Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas in Bogota

Last night, December 14th we walked down one of the main streets of Bogota, to see a light display at a local park. The above picture was taken as we approached the park

This is 15th Street. It is 4 blocks from our apartment and really puts you in the Christmas spirit.

Royal and Carolyn standing in front of the tree at the entrance of the park.

In the park, there were two very unusual nativity scenes. This scene is sculpted out of sand. They have been working on it for about three weeks. Above is Mary, Joseph and the babe.

You can see the sculpting is not yet complete. Here they were sculpting the shepherds with some sheep.

This is another nativity in the park made out of reeds. We were told the reeds that were used to make the basket Moses was placed in are the same kinds of reeds they used to make this nativity.

This nativity is on display as you enter the food court of the mall across the street from our office. I love the Baby Jesus on his tummy.

I had Royal stand next to the nativity so you could see that these figures are almost life size. It is an exquisite nativity and takes my breath away every time we walk past it

Here you see the three wise men (life size) posed just before a nativity scene of Mary and Joseph. They will add the baby on Dec. 24th

Sister Hacking, Sister Stull and I went to a fabulous craft show last week. There were hundreds of craftsman from many remote areas of Colombia and Ecuador. These people make the neck pieces similar to the one that lady has on. They are all beaded by hand.

Sister Hacking admiring the intricate detail this woman is putting into the hat she is making. Many different patterns as you can see from the display on the wall. We bought some beautiful bracelets this woman made

Another craftman showing the bags he makes that are so popular here in Colombia.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NRT project in Colombia

The week of November 8th, we accompanied the Neo-natal team for an NRT project in Colombia. The two cities were Bucaramanga and Tunja. Both cities had an excellent turn out and the project was a huge success. In the above picture, Royal and Jenny (a neo natal nurse from Lehi) are eating the biggest and best hamburger ever made. We were lucky to have the hamburgers since there was such a huge turnout for the project that we ran out of food so Hector Ariza, the Notario, bought us these scrumptuous hamburgers.

After the first day of the project in Bucaramanga, we went to visit the office of the Notary. The whole office helped us out with the project since their boss is a member of the church. Bucaramanga is a progressive city, very pretty with a year-around lovely climate. It's a favorite city for missionaries in the Bogota North mission and has two stakes. Across the street from the office is a beautiful plaza. This is a statue of Francisco Santander and in front of it are Royal, Carolyn, Gloria (a doctor from Popayan) Mary and Jeff Zollinger.

Lunch time during the second day of the project in Bucaramanga. Carolyn is busy correcting exams that are taken at the end of each of seven lectures.

At the end of the second day in Bucaramanga, some people from the church and the office of the Notary danced and sang for the participants. The above picture is Hector Ariza, the Notary, and his partner dancing a Colombian dance with a glass of water on their heads.

We were told that at a certain time of the year, these huge black ants appear. They are scooped up, then fried and eaten as a delicacy. I am told they taste like nuts. This is Julio, a doctor from Popayan at the airport where he bought a package of fried ants and was partaking of the delicacy; none of the North Americans were courageous enough to eat one.

When we finished the training in Bucaramanga, we flew back to Bogota and then a big van picked us all up from the airport to drive us to Tunja. We made several stops along the way. This picture of the entire team was taken outside a dairy in a beautiful little valley on the way to Tunja. From left to right is Xavier (Popayan doctor), Jenny (from Lehi) Dr. Zollinger (obstetrician from Idaho), Julio(Popayan doctor) Mary Zollinger(computer whiz), Eric Welling (anestheisiologist from SLC), Carolyn, Royal and Gloria (Popayan doctor)

Carolyn and Royal at the Puente de Boyaca, the site of a crucial battle in Colombia's struggle for independence from Spain. The Colombian soldiers were led by two great generals, Simon Bolivar and Francisco Santander.

A statue of the great Libertador, Simon Bolivar, on a steep hill overlooking the battlefield at the Puente de Boyaca. There is a statue of Santander also, but a more modest one down on the battlefield itself. It was a steep climb to Bolivar's statue.

A pedestrian street in Tunja. We had not been told that it's always very cold in Tunja and did not come with appropriate clothing. This street in particular, near the center of the city, is always cold, so much so that they refer to it as the street of pneumonia.

We were pleased that the Secretary of Health for the Department of Boyaca came one of the days and spent time with us and speaking to the group of doctors and nurses being trained. The Secretary is the man in the middle with the orange tie. Also in the photo are Eric Welling, the tall guy in the back, Lely Guzman, director of public health for Boyaca, Gloria Martinez, one of the local doctors from Popayan, and on the far right, Cesar Hooker, the AreaWelfare Manager.

The donation of the equipment and mannequins to local hospitals in the Department of Boyaca (Tunja)

A view of Tunja, the capital of Boyaca. It's a very old city with narrow streets and white buildings.

On the way from Tunja to Bogota, we stopped at a very old colonial town called Villa de Leyva. It's a charming little town with cobble stone streets and white buildings. Villa de Leyva has become a place all tourists have to visit to see and to buy artifacts. There even are very nice hotels and restaurants for those who want to stay overnight.

