Monday, June 25, 2012

This is the chapel in Constitucion where we taught English to the missionaries this past week.  It is the stake center.

We finally got to see the Botanical Gardens.  Notice the bride and groom in the background.  Elder Dibb is sitting in front of the cactus garden.

Looking down through the gardens.  Some of the trees look like palm trees, but it sure isn't Hawaii weather.

These eucalyptus trees are from Australia.  This one is huge and is probably over 100 feet high.  These trees are plentiful in La Paz and throughout the Altiplano.  Thousands were brought from Australia back in the seventeen and eighteen hundreds.

The gardens had 2 beautiful shields all made out of plants and flowers.  The other one was in the shadows and didn't show up.  But it is quite impressive.

Flowers along the walls.

Coming back from Miraflores and the gardens we saw this family who had "camped" on the side hill.  Notice the clothes that have been washed.  They are drying on the bushes.  The mother is washing her hair.  This picture is taken from the bridge that goes across the canyon from Sopocachi to Miraflores.

We went back to Valle de la Luna so we could spend some time going through the canyon.  It is a lot like Bryce canyon, except all the formations are made of clay with some rocks in them.  Many of the crevices are very deep.

This is an interesting plant.  You can see the orange flower and right next to it is a "ball of fluff" that looks like a dandelion.

This was part of the trail.  There are holes all through this area - the beginning of erosion and more pinacles.

A picture looking up toward La Paz.  The city is on the hillsides.

This statue is called "The Spirit of the Andes".  It is interesting because it is made of sandstone and the rest of the formations are clay.

We were trying to figure out how this huge rock could sit on top of this clay tower.  It had to weigh a few tons and it is just hard clay underneath.

We walked down to the little town of Mallasa.  This is the church - much different than the ones we have in La Paz.

Along the street were "ovens" with chickens roasting.

The zoo is in Mallasa, so we decided to check it out and see if we could see more animals than we did the first time we were there.  We did see more animals and this monkey had it's baby on it's back.  She was climbing around and around the cage.

We took a taxi to Valle de la Luna.  It cost us 40 Bs. or about $6.00.  But when we came out of the zoo, there were no taxis to be found.  So we got on this bus - our first experience with the bus transportation system.  It cost us 4 Bs. or about $.70.  The trip is about 12 miles up and down hills.  It took about 20 minutes to get there and coming back on the bus, it was about 40 minutes - because the stop and let people on if they stand on the side of the road and wave.  This shawl had sequins and beads all over it.  Of course, there were not enough seats and people had to stand.

This bus is much nicer than the buses Elder Dibb road in when he was here, but the ceiling was still too short and he had to bend over to walk back to our seats.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sister's Conference

We had a wonderful Sister's Conference in the mission home last Monday.  There are 18 Sisters, myself and Hermana Quintanilla.  We had some scripture instruction from President Quintanilla, lesson from Preach My Gospel given by one of the sisters.  We had music conducting instruction(Sister Dibb helped with this - on the spur of the moment), then another sister from Obrajes came after lunch and continued the instruction.  The sisters who are finishing their missions before our next conference bore their testimonies.  It was a very uplifting day.  Here we are making brownies.

Bonnie, the President's daughter, showed us all how to make the brownies and gave us the recipe.  It was a lot of fun.  Think how surprised I was that they put 4 eggs in the mix and only 1 cup of flour.  We are still trying to figure out how to make things in this altitude.  Elder Dibb's chocolate chip cookies are turning out great now.

This is my team for making the brownies.  What a fun group of sisters.

While the brownies were cooking, a sister showed us how to make bracelets.  It was a spiritually uplifting day as well as fun doing things that "girls" like to do.

Today, P-day, we walked all the way over to Miraflores to go to the Botanical Gardens, only to find that it is closed on Monday (of course, it didn't say that on our information).  So we looked a little through the fence.  A lady came over and told us that she was the librarian and offered to ask if we could get in.  But when she found someone, he said "no".  Don't know if we'll get to see it or not, because Monday is the only day it is closed - as we have found with many other places in Bolivia.  Dale is wearing his new leather coat he got for Father's Day.

