Day 13 – The project is almost complete

August 28, 2013

This morning was Anna’s birthday, so we all woke up and gathered outside her room. We all went inside singing “Happy Birthday” to wake her up. We went down to the kitchen for breakfast.   Orlando cooked us a special breakfast for Anna’s birthday, bacon and scrambled eggs.  Then we ate one of the two birthday cakes that Anna got.  (Juan Carlos also bought a cake for Anna).  We all broke into our three groups to clean up and do our chores. Once everything was cleaned up we all went to the worksite.

At the worksite we put the flag pole in, finished leveling off the topsoil in the park area, fixed up the basketball net area, planted the rest of the flowers and trees, and poured lots of slabs of concrete. We are almost done our work on this project and the work is becoming less physical. After today we just need to finish the concrete and the last few miscellaneous things, like putting in the monument.

During recess, Denise helped the director of the school distribute over 130 hats to each one of the students and teachers at the center.  Denise’s mom knitted these hats and the children proudly played the rest of the recess wearing them.

 We came back to the scout’s hall to eat lunch quickly and then went back to the worksite. At 3:30 we finished our work for the day and came back to shower and hang out with the Cochabamba Interactors.

After dinner we took taxis to the men’s jail. There, we went inside and up to a room where the children that live in the prison were gathered. We entertained them with singing and dancing. We presented them with a soccer ball and some uniforms that we raised money for. We handed out their dinner and dessert. We were not allowed to take any pictures while in the prison.  We played with them for a little while after that. We left the prison and took taxis back to the scout hall. We talked and went to bed.

-Cole (and Israel)

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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 9 – A Visit to the Market

August 23, 2013

When we got up we were served a selection of Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs and Frosted Flakes. As well as bread with either jam or caramel spread. Of course we had coca tea or coffee or hot chocolate to drink. After we finished we did our chores and got ready for the day.

Once everyone was ready we walked to the project.  It had rained over night so everything was wet and cold. When we arrived everyone split into their groups and started working. The jobs being done were; making a cobblestone path for the drain, breaking concrete to remove the flag pole from the soon to be basketball court and shoveling and leveling dirt on the playground. After a few hours some of the Bolivian Interactors came and planted some trees and bushes in front of Cereco Center. It was slightly depressing to do all the work in the rain so we stopped for lunch half an hour early.

For lunch we had potatoes with a yellow peanut sauce, fried balls of vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes and hard boiled eggs. For dessert we were served a pineapple fruit cup flavored with cinnamon. After lunch we had quiet time, it was a nice break.

When quiet time was over we walked down to the market.  What was supposed to be a 20 minute walk turned out to be over one hour, before we found the right market. We saw all sorts of interesting things. including a full butchered horse head with the nose and whiskers still intact, puppies, kitties, bunnies and tons of Bolivian souvenirs and trinkets. Everyone was incredibly happy with their purchases. The market was a very interesting cultural experience. It is a huge market.  It is four blocks long and two full block wide. Everything in it is very tightly packed and all of the booths are super full of merchandise. It was also interesting to see how they sell their fresh produce. Every vendor has a few items that they grow and they sell only those items in heaping piles on the ground. How they sell the meat is also quite different than in Canada. There are loads of little butcher shops and they have all their cuts of meat on a counter in front of them. After everyone was finished shopping we walked back to the hall in a rush because we were running late for dinner with the Interactors and Roteractors of Cochabamba.

On the way to dinner our taxi had to pull over and ask someone who was walking along the road for directions to our restaurant. When we finally arrived at “Restaurant Canata” we went in and sat with other Interactors and Roteractors to encourage conversation. We listened to their meeting where they discussed upcoming fundraisers and events.   Israel made a small speech and announced that we will be donating five hundred dollars to their fundraiser where they build houses for families in need.  At the end of the meeting and speech we made the friendship of our two interact clubs official by both Presidents signing an agreement to continue our partnership. Everyone was happy  because they hope to visit us in Castlegar next summer. Soon after the meeting finished we were served our meal of fried plantain, mashed potatoes, broccoli, carrots, corn and a piece of meat topped with gravy, red peppers and mushrooms. Everything was very delicious and we all enjoyed our conversations.

After dinner we took some group pictures and started dancing! We danced to all sorts of music . From what we are used to dancing to like Electronic music, Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber and lots of other artists to lots of genres, artists and songs from Bolivia that most of us had never heard. It was very fun, and a really great team building event.

Everyone was very impressed with how well they could dance, especially the Bolivian girls with really high heels.   After quite a while we all headed back to the hall, in taxis or in the back of the Interactors parent’s cars. It was past our bed time so we all went to bed fairly quickly.

It was a very fun, long and interesting day. The people I talked to were all very happy because not only did we get lots of cool Bolivian stuff and snacks, but we got to see more of Cochabamba and experience more of the Bolivian culture.

-Wren

 

Victor our cement worker enjoying the new rain jacket we gave him

Victor our cement worker enjoying the new rain jacket we gave him


Flag pole removal

Flag pole removal


Do you know what this is?

Do you know what this is?


