Monday, January 19, 2009

What a Week!

Somehow it seems as though I have been here for at least a few weeks. I realized saturday that I was going to be attending only my second service at San P

aulo (or Pablo), which is the name of the church where we work and live.    Thursday Audra and I returned to La Gran Pared.  This time I made it to the top of two walls.  It really is a thrilling experience to conquer ones fears.   The Bishop encourages this extracuricular activity because it relieves stress, requires concentration and strength, etc.  I am really excited to meet the next challenge.

The Bishop is having us work on an English segment of the Episcopal Diocese of Colombia website. 

Right now I am being pestered by a stuffy nose.  It is soo much better having someone around when you don’t feel well. I did not sleep well last night because breathing out of ones mouth is not condusive to sleep.  I woke up in a crabby mood and took my time getting up to the office, but can I just tell you how much I love being here with Audra.  I had been in the office for no more than a few minuets, still in a sour mood, and she made me bust out laughing.  I am already feeling better because of it. 

Friday Audra and I went to Faca, a town on the outskirts of Bogota.   It took two hours by car to get there.  What a beautiful place!!  It is very much in the country and I think I left a bit of my heart there.  I have been, and still am, in need of the outdoors and the country.  With rolling hillsides spoted with cultivated farms, horses, cows and small homes, dapled with natural vegitation and brushed with wide-open skies, I desired to just sit down and take it all in.  Audra and I road down with two Episcopal priests, one is the priest from Faca, the other from Cali.  Also along with us came a man named Matt who works with the ERD and is on a multiweek mission to visit all sorts of Episcopal comunities around Colombia to try and start aranging projects that the ERD could help with in the contry.  The ride down was really interesting.  The majority consisting of the issues that plauge the Episcopal comunities.  Within the conversation we talked about agricultural issues.  I was excited to here that the ERD does have an agricultural sector that falls under nutrition. 

As of right now it apears that I have at least a couple of oportunitities to get my hands into agricultural projects.  One, in the city of Bogota, another in Faca.  I have a much clearer vision of were a profession in agricultural sustainability/development could lead me.  I look forward to becoming active in this sector in Colombia.  

Well, as we road into Faca we pulled up to a turn and at a bus stop a young man stood up, the car stoped and a fourth person snugled into the back of the car with us as we drove up a bumpy dirt road.  All I can say is thanks be to God I took some Dramamine.  What a spectacular vista!  The priest showed us arround different sectors of this small comunity.  However, he first had to let us out of the car to continue our way on foot because the road is so steep the car won’t make it with so many passangers.  As we climbed our way up I was gasping for breath and thought I was going to keel over.  I litterally was praying to not pass-out.  Yet all along the way I was thinking what a wonderfull excersise oportunity this could if I lived here.  Finaly we made it to the church.  As we caught our breaths I took photos and video of the area.  From the church we walked up a bit more to what I think is the priest's house and I absolutly fell in love.  I hope that you can get some impression of the impact the view offers from the porch.  With the right circumstances I could live there forever I think.  We then traveled to the priest’s sister’s home, to a neighbors house to check on them and back to the sister’s house for a bit of coffee before we headed back to Bogota.  As we drove the Bishop called time and again talking with each of the priests about why they didn’t have time to make some sort of visit with some person or other.  It was a real experience to see the realationship between priest and Bishop in action.  

That night we met up with Nanny (pronounced with an open a = au).  The night was okay.          I realized that, well, Audra and I both reevaluated what we wanted to come from a night out on the town.  We first met at the house of Nanny’s friend.  Nanny is a lovely person to be with while climbing, however we realized we would enjoy more mature group.  It does get to be cumbersome, I supose, to continually meet new people and have to explain ourselves over and over again.  We really hope for a seady set of aquaintances or friends to hang out with so this cycle of meeting  new people can at least be certailed.  Now we know that we can begin our evening as early as 5 or 6pm.  We are now seeking somewhere that will facilitate good conversation and dancing.  

After going to sleep between 2 and 2:30 we awoke, had breakfast and were out the door by 10am.  Ok, so this use to be an easy schedule to manage, but wow do I feel old with only 6 hours of sleep.  Gone are the days of 3-5 hours of sleep, and good riddens. Man were we tired.  Yet, it was for good reason.  We had decided to meet up with a friend at a nearby park.  It was such a beautiful spot.  The change in air quality was almost stagering.  If you can imagine a time when you were absolutly parched with thirst, do you recall how sugar sweet simple water tasted to you?  How it seemed like the best thing you had ever tasted in your life?  Well that is what it was like for me to walk through this park and take in the fresh air.  It is so very tiresome to constantly be around sooty, exhaust-filled air especially after being acustomed to Camp McDowell country-fresh air.  This park will serve as refuge for my body and mind I am sure.

Sunday service was absolutly lovely.  I am captivated by this church, its congragents and ever circulating priests and guests.  I had an amusing conversation with two of three guest priests.  They have such great personalities. I met another of the priests from Cali.  He told me that Cali is one of the last pockets of drug trafficing in Colombia.  Ten years ago the country was plauged with this, Medellin was once the most dangerous cities in the world, with something like 200 murders per day.  But now it is known for being tranquile and absolutly beautiful.  Cali is not so dangereous.  When we work there we will just need to take extra precaution. 

I read the Psalm, thankfully my part was only four verses.  I will work up to the leccionary.  The sermon was beautifull, not only because I could understand it :.).

Afterwards we all went downstairs to share in some coffee or tea and talk with everyone.  Audra and I signed up to provide the flowers for my birthday, which happens to fall on a Sunday this year.  Before we left I spoke with a couple of the women about starting a women’s group.  They jumped on the idea and, the wednesday after next, we will be meeting wednesday morning to distribute and sell used clothing to the persons in need.  

I wasn’t able to focus them on the bible study portion, but I will work on that next.  But how cool is that, you ask and you recieve.  

If anyone so desires I would greatly appreciate music to be sent my way that I could download into my computor.

That reminds me.  The Bishop is actually working on getting us a wirless internet conection.  He is wonderfull and so very sensitive and considerate to our needs.  Since it is dificult for us to use the phone at times the wirless conections would allow us to call the US any time, even in the apartment.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  

So Audra and I are going to meet up with a  group from the Diocese of Conneticut in Cartagena to join with them in a Mission programe.  So far I am not sure what that will consist of.   Then in the second or so week of February, we will begin work in the south of the city in an imporvershed sector of the Episcopal community.  The only thing I have to gripe about is the fact we are to lead English lessons, which just happened to be one of the very few actions I put on my YASC application that I really did not want to do.  I will do it, but I am not looking forward to it.  

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