Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Update

I am so sorry that I have not updated this blog. We have been busy but that is no excuse. I actually take pictures and upload them to my computer and make a few videos that I have been uploading on our YouTube site. However, I really need to add text and tell you about the wonderful opportunities that we have had. As of Aug first the two areas that were comprised of Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador and Peru and Bolivia have combined into one area. So our area now consists of 5 countries instead of 3. The program that Darwin has been doing is changing. He was responsible for training 118 Stakes. We have finished about 74 and figured we could finish the rest in the remainder of our mission. However, it has been decided that it would be better to have one person like Darwin in each mission area. There are 21 missions in the combined area. They are calling 21 assistants and Darwin is currently involved in developing the trainings that these 21 assistants will use. He then will supervise 11 of them up here in the North 3 countries and another Area Auditor will supervise 10 down in Peru and Bolivia. It has been a lot of work. We will not be traveling as much out to little places in each country. Instead we will be responsible for traveling to the major central city for each of the 11 areas and helping the assistants learn how to do the trainings. Since two of the missions are centered in Bogota we will train them without leaving home but we will have to travel again at least 9 more times once each to Cali and Barranquilla in Colombia, Caracus, Barcelona, Valencia, and Maraquibo in Venezuela, and Quito and Guayaquil in Ecuador. The assistants will then be former Stake Presidents or Area Authority 70,s who live in the area and know the Stakes and will be able to be more close and personal. This is a program that was piloted in Mexico and that we saw when we were in Mexico City last year and we have recommended it for here but they decided to wait until the two areas were combined. Entonces -- So -- We have been quite busy with Darwins side of our mission. In the meantime it seems like I am seeing more Elders and Sister all the time. My spanish is better so I can help more than the English speaking missionaries. Lest you think that all missionaries aredepressed or anxiety ridden, that is not true. A very small percentage have problems of one kind or another, often pre existing conditions that get worse due to the stress of the mission. Pero-- but--as small percentage of 2500 to 2700 missionaries is still quite a few for me to work with. Most of the problems are short term and easy to work with and make a difference. Below are some of our adventures.


We have learned to shop in Bogota in a whole new way. Yes there are modern Grocery Stores but they are more expensive than the specialty markets in various parts of the city. Below is a look a couple markets that we use in an area that is quite a ways north of us, but the meat and fish and produce and mushrooms are so much less expensive that it pays for our public transit ride to the area and a taxi back. I don't have any shots of the Fruit/vegitable market in this video but all of that produce on the table cost us about 20-22 dollars. We have now found another market closer to us that is only open on Wednesdays from 6 am to noon. I will try to get some pictures up of the actual tienda (store)




Bicycles are absolutely essential to the population of Bogota. I will have to wait until I get back to do justice to this topic. Here are just a few of the uses for bicycles in the economy of Bogota




The Gold Museum in Bogota is a must see if you come to visit here. People over 60 are allowed into all atractions like this in the city, the Botanical Gardin, Parks, Museums, for free. My gray hair has several advantages here. On the Trans (Public dedicated bus system like an above ground subway) people actually get out of their seats and give them to pregnent women, women with small children, people with handicaps, and "old folks" (ancianos) like us. If the bus is really crowded (and that can happen) then sometimes it doesn't happen but if a young person or adult sees me or any other older person, if there is a path they will get up and give you their seat.