Market

Market


Israel signing Friendship document with Cochabamba Interact President`

Israel signing Friendship document with Cochabamba Interact President

 

Day 7 – Work hard/Play hard

August 22, 2013

Today when we all woke up and got out of the comfy little bunk beds we sleep in at the scout hall we went to breakfast and exchanged some stories.  We found out the dogs that live on the compound had gone into two of the rooms and startled a few people. One went into girls room and tried to snuggle up to Tamara.  The other one decided to go into the boys room and sniff Mike’s face. We then went and did our morning duties. We are broken into three groups and are assigned either the kitchen, sweeping the rooms and halls, or the bathrooms. No one likes doing the bathrooms… even though there is only one toilet that works in the girl’s bathroom. That causes problems when we wake up and all have to pee.

Once our chores are complete walk for about two minutes over to the site. One of our duties today was to take all of the rocks that were stacked behind the bleachers. These rocks were fairly large and it took the Interactors half a day to move them all to a pile to the side of the park, which is very impressive. When we got our new pile of dirt delivered today the men who delivered the dirt, were responsible for taking the rocks that we piled, away in their dump truck. It took them only 30 min to throw them all into their truck and drive away. Wow!   The work we have done so far is almost finished filling in behind the bleachers and making them stable.  Some of us would like to ask if we can grout (fill in cracks and holes) and possibly paint them.   Then we have to level out all the area beside playground equipment and place new dirt, and cement the rest of the basketball court. We finished transplanting trees after a run in with the angry gardener.

 Once classes at the center start the parents of the kids like to come over and to help us because they are required to have some volunteer hours for the center, it’s really nice to have them help because it’s a little easier to take a break and sit in the shade if you need to. Work day three is always one of the hardest; it’s when you start to feel sore before you start getting used to the hard work. Some of the moms come and helped us transfer dirt.   It is amazing to see them take empty cement sacks, pile a bunch of rocks and dirt onto  the bag and  carry the bags to the pile.  Many of these women were not all that young!  There are also two little boys who came to help us. These little boys work harder than we do when they come, and that’s VERY hard.  At the end of the day we welcomed a shower, that we all knew was going to be a cold shower. There seems to be only one shower that actually gives luke warm water and I haven’t a clue which one it is.

 Tonight the District Governor of Bolivia came along with all the Cochabamba Interact, Rotaract, and other Rotarians. After a nice ceremony where Geoff got a Rotary banner from the Rotary club of Cochabamba and all the Interactors were given buttons that said, “Yo Rotoract Tunari”, which means “We love Rotaract Tunari”. The night was fun and we played multiple games with all of the Rotaract and Interact clubs. We played a game that helped us introduce ourselves.  When a ball of yarn was thrown to you in the circle, you took hold of the string, said your first and last name, hobbie, and nickname. It created a spider web that linked our countries, and ourselves together. . Then we had a barbeque and the meat was definitely something that most Interactors from Canada were not used to, it was cow heart. To be honest it tasted just like normal meat and lots of the boys went back for more. Then we played another game called ‘werewolf’ which was kind of  like that murder mystery game where someone is it and they shake another person’s hand and squeeze it so they “die”, except it had witches,  werewolves and hunters and was really interesting. Once the night ended it was much later than when we usually go to bed. We all said our goodbyes and went to sleep.

– Ashlee

Geoff and the District Govenor

Geoff and the District Govenor

 

A group of students at Ceirco Center

A group of students at Ceirco Center

 

Raissa and Sophie

Raissa and Sophie cut 76 holes in this pipe because perforated pipe is too expensive

 

Steven working with the cement maker

Steven working with the cement maker

 

 A mom working with her baby on her back

A mom working with her baby on her back

 

Barbeque preparation

Barbeque preparation

 

Game with yarn making a web

Game with yarn making a web

 

Wren and Natasha making new friends

Wren and Natasha making new friends

 

Day 6 – Work and play

August 21, 2013

 Today we had our second round at the jobsite. We got up nice and early, had Coco Puffs and Fruit Loops for breakfast, and then made the short trek over to the Concha. Today our focus was creating a level surface for the playground area as well as preparing the space behind the bleachers for concrete. About half way through some of the students at the Center invited us to play some soccer. They were a lot better than us even though they were so much younger! Some of the student’s parents came today and helped us shovel, pick, and wheelbarrow. They were so productive and hard working, and even helped us with our Spanish. We all took lots of breaks and drank lots of water, as it is quite hot here in Bolivia. All of us came back to the scout hall this afternoon both happy and very tired.  

                Later we got to spend some time with the Cochabamba Interact club as well as roughly 10 local Rotarians. We played games and got to know the other kids. They showed us a game called captain on deck, which was somewhat like Simon Says. Then we showed them the ever so popular “Kungfu Panda” which was a big hit. They were very kind and their English was good, so we had no problem making new friends. We got their names for Facebook and gave them ours, so later we will be able to talk to them more. Although at the beginning of the evening while waiting for the Interctors to arrive, many of us just wanted to go to bed and even some were hoping that our company would not show up. However, we were all so happy that we stayed up, met new friends.

                At the end of the day we were all tired and ready for bed. We got a lot done at the jobsite and made lots of friends. We all can’t wait for tomorrow and are excited to see how the Concha turns out.

 – Derek

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