July 2016 Bolivia Humanitarian Trip - Day 2

Monday morning came and our fearless leader Mike went with our local contact Yadil back to customs.  I was left (unexpectedly) with the responsibility of representing the group since I was the only other person that was fluent in Spanish.  The activities of the day consisted of visiting all the contacts we had and keeping up our public relations. We started with the Mayor (one of the 2, they have different branches of government and we met with one of them).  He spoke about how grateful they were to have us and then they interviewed us both for the local tv news on what we were doing that week.  I explained that we had come to donate medical supplies and teach the young women about feminine hygiene.

Next we went to the Health Dept. offices and spoke to those officials.  They welcomed us with empanadas, speeches and bottles of fruit juice and coca cola.  They had a small nurse school behind those offices so we went by there next and passed around some of the DFGs kits we had. Luckily we had packed a few in our own personal suitcases so we had about 8 kits that weren’t held up in customs that we could use for demonstration.

Last, we went to the Health Center to meet with the people who World Village works personally with each year when they come.  They were wonderful and showed us all the medical supplies that the group had brought them in the past, as well as how much they had added onto their Health Center and how well they were doing.  Then they thanked us again and again for coming to help.

After lunch we split up into 2 groups.  5 of us ladies went to the Red Cross to teach a group of 15 nurses about the Days for Girls’ program.  The other 15 people in the group went out to a school where they would be doing some work and painting that week.

I dove in speaking to the nurses.  I served my mission back in 2000-2001 and then taught in the MTC for 2 years, graduating from BYU in Spanish in 2003.  It has been 13 years and I’ve had moments where I have used my Spanish, but not in this type of capacity.  I was reaching for words I had never in my experience used throughout my Spanish career.  There were some hand charades, a good amount of word guessing and help that came from the compassionate nurses who wanted to understand what we had to offer.  In hindsight, I wish I would have taught them the DFG’s program like I taught the girls in school later in the week, but I hadn’t taught it yet and just gave them an overview of what our mission and purpose were.  They volunteered to come and help us teach in the schools and we’re all very interested in the program.

Sadly on Monday they had no luck at customs.  The person that promised that they could have them the day before was off duty and the new person said it was out of the question to release them.

BECAUSE THIS TRIP WAS SUCH A LONG AND AMAZING ADVENTURE, I'VE CHOSEN TO BREAK DOWN THE BLOG POSTS INTO INDIVIDUAL DAYS. YOU CAN FIND THE JOURNAL OF EACH DAY HERE: