March 21, 2007

La Paz

A hello from La Paz. I arrived here safely on Sunday and met my new family. My host parents are older, the dad is 67 and the mom is 56. They have four boys and only the youngest (25) still lives at home. My host dad owns a Ferrertería which is like a general hardware store and my host mom is a retired elementary school teacher who now owns a Mini Super (like an all-purpose store) right next to their house. So she is in out and of the house all day. She can tell when someone is at the store because they’ll yell her name. This store, like most small stores, doesn’t have a door where people can come in and browse - just a window that she sells things through. If you ask you can go in and browse but for the most part people know what they want and just ask for it.

I have been eating well, smaller portions that at my last home but that’s a good thing! I had to ask for more coffee today at breakfast because one cup just wasn’t doing it. I also asked her if I could have a cup at lunch too. She is more than happy to accommodate me. She told me last night that they want to give me the best and be ¨my family away from home¨. My favorite thing so far is the fresh squeezed juice she gives me everyday at lunch. I told her I don’t like much sugar so it’s basically just pure juice. I had blackberry juice on Monday and cantaloupe juice yesterday. My room is really nice and big and I have cable tv which is a plus. I actually learn a lot from watching Spanish tv or English tv with Spanish subtitles. The bathroom I share with my host brother is so-so (lets just say I have to get used to critters in there like ants and cockroaches). In my bedroom, thank god, I haven’t seen any critters. My host dad calls the ants ¨animalitos¨ which translates as ¨small animals¨ so that gives you an idea how big they are!

It’s much hotter here in La Paz than it was in Santa Lucia. I am sleeping fine until about 6 am when the live-in-maid takes the covers off the bird cages and they all start singing/taking. They have several birds and one parrot that talks REALLY loudly in the morning. I guess I’ll have to get used to it!

Training is going fine so far. We have Spanish classes and tech training and that pretty much fills up our day. There are three of us in the health group in the advanced Spanish class so we only have formal class once per week and the other four days we are supposed to go out into the community and try and give presentations and work with the health sector to figure out how things work here. Yesterday Connor and I went to the local health center and talked with the director of the center and the director of all the health centers in the area and got some names of people. This morning we went to the Hogar Materno which is place where poor women come from places far away as they approach their due date. They don’t have any facilities in their communities so it is a place where they can be fed and sheltered until they give birth at the hospital here in La Paz. Very interesting. We scheduled a charla (presentation) in a few weeks that we’ll give to the mothers-to-be there on nutrition of her and the baby after birth and we’ll also talk about hygiene and sicknesses the baby can get (like respiratory infections). I’ll keep you all updated on all the different projects we’ll be working on. It’s hard because we have to go out into the community on our own, make the contacts, and basically figure out how to spend our time since we don’t have Spanish classes. I suppose it’s good practice though for when we’re have our own communities to work in.

Ok, sorry that got a little long! Hope everyone is doing well! Scroll down to see Luke´s recent entry from his site at Sabanagrande.


Erin said...

your new "home" sounds nice, and I can just imagine the birds singing in the morning really loud, as if they are immitating the outside noise..that is how it is at Roman's mom's house- anyway, your field work also sounds really interesting and I can't wait to hear more about it! thanks for the birthday email! miss you tons and think of you often!!

love, erin and baby vega

joshshow said...

Annie, it sounds as though you are doing well with your new host family! Wow, you’ve got it pretty good, you have cable tv in your room!!! More than I expected.... cable tv nice!!! I'd almost would have to take it out of my room! You can watch tv at home, but I guess you can get away with the news or something. I've been pretty busy with basketball and everything we lost in the state championship game, which was very exciting. But now that I have more time on my hands I started The Death Of Ben Linder and I can't put it down! The first night I started it I read about 5 chapters, and then decided I had to go to bed. I also set up a visit with Matt to go to a couple of classes and spend the 1st weekend in April with him up at isu. He was more than willing to hang out with me, and show me around. With more time on my hands now I’ll be checking your blog a lot so you better keep up. With lots of Love!! Josh

Dorianne said...

Do you wear flip-flops in the bathroom? I think that would be the most difficult adjustment (the critters, I mean). Outside is fine and dandy, but lurking in dark corners is another! Anyway, I'm sure you're a trooper.
Your work sounds really interesting and I wish I could be a "fly on the wall" to follow you throughout your day. Sounds like you have to have a lot of initiative and be a real go-getter- should be no problem for you!
The cantaloupe and blackberry juice is making my mouth water. Can't get enough juice, especially citrus, these days:)
love, Dory