Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bolivia: From one extreme to another

Yesterday we came home to La Paz after a week in Santa Cruz, the lowlands! All that oxygen was wonderful, and our bodies rested in spite of the tropical heat and humidity. But when we got into our room here in La Paz, we found that the drinking water we had boiled and left in the pot on the stove had frozen. Not just a skim of ice, but one big ice cube. From one extreme to another! No wonder my body is confused.
We loved staying in Santa Cruz with our friends (also Friends) David and Arminda Tintaya and their girls. The family had just returned from a mission trip to India with Evangelical Friends Mission and they were bursting to talk about it. Many among Bolivian Friends are experiencing a revival of interest in missions. While in Santa Cruz we participated in the district’s first annual Congress of Missions, talking about missions in the history of the Bolivian Friends. Two of the Titnaya girls, Anabel and Anahi, are sensing a strong call to participate with God in mission, somewhere in the world.
Tintaya family, Santa Cruz

On our way home we flew closer to Mt. Illimani that I have ever been. It was a bit scary, but so beautiful.

The taxi ride from the airport to our room up in the Friends complex up on Max Paredes Street was another adventure of inching our way through traffic snarls, made worse by demonstrations down town.

The demonstrations have to do with the upcoming political referendum. This coming Sunday, everything will shut down in Bolivia. Everything but the poles, where the issue is whether the Bolivian constitution will be modified in order to let current President Evo Morales become president for life. That sounds as scary as flying too close to the Andes for comfort. People will vote either “Yes” or “No.” It’s up in the air as to which side will win, and with what consequences. It seems a little bit like theater-of-the-absurd, and more and more people here feel that way.

     We’ll wait and see. Like everyone else. Meanwhile, life goes on. With all its crazy beauty and dizzying extremes. Life goes on in the middle of the extremes, and its ordinariness is as beautiful as Mt. Illimani.

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