A picture through the fence.  It looks like a beautiful place.  Hope we get to see it sometime.

We walked down the street and saw this interesting Church. It was open, so we went inside.  While sitting there for a few minutes, a young man came up and asked if Elder Dibb was the "Padre".  Elder Dibb explained that we couldn't help him.  Confessions were not until 5:00 p.m.

Close-up of a statue of Mary holding the baby Jesus.  This statue is  on the outside of the building.

One of the streets is dug up to put in the gas line.  Instead of digging in the street, they take up the stones from the sidewalk and dig there.

The stones are interesting because they are only flat on one side - the side that is up.  We decided that it was no wonder that the stones in the sidewalks eventually buckle and are uneven.  At times walking on the sidewalks is like trying to make your way through a mine field.

After our long walk, we sat on a bench in the park.  We noticed this guy about 10 stories up painting or repairing the building.  He is just on a rope with a board for a seat.

A little scary!!  People do stuff like this all the time without any kid of safety equipment.  OSHA would be in heaven down here !

Monday, June 11, 2012

We have begun to visit the missionary district meetings to help them with their English pronunciation and other things to help them progress faster.  The problem is that they don't have anyone to practice with because they are all from Latin America.  There are actually sounds in the English language that they don't use in Spanish and the missionaries have a real hard time making those sounds.  Anyway, this is the chapel we went to last week.  It is built back in between some other buildings and goes straight up.  You climb 50 stairs before you even go into the building.  Then on the main floor there are the Bishop's offices and stake president's office with the high council room.

Two floors up from the main floor is the chapel.  It's a pretty big room with benches on the sides and chairs set up in the middle.

These are the stairs up to the chapel.  We wondered how anyone with disabilities could come to Church.

On Monday, P-day, we went to a culture and textiles museum.  It was very interesting, but they wouldn't let us take pictures.  They had all kinds of weaving, pottery, some amazing head-dresses all made from feathers and used for their dances, and masks from different areas of Bolivia.  This is just a picture of the outside.  The doors were carved with ornate designs.  It was really quite the place.

On our way home from the museum, we saw this old church and noticed that weeds are growing on the roof.

The dome of the church with a broken window.  These three photos are of the cathedral in the Plaza Murillo, the main plaza in the center of town.  Their congressional building and presidential palace are located in the plaza and this cathedral should be a showcase.  Unfortunately, it is in very poor shape as are many of the old cathedrals in Bolivia.

The construction on the back side of the church.  If you look closely, you can see more weeds sprouting from the walls.  Not much else has been happening this week as Sister Dibb continued to work on getting all the baptismal "registros" transferred to the new computer program.  It is finally done and will now be much easier to enter and get reports that are needed.  Much thanks goes to Hermano Chavez, our computer programer, who tailored the program to our needs and is always willing to revise or add-to if needed.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Trip to the Branch in Chua.

Not many pictures this time since we are entering all the baptism/confirmation information from January 1, through the end of May in the new registro program.  This is the chapel at Chua on the Altiplano.  There are a number of chapels just like this one in our mission, especially in the areas where there are more branches than wards.

The chapel at Chua sits in a field with no other buildings around.  This is a view from the chapel of a military base where we once gave a training session in the briefing room to a group or young adults and a few YM/YW leaders.

This is the hallway of the chapel, looking from the entrance to the double doors of the room used for sacrament meeting.  All of the these branch chapels are exactly the same.

This is the room for sacrament meeting, well, just about every meeting is held here, including some of our training sessions.

No one came to our training session, but this sister and her two grandsons, ages 10 and 12, came in to see what was going on since the door to the chapel was open. She spoke Aymara and very little Spanish. Her grandsons did the translation for us. We showed them our family pictures, they told us about their family, and we talked about the Church and the US. We had a good time with them. Ronald liked Elder Dibb's hat. They promised to visit us at our apartment the next time they came to La Paz. By the way, the two boys said they want to serve missions. We hope there is a way they can.

Sister Dibb wanted to include this picture of her gift of flowers from an unknown admirer from La Paz.  They have some very beautiful and different flowers here and they are very inexpensive.