Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind."

So I have come to the conclusion that maybe I am just not meant for blogging:) Even though I am not updated constantly know that I am having a great time here getting to see lots and growing a ton. I will try and re-cap what has happened in the past week or so.
Last Friday morning the 3 med. students (Kim, Lauren, Tiffany), Jinny, and I left on a bus to go to Uyuni. We rode 4 hours in a bus to Oruro and arrived there and grabbed somthing to eat and then went to the train station to ride another 7 hours the rest of the way to Uyuni. Although it was a lot of hours traveling the views were amazing. Late Friday night we arrived at our destination and as we got off the train heard loud music... We found out that it was Uyuni's anniversary! Ahh- it would have been great except the fact that our hotel room was right on the rode where everything was happening. So until 4 am we got to listen to our windows rattling and some very loud music! haha but it was a great experience anyways. Saturday morning we drove out to the salt flats. On the way we stopped at a little town right next to the salt flats where they process the salt and there was a little market and a museum. Then we drove out onto the salt flats. FYI- if you ever go to the salt flats wear sun glasses because it is bright! After driving for a bit we got to an island covered with tall cactuses. It was beautiful! We ate lunch at the isla and then we started headed back. On the way back we got to stop at the train cemetary. Another tip if you ever go to the salt flats bring lots of warm clothes! It was freezing- so that night we visited about 4 restaurants trying to decided which was warmer. We ended up deciding on a one that had a nice warm fire! Saturday night we got on the train at about 11:30 pm to start our trek back to Cochabamba. It was a great trip and amazing views!
Every morning I have been going to labor and delivery. I have been able to see many natural births as well as c-sections. One of the nurses there, Irma, has been very good to explain to me what they are doing. She has also let me do many things including give the newborns a vitamin k shot! It is so exciting to be able to see new life brought into this world and wonder what God has in store for this baby! The other day though I entered the newborn room expecting a newborn full of life, but God had different plans for this little one. The baby had been born dead. A nurse came in and named the baby "Maria" and baptized it (according to catholic belief this allows the baby to go to heaven). I know that one day I will be able to see this little baby girl in heaven not because she had been baptized but because of God's sovereignty and because he is a good God (2 Samuel 12: 18-23). After seeing this I have been thinking about the verse in Job 12:10 "In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind." As I was talking to my dad about this he found a commentary that said, "Every single breath you take is a 'God given" breath. People are so fooled if they think they sustain their own lives. The truth is that we are all one faint heartbeat away from eternity. That's how fragile life is. 150,000 people are snatched into eternity everyday! We often take for granted how much grace abides in our heavenly Father. It is by sheer grace that each of us have been given breath even for just this very moment Praise God for the breath you take because we are not guaranteed life from one breath to the next. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away... We also know that He is soverign - meaning that nothing happens that he doesn't permit. But God is not out there to take life. Satan wants to take life. But God has provided so that not even Satan taking life can be a success for Satan because God has conquered Death." Seeing this has reminded me to take advantage of everyday because we don't know when God is going to call us home and I feel like I have wasted to much time not fully surrending every area of my life over to Christ.
Thank you all again for your prayers and support during my time in Bolivia! The time has been absolutly amazing and I can't believe 2 months have already flown by! I am looking forward to seeing many of you soon!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

La Paz!

So we arrived back safely from our adventure in La Paz this morning at 5:30am! Friday night we left Cochabamba and rode all night on the Trans Copacabana bus to La Paz. When we arrived Jinny, Ben, and I went to the main plaza and started looking for a hostal. After finding one we dropped off our stuff and took a taxi up to the cementary where we were told to buy the tickets to go to Lago Titicaca. We finally arrived in Copacabana about three hours later. The view was amazing as you can see from the pic. below!

We decided to get somthing quick to eat and then we got on a boat and rode out to Isla del Sol. By the time we got on the boat there were no seats left so we got to sit up at the front of the boat which we thought was awesome until about 30 minutes into the ride- it was freezing!!! After an hour and a half boat ride we got to the island and found out the boat left again in 40 minutes! We were at least able to walk around and take some pictures. On the way back we made sure that we were sitting on the lower part of the boat so we did not freeze:) We got back to Copacabana and quickly got on the bus to go back to La Paz.

