23 Oct 2010

2005 - 2007

International teams in Cochabamba Bolivia 2005 to 2007

Well where I start to begin to explain my time in Bolivia over the past 2 years.

I came to Bolivia in 2003 working with SIM. I left one month early as my father was dying of cancer and I arrived home 8 hours too late to say goodbye to him but I was thankful to hear that while I was away he gave his life back to Jesus so I can rest to know where he is.

3 years later I returned to Cochabamba but this time with International teams as they worked with the children I feel in love with in 2003.
I knew my team leader would be leaving after my first year there and I also knew it was going to be hard to stay on with an all Bolivian team as normally there were missionaries coming and going.
In my 2nd year I didn’t have much support as I felt I was working alone as my mission was divided around town and didn’t meet regularly.

“Centre de Amistad y Apoyo”.
It operates from 3 – 5 pm Monday till Thursday and Saturday nights.
It is a place where children can come and have a safe place to play and do their homework and just receive special attention where its lacking in the home as many family our out working or drinking or generally not home to care for children like you normally would.

I taught the 2-5 years old. They enjoyed Bible stories and singing especially. (By the way this is all in Spanish) their favorite game is to hit a balloon around the classroom.

I have been preparing them for my departure but they keep asking
“Hermana Glenda” who will teach us?
And another little boy always asks where I was if I am ever away and I say, “oh did you miss me” and he replies “yes”.

In my spare time in the mornings in my first year I assisted at an orphanage run by an Australian man and his English wife and they have been here for 10 yrs and have 35 children in one home.
Sept last year I feel in love with a 5 year old child and I talked to peter regarding national adoption and I did further investigation and decided that it was possible for me to adopt a little girl.
She moved in just before Christmas and became part of my life.
I had to learn how to be involved with a Bolivian school and also my little girl was sick each month with various illnesses so I had to learn to communicate with doctors on how to help my little girl.

The adoption process was going very slowly as I was advised to use the lawyer from the home Mily came from and this lady seemed to lie constantly and just never show up to appointments but promised all was in process and each month I would demand my legal documents and she told me to have patience and wait and wait and wait… until in May 07,
We discovered that there were 2 adoptions for the same child! and the home hadn’t been told about the first adoption as that was International and when we (the orphanage workers and I) spoke to the lawyer she told me that this was ok and that she could stop the international adoption as national adoption always wins over; as international adoption can take another child in the future but as time dragged on we discovered that this lawyer had been lying the whole time and on the 4th July 2007. I lost her forever!

The Day before my heart broke!
I sent her back to the orphanage for one night’s sleep as she had a meeting with the children authorities in the morning and I went to visit her the next day and asked how her meeting was they kept asking her where she lived and with whom which this alerted the authorities as they didn’t have any records of her living with me even though I thought the lawyer knew what she was doing.
Mily knew something was wrong as she saw how I had been crying and she heard the lawyer discussing things and she said she didn’t want to stay here and that she wanted to come home and I said that she needed to have a holiday at the orphanage until all the documents where in order for her to return but…. After the 2nd day I rang to see how she was and I was told that she was gone.
The authorities took her away while she was sleeping and she asked where she was going and they said that they were taking her to a hospital and she said can my Mummy come and they said no!
She was put in another orphanage outside of town so they could prepare her for her new adoptive family as they told her that she could never return to me.
She met her new family and was taken to another country. So as I finish up my mission this week and leave next week I have prepare myself to leave again on another grief. Mily had 11 cousins waiting for her in Australia and a large church & family for her but unfortunately the lawyer deceived us and we both never got to say Goodbye. I have to trust that God will take care of her even though say may not be in a Christian home anymore.

