Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bolivia So Far

Dang, I know... I haven't posted a single word or blurb since I've set foot in South America which has been almost three months. So anyway, a lot has happened. Too much in fact to fit here or perhaps too much for you to want to read. I'll begin therefore:

I arrived in the first part of August and was amazed by what I saw. Within the first week I went to a famous festival here in the Cochabamba area which was great! There is a celebration for just about everything. The language school started off well, I just couldn't speak Spanish to save me because I had no use for it and therefore had forgotten everything... no seriously, I had to think of what to say when someone said "Como estas?" So as the weeks passed at the language school I began to learn Spanish and saw a lot of students from other countries come and go... after awhile I was the "oldest" student.

One of my first weeks here I searched the internet intensely to find out where some of my friends were serving because two people from my group were sent here to Cochabamba. So eventually I found the name and location of the place and called. I went to visit and from then on me and Johanna and Amber (the other volunteers) met each Saturday in the city to talk and experience the town. Occasionally when I had the time as well I would go and visit the orphanage in the town of Itocta where they work. We've had some grand times together.

Bolivia is a great place, but there is a lot that you need to take care with here. The political situation is rather unstable at the moment and presidential elections will take place next month in December. I've seen people protest in the streets park in the streets and stop traffic. People here go and do what they want when they want to. One day I was at a Lawyer commisioning event for the son of my host family and got smashed against a glass wall and forced into a room simply by the movement of the crowd that wanted to get in and see the thing!

Staying healthy has been a bit easier so far... I've maintained my weight here and I enjoy the food. You just have to be careful... I was also in the hospital four day a few weeks after I got here because I had a run in with Selmonella and Amoebas. There is so much good food however. The glorious 40 cent slices of cake in the Cancha (market place) is extremely good (Cancha Cake!). Another great thing is all of the types of bread! So good and so cheap. I even had the chance to eat some cuyi which is a local dish of Guinea Pig.

The visa process has been crazy! So after almost three months of waiting, begging, getting poked by needles, and dealing with mountains of paperwork, I have a one year visa and a Bolivian ID card! Now I am simply going to take the next few days easy and then travel to Santa Cruz where I will meet the director of a technical school I will spend some time working at, and we'll go to Yapacani together. I have already visited Yapacani, which is a great place, but I'll leave that for another day. There is so much to say about all this but, I'll start posting again if I find it in me to do so once I am in Yapacani permanently and have more to say about that. Rest assured also, that I have a somewhat intermittent journal I've been keeping on my computer that you are welcome to read when I return. Have a great day and Peace from the heart South America!

Monday, July 13, 2009

MISO - Maryknoll International Service Orientation

Hello from New York! So far things have been fine... I've been here for almost a week and have met a lot of very nice people. All of them here to answer God's call to serve. Things went well the first few days but I think I caught a cold/flu on the plane over here so that wasn't fun. I'm feeling great today though. Really there hasn't been much so far notable enough to mention with the exception of an awesome concert put on by our director Adam and his friends. They played very beautiful Bolivian music and sang very nicely. I have video of it that I'll put up on YouTube for you to see.
Maryknoll Headquarters (About a half mile from where I'm staying)

Anyway, that's about all that's happening here on the Hudson River. I'll be sure to update as things move along!

Have a great day! God Bless.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Since last time there hasn't been a lot going on. However, I have found out which town in Bolivia I will be serving in... Yapacani! It is a town located about 60 miles from Santa Cruz, Boliva on highway 7 near the town of Villa German Busch. This seems to be a pretty cool place based on the research I've done. It is a sizable town in the bush with a population of about 20,000. I don't know yet what it is I will be doing there precisely, but it all depends on what they need and what I can do. That makes this site very lax in the respect that it is not hard set on a particular goal and allows the SLM to identify needs based on what the community wants and attempt to provide. The one thing that is interesting to me is that as far as I know, I will be the first SLM to ever serve in Yapacani. So I feel priveleged, but a bit on edge knowing that whatever I do there can have a big impact on SLMs in Yapacani in the future. It's a big responsibility that I intend to take very seriously.

Yapacani, Bolivia
As for language training I will be going to a language school called Escuela Runawasi in Cochabamba to learn a little Espanol. That starts from the moment I arrive in Bolivia on August 11th until November 13th when I will complete my time at Escuela Runawasi and go to Yapacani. Well, I should be finding out more details from the Salesian Lay Missions office in New York about the site in Yapacani soon so when I do I will be sure to put that information here.

Escuela Runawasi Mercado

Well that does it for now. Have a great day!

Peace and Blessings... Chris

Thursday, May 28, 2009

39 days til' New York

This is just a random update on things...

I just made my flight reservations to Bolivia today, and I made my reservations for New York a while ago. I will be headed to New York on July 6th, for Orientation with the Salesian Lay Missioners and I will be there for a month. The first two weeks will be cultural training and evaluations with the Maryknoll Missioners. The third week will be a week of service. The fourth week will be a time to delve into what it really means to be a Salesian Lay Missioner. This should be a fun and exciting time. I had the privilege of meeting some other potential missioners in Chicago last month and I can't wait to see them again!

It looks like after orientation in New York wraps up on August 8th, I will be waiting around a couple of days until August 10th, and then the adventure begins. I will be heading out of New York first to Mexico City where I have a short layover. Then I will be going through Lima, Peru where I have a seven hour wait, and then to La Paz where I will get on another flight to Cochabamba, Bolivia. Cochabamba is where I will spend a few months learning Bolivian Spanish before heading down to the Santa Cruz region in eastern Bolivia to serve.

This should a great and fulfilling experience. Please pray for me, and I will keep all of you in mine. I will be sure to post more details once the time gets closer for me to leave.

Until Next Time, Adios Amigos!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


You read right, Bolivia!

I just got off the phone with Adam Rudin, the director of the Salesian Lay Missions and I was invited to Orientation in New York from July 6th to August 8th. During this first phone interview placement is also discussed, and there are three potential places in two Bolivian cities that are possible sites for me! I can't believe it, woohoo! So excited!

Anyway, I guess I better brush up on that dusty corner of my brain that has Spanish written on it. I will likely have to do some preliminary language training for a few months in Bolivia before going to my site. This will cost me some money, but I know God will provide.

More to come! Good Day and God Bless!