Sunday, January 31, 2010

Our visit coincided with the first day many of these children attended the facility. Some tears and some bewilderment on their faces. They were all too cute.

One of the objectives of the foundation is to teach the mothers of these children skills. Above are some dolls wearing the uniforms of different private schools in the area which these moms made and which will be sold to parents of students attending these private schools. The goal is to help these moms become more self reliant.

We had talked with Amparo Rueda, a friend who used to work at the Library of Congress, about a foundation founded by her father, Roberto Rueda Williams, who was a well-known professor and promoter of good nutrition in Colombia. The Fundacion Nutrir has four "casas" in a very poor area of North Bogota where 1400 poor children and pregnant and lactating women (mostly young single women) are served two meals each day. We toured the "casas", talked with the director of the foundation, and invited them to submit a proposal listing the needs of the foundation to continue their work. The first two photographs show the streets of two of the "casas".

In this photo are two children waiting for their meal. Each of the 1400 children have a very thorough examination by a (volunteer) doctor and then a nutrition plan is formed for each child to give them the daily nutritional meals they each need. They are closely monitored to see if their needs are being met.

Changing subjects. Occasionally, Royal and I will go to lunch at the mall across the street. Each time we do this, we literally take our lives in our hands. Notice the taxis, the motorcycles and the street venders which are strategically located every couple of hundred feet apart.

This pictures shows we made it across the street. The building on your left is Liberty Seguros, the building where the church has its offices. Notice the bus. To get on the bus, you have to hail it down and then while it "slows" down, hop on and go through a very obnoxious turnstile. You have to get off really rapidly as well. We have seen people literally fall on the ground as the bus slows down and then starts up again. Needless to say, we take taxis. You might notice how small the taxi is in front of the bus. About the size of a volkswagen.

In the food court in the mall, is a place that sells American pizza. Very tasty. This young man that Royal is ordering from is our friend now and when we come up, he immediately puts two pieces of pizza in the oven. He always picks the two best pieces.

Liberty Seguros is well patrolled by many, many security people. This guard is one of the most friendly of all of them greeting us warmly whenever we go into the building or exit the building

posted a picture earlier of a street vender in front of Liberty Seguros. This vender is located behind the building and we pass it on our way to our favorite Mexican restaurant. Notice the variety of treats you can buy. Really, it beats stopping at the safeway for some doritos or some candy.

Royal is standing in front of the Mexican Restaurant. It is open aired, clean and the food is delicious. We usually share an order of beef nachos. This picture is taken inside the restaurant. You order your food where the two men are standing and then they give you a number and you go pick it up to the left when it is ready. Good hot sauce too.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Feliz Ano

The photo above is inside the house of Amparo Rueda Arciniegas at Chia Colombia, a small pueblo about one half hour outside Bogota. I knew Amparo when we both worked for the Libary of Congress. A few years ago, Amparo moved back to colombia (she is Colombian) and lives in the house her paents built on a small finca (farm) soon after they were married. Amparo's family is part of Colombia's "elite". She has a cook/housekeeper and three gardeners/drivers/handimen to help her manage things. Even though it's a warm day, inside the house it's cold, hence the fire in the fireplace. Amparo invited us to a lovely lunch.

This photo is of the grounds surrounding Amparo's house. She is now an event planner and often has weddings and big parties on the grounds of her home. There is even a small Catholic church on the grounds for marriages. We had a picture of us with Amparo and it went away. We will post it later. She is a very gracious woman.

One morning we ventured into a part of Bogota we were unfamiliar with to go to a warehouse where some of our humanitarian supplies are being stored. It wasn't easy for the taxi driver to find. It was nestled in a building among many buildings where there were enormous amounts of food of every kind stored. There were also venders all along the way selling their produce.

This photo was taken inside the warehouse of our humanitarian supplies. You are looking directly at the boxes of hygiene kits. There are 5 hygiene kits in each box. We figure there is a total of 2,000 right now. To the left is our supply of Atmit. Atmit is a nutritional drink that does miraculous things for young malnourished children.

The new year brought us to our final resting place, office wise. This is the third office we have occupied since coming to Colombia. We are pleased with this office. Although it is small, it is light and airy and for the most part quiet. Carolyn sits in the empty chair across from Royal

Our first church meeting of the new year was at the small branch of Sesquile about an hour drive outside of Bogota. We went with President and Hermana Hacking. President Hacking tries to visit a different branch or ward each week where he has missionaries serving. This branch is particularly unique because many of the branch members are from an Indigenous tribe of people from Otavalo Ecuador. The Otavalo natives are strong members of the Church, because, one brother told us, they have the blood of Laman. There are two strong stakes in the town of Otavalo. One of their cultural traditions is for the males not to cut their hair. It's worn in long braids down their backs and they are the only people, we are told, whose young men don't have to cut their hair when they go on missions. About 40 years ago, a few families from Otavalo moved to Sesquile Colombia and have formed the strength of the branch their. The older members maintain the traditions of Otavalo but some of the younger people, born in Colombia, are not following the old ways -- at least in dress and hair style
This photo shows the women in their black skirts, each with a shawl and many strands of gold beads around their neck. They have beautiful white blouses with hand embroidery on them. The men wear the little white cloth shoes and the white midcalf pants.

This photo shows Royal with one of the members. Their hair is simply gorgeous
We love the hat, pants and shoes but especially we love these people. They are warm and friendly and gracious. It was a wonderful meeting.

On the drive back to Bogota, we drove through several quaint pueblos. We took this
picture to show the typical narrow streets, white buldings and the traditional pauncho and hat worn by many of the men.
We drove through the mountains and the scenery was breath taking. We stopped just as we entered Bogota and took this picture capturing a view of the city. We completed our lovely fast Sunday by joining the Hackings at their beautiful apartment for dinner. We were so grateful for this choice opportunity and the new friends we made that day.