Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nuevo Amanacer

Last Friday we visited a home for abandoned/abused young girls that the Church supports with food and other things. On Friday we took pajamas and tennis shoes for the girls and large quantities of food. We went with Carlos Fernandez and a man who is the head of the purchasing department for the Area. The girls, from 20 to 25, are ages 4 to 16, some of whom have been in the home for several years. The name of the home is Nuevo Amanacer (roughly a new dawning). The girls go to nearby schools and then come to the home to live. Their parents have abandoned or abused them, or can't take care of them because they are too poor, drug adicts, prostitutes, etc. The home has arranged for medical care, social workers, psychologists, etc. to work with the girls and their parents (if they are known). We met the girls, had a tour of the home, and ate a very typical and very good Colombian lunch. The girls are charming and lovely.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Family Park

About two blocks from our apartment is a lovely little family park with gardens, fountains, swing sets for children, etc. Usually on warm days, the park is filled with children, parents, and teenagers, enjoying the outdoors and the beauty. Signs all around say no drinking and clean up after your dog. On the streets surrounding the park are restaurants of all types, featuring Colombian food, a TGIF, Subway, and a very expensive sea food restaurant. The non-missionary attire is because it's our P Day.
Not too many people around because the day is cloudy and quite cold for Bogota. This is the winter season here, which lasts until mid-April we're told. It rained all day Sunday -- a cold rain. As the houses have no central heat (nor air conditioning) we put on lots of layers of clothing.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pico y Placa

Sorry, I hit the wrong button. This is the street next to our aparment. This is Saturday, so the traffic doesn't look so bad. On week days, it's very bad. So bad that they have a system in place here, very controversial, called "Pico y Placa". Under this system, if the last number on your license plate (the placa) is, say 5, you can't drive your car on the street on Mondays. In other word the last numbers on your license plate determine which days of the week you can drive your car on the street. I believe you can drive three days and are prohibited the other two days. There have been demonstrations against this. You can see the yellow cab. There are thousands of these and they are our main transportation. The drivers seem like they are going to crash at any moment, but they don't. Pedestrians have to be very alert as the cars go very fast and don't seem to worry too much about pedestrians.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Office

The office where we go to work every day. It's small but adequate, with a computer for each of us and a religious painting on the wall. Royal is composing a presenation. Carolyn is taking the photo with her new camera whose memory card is stuck up in the bowels of the computer and no longer available for storing pictures. We'll buy a new one. The Area offices of the Church are on the third and fourth floors (we're on the third floor). Included are the area presidency offices, the welfare services, PEF, employment services and all the overhead administrative offices (financial management, IT support, personnel, etc.) The mission headquarters for the two Bogota missions are on the 9th and 10th floors.

Grocery shopping

Standing in front of the Carulla grocery store that is just up the street from our apartment on Carerra 11 (streets that run north and south are called Carerras). This is a Carulla express, a small store. There medium sized Carullas, and then there are large Carullas. They have most of the things we need to eat, and also things like soap, tooth paste, etc. But no good hair spray, which concerns Carolyn.

Sites and people in Bogota

Carolyn standing in front of our apartment building. The address is Calle 92 (which is the street right behind Carolyn. The little yellow car is a taxi and we live much of our lives in them. The office is on Calle 72, 20 blocks south. The one way cost is usually a little less than $2. The bus would be cheaper, but is pretty inaccessible to us. After we're well adjusted to the altitude, we may try to walk at least part way.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Early days in Bogota

We have been in Bogota nearly three weeks now and are gradually becoming accustomed to our new life. We flew into the Bogota airport late at night with four huge suitcases, four slightly smaller ones, and a big box with Carolyn's sleeping mattress, after a long hard day flying. We were met by Carlos Fernandez, the Area Welfare Manager, and the person we will be working most closely with. Carlos had keys to our new apartment and so he drove us directly there, tired but at least in a place where we would be living for a while. The next day, Carlos and his wife, Beatriz, picked us up, showed us the offices, helped us with the first grocery shopping, and took us to lunch at a very typical Colombian restaurant called Sopas y Pastres. This is a photograph, taken outside the restaurant.

Entering the MTC