Monday, September 15, 2014

Welcome to Bolivia

1. Answers.  Monday is p day. No I do not have a maid, but the RS president makes us lunch everyday. The food here is about the same, rice.
1. Coming to Bolivia. Santa Cruz is like Egypt. It is sandy, dusty, humid, hot with palm trees. When we were landing it looks kinda like Utah except there are trees. The airport is small and there are airplanes parked out in the fields. The bus we ride around in has doilies on the seats head rests so I felt like we were in a RS knitting club. The first few days we did a bunch a paperwork for immigration. They had to take our blood. The lady who did me sure did have a hard time because it took a few minutes and it felt like she was digging around in my arm with the needle. We also visited the Bolivian Interpol which is a run down shack on the corner of the street. President also took us out to dinner where we had every kind of meat, including horse and cow udder. The cars here are funny. If you want to turn right, honk your horn, If you want to turn left, honk your horn. If you don't want to stop at the stoplight, honk your horn and keep going. If you want to back up, honk your horn. If you like the music you are listening to, honk your horn. All the cars here are mostly from back  in the day with redneck modifications and sound like they are going to fall apart at any moment.  
2. My area. I am now in Bermejo. It is one of the farthest away area, I am basically on the Argentina border, which means I had to take two more plane rides (from Santa Cruz to Cochobomba to Tarija) and a 3 hour car ride through winding canyon with a driver going about 80 miles an hour, even around the corners. If there was anything in the way he would just honk or pass them, never slow down (and those obstacles include children). Made me sick. One of the airplane rides was pretty fun. The worst turbulence I have ever experienced. The whole plane was rocking and you had to hold your drink to avoid spilling and even then it was difficult to not spill. Airport do not have gates. Just get off the plane and walk into the airport. In Bermejo there are 4 branches. I am in the 15 of April branch. About 90 people attend each Sunday. It is also pretty jungley here. Most of what I see of Bolivia is more desert.  The people are pretty poor here too. Imagine the worst house in Brigham city and that is about the best house here. Most live tin house, or some sort of house that feels like our garage or shed. Most people here are vendors. Along the streets are storage shed things and everyday they open and bring out their stuff to sell. Most people live in them too. Some people sell toilet paper (about 3 sheets per use) and let people use the bathrooms. There are no public bathrooms. Also you cant flush the toilet paper you put it in the garbage can. Where I live, I live with members. The shower is always cold. But the members are super nice and they make us food sometimes.
3. My companion. Yes that is my companion in the picture and he is a nazi Latino. The most serious and disciplined missionary I have ever met. He rarely smiles unless we are with people and he like to look at me blankly and it makes me nervous. The hardest thing is that he walks at mach speed and I walk slowly. And so first day  he like You are wasting the time of the Lord, walk faster. So naturally me feet are now covered in blisters and we still speed walk everywhere, even in church he reprimanded me for that because I was talking too much with the members and not keeping up.  And when we study, I went over one minute for study and he likes at me and says it is late elder. But mostly he tells me that I need more agility, even when I get out of bed.  So this is boot camp and apparently he has been going easy on me. He tells me from now on we are going to work like black men. And we also don't eat dinner nor much for breakfast either.
4. Spanish. Besides other missionaries here, I am the only one here who speaks English. I was asking someone if they knew anyone else we could talk to and they said I don't speak English. So that is about how that goes but they usually understand.

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