I thought a showdown was happening outside my room this morning at 6am. I awoke to ¨pow! pow! pow!¨ Turns out it was just an early morning display of fireworks. There is always something exciting happening here - the Bolivian people will use any excuse to celebrate.
Yesterday, it was ¨Day of the Ocean¨ - Bolivia is landlocked, so I am still trying to figure out why they celebrate this day by parades and parties everywhere. Today, it is the Anniversary of the zone I live in which means a huge party will be taking place in the ¨park¨right outside my ¨house¨. I use quotation marks, because the ¨park¨ consists of small patches of grass lined with barbed wire to keep the dogs out and also concrete walkways. It is very small and I often see high school kids having DTRs on the benches. My ¨house¨ is concealed behind a big gate and adobe walls. The gate opens up into a ¨courtyard¨ (which is really a dirt patch where the dogs and cats do their business, and then a concrete walkway on either side which opens up to the different bedrooms).
I`ve been learning a lot more about my family, and find a piece of ¨home¨ in observing some of the dynamics between the family members. I think Felix enjoys being the only boy...he is actually quite gentlemanly toward me. He enjoys teasing me and his 5 other sisters, too. Silvia is the youngest...she definitely acts like it. Shirley is only 15 but could probably run the household. She is a good student and very responsible with things around the ¨house.¨ Judi (27) has become my buddy here... she offers me a break from hanging out with teenagers, accompanies me to the store, and links her arm around mine when we are walking together. She teaches little kids and also takes classes at the University. Ana-Luz (23) is studying to be a nurse and his only home on the weekends. Guadalupe (31) is a secretary at a dentist`s office in La Paz during the day and takes classes at night so I don´t see her much. Patricia (my Bmom) has been divorced for 13 years and works long days as a teacher and usually comes home either sick or in pain. She has a limp that bothers her more than she lets on and works hard to take care of her 7 kids (including me!)
I am always the first one to be served my meal. I`m always given the best silverware, big portions (much to my dismay), and special treatment. My Bmom often buys me crackers and apples to keep in my room, which I know is an added expense. Since I`ve been sick, they refuse to allow me to wash or dry the dishes. Their humility astounds me... I`m the one on a Servant Team, yet humility and service aren`t limited to titles.