Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Oruro, Bolivia is the folkloric capital of Bolivia. I lived there for six months as a missionary and years later while my wife and I were dating we went out to Oruro to watch Carnaval. Carnaval in Bolivia is similar to those around the world in that it is before lent. What I liked about it the most is that it is four days of no rules water fights. If you were in the streets you were going to get wet.

We stayed at my wife's cousin's house in Oruro which was great because the parade passed right in front of the house. I had a day's supply of water balloons and the crowd around us was in awe that I could throw them so far. One time I let my guard down for just one second and a kid from across the street nailed me good. So I pick up a bucket of water and I'm chasing this kid around and everybody is in histerics. There was a break in the parade (parade participants are prohibited from being targeted) while I chased this kid. Then I let loose with the bucket. Needles to say I missed the kid and drenched an innocent woman. I was walking back to the house and turned to see a lady in hot pursuit. She was screaming at me and mentioning the police.

My wife's cousin jumped between me and the lady and I thought the two were going to throw punches. The lady mentioned that she was going to have the foreigner (me) arrested to which my wife's cousin, who was 20 years older than me, responded, "he's not a gringo, he's MY son". Between that and the crowd booing the lady she backed down.

That's how Teresa became my "Bolivian mother". Whenever I saw her that's what I called her and I was her "hijito" (ee HE to) or little son.

My Bolivian mother lost her battle with cancer last Friday. It was diagnosed in the advanced stages and took her very quickly. She is at peace and her pain is gone.

Mine will linger a bit.

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