Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Weather

Having seen on the news and facebook people publishing lots of photos of the weather we thought that would put some pictures of our weather here in Sucre.

The first is of Sarah's parents garden and the other is of us in the grounds of a big old house on the outskirts of Sucre last Saturday. Another friend was visiting some waterfalls the same day. He forgot his sun cream and came back very red! Just a bit warm here then, but we are gutted to have missed the best snow in year though.

A snippet of La Paz

In La Paz there are 1000’s of small minibus (we would fit 7 people in one of these here they have 12 or more) that go around the city on set routes. In each minibus there is a person (not included in the 12 passengers and driver) calling out where the minibus is going, as not all the people can read. It is not the same all over La Paz but on some of the main roads in central La Paz and El Alto about 98% of the traffic was filled with men or women leaning out of the window calling out where they were going. Imagine London’s roads full of black cabs with them on set routes heads out the window calling out where they are going.

Lake Titicaca

I have now been to Lake Titicaca 3 times to help in the planning stages of a new environmental project. The meetings that have been held in the community in which we shall be working have been very interesting to see how my colleagues work and interact with the leaders to explain about the project and to show that we are here to fulfil our promises and not just talk about projects as they have experienced in the past. The project is to help them combat the problems of water pollution that is sent down the river to them from the city and some other towns, this includes household waste as well as waste from industry. It is in some ways even harder for them as these places receive clean water from the upper parts of their municipal area and then dump all their wastewater in the rivers that come down to them. So the project will be looking to work with these communities in decontaminating their water and land, as well as working with the industry and government bodies to prevent future pollution of the rivers.

In this last meeting we looked at what the leaders thought they needed in order to help their communities develop and then individually to choose the top 3 things that were important to them. Then my colleagues worked with them to select from these ideas what would help develop the environment, as this is an environmental project, then what they could get funding for from the project. In all of this my colleagues were not undermining the validity or importance of any of their ideas, but helping the leaders to realise that there was a limited scope of options available within this project. But at the same point wanting their ideas as to what will help them and also looking to seek other options for some of the other ideas they had.

The last part of the day was to talk with the leaders about a name for the project in Aymara. The name in the proposal is long and scientific so we wanted the leaders to choose a name in their native tongue. The came up with 7 or 8 all really good, then we had to work on persuading them to choose one of the names that was shorter (as well as pronounceable by other Bolivians let alone us foreigners) and would work when introducing the project, so in the end they selected the name ‘Wiñay Jakaña’ meaning ‘vivir siempre’ in English ‘living always'

So within this project what is my part going to be?
Well at present it is not completely clear but it will involve making maps of the watershed area (the area of land from which precipitation or surface water flow is drained into a receiving water body), working out ways to monitor the quality of the water and implementing it and running training (in Spanish!) on environmental topics as well as and slightly more scary training challenging some of their believes that will help them develop personally.

Each community lead wears a 'chicote' a band of authority, which is a year long responsibility and passes around the different families in the community. This means they are involved in all areas of community life births, deaths and marriages, conflicts, meeting with local government and much more 24/7. Their chicotes remind me of the old metal style bicycle pumps!

Food is an important part of hospitality here and very time we go they bring out something for us to eat (as well as coca leaves to chew on). This was different types of potato with homemade cheese in a spicy sauce. The last time we went they gave us a bowl with a yellow soup like dish with potatos (fresh and dehydrated), onoin cheese (and what seemed like a kilo of salt!! Bolivians do like their salt). I ate the first bowl full in my usual fast way and when offered more I said I was fine and was then brought out another full bowl, which I had to sit up straight to fit in!


The other day after tea Alana was doing some colouring at the kitchen table and when she had finished she said 'Picasa'!!! We think she was actually saying mi casa (my house) but it sounded funny.

Alana the pirate

Last month we went to the party of our landlord’s grandson, it was a pirate party and his mum gave out bandanas for everyone to wear. Alana didn’t want to wear it then, but she did wear it the following day with her dressing gown on and a jumper tied around her waist!!

I is for...

I is for some of the visitors we have had during our time here, most of whom have been and still are unwelcome (that is insects and not people). Unfortunately for Alana the most frequent visitor are mosquitoes that really like her. So every night we have a mosquito hunt in her room before she sleeps, but now and then we do miss them and we have a spotty daughter in the morning. Needless to say the culprits are soon found and despatched.

We have three times had a late night visitor in our bathroom which most certainly wakes you up when you walk in late at night. A small scorpion! I once caught one in a tub and kept him hoping to have a closer look at him when he died but he didn’t so he went the same way that goldfish end up going. Down the loo.

Quite often we have found these big bugs or beetles in our garden (usually stuck on their backs). They look like quite cumbersome things but do have some impressive horn structures on them.

Just today we had a giant dragon fly (body length of about 7cm) flitting around our house trying to find a way out

The last visitor and thankfully only once was a ventuga bug which is a very unwelcome bug for the diseases it spreads so thankfully we found it and not the other way around.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Moulding Chronicle Jan 2009

Dear Friends,
Happy New Year to one and all,we hope that you all had a joy filled Christmas time. We have thoroughly enjoyed the celebrations having special time just as a family and time celebrating
together with friends. For new year we were blessed with the visit of old Aberystwyth friends
and we enjoyed much fun and laughter.

All change for 2009
Over the course of this last month many changes have taken place, the structure and locations of all the FH Bolivia offices have changed as well as our own roles within the organisation. Jana
the previous Seconded International Staff (SIS) coordinator has moved onto pastures new leaving an opening for us to fill in a combined effort as the new SIS coordinators for FH Bolivia. This means that we now have responsibilities of taking care of all the international staff working for FH Bolivia which at present is 8 adults and 3 children in La Paz, Sucre and Cochabamba with another family due to arrive in July. This is a great answer to prayer as now Sarah can find her niche within FH. With the job comes new responsibilities as well as challenges figuring out how the job works and how we fit in the travelling to visit and encourage those working in this country.

Ed's new job
With all the cut backs and resulting changes Ed's project came to an end requiring him and FH to look at where his skills could next best be used. In late December he went to visit a new project starting on Lake Titicaca, that is seeking to tackle some of the problems with pollution and ensuing health issues. He was excited by what he saw and felt it to be the right thing to take on. It will be a great opportunity for him to grow and learn new skills as well as being stretched
and challenged in new areas. The only down side to this is that it requires us to move to La Paz, and so in March we shall be on the move again and finding our feet in a new city. This wont be an easy move to make but we are trusting God to provide all the things we will need. He hasn't let us down yet.

Thank God for:
• A happy Christmas
• Good fun and laughter with friends
• Our new jobs

Ask God for:
• Positive last few months in Sucre
• Wisdom in our new jobs
• Somewhere suitable to live in La Paz
• Safety during the vote for the new constitution, Jan 25th
With much love
Ed, Sarah & Alana