Sunday morning we slept in a bit and got up and walked around town. We decided to head out to Coroico early afternoon. First we went to the Mirador de Kili Kili where the view of La Paz was spectacular! We then headed out to get tickets to go to Coroico in the Yungas. The ride took about three hours and by the end of the trip we were hot and ready to get off the small truffi (bus). But once again the view was amazing! We arrived in Coroico around 4:30 and was able to get a hostal and then walk around the city. Coroico is a town in the Yungas that is well known for its waterfalls, but during this time of year the waterfalls are much dryer then normal. Monday morning we woke up and set out to find the "3 Cascadas" (3 waterfalls). The walk took about 2 and a half hours. We were not exactly sure if the waterfalls that we were seeing were part of the "3 Cascadas," but when we arrived at the third one we realized that the other two that we saw were indeed part of the 3 waterfalls. Walking through the mountains I would just stop and look up at how big and awesome these mountains and it would remind me the awesomeness of our God! It also made me think about how big this world really is and how there are so many people scattered across this world that need Him.

Finally Monday night we started back to Cochabamba on a 9:30pm bus. We arrived early this morning. We slept a couple of hours and then headed into the Burn Center. Upon arriving we found out that it was some sort of holiday for workers in the health profession, so there really was not much going on. I decided to go to the CRIN and there was able to feed Jhoseline (the cutest little girl ever!). While feeding Jhoseline another little girl (about 6 months) that I had held and played with before was crying the whole time. The nurse mentioned somthing about her being hungry and I asked if we could help feed her. The nurse then explained to me that the mother has to come and bring milk and until then the little girl gets nothing. I do not know the situation of the family, but the nurse mentioned that the mother is from the Chaparre (the jungle area) and that she is
always neglecting her little girl. It made me angry that this little girl who is very thin and malnurished in the first place was sitting in the hospital not getting fed at all! Tiffany (a med. student) and I decided to go out and buy some milk so that at least for two days she would have milk. It seems like an endless battle though because although we may provide some milk for a day or two for this little girl there will be other days that she will have nothing and then she is not the only one going without food... I just pray that one day this little girl will realize what she truely needs and that is Jesus.

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Week

At the beginning of this week I wasn't feeling too good so I ended up not being able to go to the Chaparre (the jungle) on Sunday. But at some point I hope to make it there! The new team of med. students got here (Andrew, Kim, Lauren, and Tiffany). This week at the Hospital I have been mainly at the Labor and Delivery, but I was also able to spend one day in the CRIN (where the malnurished kids are). At the CRIN I was able to hold a couple of the kids and it amazed me at how these kids were surviving. At times I would look at a child and think that they really did not look that bad, but then I would look their birthdate on their chart and it would amaze me! There were children in there that were 2 years old but would not even be able to sit up by themselves!
Today I had a lot of fun in the Labor and Delivery. When I arrived there really was not much going on, but then a lady was brought up from the OB ER. She was only 4 cm when they checked her so they made her lie down on a bed to wait. I was asked to count how many contractions she had in 10 minutes, how long in between each contraction, and how long each contraction they lasted. She layed there for about 2 hours and during that time I was able to hold her hand through out it all. As they asked her questions I found out she was 18 years old- the same age as me! I sat with her and tried to comfort her, but the whole time I was thinking how insane it is that she was my same age! I had so much fun learning and observing today. I was able to see this 18 year old girl give birth to a beautiful, healthy little girl! I just pray that this little girl would grow up to be a Godly young woman, honoring Him in everything that she does.
This weekend a group of us are going to La Paz and plan to stay there till either Sunday night or Monday night. We will be getting on a bus tonight at 11pm and 7 or 8 hours later will be arriving in the city of La Paz. We are planning on going to Lake Titicaca and maybe the Yungas. Pray that God would keep us safe and that God would use me to further His kingdom.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


