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January 27-Februay 2 Halcones Del Mar Rock (Seahawks)

The weeks are flying by so quickly, it is hard to keep up with our record. Monday was a blur and we worked all day long. The best thing about the day was when Adriana came in looking for better employment and we asked her if she would like to volunteer in the center while she is in searching mode. She works part-time now, but would like full-time work. She agreed and within minutes was inputting jobs onto our ldsjobs website. Yea! Another volunteer!

Mike at the Shoeshine Stand on Our Block (He Was
VERY Tired)

Tuesday, we walked out the door of our apartment and pushed the elevator button like we do every single time we leave. We could see the elevator was not on our floor (we live on the top floor and can see through a glass strip in the door when it has arrived). Instead of the sound of machinery moving the elevator upwards, we were met with nothing but a terrible, eerie silence . . . .a horrible silence. Silence was horrible because we live on the sixth floor and if the elevator doesn't work, this means that we have to walk down six flights of slippery stairs in darkened stairwells. To make matters worse, the stair railings must have been installed with toddlers in mind as they come to a height below my knee. Imagine yourself descending a darkened stairwell, crouched over with a big bag on your shoulder or lugging your 25-pound backpack trying to hold onto a railing about 12" off the ground. It's a joke. We arrived on the ground floor and saw a sign taped to the elevator door, "Blah, blah, blah, blah". "What happened to the elevator," we whimpered. "Se quebro," (it broke itself), the security guard replied. "When will it be fixed," we asked in hopeful voices. "One week," he replied - which is code for I have no idea, I will keep you updated, but if I say one week you won't get upset. At the office, a beautiful, young woman came in seeking help in finding work. She graduated from dental school one year ago, Since then, she has been practicing at a clinic in Bucarramanga, a city much smaller than Bogotá. Her monthly pay for the last year, working Monday thru Friday, 8-5, has been $250. Something is seriously wrong when this happens. We just listened as she shared her thoughts, ideas, hopes, worries, etc. We know two dentists and helped her connect with them. We plan to help her further with a small business workshop and ongoing ideas and support. On the way home we stopped to get our shoes shined and figured out that the shoe-shine guy makes more per month than this young dentist who has a large loan to pay off. Wow. We also found a place where we can send mail to the states. I sent my first batch of cards, so we'll see if they arrive. Each one costs $2.00 to mail, so I hope it works. We stopped at the Embassy Suites for dinner before facing the long climb up the stairs to our apartment.
 
Mike Climbing the Stairs With the Mini-Handrails (For
Unexplained Reasons This is Very Common on
Colombian Stairs)

 
We were up at 5:00 a.m. Wednesday in order to arrive early as Edgar had an appointment and needed us to open the office. Our weekly staff meeting lasted three hours, but we covered all the essentials and everyone is now on the same page. Afterwards, we took everyone out for lunch to celebrate having completed over 95% of our PEF calls. We had twelve calls left in order to complete 100% and by days end we completed ten! Everyone was pumped. One of the PEF students we needed to call had moved to the island of Capri off the coast of Spain and his parents live in Mexico. One of our new volunteers looked at the student's contact list and recognized one name as someone he knew from his mission in Mexico. How fortuitous was that! He sent the friend a message on Facebook and received an answer within ten minutes. She will contact the student's mother and get all his information so we can speak with him and get his records transferred. You've gotta love technology! Later in the day, a mother walking by the office with her three kids stopped in to find out what happens in our center. We shared the tools we have to help her in HER search for work and she signed up for the Auto-Suficiencia Laboral (job self-sufficiency) workshop. Jon sent four "car cups" of gum in our Christmas package and I have one at work. When kids come in with their parents, I offer them a piece of gum. You would think they had died and gone to heaven they get so excited about their piece of "chicle." It's so cute. Thanks Jon!

Our Wednesday Devotional\Training Session

At Our Thank-you Lunch

Banana Soup - Yumm?

All the workers showed up on Thursday and the remodel is coming along nicely. We had the wiring guys, the computer guys, the printer guys and the painters all bumping into each other. When we moved from the Calle 72 office, we only needed three of our six computers and when they were delivered it was the wrong three. It has taken four weeks to replace those three with the right ones, but they're back and we're happy! We stayed late tonight as the stake president from the chapel next door met with us at 6:30 p.m. to get oriented in the new CAS/PEF program. By the time we finished, it was 8:30 p.m. We took a taxi home and fell into bed at 9:00 p.m., which was probably the reason I awakened at 3:00 a.m. the next morning. I went out to the sofa so I wouldn't disturb Mike with my tossing and turning and read until 4:30 a.m. before going back to bed. My new read is a job-hunting best seller called, What Color Is Your Parachute? It's a great read for anyone thinking about looking for a new job. I highly recommend it.

