The Axe

Ax

“The forest was dying and the trees were still voting for the axe. She was cunning; she had convinced them that by having a wooden handle, she was one of them.”    (Anonymous)

 

Published in: on December 5, 2019 at 7:10 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

21F

21F (February 21st) refers to the 2016 referendum where Evo Morales, President of Bolivia at that time, asked the people if they agreed on his re-election for his 4th term. The results were 51% for “NO” and yet last year the Electoral commission pronounced him candidate for this year’s Presidential elections held last October 20th. Bolivia has been divided by those who support him and his socialist party whose regime has lasted 13 years and by those who support new democratic parties.

The day of election, unexpectatively, the counting program of votes stopped by the time two candidates were close in votes. The following day  the counting re-started and gave Evo Morales the total winning percentage. To make a long story short; fraud was suspected and proved.

The whole country went to a unprecendented strike that went from being some small civil gropus to a massive crowd.  It was incredible to see day after day how different sectors of society, that once were affiliated to Morales Socialistic movement, one by one turned his back on him and asked him to resign.   After 21 days of tension, blockades, confrontations, damage, hurt people and a few deaths, he and many of his ministers abdicated and fled.

People in Bolivia ascribe this triumph to God. One of the main leaders in this battle made a pledge to the nation, in front of a famous Jesus statue, to personally take the letter of resignation to the President and to bring the Bible back to the Government building where once Morales, now called Dictator, inagurated his presidency with ancestral ritual that included animal sacrifices and a number of times mocked Christianity. I have never seen so many people on their knees in the streets praying and crying out to God. They now say that 21F also means 21 days of agony with FAITH.

 

An Interim President has been elected and has taken oath with the Bible and other Catholic emblems and in her speech she asked the nation to pray for wisdom from God to govern the nation these crucial months until new elections are held.

Politics is not my favorite topic to write or talk about, but I must do it having lived through this recent important historical event. It has national and International relevance. I am still in awe to realize I was here experiencing it first hand. I saw a powerful force fall in answer to prayers. I cannot say otherwise; it is a miracle.

Published in: on November 14, 2019 at 4:04 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags:

Do as Romans do

Last week I took the bus that leaves Camiri at 11 p.m.  I had heard the trip took longer than usual to get to Santa Cruz because of the many sections on the road in construction and maintenance. To my dismay, my calculation to get there at daybreak was incorrect and arrived at 4 a.m. I had two hours before going to the place I was lodging. Standing there feeling the cold wind hitting my face; I notice people sitting on the floor of the bus terminal with warm blankets.

people bus terminal

I had seen the same scenario at international airports and for some reason, it looked all-right, natural, but here it seemed, to me, ¨poor and pitiful”. But I couldn’t stay the whole time on my feet.

There are times that “When in Rome do as Romans do” actually prove to be the proper thing to do, making any cross-cultural experience easier.

 

sgv floor terminalI felt much better on the floor. Being one more, nobody noticed me. In that “low” position, I was mostly ignored, almost invisible. People walked by minding their own business.

The only aspect of this experience that did not change is that just like in any waiting, time seems to go slower.

Published in: on May 23, 2019 at 2:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

20 Years

20 yearsAs I was thinking and preparing to write about today, the day that marks my arrival to Camiri/Bolivia; I looked up words related to “milestone” which refers to a turning point, age, events, happenings, incidents, landmarks etc. Among one of them was the word “survival” and I smiled. Twenty years ago I didn’t know how I was going to be able to make it through one day… one month…one year. At this moment, I am writing this blog in the quietness of my hosts’ house, Mr. and Mrs. Train, now gone to be with the Lord. In this table, where I now have a laptop, the Trains had a nice big and heavy electric typewriter from where I wrote my first update with my first impressions, experiences and goals for my visit to Bolivia. I still remember that first day here; everything looked different, felt awkward and smelled peculiar. The days and the years ahead from that day are the days and years from the past 20 years and today everything looks normal, feels familiar and smells natural.

IMG_20160830_053510I would like to summarize these 20 years quoting from C. S. Lewis who always seems to know how to express with the right words what’s in the human mind and heart:

“Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment ‘as to the Lord.”

“The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.”

“Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”

Published in: on August 30, 2016 at 5:54 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,

Maritime Day

Bolivia is one of the 48 landlocked countries in the world. Since the War of the Pacific (1879) Bolivia lost 400km (250 miles) of coastline to Chile. Every year on March 23rd there is a “Day of the Bolivian Sea” parade. The ceremonial speech includes words of bitterness, revenge, attack and even one insulting phrase. Just like in every war, there are different perspectives, all depends who you ask.

barquito de papelWho won, who lost the Mexican-American war in 1848? Who should have control over the Strait of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands? Who should I support Kosovo or Serbia, Tibet or China? Who’s right, who’s wrong in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Each side will give a like-night-and-day answer.

