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.


  1. You are meeting so many wonderful people. What a great opportunity. I am envious of all your adventures. You both look great. Happy New Year!

  2. Hermana Shipp, Alfer and I just loved these pics. I was upstairs looking at them and had to come down and show him. He even paused his video game! wow! :) We just loved seeing the pics of those faithful saints outside the chapel. What a blessing and privilege it must be to work amongst them. I love it!

  3. Love the New Years pictures. The house is gorgous. Overwhelmed by the humanitarian storage place. What amazing things you are doing. Keep the pictures coming. Love you.

  4. Love, love, love the pictures!!! The house was spectacular, the Saints you visited touched my heart. What amazing experiences you are having, what a legacy for your grand children to follow :) So proud of you!! Love you.

  5. Wish we could have been on that drive with you. Great pictures and experiences you are having.

  6. So enjoyed the pictures of the people in that little town, and I was so interested in the fact that the young men don't have to cut their hair when they serve missions. That's a wonderful acknowledgement of the importance of one's heritage, isn't it?