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.


  1. LOVE the pictures!!! What an amazing trip. I would have totally tried the fried ants though, next time!! Love and miss you guys!!

  2. GREAT pictures. i love the ones of the city and the locals. What a great experience. SO proud of you both. EAT THE ANTS! Love you

  3. That is actually me - Julie - as if I had to tell you! :)

  4. Your pictures could increase tourism in Colombia -- though I'm pretty sure I'd pass on the ants. xo.