Let's reclaim our sea

Let’s reclaim our sea

What it worries me is that, at least in Bolivia, children are taught that regaining access to the sea is a patriotic duty. It disturbs me that a new generation had to resent what happened over hundreds of years ago. How many people have to die to determine a border line?

I don’t pretend to resolve what international courts have not resolved. I only admit that losing is not a pleasant feeling; but life is gaining and losing and even what I consider gain or loss could be controversial. I want to live to the fullest and richest, but it won’t be so if I remain regretting and complaining about the past. There are so many good things to enjoy today!

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”  -Jesus

Published in: on March 26, 2015 at 5:07 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Winter Solstice

puerta-del-solThe winter solstice in the southern hemisphere is the time in which the Sun is at its northernmost point in the sky, which usually occurs on June 20 to 21 each year…Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but many cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time. (Wikipedia).

In Bolivia it was known as “Noche de San Juan” (Saint John’s night). A bonfire is customary with sausages and hotdogs being the shortest day and coldest night of the year and some years it has been that way.  On the 7th of June 2010 the law was passed and the holiday is to be called the ‘Aymara New Year’ and must be celebrated as a national Holiday which means that all public and private institutions, companies and schools throughout the entire nation must suspend their activities. Everyone is happy about the day off, but very discontent with the name, since not all Bolivia is of Aymara origin. There are many arguments against it, for example, the place where this “new year” is celebrated is in the ruins of Tiwanaku which are from another culture.

As for me, the name is irrelevant. I am already planning to enjoy my day off…and by the way, I better go to buy those wieners.

Published in: on June 20, 2013 at 9:22 am  Comments (2)  
Tags:

Turbulent and Quiet Camiri

At the beginning of this month and for almost two weeks, Camiri experienced once more its usual strikes and boisterous demonstrations against the city major. Traffic disturbance, agitated and tempestuous crowds in front of the city hall, market place closed and the continuous sound of firecrackers going off which makes you think you are in the middle of a gun shooting riot.

And then on november 21st a national census was held and everybody was instructed to remain inside their houses for the day. Of course I had to take a quick bicycle ride to take the pictures of a all-of-the-sudden- quiet Camiri. The feeling was strange; it seemed like a ghost town and streets that are usually full and busy of pedestrians or taken as a dance floor for a party with loud music, sidewalks used as front porches to sit and relax or to sell something, were now empty and quiet.

For me, it was like a day off and yes, I am counted for and everything is now back to normal.

Published in: on November 29, 2012 at 6:13 am  Comments (4)  
Tags:

Cobija

This year, the annual meeting of MCB was held in Cobija, a city located on the border of Brazil and Peru. Cobija is considered the rainiest region in Bolivia and if rain allows it, Cobija is connected to the rest of Bolivia also via road. Its tropical climate as part of the South America Amazon basin is a sharp contrast with La Paz, the highest capital city, surrounded by snowy mountains of more than 3000 msnm.

See pictures of the event in my facebook album: Cobija.

Members of MCB were named “Guest of Honor” by the town council and Eliseo Zuñiga, President of MCB, shared the Word and prayed for them.

Published in: on October 11, 2012 at 7:30 am  Leave a Comment  

La Hacienda

La Hacienda, the ranch, was the camp held during the first week of the Christian School’s two-week Winter break. We invited Luis Benavidez, a brother from Argentina who studied at the Word of Life Institute to present the Gospel and 20 kids made profession of faith. The activities featured Bolivian cowboy style life. We took a short trip with the 86 participants to Ipati de Ivo, a small community in the countryside where we enjoyed Churrasco, the South American cowboy old method of barbecuing beef, and kids learned how to make “masitas” (traditional pastries). Many of us milked a cow for the first time.

See more than 100 pics in Facebook (here).

Published in: on August 2, 2012 at 6:04 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,

End of Vacation

During my short month of vacation I had camp (kitchen work) and two trips to Santa Cruz, one to Villamontes where I had to walk through a blockade and  make it to destination on a moto-taxi ride and a trip to a rural area called Ipati de Ivo in the back of a cattle truck so full of people sweating, animals and stuff that for a moment I thought it could have been close to a concentration camp train; except that passengers were friendly country people and we were having fun. I took one day off to ironically rest from vacation activities and before going back to school. We have opened the office and registration has started. The school year begins next Monday.

See more pictures in facebook albums: Some Xmas-Some Vacation and Ipati de Ivo

Published in: on February 2, 2012 at 5:33 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: