This is the second report of the 12-member VIM Bolivia 2012 Team, as we settle into our work in Cochabamba and gel as a team.
Summary: the construction at Iglesia Luz de Vida and the Vacation Bible School at both Iglesia Luz de Vida and Iglesia Piedra Viva are off and running with great success. We partied at Wilson & Nora Boots’ lovely home Monday night. We barely noticed the 2 minor earthquakes in our vicinity early Tuesday morning, but Cindy Svensen’s birthday celebration that day rocked the Team.
The construction work at Luz de Vida is focused on painting 3 upstairs rooms that will serve as youth activity and education space. Key workers have been Big Boss Bill Pfohl, supported by Dennis Angle, John Borchert, Chris Freeman, Dianne Hetrick, Anders Svensen, Cindy Svensen, and Rod Wendt. We began by sanding the plaster walls (no sheetrock here) and then applying a watery thin primer. Indeed, maybe it WAS just water! Sometimes we thought there was more on US than the walls! Next we began applying a coat of beige paint – almost as thin as the primer – to the ceiling and walls. It was a “learning experience” for all as we dealt with the watery paint, applied with both roller and brushes, but we have grown in skill and technique. Then we began applying a darker, coffee color to the beams and support members, for an attractive 2-tone look. As of tonight, Wednesday, June 27, we have 2 coats of beige on almost all the walls (hoping for a third) and a coat of coffee on all the beams. We have also become a well-oiled team.
A highlight was the arrival of about 8 young neighborhood Bolivian boys on Monday afternoon, curious as to what we were doing, One thing led to another, and before long we had 8 “helpers” getting more beige paint on themselves than on the wall, but much laughter all around. Building relationships is why we are here!
Meanwhile, Valerio the young Bolivian master mason was laying brick for the adjacent parsonage, and at various times he has been helped by Bill Pfohl and Anders Svensen. In fact, Anders may be able to apply for a Journeyman Mason’s certificate when her returns based on his skill in laying brick!
While some have been painting upstairs or bricklaying outside, the Vacation Bible School has been held each afternoon downstairs in the Sanctuary. Ginny Stevenson, Dianne Hetrick , and Cindy Svensen, have been in the lead, supported by interpreter Ruth, with “guest appearances” by Bill Pfohl, John Borchert, and Anders Svensen. “Fruits of the Spirit” is the theme, with Monday focusing on “Love”, Tuesday on “Joy, and Wednesday on “Kindness”. Lots of laughter has been heard, as the 17-19 kids work on their craft projects in support of the theme of the day. Monday was Lambs in honor of the lost sheep, and heart name tags. Tuesday was butterflies and sunflowers. Wednesday involved bells and kindness medallions. To fully understand the relevance of all these to the themes involved, you just HAVE to be here in the classroom! Applications for the 2013 VIM Team are now being accepted!
At the same time, way across town at Iglesia Piedra Viva, the other Vacation Bible School Team has been hard at work on the same themes and the same projects. Rachel Bird was joined by Kathy Silva and Mary Thrush working with wonderful little Bolivian kids whose numbers reached 37 on Wednesday! They have been assisted by interpreter Priscilla and several people form Piedra Viva.
Our work days have been full and tiring – but rich and rewarding as well. We have tried to work in a little fun where we can. Monday night we all went to Wilson & Nora Boots’ lovely apartment nearby in downtown Cochabamba, and enjoyed Nora’s secret recipe passion fruit pie. That night BEGAN the celebration of Cindy Svensen’s birthday, which continued the next day with celebrations at the work site, the Luz de Vida parsonage, and team dinner.
The minor earthquake? Two Richter scale 2 to 3 ‘quakes early on Tuesday morning, centered not too far from us, shook the Guest house slightly. Several of us awoke, most did not, no damage was done, and all are fine.