Rainy days can be fun, too

The weather here has been nothing short of wonderful, though in the past few days it has begun to warm up a bit. We’ve had rain most days, though today we had some torrents. In fact, as I type this, it is thundering and pouring pretty hard. I’m probably going to be soaked walking back to Yoli’s sister’s house.

Monday we visited the mission for their weekly prayer meeting. The usual format is that the groups sings several hymns, then one of the missionaries shares a short devotion, and then the group shares prayer requests and breaks up into smaller groups for prayer. On this occasion, I was asked to speak.

I wasn’t sure I’d have something of significance to say, but I was inspired and came up with something. Everybody seemed receptive, so I was happy how it turned out. Many of our mission friends took turns doting on Jadzia and talking with Yoli and I. It was a lot of fun.

But there was one problem. Some of you may recall that last year in the process of trying to help El Jordán with their computers, I fried one of the computers by accident. Well, in preparation for the prayer meeting, Yoli and a volunteer from El Jordan were making lemonade. The way they do it is by blending a bunch of lemons (with the peel) with water and sugar, then straining it into a pitcher. The result is the best tasting lemonade you’ve ever had. But somehow, the blender burned out. They had cut the lemons into small pieces and it seemd to be working fine. No high pitched whines or anything. Suddenly they smelled smoked, and it was finished. Unlike last year’s computer incident, I don’t think this was a case of plugging a 110-volt device into a 220-volt outlet. I’m not sure what happened.

Today we went to Santa Cruz’s newest movie theater. It’s pretty impressive, even by American standards. Totally air conditioned, stadium seating and everything. What makes it a bit different are a series of stores and kiosks selling things like jewelry and cell phones, making it like a movie theater with a tiny mall attached. Also, there are quite a few armed guards roaming the premises. We saw Narnia (with Spanish subtitles) and were pleased with it. It stayed fairly close to the book, which Yoli and I both read for the first time earlier this year.

After the movie, we went to a fancy ice cream restaurant where Yoli’s youngest sister has gotten a job. It was her first night, and she seemed somewhat overwhelmed. I remember my first night working at Tornatore’s in Bridgeton and the learning curve associated with working in fine dining. In Bolivia, unlike the U.S., tipping is very rare. Many folks can’t afford it, but there is also the practical matter that money left unattended on a table will probably be stolen shortly after it is placed there. Most restaurants don’t have a host, so patrons seat themselves. Anyway, the place was packed and very busy. It was open to the outside, and since it was in the city’s center, there was lots of activity outside as well. But the ice cream was heavenly.

One other nice thing about today — we got to leave Jadzia with Yoli’s mom, making this the first afternoon we were together without the baby in quite a while.

Speaking of the baby, she is probably finished nursing now, so I need to get back.

Stay tuned! In the coming days, we’ll be visiting Casa Hogar Nacer, checking up on the progress of El Jordán’s new construction, and also visiting a city east of Santa Cruz where you can buy all sorts of beautiful crafts.