Saturday, August 14, 2010

Everyone is named Maria


I am here in beautiful Bolivia.  I was welcomed at the airport by some SLMs, Madres and a crowd of girls.  This week has been filled with all sorts of new and wonderful experiences, from riding on a motorcycle for the first time (side-saddle at that), to livestock in the middle of the road, to showering with water heated with an electric current (I touched the handle this morning and got shocked). 

I am currently living at the convent, just a block away from the Hogar, until last year´s volunteers leave.  Then I´ll move into the Hogar.  There are guard dogs everywhere, and they are trained to hate men.  Which probably isn´t that hard given that they are raised by nuns and many, many girls.  At the hogar, we have two guard dogs in training.  From what I can gather, that means they wear harnesses and play with the girls all day.  Including during supper.  Luna (a shepard mix at the convent) and I are good friends now, but she throws a fit if a man walks through.

Thus far, I know maybe 20 names.  At least 15 of them involve some form of Mary.  My site partner, Melia, will be here in mid-September.  I told someone her name, and it was repeated back as "Maria?"  Oh, it is going to get so confusing.  Aside from not knowing what to call anyone, the girls (and a few little boys) and wonderful.  Very sweet, and they just need so much love.

This morning, I went shopping in the market in Montero.  So many new smells!  And most of them were good.  We passed through the "witchcraft" section.  They were selling dried llama fetuses (I couldn´t smell them).  Apparently, you are supposed to bury them under your house for good luck. 

I´ve just been piddling around this week.  My only responsibility was to "realize that I´m in Bolivia."  I can´t wait to get to know the girls better!

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