch together.  We had homemade Italian food.   So good.  One of our missionaries, Vivi, is part Italian on her mother's side, so she organized the cooking.  It was great to get together with everyone also, this was the first time we had done this since camp season had ended 3 months ago.   We are really just one huge family down here.  I love to see the children running and playing together.  The men sitting and chatting and the women organizing the food.  It makes me realize that even though I have moved away from my "blood" family, I have another one here that God has provided. 

The lake continues to rise, fortunately, my previous prediction did not come true.  I am not in boots yet. .  . but close.  Ha ha!!!  Such an adventure.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New School Year and Disappearing Land. . .

We have started the new Aguila Christian Academy school year, one week ago.  It was a CRAZY day, children everywhere!  Parents everywhere!  Teachers everywhere!  Dogs everywhere!  The biggest hit of the year so far are the lockers we have this year.  We found some old lockers, repainted them and they are all the rave.  The kids find any excuse to go and put something in their lockers.

I asked one of our new students yesterday, in 3rd grade, if she likes school.  She said, "I LOVE it!"  Awesome! 

We have students everywhere, there is never an empty room or space during the day, and the bathroom. . . it is never empty ( which means the kids have learned not to wait til the last minute to go.  . . )! 

In other news, the land is disappearing!  The lake is rising, and I predict that by Friday, I will have to wear rubber boots to get to my stairs, everyday it rises several inches.  It is amazing.  Fortunately, I am the only one it will affect directly because the other homes are either on higher land or they have a retaining wall.  The good news is that my home is on the second floor, so it only affects me when I leave the house!  I will be an island!

Prayer Requests:
Pray for the students as they get into the rhythm of the school, that they do not loose their enthusiasm.
Pray for that we can raise support to build a much needed addition to the school in the future.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Returning to Bolivia

I am returning to Bolivia today after spending 2 1/2 weeks in the U.S.  Please pray for traveling safety.  Also pray that I can get things prepared for the start of school on Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One more week. . .

Águila Christian Academy starts in one more week. . .

This is a school for the children of Helping Hands and Word of Life Bolivia missionaries.  It is there on the Word of Life complex in Bolivia.  I am the Director, a teacher, the janitor, the cook, the disciplinarian, the gardener, the. . . .  Well, you get the idea.  We are small, but we do great things.   This year, we will have 20 students, ranging from 4 years old to 9th grade!  I have at least one student in each grade except for 7th, which means we are not just teaching 20 students, we are teaching  10 different grades, all in Math, English, Spanish, History, Reading, Spelling, Science, etc.  It is a tall order to fill, but with God’s help, we are able to do it.  It is a bilingual school; we have full courses in both English and Spanish.  Our goal is that when the students leave, they are fluent in both languages.

The reason we have a private school there on the property is that the missionaries were driving 3 hours each day to take their children into town to school!  Losing so much ministry time!  Now, they can focus on the ministry because we are focusing on their children!  Last year, between the Helping Hands and Word of Life Bolivia, over 30,000 people heard the Gospel!!  Águila had a direct part in that!

Our new school year starts on March 9 and runs until mid November.  Please pray for God’s hand on the school, that we can minister to the children as well as the other teachers in the school.  Also, pray that their parents can effectively share the Gospel this year with the people of Bolivia.

February In Review

February is usually a time of recooperation here in Bolivia.  After 4 solid weeks of camp in January, you are exhausted.  So, a vacation is the only real solution. 
Dad and Mom had heard my rave reviews of Lake Titicaca, so they wanted to go.  We went with several other missionaries and stayed 4 days.  It was beautiful.
While we were there in Copacabana, they were celebrating La Fiesta de La Virgen del Candelaria (The Virgin of Candelaria Festival).  So, in typical Bolivian fashion, there was much dancing and festivities.  The women were dressed in very lavish costumes and would fill the streets, and of course there were live bands filling the air with fast, foot-tapping music until early in the morning.
Festival Dancers

We also climbed El Calvario to see out across the lake and we took a tour of La Isla del Sol, where the Incan’s believed was a sacred place.  Most importantly, we got some much needed rest and relaxation.
Copacabana, Bolivia

After our trip we returned to Cochabamba and began preparation on the school for the 2011 school year.  Dad helped me repair some desks and move bulletin boards.  Mom helped me organize and clean.  It was great help and I would not have been able to finish otherwise.
Mom and I were both able to celebrate our birthdays this month, TOGETHER, something that doesn’t happen often anymore.  I really enjoyed the surprise cake they brought me one morning for breakfast in Copacabana.  Mom enjoyed a nice dinner out with a flaming dessert in Cochabamba.
Birthday Cake for Breakfast!!

Then, we got a call that my grandmother (Dad’s mom) had had a stroke and they were talking hospice.  So, we all flew back to Georgia to see her and say our good-byes.  However, God had other plans!  As I write this, 3 weeks after the stroke, Grandmama still alive and in a nursing home!   She is still paralyzed on her right side, but she is eating well and able to communicate!  God answered prayers.