Monday, October 7, 2013

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 2

Welcome to Bolivia!
It is a lot like Mexico or any other country you can imagine—dirty, trash everywhere. I tried picking up the trash on the street, but it’s a lost cause. No one cares about putting things in the trash cans which are just metal baskets with big gaps.

Hot, humid, very windy, and I guess it’s the rainy season, even though it has only rained one day so far.
People are always on the streets because it’s so hot, and that is when we get the cat calls out the wazoo. It’s very uncomfortable at times, but I’m learning to ignore it.
We ride the bus most days, sometimes we use a taxi if we are late, and we walk a lot! The busses are sketch. Sometimes there are so many people that I think they are going to tip over.
No traffic laws. I’ve never seen a speed limit sign. People drive however they would like to and there are  no consequences.
Our House . . .
. . . is huge! All of the houses here are the same—lots of rooms that aren’t connected with a roof over head, and a great big gate around it.
Our house is pretty nice and costs 3,000 bolivianos. I don’t know what that is in dollars, but I think it's pretty expensive. (I looked it up—it’s $434).

Cats and Dogs . . .
. . . are everywhere, Lyss! And pretty much every sort and kind of dog and cat—all sorts of mixes and stuff—it’s kind of weird. You couldn’t throw a dead cat without hitting a dog, Dad and Bishop Madsen.
Lion Dog
Bolivian Spanish—This isn’t what they taught me in the MTC!I
It’s pretty normal, except for the fact that we are in Santa Cruz. Apparently, the Spanish here is "dirty" because they cut out all “s” sounds in their vocabulary. For example, "hata manana" or "adio.” It’s difficult to understand when they speak a million miles a minute on top of it all!
Knocking Doors
We knock doors whenever an appointment falls through (which seems to be a lot of the time). We only invite people to church, and Hermana Suxo said it isn’t effective, but we do it anyway. I’m kind of confused all the time about what/why we do things, but I trust that she kind of knows what she is doing.
"The Yellow Ones Don’t Stop!" (yes, she's quoting "Elf")
Actually, all of the cars don’t stop or even slow down for pedestrians, so we wait until we know it is 100% safe to cross the street.
Yes, Danny Glover (her friend—not the actor) would love this country mucho. All types and colors of trackers everywhere and they are always on the roads.
A much-needed break, and better yet, it was in English! We asked the Stake President if he could put it on in English for us, so we got our own room. It was fabulous and it ended too quickly. I loved that it was all about member missionary work, which is really important in the branches and wards right now—especially in Bolivia where we mostly need references.
Hermana Suxo
She is basically the definition of Christ-like attributes. She makes me breakfast, is patient, teaches me Spanish, etc. There are the cultural differences, but for the most part, we get along just great.
One of our investigators. He’s almost done with the lessons and has a baptismal date, but needs to attend church first. His father is a member and when the last missionaries were going to visit his father and try to reactivate him, he asked them to leave, but Eduardo asked them to stay and teach him. He is amazing and will be a great member of the church.
I wish I had time to write about more people, but I will next week. Oh, but real quick, I was able to teach a whole lesson in English the other day! One of our investigators speaks English better than Spanish, so Hermana Suxo let me teach in English. It was way different, but it was awesome to find out what I know in English and reaffirm my testimony in English.
Although the mosquitoes are eating me alive, I never really know what’s going on, I’m always dirty and sweaty, no one speaks English, I don’t ever feel like I get enough food, and I don’t have any time to myself . . . my Spanish is improving, I’m able to carry on a somewhat normal conversation, and I haven’t gotten sick yet (knock on wood). So, I think I’m going to be just fine here. Prayers work, and God listens.
Love you all!
Until next week,
Hermana Nelson

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