So in the past two weeks not a lot has happened, but thought I would just write a quick update so that the next time I write it's not a complete essay, which is could easily turn out to be!
Going back a week now, we had planned a Santa Marta group bonding day with a trip to one of the theme parks in Bogota called Mundo Aventura. We knew that some people couldn't come, but expected there to be about 7 of us who would go and 'bond'. On the day only 5 us of turned up; Abi, Danni, Alex, Paola and I, so we had a girls day out instead. We had received free tickets with our bus tickets when we went to Armenia, so didn't have to pay a thing, which was great because after about 1 hour 30 minutes, the sky opened and down it poured! Everyday that week it had rained and stormed each afternoon for hours so we knew that the rain wouldn't stop. We had managed to go on a few rides (I only went on two) and walk round the animal bit, but surrendered knowing that the rain would continue. The rides we went on were, well, fun! One was with mini hot air balloons that went round and then the baskets lifted up so that you were tipped to the side. Another one went upside down, and the third one went round and round really fast (I didn't go on that one as I was feeling quite sick and dizzy so thought best that I left it). The animal park was full on farm animals and birds, so was just like going round a farm.
Due to the rain and also hunger pangs, we left and went to get some lunch. We found a nice restaurant with a menu of the day at a decent price and enjoyed getting warm and getting our tummy's fed. We then had a brain wave…CINEMA! After searching on the internet for a cinema that had the third film of 'The Hunger Games' in English with Spanish subtitles, we jumped on a bus and off we went. We had a mini adventure getting tickets, as realised that if we paid for a cinema card, because there were 5 of us, our ticket price would then be cheaper. By the time we had sorted that out there were no seats left for the viewing we had decided on. But no fear…there was a viewing an hour later with seats left, so we got tickets for that! And what did that mean? It meant we had time for a toilet stop, a drink and to get popcorn….genius! The film was great. Something I like about watching things in English with Spanish subtitles is firstly seeing how things are translated, but secondly seeing what things they miss out or how they translate things differently. Anyway, all in all I personally had a great day despite having felt sick and dizzy, and having wet legs and feet from the rain. I miss girl's days out so was good to have my fix.
The past couple of weeks I've continued on with my normal routine of work, planning lessons, going to the Mennonite church for the peace space and lunch and attending the Bible studies at the National University and in the UCU house. In one of my recent classes I had a chat with a couple of the students about their plans for their holidays, as they are coming to the end of their semesters. One of them who goes to the National University, told me that he is still not sure when his semester ends, as the teachers haven't yet decided! Due to the incredible amount of bank holidays that they have here, some teachers add on the lessons missed to the end of the semester meaning that the students have an extra week, whereas others do classes on Saturdays. I felt for him though, as his family are going travelling to the coast, but didn't get him a ticket, as he doesn't know when he will be free. This also means that he cannot find work or plan anything. This has also been the case with one of the Colombian's who is coming to Santa Marta. He only just found out that one of his exams has been moved to after the date that he is meant to be going! Being a bit of a control freak, this would drive me insane! Like I said, this doesn't happen in all the universities, but it happens in a fair few. You can only imagine the outcry if this was to happen in England!
I had my last conversation class on Friday 28th November, and for it we had a Christmas theme, so listened to Christmas music from the States and England, and made Christingles (thanks to Danni for the idea), as well as learning about the history of the Christingle. It feels a bit weird that I won't be planning anymore lessons, as for my last more basic class, I'll be doing the same thing. Even though I will see the people again, as we are having an UCU dinner to close the year, this may be the last time. I have just over 6 weeks left and there is still another adventure to be had, but also things are coming to a close. It's a strange feeling, which is causing a whole mix of emotions, but I know and feel secure that coming back to England is the right thing for now.
I have one more week with UCU and after that I'm off to Santa Marta with the other Latin Link missionaries who are in Bogota, and some Colombians who have a heart for mission. We will be working with a church in a community who do not have running water or a constant electricity source. The idea is to focus on the youth, do workshops of English, art and music and do themed talks based around faith, God and the Bible, but mainly focusing on relationships and everything that goes with it. It'll be a whole other experience, but one that I believe will bless all of us and show us more of what God is capable of. We have no shower, only a bucket and a cup to wash with, basic kitchen supplies, not a lot of space, and a lot of sun and heat to deal with. But, I cannot wait to go! My one desire is that we can show God's love to this community and make friends with the young people who are there. God has already done incredible stuff to help us go, as we have needed to get funds to be able to buy things. We had a figure that we needed, and already we have double that amount. I think God wants us there!
I'm not sure how much I will be able to update once I'm there, so it might be one big update when I get back, but I will try and do a midway point one if it is possible.
Anyway, that is all for now.