Wednesday was the “El Dia de la Amistad” here in Bolivia. It means “Friendship Day”. What a privilege it was to spend a few days with my dear friends in Santa Cruz. I arrived on Tuesday and met them at the big movie plex in the center of town. Claudia and Limbert were with their baby boy but had left their girl at home so that we could make a run to the grocery store before embarking on the 45 minute drive out to their house. At four that morning they had just got home from a week long trip to the country with the youth from their church and there was no food in the house. The grocery store aisles were crowed with people and products. The streets were also more crowed then I remembered from almost five years ago. The city of a million plus inhabitants has exploded; there is more of a rush that has set in with the economic advances.
The taxi driver, Israel, was a jovial member of their church and made jokes and laughed with us the whole way out to the Benavides house in the neighborhood called “Plan Tres Mil”. They pointed out new developments along the way; but I could hardly pay attention because I was thinking about the sweet little girl waiting in the house for us. Finally we turned off the paved road on to the sandy streets and made our way down to the house.
A family of five fat chickens served as the welcoming committee while we unloaded the car, unlocked the gate and thanked the driver. I barely heard my friends apologizing for their humble home as I searched for my treasure. There she was! So as not to scare her I waited for her mama to catch up to where I was and do the reintroductions. I crouched down slowly and reached out my arms as I said quietly in Spanish, “Can I have a hug, Angie?” Her mama prompted her but it was unnecessary because she already had her soft brown arms wrapped tightly around my neck. She backed up and said with a huge smile on her face, “You are the one who has my name! We are the Angies!” The smile hardly left her face the whole three days that we were together even when her excited little brother pulled her hair. There were a few adorable pouty faces when she was asking her papa to buy her a candy. But from the time she awoke to the moment nearing midnight that her head hit her pillow she was a chatty, bubbly, happy, smiley, melodious little girl. I loved every minute of it!
More to come about my trip later… but I will leave you with one more picture of a cousin of Angie and Elias who is slightly older than Angie; he is the son of Limbert’s brother Ruddy and is named DaRonn, after my husband.