Saturday, March 28, 2009

This is about 3 minutes of what it is like in front of our apartment in the early mornings. We were waiting for the person from the University of Sabana where we took some spanish classes to show up to help us get to class the first day (We took off the mornings for 4 days in order to take some intensive immersion spanish classes) . The campus is about 25 miles from our apartment to the North with a bus change in the middle and on the first day they accompany you so you don't lost. All told it was a good experience. I didn't get as much out of the spanish as I had hoped. I was in a class with 8 students 5 of whom were not really serious about learning spanish. Darwin was in the advanced class with only 3. We met some neat people. A young couple from Korea were really serious about the language. The guy was in Darwins class and the girl was in a different class. They went with us on the field trip along with a gal from Germany who is in the same class as the Koren girl, one from Boston who was in my class, and one from South Caroline whoses mother livers in the states but she has 12 aunts and uncles here in Bogota. The girl from Boston is here with an NGO (non govermental agency - a non profit corporation working under the auspices of the UN) doing micro finance here in Colombia. BYU has worked with several micro finance groups. They teach financial principles to people in poverity and help them get small businesses started with small loans $5 to $20-Hence - micro finance. It is a good program and there have been some real successes with very small amounts of money. There is a great public broadcasting documentry about micro finance that you can access on the web site.. Below the first slide show is another about the campus and a field trip we took to the "El Dorado" lagoon on the afternoon of the last day of class. It was a great short vacation!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Here we are again. We have been home from another major trip for just a short time and I want to get some pitures up. First we had a quick trip to Cali and then from Cali to Trijillo Peru and back to Bogotá in about 3 days. We had less then 24 hours at home and we left for Monteria, a town to the North and West not quite to the coast. We were there 2 days and back to Bogota to leave for Monizales the next day. From Monizales we went down the Caulca Valley (The Caulca is the second largest river in Colombia) with stops for trainings in Pereira, Armenia, Tulua, Palmira, for one day each and on to Cali for 3 days. Colombia is a beautiful country with rich farm land and beautiful cities. The roads were spectacular and very good with a few areas of construction (sounds like the US). We met great people dedicated to the Lord and to helping each other and their neighbors and spent time in the Mission home in Cali again. All told a great trip. We were to head out to Venezuela after a week of rest but we couldn't get all of the logistical problems worked out. (Where we stay, how we get from hotel to chapel and from one city to the next and back to Bogota in one piece) so we will postpone that trip until after general conference and the one we had scheduled in April will have to move back too. I have decided that being gone for 3 weeks of 4 and 1/2 in a month is way to much travel for me. It is hard to keep up with the laundry when you have to travel between cities by bus or taxi. (We've done both).