Royal reading a plaque in one of the many shops along the cobblestone streets. To the right is a small plaza with tables and chairs and a small bar.

It was a holiday weekend and there were a lot of tourists everywhere. I watched the young woman with the basket on her head walk several blocks and then sit down on a corner where she put the basket in her lap that contained a large array of baked goods to sell.

Jeff Zollinger is purchasing some little knit purses from this woman outside one of the shops. One of the great things about living in Colombia is within a few hours you can go from an extemely cosmopolitan city like Bogota and see life in rural areas where people wear the typical clothing of South America and live very simple lives.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NRT project in Venezuela

The first step after arriving in Venezuela is to go to the stake center where all the training dolls and other medical equipment necessary for neonatal resuscitation has been gathered and stored. Then the ardous task of putting together all of this equipment into three different kinds of "kits" to be used in the training and later donated to the participating hospitals and clinics. The most "advanced" kit has 30 separate instruments! The main feature of the advanced kits is the sophisticated manniquin, each of which costs $700 american. In this photo we are putting the kits together.
This photo was taken the first day. The doctor is teaching the participants how to resuscitate the baby.

Carolyn holding the resuscitation manniquin. You can peel back the skin and actually see the inside of the baby.

Baby and equipment ready for the participants to learn and practice on.

Royal and I are standing in front of the Basic Kit dolls. These dolls are called Baby Anne and are CPR dolls. The smaller hospitals that are not equipped for resuscitation get these dolls. Every delivery room gets the kits next to the dolls which have 5 pieces of equipment in them.

Royal speaking to the participants at the closing ceremony explaining the churches roll in sponsoring these humanitarian projects noting that the funds for these type of projects come from donations to church humanitarian services.

A participant receiving her certificate of completion of the course

Carolyn wearing the necklace given to her at the closing ceremony.

Royal with his certificate given to him by Jana who we worked closely with in planning the project.

Participants of the NRT in Valencia at the end of the ceremony.

Royal in Caracas with Elder Hooker; the Area Welfare Manager for the South America Northwest area and the person we report to.

We were able to have a brief visit and lunch with a dear friend from the Bella Vista Ward who is currently living in Caracas, Yanire Infante Matos and her little girl Tabatha, family of Danny Matos.

Rosa, one of the Venezuelan doctors that helped teach the course, teaching Royal how to resuscitate. He did a good job!!!

The evening of the last day of the course, Rosa Quinteros, one of the local doctors who did the training, our driver, and Juan Carlos Chasine took us on a tram ride to the top of a very large mountain to see the spectacular view of the city. Afterwards, Rosa took us to a very good restaurant and ordered us a typical Venezuelan meal. It was delicious and a lovely ending to our week in Venezuela.

Juan Carlos Chacin with his family at the tram. He is the head of the Church's Employment Resource Center for Venezuela and also a stake president. We worked very closely with him and he became one of our cherished friends.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Moniquira celebration of the Dia Blanco (white day)

A downtown street in Moniquira, a city of 30,000 about 4 to 5 hours by car from Bogota, over rough, windy roads. We went there at the invitation of officials of the municipality and of the Fundapedis, a non-profit organization set up to try to meet the needs of disabled people in the city. The Church had donated substantially to the city and to the foundation, including wheel chairs, crutches, canes, and big bundles of blankets and clothes. In addition, a multi-stake single-adults conference included humanitarian work by 450 young people in the city, including painting, cleaning up, repairing, etc. A four hour ceremony was held on Saturday, including a catholic mass and performances by some of the disabled young people. This Saturday was Dia Blanco, a day for world-wide acknowledgement of the disabled and a celebration of their accomplishments. The Church's contributions were acknowledged and praised. We brought with us additional donations, two big bales of clothing and 1500 pairs of prescription glasses.

Royal and Edgar Gomez from the office who drove us up eating breakfast. The night before we had trout in this restaurant. Trout is suppose to be quite a delicacy in the department of Boyaca.

Edgar holding a very big cockroach. This is one of two I saw Saturday morning!!

We were pleased to see Elder and Hermana Chapman along with two missionaries sitting on the front row waiting for the program to begin. Elder Chapman proceeded to take the photos for us.

Royal and I standing among the various donations from the Church.

Royal visiting with one of the dignitaries present.

At the end of the lengthy program (about 4 hours) they served a rice dish that they cook inside the pig. I was brave and ate some and it was actually quite tasty.

This young man has downs syndrom and the young lady is deaf. They performed a darling dance. Instead of clapping, the audience waved their hands in appreciation.

They had several musical numbers performed by the gentleman in the hat. He was joined very enthusiastically by this downs syndrone young man.

We were enjoying the performance of the young deaf dancers.

The gentleman standing next to me was the recipient of a cane. His left foot is a stump and his right foot is almost completely turned around. He gets around pretty well and was so grateful for the cane.

These ladies (minus me) did a very energetic dance and seemed to have a good time doing so.