Thursday, March 28, 2013

Granja (Farm)

The kids' school owns a farm some ways outside the city (I believe I have mentioned this before...!) and a few Saturdays ago they had Parents' Day there. Just parents, no kids, so not everybody was able to come due to work or not having other child care. Terry stayed with the kids and I joined the van caravan out of the city.

This area is just gorgeous.

 They have a llama! Named Pepe!

And a dog! Named Luki!


 After touring the property, we were put to work in small groups - two groups built foot-bridges to go over this small creek running through the property, two groups planted heliconias (aka false bird-of-paradise), one group created a tile mosaic, one group tied up bean plants, and another painted signs to label different kinds of compost and plants. (I painted signs)

 The kids have a field trip to the farm about every two weeks throughout the school year, except when it's very rainy - then they take them places in the city. But the school really invests a lot in the farm, with gardening and reforestation projects. I'm guessing it's around 40 hectares? of reclaimed pasture (although some of it is still kept as pasture for the two cows and llama).

It's so nice for the kids to have this quiet, fresh, green place to spend time. At the same time it was really strange to me to be there with this group of city people - they were so enraptured with every green leaf it was almost comical. If you've spent any time around farms and farmers, you tend to lose that romanticized notion pretty quickly (am I right, Vince?). It was also strange to be in this group of upper-middle-class parents who are so insulated by their wealth from the violence and displacements going on in this country, the fierce battles over land... one couple casually took down a phone number listed on a "for sale" sign for the adjacent property, talking about how they'd like to build a weekend/vacation home outside the city. So separate from the people that we support through our programs here, yet it's all connected.

I think it's incredibly valuable for our kids to learn about where food comes from, to interact with the "natural" world, soak in these quiet green spaces. The air was so fresh and clean. I'm glad I got to see it so I can ask them better questions about what they do and see there. About all I got before was that there's a rooster that goes "Kok! Kok!" In September there will be a family day for us to go with the kids, too. I'm really looking forward to that!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Retiro en la Costa - Retreat on the Coast

We just got back from our team retreat on the Caribbean Coast - so nice! Hot, but nice. (In unrelated news, I just got my birthday camera - thanks Dad! This is almost the last batch of photos with that ugly black corner.) We flew 1 hour to Monteria, then took a van about 2 hours to CoveƱas. These kids are getting to be very seasoned travelers!

It was kind of nice that Valerie insisted on wearing long sleeves, long pants, and socks the whole time, as that helped limit her sun and mosquito exposure. Nonetheless, she got 17 mosquito bites on one hand alone (not to mention 7 on her face and several on the other hand).

It was very hot. The hotel pool was so nice. We had a mix of work, relaxation, and worship (on Palm Sunday).

Monday was a quiet day spent re-acclimating to Bogota (Valerie said "I'm so happy to be back in Colombia!") and receiving the Jantzi grandparents, who arrived here a few hours after we did Sunday night!

Unfortunately Valerie woke up sick today and has been throwing up and shivering. Right now she is sleeping, thankfully. Gabriel is fine, full of energy, and Terry has gone to the office to do a little work while the grandparents putter around helping me do small tasks at the house. I'm so glad it's holy week so we can rest up a bit.

Friday, March 15, 2013


A lot has happened since I last posted! I keep hoping that I will get back into the swing of things here on my blog, but somehow it's not happening. I'm glad to know though that people are still reading :-)

A few updates:

  • Terry went to Afghanistan for 2 weeks, to do a training for World Vision. Although he was gone for 16 days, he was only in-country for 10 days because the trip is so long! He brought back lots of fascinating stories and photos, and a beautiful hand-woven rug he bought from a women's cooperative. I'll post some photos ans stories once I get that organized and cleared for public consumption.
  • Meanwhile, at home in Colombia, Gabriel learned to use the potty!!!!! We had tried about a month ago during a long weekend, but he just wasn't cooperative. Then the aide at his preschool asked me to bring her some extra pants and underwear because she thought he was willing to try, based on how he watched the other boys go. Luz, our afternoon babysitter, was really excited about this and jumped on board quickly in support of the process. By day 3 I was coming home in the evening to find him in the same dry pants and underwear I'd dressed him in the morning! There are still accidents, and he's still wearing a diaper at night, but I'm very proud of our little dude for mastering this skill, and grateful to our child care providers for taking the initiative to work with him and actually do most of the work for me!
  • I turned FORTY. Happily, Terry was back in time for my birthday. Unhappily, I got sick that day with an evil sore throat that felt like knives every time I swallowed. I took a sick day on Wednesday, and today I feel pretty good. My energy is back just in time for some friends from work and church to take me out!
  • We also hosted our first "learning tour" delegation, a group of Mennonite Brethren pastors seeking to connect with and learn from Colombian MBs about how their faith shapes their responses to the armed conflict in this country. You can find their reflections here.