Thursday, 29 May 2014

The bus tour

Now that we are scheduling in regular school breaks, it gives us time to do a little more exploring of the city in which we live and to learn a bit more about Bolivian culture. During our break this week we decided that we were going to do the city tour on the big red double decker bus.  It turned out that we had the whole tour to ourselves.

As we were getting ready to set off, the local police all dressed up in tracksuits appeared on the road in front of us and proceeded to close off the road and have a game of football. Since living here we have come to expect random events, though as we approached the main centre we saw more roads closed off and groups of people gathered for volley ball, football, aerobics.  It turned out to be 'el dia del desafio'(the day of the challenge). That was a new one to me, but added to the views as we went along.

Second breakfast, or early lunch at 9:45?

The markets

One or two rolls of toilet paper with your potatoes!

The view, with the football stadium in the centre

Somewhere over there is our house

Just a few cables to dodge on the way through the streets

It was good to learn new things and to go places where we hadn't yet been too, and to feel at ease being a tourist for the morning and taking lots of photos.

The ever friendly herd of zebras that waved and blew kisses as we passed


Over time we watched as the colourful 6 storey building was constructed on top of the hill and took its form, wondering what it was going to become, with its little yellow railway car taking visitors up to the entrance.  What it became was 'Pipiripi' an interactive children's museum,  which has now been open since June 2011, and which has taken us this long to finally pay a visit.

It was certainly worth the visit with lots of hands on interactive activities spread across 6 different levels, and plenty of space to run around.  The ground floor was a space for games such as Hopscotch, hoola hoops, building bricks, ball pool and puppets.

Giant bubbles!
How to put yourself inside a bubble
Simple bubble making using cut off pop bottles
The boys enjoyed popping the bubbles rather than making them

On the next floor we were introduced to bubbles and creating our own Giant bubbles from an old car tyre, and a market place where the children could buy and sell fruit and vegetables to one another.

The market place and textile crafts

Shopping in the market
Deciding what to buy

The 5 minute rehersal
It was also quite a cultural experience as one floor included a dressing up area, and a space where staff helped to teach a simple dance routine which was then carried out on stage all dressed up. On the day we were there it was a presentation especially for the mothers on Mothers day. Alana very much enjoyed that part, though Ed wasn't so sure about his own performance.

All dressed up for the part
He didn't want to dance but didn't want to be far from Daddy either

The last levels were for more creative pursuits, modelling with clay and painting, which all of the children really enjoyed. 
Draw the city 

The interactive space continued outside with sandpits, skipping ropes, hoops and a myriad of other things to do, only it was a little too cold to play outside when we went, so its a definite plan to return again another day to have more fun together.

Moulding Chronicles May 2014

Dear Friends,

Life can be challenging at times, not knowing if the world as you know it will be turned upside down and inside out at any minute. It’s those challenges that force us to make important decisions. Where and in whom are we going to put our trust? What are the things most important to us? What attitude are we going to choose in light of the challenge? Are we going to choose to learn and grow or sulk and complain?

Although we know what we should do, it’s hard sometimes to make the right choices. Those discouraging voices at the back of our minds start effecting what we do and how we do it. But we thank God for the real voices of real people who God uses to encourage and build us up and who speak truth into our situation, and who remind us of Gods continuing faithfulness and who encourage us to keep trusting Him for just one day at a time. And so, even though our challenge is yet to be resolved we hold onto the hope God has given us and take one step at a time and look to where we can grow and learn.

Life lessons can be just downright exhausting, but they can also be liberating and life giving.  Over the last 2 months we have been  participating in a course about Building Healthy Relationships, which covers 5 important areas that can  either break down or build up relationships. These areas have included; rejection, judging others, forgiveness, seeking forgiveness and loving others. 

The courses were simple in their truths, yet hard hitting as they challenged us at our core self, highlighting where we needed to change and grow. There is not space to share everything about the course here but if it captures your interest you can find out more at Victorious Christian Living International

In other family news, we had fun celebrating Lucas’ 2nd birthday over the Easter weekend with an egg theme. The best part of which was watching how much fun the adults had throwing paint filled egg shells at a piece of paper resulting in lots of mess and pretty pictures.

In school we have just finished a project on boats and enjoyed an afternoon making some boats and then setting them to sail in the bath tub. We have also started a journey of learning about the human body. So far we have explored the skeletal system and made our own model of a cell using jelly and lots of sweets (You can imagine how well that one went down). We are thankful for the smiles and rays of sunshine in our days. Blessings.

Thank God for: 
  • Improving health
  • Greater motivation for Ed at work
  • The outcome of the relationships course

Ask God for:
  • Opportunities to share the course with others
  • A swift, positive resolution to our current challenge
  • Guidance in strengthening our own family relationships

Ed, Sarah, Alana, Isaiah and Lucas

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. 
Hebrews 6:19a

Monday, 19 May 2014

An Easter garden

For Easter this year we decided to do something a little different and make our own Easter garden.  I have many happy memories from my own childhood of spending hours putting together little gardens complete with ponds, rockeries and freshly picked flowers (that didn't stay fresh for very long).  Living where we live in a land of concrete and cement it wasn't going to be easy putting together something so 'natural' so we had to work with what we had, but the result of what we created really surprised me.

To form our 'garden' we resorted to good ole paper mache, paint and tissue paper, adding a natural touch with a few stones and forming our crosses out of sticks. 

My original plan was to make it and use it as a centre piece for our table to bring a focus of conversation around to what Easter was about. Yet as it sat there the first day I was surprised to see how the children began interacting with it and playing with it and so we decided to make it more than just an ornament and through the course of holy week, with the help of some little plastic people we acted out the last days of Jesus before his death and then his resurrection.

It brought the story to life in a new way this year. For days later the children could be seen re-acting out the story and all that happened with a few extra characters here and there, with the empty tomb occasionally being used as a car park!

Something from the story has definitely stuck, as when flipping through the photos today Lucas (2) took one look at the figure stuck to the cross and said 'Jesus'.