So it has been 5 weeks since I last wrote a blog post. Not because I was feeling lazy or had nothing to say. Because my laptop broke and it took 4 weeks to fix it. But long story short, it is fixed, I have it again, and so bare with me as I [try to] briefly recount this past month.
So as I already mentioned, my laptop broke 5 weeks ago. This happened at the beginning of my third week when I was already feeling a little unsure of what I was doing here and definitely feeling homesick. This site is very different than others in that we don’t really have any physical thing we’re doing. We’re pretty much just accompanying these girls in their day-to-day lives. And we don’t always get recognition from the girls for it. Now I don’t blame them; they’re kids and this life is what they’re used to. They’re used to just having missioners come and go every year, so why should they think it’s anything special that I am here, specifically me? But anyway, I was feeling unsure and restless and then my laptop broke on top of that and it kinda sent me into a tail spin for a few days. I talked to some family and friends, and I also watched the people around me in the city, and it really put things into perspective. I realized that I am supposed to be here, and the people around me have very little so it’s actually pretty selfish being worried about my laptop breaking. And looking back on it now, it was almost nice not having a laptop for a while. It helped me get more situated here with the girls and helped me refocus on why I’m here.
As for all the things we’ve done in the past 5 weeks, there have been many…
- We made a music video asking Justin Bieber to come visit us in Bolivia. This project started months ago when Erin, the past volunteer, realized the girls love Justin and wanted him to come. We had people from around the world choreograph dances specifically for the girls and spent an entire day shooting the video. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do so now and then share it with #biebertobolivia!
- All Soul’s Day! Halloween is not really a thing here, but November 2nd is! Everyone goes to the cemetery, there’s Mass, then people go around to the graves and pray for the souls buried there. The families of the deceased decorate the graves with bread and treats and then hand out that bread and treats to those who pray for their loved ones. We walked around with the girls and Padre Pepe and collected bread for the next 2 weeks. It was a really beautiful day being able to share in that tradition and also spend that time with the girls. There’s a tradition as well of people drinking chicha, a type of alcoholic drink, which they gave to Megan and me as well. The girls spent the next 2 days or so shockingly asking us if we liked it! I also let one of the girls use my camera for the day and she got some pretty great pictures!
- Two of the girls got confirmed: Yolanda and Marisol. And Megan was Marisol’s sponsor! It was a really beautiful Mass, and the girls looked gorgeous! Please pray for both of them as they continue their faith journey.
- Erin finished her time here and went back to the States, so we had a party for her. The girls danced, videos and photos from her year were shown, and we even had cake to celebrate her birthday early! It was a very emotional night, but it was also affirming seeing how she has made such an impact on so many of these girls. It inspired me to want to do the same in the time I’m here.
- We went to the movies!! Banco Fie paid for us as well as 5 or 6 other hogars in the area to go see “Storks.” It was so cute! All the girls got popcorn, soda, and a goodie bag of treats when we left.
- We celebrated Megan’s, Laura’s, and my birthdays! Both mine and Megan’s birthdays were in September and Laura’s is in December after she leaves, so they celebrated our birthdays together. There was more dancing, 3 cakes, incredible presents, and pinatas! It was quite the night!
- We had another birthday party! For Kamila (7), Paola (15), and Hermana Marisol! Again, there was dancing of course, cake, and a fun time had by all!
- On a less happy, more serious note, last week a lot of girls were sick and I was as well. We’re all doing better now, but there is one moment I would like to share with anyone who has actually read to the end. One of the girls had a fever and was shaking so I was sitting with her until she fell asleep. She kept looking at me saying she was cold and that she couldn’t sleep. As I stroked her hair, I realized something. I realized that I am 22 years old but every time I’m sick like that, all I want is my mom to stroke my hair, and here is this little 9 year old who doesn’t have that option. Her mom isn’t here. So instead that’s my job. It’s my job to make sure she is calm, secure, and feels loved. There have been a lot of other “mom” moments throughout my 2 months here, but they usually just have to do with normal day-to-day things. This was the first emotional, different moment where I actually felt like a mom. It was a little scary, if I’m being completely honest. But it was also rewarding and reassuring of why I’m here, why God called me here.
Well, that’s it for now. Please continue to pray for the girls, the community, and myself. Please know of my prayers for each and every one of you as well. If you have any questions or would like to donate, please feel free to contact me at any time. Thank you and God bless!