Saturday, May 7, 2011


Carnival is here!  It’s such a big deal that no one has school, work,
etc yesterday or today.  The girls made masks and costumes for our big
party Sunday evening.  Which I might add, was the talk of the town!
We had seven queens, with very elaborate homemade costumes, and then
crowned the one Carnival Queen.  One of the many Carnival traditions
here is throwing water balloons (or paint or mud or used oil,
whatever’s on hand I suppose).  That being said, I’m avoiding leaving
the Hogar premises until Wednesday.  We had our water fight in (and a
little outside) the Hogar yesterday.  It’s crazy out there.  There
were packs of boys on foot or motorcycles running around with water
guns filled with blue paint.  Two little girls that live next door had
buckets of watery paint that they’d been throwing on anyone that goes
past.  Our girls held their own.  They made their own mud and schooled
a group of boys, who then ran away because Angelica stole their
supplies and Maritza threw her brother in the mud.  It is now 9:30 am
on Tuesday and I can hear the ruckus beginning.

On Tuesday, I walked 16 kilometers with 40 of our girls.  A guy from
the US gives lots of money to different sites around Central and South
America.  He decided to visit all of his sites, and I guess he likes
to walk because he’s been doing it on foot for around 14 months.
Apparently, though, he doesn’t like to walk alone, because all of the
kids have to walk stints of it with him.  Now this sounds like a
fundraiser, right?  I thought so too, but I’ve been told it’s not.  So
we walked through the heat and dust and wind.  Bolivians travel very
lightly and aren’t really well known for being prepared for the worst.
 Sooo, this means the girls didn’t get fed a good breakfast first, we
didn’t have someone carrying more water, the lunch stop didn’t have a
bathroom, and the police escort yelled at us if we walked too slowly.
At least there was a police escort.  And I provided sunscreen for
everyone, so NO ONE got sunburnt.  (Ok, so the girls don’t really burn
that much, but they used the sunscreen very enthusiastically anyway).
All in all, a good bonding experience.

In other big news, our pet zebra jumping spider now has a name:
Abuela.  It means grandmother.  She lives in our kitchen.  We also
have a hairier, less friendly spider that may or may not be a young
tarantula that appears every now and then.  We decided that he won’t
get big enough to be really threatening this year, so we’ll just leave
him alive for someone else to deal with in the future.

I’ve been reading the Harry Potter series in Spanish.  I started in
September because I wasn’t studying much, but I love reading.  I
somehow resolved that I should read the whole series this year.  We
have at least two copies of each book in the library and a lot of the
girls love them, so it’s been a good way to connect with the older
ones.  At some point, I started a competition with Sahara (16 year
old) to see who can finish first.  She was currently on number 1 and I
was on number 4.  Seems equal enough considering she’s reading in her
native language right?  We are both now on book 6, but I’m still
ahead.  The competition is getting pretty fierce.  Wish me luck.

Here’s your girl-of-the-update.  This is Deisy.  She was burned by
melting plastic as an infant and has been at the Hogar since the age
of 2.  She’ll be turning 8 in about a week.  And she’s coming to the
US today!  She’s scheduled to have plastic surgery at the Shriners
Hospital for Children in Boston.  American Airlines is giving her and
the Madre that is accompanying her free tickets.  Deisy is very bright
and spunky, and I hope that she learns a good bit of English during
her three-month visit.  If you are passing through Boston, give her a

Melia and I are giving up English for Lent.  Don’t worry Mom, I’ll
still use English to communicate outside of Bolivia.  To celebrate Fat
Tuesday, we’ve been making the girls repeat meal prayers in English.
I pray that everyone has a blessed season of Lent!


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