Easter weekend, Nathan and I met up with my parents, sister Abigail, and my brother Christopher in Miami, FL to head down to Bolivia, South America. Ten years ago this November, my family of six traveled down to Bolivia together to adopt my little brother. He was born in March 1999 and was being cared for in a Spanish orphanage until we arrived and got custody of him in November 1999. That was my junior year of high school, and it's hard to believe that was already 10 years ago! Eeeeek! (Side Note: My mom and Abigail actually stayed in Bolivia for 5 weeks because of the laws surrounding adoption! My dad and Natalie were there for 4 weeks. Emily and I were there for 10 days.)
Anyway, this trip was the first time my brother had been back to his country since we adopted him and flew back to California. He was thrilled to be going back and seeing all the things we told him about his whole life. The plan was to do tourism, visit a couple organizations that we are involved in supporting. It was pretty awesome to be able to go back. I first went to La Paz, Bolivia in 1998 on a mission trip with a small organization, working in an orphanage and doing outreach to the homeless and street children. How cool that 11 years after that I'm back with my family and my husband to celebrate my brother's life!
I had a great time bonding with my family, touring around La Paz and its outskirts (Lake Titicaca, the La Paz Zoo, etc.), seeing one of the Compassion International locations and my family's sponsored child, getting to know Kaya International and their work (and the awesome boys that they've rescued from the streets), and in general just Bolivia culture. The sad story is my video camera got stolen during the trip, and also Abigail left before the trip was completely over...we missed her. =(
Here are a few pix of the trip. They're a bit out of order, so bear with me:
Me & Chris
This woman was overjoyed to see Chris & started crying at this point. She worked at the Children's Home when Christopher was there 10 years ago.
Some indigenous women, or Cholas. The hats they were are wearing are characteristic of the Bolivian people. These Cholas are selling goods in a big market called the Cholas Market.
Christopher playing with Luis, a boy from La Paz that my family sponsors through Compassion.
Dinner with some of the Kaya kids. Please note the huge, genuine smile (hard to get in a posing photo with him) on Christopher's face. This is the sign of a happy kid: playing with Bolivians his age, soccer after dinner, and teaching the kids how to play Yahtzee! Especially the soccer part. Haha!
A view of the gorgeous Mt. Illimani taken from the airplane home at sunrise. The indigenous have a lot of beliefs surrounding this mountain.
For more pictures, check out our Phanfare Site (if you don't have the password, just ask me for it)! The Bolivian album posted is Chris' Perspective; he was the photographer.