Our current intern in Ixiamas, Bolivia, is 2008 Practicum graduate Becky Forrest. Becky served on short-term mission trips in 2007 and 2008 in Ixiamas. She is now in her second year as an intern.

April 12 was Kid’s Day in Bolivia, so the Internado decided to have a celebration for the kids of Ixiamas. We made an announcement on the Christian radio station and over the loud speaker in town. Every time we looked up more kids were coming. The last count we had was 85. It was a great Sunday afternoon of fun, games and sharing God’s word. We had prizes for contests, served yupi (the Bolivian version of Kool-aid), cookies and bags of candy for each one there.

A short trip to LaPaz to turn in papers to Interpol for my visa renewal turned into more than a week-long stay. Rachel, Mateo and I were stuck in LaPaz because of a strike, and the buses are not traveling down the Hill. Finally after three days of no travel, we decide I should fly back to Rurrenanbaque and take the mini bus to Ixiamas. I arrived back on April 30. The blockade continued until May 8th. This has created many problems for the people living down the road from Caranavi (which is about 6 hours from LaPaz). Most of our supplies and food comes from LaPaz, so nothing has been getting through. The shortage of diesel has created power shortages. The last week, we only had power from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. We are out of most vegetables, such as greens, tomatoes and carrots. You could still find some potatoes and onions for sell in town. Eggs were also hard to find, but we had stocked up when we realized it was going to be a while before they opened the road. We take a lot for granted in the United States when it comes to transportation. There is only one road from LaPaz to Ixiamas, so when it is closed for whatever reason, we have problems here. Can you imagine only one road from New York to Florida and all the food was grown in Florida. Or only one road from Texas to Atlanta, and no gasoline could come from Texas to Atlanta. But the people here are used to being without from time to time, and it really doesn’t seem to bother them. They just do the best they can with what they have.

Bolivar Sanga, SIFAT 2009 practicum graduate, arrived in LaPaz when we got there on April 22. Bolivar has come from Ecuador to Ixiamas to work on water projects in the jungle communities that don’t have clean water. He fortunately took one of the last buses from LaPaz before the blockade. Unfortunately with the gas shortage, he has not been able to travel to any of the communities yet. We have been getting the word out that he will be drilling wells for any communities that need it. We are hoping that the first community he will be able to provide clean water for will be the village of Puerto Ruso that we visited last fall. The only water the Tschimane’s have there is from a really muddy river, and we hear of sickness among the people. Please keep this project and the Internado in your prayers.

May God’s grace cover you with his love,