Unexpected hospital visit in a foreign country

Well where I start.
I returned to the doctor after having blood tests done etc to find out that I had mild Typhoid and various other things. I was a little shocked as I don’t eat out much and I don’t buy lettuce. I was then told it could come from various places. No washing your vegetables or not washing your hands regularly or eating vegetables from a restaurant that haven’t washed their food first. There is a string of ideas and you just don’t know where it came from as it can be in your body for a while unnoticed.
So after talking with the doctor he said to come back at 5.30 pm and I am sure he said it would only take an hour and then do the same for the next two days. So I had arranged to come back at 5.30 pm for one hour and then had arranged to meet up with several people and had many other things happening in the coming days which I ended up canceling as I ended up in hospital for nearly 2 days to my surprise!
Now first you need to remember I have the language barrier. I have enough to get me by but when it comes to doctors etc I didn’t understand everything! So they kept asking me did I bring my PJ’S and I said “why?” I am only here for one hour and I also saw a friend who said he had it done and he stayed overnight so by this time I am getting a little nervous and I felt alone as I had no one with me. Also, because of the language barrier they did not understand me either so they were not answering my questions as if I had known before hand I was staying overnight I would have had things more organized but that wasn’t meant to be.
They told me to get into bed and when I saw the LARGE intervenes drip I was panicking more as I could tell I was going to be here for hours and so once again I asked, “How long does that take to go inside my body”? And the nurse replied 48 hrs. So by this time I am stressing more as I hadn’t told my neighbors that I wasn’t coming home and they would start worrying where I was and am I ok? All I had was my days clothes and I was limited on whom I could call to pass the news around. So thankfully my a friend helped me with many calls etc as no one was answering my text messages from my mobile phone and as it’s a new phone I only had limited numbers in it to call people. The most important was my bible study group and my boss, whom never came to visit.
I was expecting 1 or 2 visitors and I discovered that I was the only one in this clinic overnight so every 30 minutes I had a nurse come in and check my drip etc or take my temperature. I never got any sleep the first night as my left arm was attached to this drip so I had to carry this stand around when I needed the bathroom etc, So the next morning I was feeling a little lonely and feeling that I had no friends to visit me and wandered how I was going to survive till Wednesday.
Thankfully in one way a girl from a seven day Adventist church came in my room with the same illness as me but one frustrating part was that she had visitors every hour and every minute on the phone so I found that a little difficult so by lunch time I rang my friend again to see if she could find a phone number to call my neighbors as normally I could call them to say hay can you bring some change of clothes over etc. Thankfully, phoebe sent from her home some PJ”S and a book over via taxi for me so I could feel a little decent for the public. (She was my God send) she couldn’t visit but at least she sent the taxi for the delivery.
My boss finally rang to say he had received a call from phoebe and asked why I was in the clinic, which I explained, but after chatting to him today after the event he told me he didn’t understand why I was in the clinic and he thought I was just at home with a drip.
I finally got a visitor from my neighbor as they were going to call the police and look for me as they were panicking where I was.
So ending up in hospital in a foreign country all unplanned causes many problems as everybody life was going on normal unaware where I was and what was happening to me.
I was thankful to be home safe and sound and took the required medications for the next week plus the weeks’ worth of injections. (This explained my weight loss 5 kilos less then when I was in Australia.

While in Cochabamba for 2 years I got involved into the local community with a wonderful women’s group and various church groups.
I developed strong friendships with many Bolivian ladies and I still in contact with many of them 3 years later.
My church in Australia always commented on how well my Spanish was and I said it was all thanks to my language school and my Bolivian family whom I lived with for 7 months and also my work as all in Spanish and not much English. That was the advantage of being single on the mission field as you could focus on your language learning and just get out there compared to others that were either home with children or living on an English speaking compound.

A few extra things that happened in my first year there were;
1. Stolen passport and delayed in Chile for 5 days
2. Blocked credit card in machine and then $800 us stolen
3. Waited 10 months for 1 year visa
4. Cancelled cruise in Australia for my 40th birthday as I was awaiting adoption news.
5. Paid for 2 year visa for adoption (but no child any more)
6. Lost card in machine but this time ok just waited till Christmas for my new card. So thanks to another Australian in Cochabamba

Journey of Bolivia 2008- 2009 to come later on.

Bolivia Bella documents

Hola, mi Amigos.
In February to August 2003 I went to Cochabamba (Bolivia) South America, from Australia.
I had only been to Africa for 3 weeks so this was a giant step to make, so after having a 3 year Christian relationship end I decided to get some mission training and go do what I felt God was calling me to do.

I was sent to Cochabamba because there were two Australian families there to support me. They ran a quilt making ministry. Bolivian women would come twice a month and receive a quilt kit to make and they would receive encouragement and fellowship and a small Gospel message. Many sewed with the old Singer foot pedal machine and many didn’t have electricity at home. One lady I heard that she would take her machine out into the street lights to sew late at night.
They normally turned up with a great job done and the products would eventually get sold to foreigners travelling through Cochabamba.

The organises did a great job but it drove me crazy as all I did was sort all the material squares from blue and green etc. So living on my own without a TV or anyone to talk to this was a little frustrating and lonely. During my time there feel in love with a few extra ministries with Children as this was my passion. One in particular was a drop in centre for kids to have a safe place to hang out and play instead of going home to an abusive home.
This brought me great joy and fellowship with other workers as well.

I was due to leave in the September but I received a phone call telling me that my father was close to death with his cancer which had reappeared while I was away. I had a around the world ticket and didn’t want to go straight to Australia as the family said I would be home in time to see my father.
So I headed over to England to see some friends I had made in Bolivia and when I arrived I received another call asking me to come home now! Well, from Bolivia to England then Australia is not just possible as it take a lot out of you so I rested a few days then arranged my ticket to go straight to Australia and not visit my ex flat mate in Japan.

Now, I had no knowledge that he had passed away while I was flying home as with the time difference I couldn’t call family as they may have been asleep? So, when I arrived my mother and my friend collected me and I asked could we go straight to see him and I assumed that if they had red eyes I would know but as they didn’t I thought I was home in time. On the way home they wanted to stop in at McDonalds which I didn’t want to do, so after we had ordered our food, I proceeded to ask how my father was.

I arrived home 8 hours too late...... The hospital was kind enough to keep my father until I arrived at the hospital. The rest is history. I am just glad that my father accepted Jesus and now is with him.

My next letter will be about 2005 -7
It may take a few letters to do this one.