Day 11 – Visiting the Past.

August 26, 2013

 As usual everybody got up, got dressed and headed down for breakfast. Our breakfast was the usual, cereal and bread. After we were done eating we all split into the assigned groups to do morning chores. Soon, everybody was ready to head to work. Once we reached the worksite and we all got our gloves and hats on we had a group talk on what needed to be done. Some of the jobs included pouring and leveling concrete, leveling the ground and shoveling rocks.  We all welcomed the sun that came out today but we had to be very careful not to overheat. As always we all worked hard and quickly.

 About half an hour before our lunch break we found out that some of us would be going to the two orphanages (Amistad & Bolivian Children’s Mission) that the Interact group worked at last time they were in Bolivia. After a bit, the rest of us soon joined the others back at the Scout Hall. There we had a lunch of rice, potatoes, meatloaf, broccoli and juice.  After lunch, we had our quiet time. Everybody went off to take a nap, read, listen to music, watch a movie or play cards. When quiet time was over the Interactors who were going to the orphanages began to load bags and the Interactors who were going back to work started to get ready to leave.

                At the worksite we worked hard to get as much work done before it was time to head back. We leveled dirt, moved rocks and worked on the concrete. The people working on rocks got quite a surprise when they found a HUGE spider! Sooner than we expected, we were done and ready to leave.

                Some of us visited two past project sites of our Interact Club, here in Cochabamba.   While we were waiting for Geoff and Lorraine to run an errand,  a little boy about 3 sat outside and played games like peek-a-boo, and kept running around laughing and hiding from us. At one point the little boy looked up at Emma and said, “Te amo!” before running away.  When we arrived at Amistad, the project that the interact group worked on in 2009, everybody saw how the centre worked. The objective is to take in abandoned or orphaned children and give them a proper family life. They have 8 separate houses on the compound.  In each house there are 8-10 children and one mom (a woman who works to raise the kids). They also have a ‘Tia’ (an aunt) who helps sometimes. While we were there, we took a tour of the facility with the director. We were shown the gardens, library, offices, gym and were welcomed into 2 houses. In one house, they were having a birthday party for an American girl who had been volunteering there for three months. We were all surprised when they started to play “Chubby Bunny” and the mom offered us home-made ice cream.

After the tour we gave out some of our suitcases filled with clothes and took a picture,  Next we headed to the project they worked on in 2007, an orphanage inside one house. When we arrived, we were greeted by smiles and hugs. That was closely followed by grabbing our cameras and running around taking pictures. After about 20 minutes of kicking around a soccer ball, we gave them some suitcases and quilts. We also met the director and two German volunteers, who were staying at the orphanage. It was hard to say goodbye after having such a short time with the kids, but it was time to head back to the Hall for dinner. On the way back, Mikey, Lorraine and Geoff talked about that orphanage and their experiences there. They told us that that is the reason they do these trips and that every time they go back, it feels like home. Many of us hope to return to those orphanages, South Africa and the centre we are working at now.

                That night, when everybody was back, we all gathered with some of the local Rotarians and Rotaractors to watch a movie. The movie was a satire about two Bolivian criminals.  It was cool to see the actual towns and cities that were shown in the movie. While we all laughed a lot, we were shocked about how honest the movie was about the state of the country. After the movie there was a short presentation by one of the Cochabamba Roteract Presidents about the projects they are currently working on. Their projects include working with children who are visually impaired and their current project involves  teaching the kids to recycle and throw away garbage. After the presentation, we were all very tired and ready for bed.

 Goodnight Cochabamba

-Alyssa, Emma and Sophie

Kids at Cereco Center

Kids at Cereco Center

 

Spider in rock pile

Spider in rock pile

 

Cement pouring

Cement pouring

 

Group with clothing donation for orphanage

Group with clothing donation for orphanage

 

Lorraine with the cook from the orphanage

Lorraine with the cook from the orphanage

 

Lorraine and Geoff with orphanage bus

Lorraine and Geoff with orphanage bus

 

Mike with orphanage bus

Mike with orphanage bus

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Day 5 – The work begins!

August 20, 2013

Today we went to Cereco Center for the first time to meet the children and the workers. They greeted us with cards, flags, hugs and lots of excitement. Mike and Geoff briefed us on the project and what we would be doing for the next few days. We started work this morning on pulling out tires, transporting rubble from the broken cement, making molds for the retaining wall, and transplanting various trees and shrubs. It’s a very big project for us but everyone is working so hard to get the job done that it is still possible. The scout hall where we are staying is a block away from our worksite; it’s so close that we can see the project from our windows! We have been divided into groups to do work around the scout hall during the day. We do things such as dishes, sweeping bedrooms, and cleaning the bathrooms and showers. Even though it’s winter in Bolivia it’s still very hot outside which makes the work we are doing tiring. Some people already feel the effects of the elevation and are losing their breath quickly, having headaches, and becoming tired easily. We may become tired quickly also because we are working so hard, we’ve actually broken a large portion of the shovels and pick axes within the first few hours!