hey guys- sorry for not updating the blog to regularly! Things have been pretty busy, but lots of fun. Sunday morning I was able to go to La Comunidad and it was great to worship God with other believers. Even though I did not know all the songs I found the words amazing- it was a great time of worship. After church I came home to the apartment and we ate lunch quick and headed out for a hike up to Parque Tunari... It was a lot of fun, but not exactly what I had planned it to be. We had planned to have the taxi take us up past the entrance of Tunari to kilometer 3, but as we were driving up the mountain we realized the taxi may not make it all the way up there:) We hopped out there are the entrance of Parque Tunari and started walking. We somehow got off the main road so we found ourselves walking on small uneven paths (it has been a long time since I have been up there, but I knew we were not going the way my family used to go up there). We finally found the park that we were planning on getting dropped off at (at kilometer 3), but by that time we had to turn around and start walking back in order to make it to the soccer game. We got to see Aurora (one of the Cochabamba soccer teams) and Blooming play. I was a little bummed because I usually support Wilsterman- the better (in my opinion) soccer team, but it was still fun. Monday morning Ben Wagner arrived and after dropping his stuff of at the apartment Josh, Ben, Laura (a friend of mine), and I headed out for an "adventure." We ate saltenas and then started walking towards the cancha. On our way Ben got robbed and even though it happens here in Cochabamba you never quite expect it to happen to you. No one got hurt, so I thank God for that. Monday night we walked over to Las Islas (little restaurant type things set up on the side of the street). Those that have not tried anticuchos got to try that. After we decided to go to the Cine Center (movie theater) to watch Terminator. (lots of action, but not my favorite type of movie:))
Tuesday morning wasn't very eventful. Dr. Montano did bring me to the Pediatric area of the hospital and then to Labor and Delivery. I am going to start helping out in other areas of the hospital in the mornings because there are many volunteers at the burn center. Tuesday afternoon Josh, Ben, and I went to the Boliviana Americana clinic. They would only let two people go in to Josh let Ben and I go into see the surgery. We got to see a Cataract surger, liposuction surgery, and I got to see a surgery where the doctor removed an absess from the rectum. After leaving the clinic Josh, Ben, and I walked around the Cancha area. Last night we walked down to see Simon Patino's house (a man that became rich through a tin mine). Yesterday was also San Juan a day in which everyone sets off fire works. I have been told that they have tried to make it illegal to set off fire works this year, but people were still selling them everywhere. Josh, Ben, and I bought a couple and went to the park to set them off.
Today we arrived at the hospital earlier then usually because we are going to start helping in another area of the hospital. Josh and Ben went to Pediatrics and I got changed and went into Labor and Delivery. What a contrast from last friday afternoon! Today there was only one baby nursery, last friday I was able to see 4 natural births and 2 c-sections in about 4 hours! I ended up coming home after being at the hospital about 2 hours because my stomach was not feeling very well. I was able to rest today and am feeling much better. Tonight I hope to go in for a night shift at the Labor and Delivery with the other medical students!

Monday, June 15, 2009


God is amazing!

