Saturday, June 29, 2013

Simon Patiño's House in the Campo (Villa Albina)

Simon Patiño, a native of Cochabamba, become well-known after finding one of the greatest tin mining deposits ever found in Bolivia. After several years, his mine became one of the most important in the country. After earning his wealth from the mining industry, he did use some of the money for other projects, such as founding his own bank, marketing his own ore, and opening foundries, as well as investing in ore deposits in other countries. 

He eventually left Bolivia to live in Europe with this family. However, on a trip back to Bolivia, he suffered a heat attack that made it impossible to return to Europe. He eventually settled in Argentina where he later passed away.

Patiño has two houses in Cochabamba. One of the houses is in the city, and I haven't visited that house yet. I'm hoping to go before I leave, though. This past weekend, the other volunteers and I, along with Tía Adela from the boys' home, visited Simon Patiño's house in the country, known as Villa Albina. 

It was in the country but it wasn't that far out. The house is on a lot of land, and the gardens are really pretty. The house was nice, too. We were able to have a tour (in Spanish... the tour at the "city house" is in English), but only the rooms on the first floor are open to tourists. The bedrooms are located on the second floor, and from what I understood, they aren't open to tourists because some of his great-grandchildren come to visit the house and like to stay in the rooms when they are here. 

This isn't really the best picture of the house. The color is actually a very pretty light blue.

The view when you enter the house. There's a courtyard, and all of the rooms surround it. 

 We loved the gazebo... all you need is a canoe and some romantic music!

Me, Carlee, and Tía Adela

There are so many pretty flowers!

How adorable are the llama topiaries?!

That's Mt. Tunari in the background

Danyelle, me, Carlee, Tía Adela

Friday, June 28, 2013

Celebrating with the Staff

Every year, Casa de Amor has a big party for all of the staff and their families. It usually falls around the time of Día de San Juan, and this year, it was the Friday night after Día de San Juan.

The boys' house is the perfect place to celebrate! The house is big and there's a huge backyard. There's also a little shed-like building behind the house that has a grill, so it is perfect for entertaining!

The baby home prepared most of the food (hamburgers and chorizo being the main foods), and then Tío David cooked it at the party. The boys' and girls' houses were in charge of the games, and those were quite a sight to behold!

It was so much fun to see all of the tías outside of work and meet their families! We left the babies in very capable hands, but the boys and girls were able to join us at the party. They also enjoyed spending time with the tías' kids. I think everyone needs a break from work every once in awhile, so it was nice to spend time together outside of work.

 We got to see A., one of the Booher family's CDA kids! I haven't seen her since helping out at their house a few weeks ago, but it was made even more exciting by finding out that that very afternoon she met her adoptive parents for the first time!

Before dinner, we had a little worship time! Tía Rosa (CDA Social Worker... in the red jacket) and Tía Maria (CDA Pastor and Nurse... in the black jacket) led the singing.

Pelusa, the boys' very beloved cat, was of course in on the games!

 Mandarina Relay for the kids~ They had to carry a mandarina to one end of the yard, and carry it back to their team, but when passing it to the next teammate, they weren't allowed to use their hands. Something must have been lost in translation though, because they definitely passed it with their hands!

One of the most interesting games I've ever seen... Two people are blindfolded, and each has a spoon in his/her mouth. The goal is to hit the other person on the head with your spoon.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Playing Outside

I took these one morning while at the Baby Home. Although it is winter here, the weather has been pretty mild. It's definitely cold at night, but warm during the day. 

While the babies and younger kids nap, the toddlers get to enjoy some time outdoors! They love swinging and riding on their motos. I will say though, I think the tías may enjoy riding on the motos more than the kids do... I'll have to get a picture of them one day soon!

 If they could talk, I think they'd say, "The higher the better!"

 Plotting her escape!

 They can make laps around the house faster than you'd think!

She's recruited other escapees! 

He actually preferred to just sit on his moto... until Tía Lucy took him for a spin and he thought that was pretty fun!

Skipping her nap because playing outside is way better!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Día de San Juan

Día de San Juan is actually celebrated on Monday, June 24th, but here at Casa de Amor, we celebrated with the big kids on Sunday night. The boys' house is the ideal place for celebrating. The house is pretty big and there's a massive backyard. As soon as the girls arrived, the party started! 

Tío David (CDA Administrator) and his wife, Tía Rosa (CDA Social Worker), brought all of the food for our celebration. There was chorizo galore! At some point, the kids were challenged to see who could eat 5 chorizo (basically hot dogs). I don't know who won that challenge, but we passed out chorizo until it was all gone, and most of the kids seemed to eat at least 3 or 4. Hopefully no one got sick later that night! 

El jefe de la policía locking up a pleading Tía Danyella while his loyal employee stands guard.

"Arriba las manos!"

 More policemen?!

Some of the partiers!

 Not sure if that is chorizo number 4 or 5...

The other half of the partiers! 


 Can you tell this picture was my idea?! They wanted to take a picture with my camera, not be in one!

Love J.'s big smile!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Good morning, toddlers!

At the baby home, there are 2 groups of tías. They work either 12 hour or 24 hour shifts, every other day. Depending on the day, there are either 3 or 4 childcare tías on duty. (Everyone who works here is either a Tío (uncle) or Tía (aunt), but not everyone cares for the kids... some work in the office and we also have Tía Silvia, our chef.) 