Working on the Telephones & Computers

Mike Doing Computer Standardizing

Ethan's birthday #7 was Friday so we did FaceTime and sang "Happy Birthday" while he was enjoying his birthday breakfast. The workers came to install new lights in our personal office and the ones they brought were 4" wide. The big, round metal plate in the ceiling where the wires come out is about 8" in diameter. I told them I didn't want the wrong size put up and they went round and round with their boss, but to no avail. We told them to wait until Monday. After work, we took a taxi to Home Center and found big, square lights that match the recessed ones in the other half of the office, but they were a little pricey. We finally found some nice round lights that are the perfect size to cover the metal plate. They were only $20 each, so we'll hope we can present a good case. When we got home, Mike sent an email to the decisionmaker saying, "Here are the four light choices selected by Hermana Anderton for our office in order to cover the metal plates in the ceiling.” He found pictures of three really expensive crystal chandelier-type lights on the internet and made up outrageous prices for them, then added the photo of the HomeCenter light with him smiling and holding it up. We'll see if humor helps our cause:) We also bought a blender, which will come in handy.

The Last of the Painting


Mike Suggesting a New Approach to
Our Light Fixture Decision - Will the
Email Work?
 
Saturday was sleep in day….ahhhhh 9:00 a.m.! I did the laundry and repaired my ripped skirt (snagged on a bent license plate as I walked by a car) and my new, black jacket (which Mike's belt hook snagged as he walked by me). We left the apartment late morning to do errands and enjoyed passing the street vendors out in full force. A table full of shoes held some brand names like Converse and NIRE. The top of the "R" on the shoe was not quite closed so it appeared to be a "K" at first glance. Very clever! While walking the streets, we finally found the "American Outlet" store we had been searching for several weeks ago. It was kind of fun to see Eddie Bauer, Puma, Carters, Reebok, etc. There was even a pair of Kirkland Signature slacks. Now that made me a little homesick for a minute! Lucky for the wallet, almost all the women's sizes were "S" and I'm definitely not a "S". Mike happily found a computer shop to repair his super hot (as in temperature) computer. We will bring it to them next week. They said they could fix it in 30 minutes while we eat dinner nearby. We also discovered a row of artesian shops, so will have to think about what we would like to bring back home (we don’t have much room, but would like to find a few small things). Mike liked a ceramic bus with pigs, boxes, fruits, etc. on top and crowded with people inside. I liked the apron which was embroidered with Colombian scenes. At lunchtime, Mike convinced me to try the street pizza, which I did, and was quite surprised at how good it was - $1.00 for a BIG slice. I didn't want to see how it was made. It was piping hot, so I figured that and a good blessing on the food would kill any dangerous bacteria. As we neared the mall, we passed two men taking a huge tree out. The temperature was quite warm for the day - maybe about 70 degrees. These two guys were sweating up a storm as they used a pick-axe to bust out chunks of the huge stump. It was probably a very long day for them. The little shop which makes Chilean empanadas was finally open, so we purchased six and took them home with us to enjoy for Sunday lunch tomorrow. We stopped at the Marriott to make reservations for a Valentine's Day stay. We got the same deal as our Christmas stay - deluxe room, free internet, two massages and the buffet breakfast. So excited!

It was good to attend our own ward Sunday and touch bases with our friends there. I was able to speak with the sister in our ward who is a dentist and she happily agreed to speak with the young "dentista" we are trying to help either find employment or start her own practice. While Mike napped, I prepared everything for tacos, which we will be enjoying during the “Super Bowl” tonight. I will follow the game by myself on the internet (on ESPN - the little field display with the arrows and no talking), because Mike gets way too nervous and can't stand the tension. This senior missionary is using the "Seahawk exception" for viewing a sports event while on the mission - GO HAWKS!

Interesting tidbit- almost all street cafes here bring your silverware and napkins on a plate, instead of having them already out on the table. I think this is because: a) the air is filled with dust and soot from the traffic and this keeps them clean and\or b) the silverware might disappear off the empty tables if left out. Side note: Most napkins are the size of a Kleenex.

Until next week…..

1 comment:

LGH said...

Mike and Kristi, WOW, the elevator; hope it's fixed by now....oh, this brings back memories; not of being in a foreign country, but of trying to help people. You are doing something so important, but so challenging. I love enjoy your blog posts!