Around 12:30 we walked back to the scout hall to have lunch, wash dishes, and have our quiet time. At 2pm we all went back to Cereco to finish up the day’s work. We dug up all of the tires that were in the ground, transplanted all of the trees and shrubs, and we finished moving all of the concrete rubble, which we thought was going to take 2 weeks! At 3:30pm a few Interactors from the Cochabamba club came to the worksite to get to know us better and help out with finishing our tasks. Near the end of the day we started mixing the concrete for the jungle gyms and plan on continuing the concrete work tomorrow.

Once we finished up at the job site we returned to the scout hall and had showers which felt oh so good! After the long, hot day of working hard we were covered in dirt and very grateful for the showers, even though there was no hot water. Later on, we had our dinner which was cooked by people from a local restaurant. We finished up dinner, cleaned up the dishes and had some time to relax a little bit. Then we went to bed.

– Noah and Israel

Some of the  adults at the center working on some crafts

Some of the adults at the center working on some crafts

 

students and adults at the Center presented each of us with a lei type necklace, a Bolivian flag and a picture

students and adults at the Center presented each of us with a lei type necklace, a Bolivian flag and a picture

 

Kids from the Center greeting us upon  our  arrival

Kids from the Center greeting us upon our arrival

 

The work site-we will help pour a new concrete slab for games, but we need to move all the dirt and old broken concrete first-there  are about 4 more large piles of dirt behind the other piles

The work site-we will help pour a new concrete slab for games, but we need to move all the dirt and old broken concrete first-there are about 4 more large piles of dirt behind the other piles

 

Natasha gathering up pieces  concrete

Natasha gathering up pieces concrete

 

Wren sweeping up pieces of concrete

Wren sweeping up pieces of concrete

 

 

Day 4 – Traveling by bus

August 19, 2013 

Today was Cole Chernoff’s 15th birthday. We woke up bright and early, loaded all our suitcases back onto the bus, and then went for breakfast. During breakfast we sang Cole Happy Birthday and gave him the card that all the Interactors and leaders signed as well as a beautifully decorated cake.

After breakfast we all rushed out to the buses and began our journey to Cochabamba. After about 20 minutes of driving, we stopped to switch onto our new bus. We took all of our stuff off the old bus and loaded it onto our new double decker bus. We then started our 10 hour bus ride. After driving for about 2 and half hours we stopped to eat lunch at Yapacana. For lunch we were served three courses, a peanut or noodle soup, chicken, rice and yucca, and a Bolivian desert. After lunch we continued our drive, and the scenes that we saw while driving were quite beautiful. We drove through country side that looked very tropical and saw many small towns.

While in one of the small towns most of the Interactors went and bought themselves some big bags of Coca leaves to help them with the change in altitude. We were all surprised at the amount of stray dogs there were along the road, either sleeping or wandering around. The most famous pass time for us on the bus was definitely playing cards and having random outbreaks of singing. Everywhere you looked on the bus there were groups playing games of Egyptian War, Crazy 8’s, speed, and many, many more. Some of us sat as a group at the top front of the bus and watched the road and the scenery. We came to the conclusion that driving in Bolivia is basically like a huge game of chicken as we almost hit multiple vehicles, a chicken, and a pig. For fear of getting altitude sickness Wren drank more than 6 big bottles of Coca Tea and water so she was probably in the bathroom more than 12 times and ate many coca leaves. When we finally saw Cochabamba in the distance, excitement came upon all of us…we had finally arrived.

Once we made it to the scout hall where we would be staying for the duration of the project, we had to get the luggage off the bus and drag them all up 3 flights of stairs. By this time everyone was beyond starving. After getting ourselves settled and our room assignments, we ate some chicken, rice, noodles and sandwiches. We then sang Cole Happy Birthday again, and ate the cake we had gotten for him. Joining us at dinner were various representatives from the Rotary clubs that included the Presidents of the Interact and Rotaract clubs from Cochabamba. We all helped with the cleanup and then went and cleaned ourselves up before going to bed. What we all had expected to be a long boring bus ride actually turned out to be a very eventful and fun day. Everyone is now VERY excited to begin working on our project tomorrow morning.

– Ashlee and Anna

Coca leaves

Buying coca leaves from a street vendor for 50 cents a bag

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