The shifts begin at 8am, and if they have a 12 hour shift, they usually leave between 7:30-8pm, after the babies have gone to bed. The two who stay overnight work until 8am the next morning. 

The babies start waking up at about 6:30am, but as a volunteer, my morning shift doesn't actually start until 7am. By the time I start, most of the babies have already had their diapers changed and are ready for the day. However, they all have to stay in their cribs because from 7-8am, the overnight tías are showering/getting ready to change shifts, so it's much safer to keep the babies in their rooms than it would be to send them all alone to the play room. 

I have really been enjoying these early morning shifts because it gives me a full hour alone with the kids! I've really gotten into a routine with the toddlers and spend most mornings with them.

So a typical morning looks something like this...
-Go upstairs and see who still needs to be changed
-If bottles haven't been passed out, pass them out and then head to the toddlers' room
-Toddlers drink milk out of cups, so I have them sit down in their cribs to drink their milk
-After milk is finished, everyone gets 2 board books to look at while in their cribs
-They LOVE looking at books and it can keep them occupied for almost the full hour... which lets the tías get ready without worrying about what trouble the toddlers are getting themselves into ;)
-While they're reading, I usually wash the bottles/cups and then go see the little babies or 1 year olds

Sometimes we also sing songs together which they love, too. Although it is in English, "Ring Around the Rosy" is a huge hit! If they're out of their cribs when I come in, one or two will come up to me and say "Mano?" ("Hand?") and try to walk in a circle. They don't know all the words, but when we sing "We all fall down!," they say "down" and fall to the floor. It's too cute!

I took these pictures of the toddlers reading their books on Saturday morning, although it's become a common scene every morning...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Homework goes a little something like this...

 Her homework has her full concentration...

 ...until Tía Hannah interrupts and asks for a picture...

...who needs homework anyway?!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Glasses

When I arrived at the girls' house on Thursday, J. immediately ran up to me, and I hardly recognized her! She had just received her new glasses! She was thrilled with her purple frames, and she looks too cute with them! 

She was very cautious about anyone trying to touch them and was constantly using the little handkerchief to keep them clean. From what I hear, the excitement about her glasses isn't quite what it was on the first day, but still she is happy to wear them. I'm sure being able to now see clearly is a bonus, too.

Cell phone pictures are never that great, but it's the only picture I have of J. with her new glasses! None of the other kids wear glasses, and although I normally wear contacts, I've been wearing glasses here... so now I'm not the only one in glasses!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

*Almost* Wordless Wednesday

This isn't the best picture of M., but I wanted to document the second child in a week who had to get stitches. Hopefully it's not third time's the charm! 

I'm not exactly sure what happened because I wasn't home, but I think he fell off of the playset outside. By the time I made it home, he wasn't crying anymore and the cut had stopped bleeding, but it definitely looked like it needed stitches. Tía Maria took him to the hospital and he came back home a couple hours later sporting this bandage with some stitches underneath. He's handled it like a champ!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Babysitting... if you want to call it that!

This past week, Rudi and Carla Booher, the parents of the Booher family who run Casa de Amor 4, had to travel back to the States for some family business. While they are gone, their 6 kids plus their 4 Casa de Amor kids have stayed at home in Bolivia. 

Carlee, Danyelle, and I have spent the last week taking turns "babysitting" all of the kids. I use that term lightly because Emily and Myles (the Boohers' 2 oldest kids) have pretty much kept things running at home. Tía Techy stays with them during the day, and we stay with them at night. I've spent 3 nights there so far and have one more night to go. It's been a lot of fun! The kids have been really well behaved, so they have made it easy for us!

I've taken a few pictures so hopefully Blogger won't take too long to upload them!

Making silly faces for the camera!

Or maybe just sweet ones! 

*Cross your fingers* it's our only injury of the week... Ruth had a bad bike crash that landed her at the hospital in need of stitches. She's on the mend and seems to be doing well! 

 I had a tagalong from the baby house for dinner on Saturday night. This little girl, M., is not a fan of leaving the house, so I'm slowly easing her into visiting new places. She was NOT happy to be at the Boohers' house, but she would sit by herself long enough to enjoy her Tampico Float! (Root beer floats for the rest of us)

Tampico Float moustache!

 A., one of the Boohers' Casa de Amor kids!

 So excited for these two! This week, twins K. and A., will leave the Boohers' house to go to their adoptive family! The Mitchells, who are adopting the girls, cared for them through Casa de Amor from the time they were 11 months old until this past November, when they moved in with the Boohers. Luckily for us, the Mitchells still live in Bolivia and we go to church together, so we'll keep in touch!

K.'s beauty shop!

 The first night I spent at the Boohers, there were some intense tic-tac-toe games. Paula and I played each other, and she won!

Clara is knitting a scarf for Paula. She's almost finished, and it looks great!

L., the Casa de Amor baby of the Booher family! He is SO sweet!

 Paula is the youngest of the Boohers' children. She speaks a random mix of Spanish and English, so it's funny to listen to her talk! She is so used to speaking Spanish that she uses it quite a bit when talking to me... I think she may speak more Spanish than I do!