Monday, 23 November 2015

ToroToro, one of natures natural beauties.

Now that the children are a little bit older we feel that we are able to explore a little more of the amazing natural beauties that abound within this country. The country is not very well set up for tourism or at least not those who are travelling with children. The majority of places worth visiting involve an hour or more hard walking.

ToroToro is a place that Ed has visited a number of times in recent years as he has been involved in various evaluations of the work that FH is doing in the area.  Having seen the photos and heard a lot about it, it was on our list of places we really wanted to see as a family. When friends of ours were talking about going we jumped at the opportunity of doing a joint family trip which worked out just great, as the extra people helped to keep everybody moving along during the long, long, hikes.

We weren’t disappointed with what we saw.  In recent years there has been a great effort to improve tourism within ToroToro national park and there are now many guides available just waiting to take you around the spectacular wonders of nature, though I don’t think many would have quite so happily taken on our band of 5 small children, however Emilo our guide was fantastic. He was very encouraging and helpful and readily took a slower pace to cater for small legs.

The children were amazing, they did so well walking and climbing and clambering over rocks and into caves stopping at every place where there was sand or water for a play.

During our time we visited 5 major sites, the first was the ‘Ciudad de las Itas’, a city made of huge stones with caves at every turn. A lot of climbing and clambering but well worth the breathtaking views.

Site number two was down into the caves, we weren’t able to do the complete cave route as it was too dangerous to do with the children, however we were able to get a good way down into the caves to 70m below the surface, so everybody got a good taster of what its like to be inside a cave, there were a few occasions when the children were not so sure but with a bit of encouragement, they were happy to press on.

Site number 3 was the Mirador, a metal balcony structure that was built by FH a few years ago that overhangs one of the canyons and provides a beautiful view of all around.

Site number 4, from the mirador we made our way slowly down into the canyon, going down 850 rough stone steps then along the canyon floor to the ‘Virgil’ a beautiful oasis of a waterfall cascading down the mountainside creating a sudden flood of green amongst the barren rocks. There was a smaller pool just to one side which was just perfect for us to while away a couple of hours splashing in the clear water and exploring a small tunnel and cave off to one side. The water was lovely but the climb back up the 850 steps almost finished us off.

Site number 5. As we headed our way back to Cochabamba we stopped at another recommended site 18km out of ToroToro, ‘Las Pozos de las Golandrinas’. As series of cool, fresh water pools that spill down into what is a very hot and dry valley. After an hours walk in teh very hot sun, we were very glad of those pools to cool down in and refresh ourselves, before returning the remaining 4 hours to Cochambamba.

ToroToro is your original Jurassic park, there are dinosaur footprints wherever you go. Every year more are discovered as the process of erosion takes its toll over the land. That in itself was pretty awesome.

So if you have the energy we would highly recommend paying a visit, and we have been able to prove that it is also possible to do it with children. ToroToro also has a very unique petrol station which we made use of.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Moulding Chronicles November 2015

Along the Apalacian Trail
Dear Friends,

Well life was full of colds and feeling a bit stressed so September’s newsletter got forgotten and now November is here so we are playing catch up, while just realizing that yet another end of year is almost upon us. Even with another roller-coaster year of ups and downs I looked at Sarah this afternoon and said we are so blessed here with all the good things that God has given us especially three great children. So in this newsletter we want to share with you about our adventure to the USA.

Our travels got off to a rough start with us all being ill, and a bought of bronchitis for Sarah, however the trip was just what we were all needing. A break from the everyday life here in Bolivia, breathing in fresh oxygenated air and being surrounded by Gods wonderful creation and good friends.  In the time we were there the weather was just cooling off and the leaves on the trees were just beginning to change into beautiful reds, oranges and yellows. Having not seen an autumn in eight years we were just mesmerized by all the colours.
Autumn Colours

Our First attempts at carving pumpkins
Yay for tractor rides

Yellow Breeches
Our hosts were amazing and blessed us in so many different ways, from  many practical things such as a car and food and lodging, to being a listening ear as people who understand what living in Bolivia is like and who have homeschooled their own four children. 

Not quite Cadburys, but a fun trip
Amish Country

America was very different from what we are used to, both in the UK and Bolivia, having to drive everywhere being the biggest thing. However, we had a very positive and refreshing time and even made a number of new friends. One of the big benefits was that the children could get to experience a little more freedom and explore more of the world around them. 
Brave 2!

Part of our reason for going to the US was for Ed to complete part of a Coaching training course that he began back in September.  The training provided the opportunity to finally begin to understand and practice being a coach. It is one thing to read about something but it is something completely different to actually do it. 

We can now say that Alana is almost as tall as a Rhino
I (Ed) was not sure what to expect from the training, I guess in my mind I was expecting that the training would be 6 days of sitting and listening to people talk about what coaching is and how to do it. What it was in the end was 6 days of intense learning with teaching periods no longer than 20 minutes followed by either a demo where a trainer coached one of us or coaching a partner practicing what we had just learnt about. By the end of the training I felt much more confident in how to coach but my head was bursting with all that I had learned. 
New friend
Some of the highlights from the training where: meeting the other students on the course and hearing their stories, getting in lots of practice time to grow in confidence, hearing God speak to me as I was coached about the issues and challenges I am currently working through, learning about personality types and how we interact and clash with each other, going to a pub and having ale and fish and chips, and getting to hike around some of the beautiful countryside of Colorado Springs. 

Back in Bolivia, I am starting to put into practice what I have learned. Just this week I was in a meeting with a colleague and used some of the coaching skills I had learned to help him think about a particular training he was working on. Then I was able to help a friend from church to think through some key changes he wanted to make in his work. 

One of the tag-lines from the training is ‘practice makes permanent,’ and so I am working at setting up some coaching relationships with different people, as well as being asked to coach the leadership staff of FH in Bolivia. All of which will go towards building up practice hours towards my certification. I am a little nervous stepping out in doing this, but one of the great things about coaching is that it is not about me coming up with the answers, because God speaks first and foremost to the client, so my role is to believe in them and walk with them whilst they work out what God is doing and where He wants to lead them.

As well as the coaching practice, this month I will start tele-classes for the 3rd module, which will be really interesting as it was what got me interested in coaching in the first place. The module is about discovering ones life purpose and how to coach people as they consider questions about design, passion, preparation and calling. A quote from a book I am reading at the moment says that ‘As Christians, our purpose is woven into the fabric of the purposes of God for all of creation. Purpose is implanted in us as well as revealed to us – we were made for what God calls us to be.’ I am looking forward to walking with others as they find God’s purposes for their lives.

Thank God for: 
  • A refreshing trip to the US
  • An encouraging weeks training in Colorado for Ed
  • The different opportunities opening up to put the coaching into practice

Ask God for:
  • Working out what this next season in Bolivia looks like
  • A good finish to this school year and a good beginning to next with Isaiah joining us at home
Coram Deo
Ed, Sarah, Alana, Isaiah and Lucas