The last day

Yoli and Eliza chat while carving the chicken

Wednesday was our last day in Bolivia before returning to the U.S. We planned to visit Yoli’s sister Eliza at her home in the eastern reaches of Santa Cruz.

Our visit got off to a late start, though. One of Eliza’s daughters took the wrong bus and got lost, and she had to go rescue her. That gave us extra time to work on packing our bags and cleaning up the apartment.

Eventually Eliza arrived in her car, and drove us to her place. It sits in one of the newer neighborhoods in the suburbs of Santa Cruz, but it is fairly undeveloped. Right now there are a series of rooms built by the previous owner against the wall on the right side of the property, but Eliza hopes to build a better-planned house someday. Eliza’s mother-in-law, and Boris’ twin brother Ronny, both live on the property.

Eliza has a lot of baby toys that her kids won’t play with anymore, but our kids found ways to be entertained with them. They even managed to learn how to play a child’s accordion.

Joseph plays with the toy accordion. Photo by Jadzia

Rebecca rocks the hammock with Josie inside. Ludi looks on.

Daniel and Joseph visit after Daniel got home from school.

Eliza, Yoli, and Melany made chicken milanesa for lunch. Melany has begun studying at a culinary school, so we were watching for moments of culinary brilliance. As the food was being prepared, we all drank mate, even our kids. We also played keep-away with a soccer ball. The kids also took turns swinging in Eliza’s hammock.

Ludi in the hammock. Photo by Jadzia

Joseph drinks mate.

Rebeca prepared a drink from fresh maracuyá growing on their property. There were a lot of fruits growing there.

Rebeca prepares maracuyá

An unripe maracuyá grows on a vine at Eliza’s house.

The lunch was very nice, but eventually it was time to leave and see the abuelitos for a final goodbye. The kids had found 10 bolivianos in the street, and the money was burning a hold in their pocket, so they purchased a sizable quantity of candy and gum from abuelita’s kiosko. (There were a couple such purchases during this trip. Afterward, the kids would hold secretive meetings in which they divided up their spoils. At least we know they can work together when sweets are at stake)

Ludi purchases some snacks from abuelita.

Don Hector and Dona Lucila watch as we prepare to go home.

Don Hector and Doña Lucila wanted to have mate with us, but we didn’t have enough time. We were hoping to get back to El Jordán in time to visit with Corina. There were more family classes scheduled for that evening, like the ones they held last week.

As it turned out, there were too many demands on Corina for us to have an extended visit, but Yoli tried to chat with her before we headed over to Hot Burger for our final meal there. She and I had lomito sandwiches for old time’s sake. After eating, the kids played in the play park, and then we went back for final packing and our last night’s sleep.

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