We are a pretty big family

Josie plays Raquel in Mancala.

Thursday was a welcome change of pace. We went back to Lucy’s house, but this time Noemi had arrived with her children: Abi, Raquel, Genesis, and Melody.

We started off by playing games. Noemi’s kids are chess players and have won some competitions. Yoli brought along a Mancala board, and we taught them how to play.

Joseph and Genesis wrestle

Meanwhile Joseph got off to a bad start with Genesis, who wanted to talk and play with him. But Joseph is stubborn and didn’t want to speak Spanish, and as things do with kids, the situation escalated and he bopped Genesis. This was the sort of thing I was afraid of. Joseph is often the odd man out among the kids at our family gatherings back home, and I didn’t want him to feel excluded or to exclude himself here.

Things improved greatly when we went to a parknear the house, which had a playground and lots of open space. Ludi and Josie tried roller skating. Genesis especially helped Ludi get going. I held onto Josie. Joseph and I played catch for a long time, and Joseph was giving me some pretty good throws. Cuco and the others then taught our kids how to play Mancha, which is something close to Tag.

Genesis helps Ludi practice rollerskating.

Noemi prepared lunch for us, and we all sort of took turns crowding into Sara’s kitchen to eat.

After lunch, Yoli and Noemi went shopping to get supplies for a big family dinner Don Hector wanted to hold that night. The kids sort of split up into Bolivian and American groups, with my kids watching a movie. When it was done, we all went back to the park to play more. Joseph discovered Cuco’s extensive cache of play guns, and he took one to the park. He had a delightful time pretending to blast his older girl cousins, and they chased him around all over the place, occasionally throwing shoes or palm branches at him.

Cuco and Melody play chess

The weather since we got here has been cold: consistently in the 50s and 60s. There are no indoor heaters here, so you have to dress warm. Yoli borrowed some coats from El Jordán because Thursday was supposed to be the coldest this week. During the afternoon, though, it wasn’t too bad. Perhaps that was because of all the running around we were doing.

The cold was one reason Yoli’s sisters weren’t keen on Don Hector’s plan to have a party Thursday night. Bolivian parties like this are always scheduled late, and always begin later than scheduled. This one was tentatively set for 8:30; way, way later than we would have liked. Under this plan, dinner likely wouldn’t have happened until closer to 10.

Yoli helps peeling yucca.

We went to Don Hector’s to help with preparations. I was also going to change some connections on his TV to route the audio through his stereo, since the sound has pretty much stopped working on the TV. We planned to watch “Master and Commander,” currently Joseph’s favorite movie, during preparations for dinner as a way to test the audio and to watch a movie, which Don Hector loves to do.

This proved to be an exercise in frustration. The DVD remote didn’t work, and I didn’t have a way to change the DVD to Spanish audio. Eventually we managed to program a giant universal remote we gave Don Hector years ago, and we began the movie. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite the success I hoped. Don Hector was running in and out, and nobody besides Noemi was really interested. Also Jadzia was complaining pretty constantly.

Thankfully dinner didn’t turn out to be quite as late as feared. We moved tables and chairs to the new front porch area, which I have to say is a really great spot for such a big dinner. We had the families of Lucy, Noemi, Sara, and Eliza, plus the tenants were invited to join us. Doña Lucila prepared very tasty chicken, along with rice, potatoes, yucca, and veggies.

We rigged up an extra light and I managed to get a decent photo of the dinner. I don’t have tools for importing photos from my camera to our iPad, though, so it will probably be a few days before I can share any photos.

Almost all the family ready to have dinner at Don Hector´s.

About Josh Renaud

Josh Renaud is married to Yoli and together they have four beautiful niñitos. Find him on Twitter (@Kirkman) or Google+.
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