Thursday, 25 September 2008

G is for...

Two mornings a week Alana goes to the ‘guardaria’ (nursery) where she has lots of fun playing with the toys, playing big sister to the smaller babies, pushing them around in their buggies and bringing them toys to play with, as well as making friends and learning to play with others. She enjoys spending time there and has to give kisses and wave to all the other children each time she leaves.

One of the favourite snacks to buy on the street, in the market or to be served at various functions is ‘Gelatina’ or jelly, which comes in a range of varying colours from orange, red, green and even blue. Sometimes its served with fruit inside, sometimes with whipped egg white on the top or just on its own, but is enjoyed by all ages, not just the children. Ed sometimes receives it as his mid afternoon snack at work. We began to wonder if adults in the UK are missing out on this treat, maybe it should start being served at some high executive meetings for elevenses or afternoon tea!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Moulding Chronicle September 08

Dear Friends,

This month saw the celebration of Alana's 2nd birthday, which we celebrated
with a number of different families for a picnic and games. With that
passing, unbelievably we are close to celebrating our first anniversary of
being here in Bolivia. The referendum recall vote was peaceful, but has
changed very little other than the removal of 3 of the local government
heads. There have been more blockades in protest of other issues, which have
made life harder for some people in the increase of food prices, and being
stranded at bus terminals, however this seems to be a continuous part of
life here.

Ed continues to be kept busy with his work producing maps for a number of
different reports and proposals and trips out to the campo. During his most
recent visits he had the opportunity to meet and talk with some of the
families that are benefiting from the work, this was very encouraging to him
as he could see how his small part of making maps was a part of a much
bigger picture that was having a positive impact. Towards the end of this
year one of the major sources of funding for some specific FH projects is
coming to an end, and with it comes much uncertainty for many people in
their jobs. It will mean serious cutbacks across the country as well as
changes in Ed's work.

Over the last couple of months a role for Sarah has slowly been developing.
It is not so much one specific thing but rather a number of different things
that fit in and around Alana and other general chores that need doing. Sarah
has been continuing one day most weeks helping with the admin for the Child
Development Program, as well as some translation work for a TV program about
the work of FH, and is likely to have some more work translating letters
from the children of the sponsorship program. In addition to this she has
begun meeting up with a fellow missionary from Brazil in order to help her
with her English. So thank you for praying, God is answering our prayers.

Spiritually the last few months have been a dry time, with difficulties in
making the time to study Gods word and feed our souls. Being over tired and
generally worn out has not helped either, however our short time away
enabled us to feel more refreshed and gave us a good opportunity to review
where we were at as well as thinking about how we can change things, so
please pray with us as we travel through this dry time.

Thank you for your continuing love, encouragement and support of us in our
time here, we couldn't be doing it without you.

Praise God For:
• A refreshing time away in Potosi
• Encouraging trips to the campo for Ed
• More work opportunities for Sarah

Please pray for:
• Continued good health, particularly with the hotter weather setting in
• Wisdom for the decision makers of FH Bolivia regarding the cut backs
• The individuals who will be affected by the changes
• Sarah's parents as they prepare to visit in November

Ed, Sarah & Alana

Alana's birthday

It quite hard to believe that our little baby is now 2 years old, the time
has just flown by so quickly but she still continues to be a joy and delight
as she learns and discovers new things to say or do. Her latest new word
being 'naughty' accompanied by a wagging finger (I wonder where she got that

Alana enjoyed her birthday as we celebrated a special birthday lunch with
the other British family. The day after we were able to celebrate with many
other friends during a special birthday picnic at a place called the
'Glorieta castle'. It sounds quite grand but basically is just a big fancy
house with a nice big garden and plenty of space to run around and explore.
I think by the end of the day we all felt quite exhausted.

Holiday in Potosi

After a short 3 day holiday break in Potosi we began to wonder why anybody
would choose to live in such an inhospitable place where it can get so cold
and where its hard to go about simple daily living because of the altitude.
However, many people do live in this bustling city, which ranks as the
highest in the world being situated at a height of 4100m above sea level.

Potosi is nothing to what it once was. In its early days it was one of the
largest and wealthiest cities in the world equal to the size of London,
which is hard to believe when you see what remains today. So what made it
so successful – silver – discovered in Cerro Rico (rich mountain) that lies
south of the city. Sadly like in so many situations great wealth was
achieved at the expense of millions of lives of both the indigenous
populations and African slaves brought in to work in the mines and

Mining in Cerro Rico still continues today using primitive techniques,
however it is no longer silver that is mined but tin and other metals. None
of which bring much income to the city, so today all that remains of the
great wealth that there once was is in the fine churches.

It was quite a difference from our familiar city of Sucre with houses all
painted different colours and narrow cobbled streets which sounds quite
pretty until you see how much rubbish there is and how run down many of the
building are.

There were however two redeeming features to our visit, the first was a much
welcome visit to the thermal pools, which was lovely we all enjoyed several
hours just floating and splashing about in the warm water. The second was
the festival of San Bartolome, which happened to coincide with our visit.
This consisted of a parade that continued for two days with different groups
from all over the country all dressed up in bright gaudy costumes doing
their traditional dances. We were amazed by how much energy some of these
dancers had as the dances were full on, but we weren't too surprised to
discover that many of them would have been either drinking alcohol from
early in the morning or chewing on coca leaves.

It was good to have taken time out of our familiar routine and surroundings
and to explore somewhere different and new, however I think we were all glad
to get back to the lower altitude and warmer climate of Sucre.

Political issues

Just before Alana's birthday on the 10th September, the American Ambassador
was asked to leave the country on the grounds of aiding and abetting
opposition prefects (Local government leaders working against central
government), the following day violence broke out in Pando (north east of
the country) where 30 – 40 campasinos were ambushed and shot dead and where
over 100 people are still missing.

These happenings put us on immediate alert for possible evacuation, as
relations between Bolivia and the US became somewhat strained and other
problems began to surface. Our bags have been packed and we have sat and
waited, however the situation has taken a turn hopefully for the better.
The director of FH Bolivia sent the following today:

Thanks to God we are well. We are re-starting our operations as normal at
the office in La Paz. On Monday we closed the office here for security
reasons, and operated at a minimal level yesterday.

There were demonstrations during these two days, but nothing happened to our
office or our staff. In any case it was good for us to take caution measures
after receiving the warnings from the American embassy.

Another good news is that the government and the opposition signed an
agreement to dialogue last night after 25 hours of negotiations. The
agreement has started to be implemented by the opposition and now the
government has to comply. This is a small light of hope in the middle of the
critical situation here. I would like to ask your prayers for this dialogue
to prosper and peace would be re-established. As a country, we really were
at the verge of a potential massive clash between the East and the West. We
were so close to a major conflict.

Regarding the international staff, they are well and at the places they live
here in Bolivia. Thanks to God we did not have to evacuate anyone to

In general terms, things are getting back to normal and all our staff is
well and sound. God has been good with us in Bolivia. We will continue
assessing the situation thoroughly for the next couple of days until we
determine that there are solid signs of "normality".

Please continue lifting this country and our staff in prayers. My prayers
have been asking God to lift peacemakers in the middle of the conflict, and
to turn every Christian into a tool that may speak and build up peace based
on Mathew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons
of God".