This past weekend a group of about 8 of us were able to travel to Sucre, Bolivia. Friday evening we climbed onto the Trans Copacabana Bus at about 8:30 pm. Most of us were able to sleep quite comfortably even though there was many rattling noises and sqweeking doors. At times I was awakened by the bus horn blasting, the bus taking sharp turns on the windy roads, or the random pit stops at 3 in the morning:) We arrived Saturday morning around 7 am. We got instructions from a guy on a truffi (transportation bus) that we could go have breakfast at the market. After we found a Hostal (Hostal Libertad) and then we decided to go visit the dinosaur tracks... not as impressive as it is made out to be, but it was fun anyways. For lunch we ate saltenas (which I did not know were different looking from Cochabamba saltenas). We then walked around Sucre for a couple of hours taking in the beautiful sites. We took a nap late afternoon and then decided to walk up to the Recoleta where we were told there was a restuarant that overlooked the city. We got there at the perfect time- as the sun was going down. That evening we walked to a park thinking we would be able to see a fountain light show, but upon arriving we found out we were about 10 min. late! Sunday morning we took a bus out to a town called Tarabuco. The bus ride took about an hour and a half, but the view was breath taking. I was able to listen to my music and thank God for His creation. We really do have an amazing God! We walked around the town and were able to see the traditional dress of the people that live in Tarabuco. At times you feel sorry for the way these people live and for how "behind in times" they are, but honestly they live a much more simpler life. They may not have all the comforts in life, but at times I wouldn't mind living a life more simpler- we don't need all the things the world tell us we need! We arrived back in Sucre around 3 Sunday afternoon. We picked up our back packs from the Hostal and then walked around and stopped in at a cafe. The bus left at 7:30pm. that evening. The bus ride back was an experience! Lets just say we didn't get much sleep... around midnight the bus stopped and about 10 men got on. Looking around you would know that these men were not going to be sitting on the chairs since there was no room. They ended up sitting in the aisle and at the front of the bus. Being a daughter of my dad- first thought was to stay awake and make sure that they don't steal anything! After that I sure didn't sleep too much.
This morning we slept in a little and headed to the Burn Center. Jhoseline had surgery today and I was able to talk to her mom a bit. I could not imagine being her- standing outside of her room seeing how much her daughter has had to endure. Tonight we plan to go eat Sillpanchos!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Graduation time!

Friday night was the graduation for the class of 2009! It was a fun time, although I wished that I could be up on stage with them. Saturday afternoon I met with Jenny (my walking buddy) and we walked all over downtown and met up with some other volunteers. We went to the artisan area in The Cancha (the downtown market). We then headed over to Plaza Principal for baby washing. Every Saturday afternoon there is baby washing- where volunteers can come and help give the kids' baths and then the kids get a new pair of clothes and some bread and some hot milk. Today I went to church and this afternoon Juana and I are cleaning the apartment getting everything set for the new team that arrives today and tomorrow!

Friday, June 5, 2009


So many of you guys have asked me to update you all more frequently. At times I have felt like many of the days I don't have much exciting to write about, but I will try to write anyways:) The time has flown by- I have almost been in Cochabamba three weeks! The first set of medical students leave tonight on bus to go to La Paz for a couple of days and then to Cuzco and then back to the US. It has been fun to get to know the guys and it'll be fun to see what the next team is like.

The past week or so the burn center has been really slow. Many of the children that I had gotten to know were able to go home! It's fun to see their progress and to see them smile and talk more as the days go by.
Below is a pic. of Marta. She was at the burn center from the day I arrived and at first we thought she was shy- but soon found out she is definently not quiet. She was the cutest little girl ever and she knew how to get what she wanted. She spoke quechua, but learned a lot of spanish by the time left and was soon saying to everyone, "o ye" (hey you!). She went home a couple of days ago and it is so quiet without her!

I met a little girl yesterday, Lizbeth (pictured below with Cory one of the med. students). She is 9 years old and had surgery on tuesday. Yesterday one of the nurses called me over to help explain to the medical students that Lizbeth could go home now, but that the hospital bill was 800bs, which is around $114 (7bs = $1). Her mom only had 500bs, so the hospital was going to keep Lizbeth there until she could pay (and everyday the cost rises). We were able to help pitch in and pay for some of the cost. Lizbeth called us over then to thanks us all. I just keep thinking about how easily we spend money and how we buy things we really don't need. Lizbeth is now living at the Albergue (a little house for the kids who have left the hospital, but still need physical therapy).
I have now started to help at another clinic called "Boliviana Americana." Yesterday was my first day and when I arrived the head nurse showed me around and then I was able to sit in on a c-section! I did not really expect to get light headed and to have to step out to get some air, but the doctor told me that it happens to everyone the first couple of times. A beautiful baby girl was born, Camilla, and I was able to dress her and help weigh and measure her! I am really looking forward to see what other opportunities I will be able to have at the clinica!