Monday, March 5, 2012

Greetings from Bolivia!

What´s up dude (in the words of my companion from Ecuador), 
I´m glad everythings great at home, it sounds exciting. Cameron, have 
fun with your last week, I wish I knew everything you now know after 
the mission. And I am probably one of those elders who says everything 
wrong... Marissa, keep it up! haha yep. 
I finally made it to Bolivia. Just the feel of Bolivia seems more 
familiar than Lima. In Cochabamba, it is actually quite beautiful, 
surprisingly. It is also not as crowded. The first couple days 
(Tuesday/Wednesday) were a little boring because all 30 of the new 
missionaries were doing paper work and visiting the police station, 
etc. At night, we stayed at the temple hotel. Yeah, that was luxurious 
compared to other places here. After I got my trainer, Elder Lopez, we 
got straight to work. His old area was in Cochabamba and so we visited 
all of his investigadors, converts, friends. However, our area is not 
in Cochabamba. Thursday morning, we flew for 15 min. straight up a 
mountain to Sucre. Then we took a 3 hour taxi drive with some pretty 
neat scenery. We then finally arrived in Potosi; The highest and 
coldest city in Bolivia and probably in South America. Yeah, you can 
check it out on a map if you wish. My first night was probably the 
worst night I´ve ever had. I threw up 6 times from the altitude and 
some members´ food. The next morning, i felt really dizzy and weak. 
Probably the sickest I´ve ever been. I couldn´t digest anything. 
Everytime I ate or drank something (including water), it came back up. 
For a couple days, I had nothing in my stomach, but wasn´t very 
hungry. Luckily, we ran into hermana missionaries and they told me 
that my face look really green. I was dehydrated. Yeah, intense! She 
said to drink some citrus juices. I bought powerade, which probably 
saved me. I am still getting used to the food and the climate here. 
It´s funny because everything that I´ve probably ever complained about 
in my life is here in Potosi. But now I should be getting used to it. 
I think I am becoming bi polar. Some moments I´m happy, then sad, then 
frustated, then energetic... hopefully that was because I´m adapting. 
There are these women called Cholitas here. They are the natives of 
Bolivia and primarily speak Quechua (which I have to learn a little 
bit of - ema su tiki). They all look the same with their long black 
pigtails and these home made dresses. They always try to sell you 
stuff or beg for money, I kinda fell bad for them. Also, they go to 
the bathroom in the streets, yeah gross. There are lots of dogs here 
also. For every 1 human, there is 3 dogs. They´re pretty dirty ( if 
you know what I mean). There is a particular dog that likes to follow 
us around, he is nice. I named him lucas. Lucas got in a fight today 
with 3 other dogs and won. Yep, cool story. Back to the mission. 
On Saturday, I had my first baptism. Although, she was going to get 
baptized with or without me here. My companion has like 5 people set 
up for the next 5 weeks. He´s had a baptism every week for the past 
month. He´s great with listening to people and truly becoming their 
friends. He is perfect for learning to love the people. However, he 
speaks no english, so it´s rough. Oh yeah, Mom - Elder Swasey, who we 
met at the mall with his dad is also in my zone. He baptized someone 
last Saturday as well.  For the people here, people will say yes to 
your committments, but then we have to follow up many times for them 
to actually do it. Also, I´m pretty sure the inactive rate is high 
here. Any suggestions for that? My companion said that a little less 
than half of his converts are inactive. hmmm, problems. 
Well, there is so much more I want to share, but I´ll save that for 
the weeks that I hardly have anything to write. Chow! 
Elder Caminador 

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