Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fun in the Mud

A few weeks ago we decided to do something different for Sabbath and took a trip up to the little village of Espejillos (es peh he yos) where Dr. Kim and his family have set up their mission school. This little town is about a 15 minute car ride from the property where we're at and then from there it is about 11 miles from the road back into the Kim's place. Steve, DJ, and I thought it would be great to walk the 11 miles in on the beautiful junglish road. Jeff decided to take his family on his Honda 250 dirt bike/motorcycle. So we all drove up to the turn off to Espejillos and left the car there.

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The next thing that we had to do was cross the river. Here is a picture of the Sutton family getting ready to cross the river. When we went across in the morning the deepest part of the river was only up to our knees. Everyone who lives in Espejillos has to cross this river to get into town or go back home. As you can see in the second picture of Jeff riding his bike across, one vehicle was already stuck. (Fortunately the Bolivians mine sand and rock out of the river and have plenty of large machines available to help people get unstuck...at a small cost).


Once across the river, Jeff took off on the motorcycle with his family and Steve, DJ and Jodi started their walk through the beautiful Bolivian hills. About 6 miles in, Dr. Kim and Jeff drove up in the Kim's landcruiser and gave us a ride in the rest of the way.
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We spent that WONDERFUL Sabbath day enjoying the nature and fellowship with good friends. Unfortunately our camera had broken and we didn't have another one with us at the time, but just imagine this: On the Kim's property there are two waterfalls, the first set of them are about 10 to 20 feet tall. Then there's the big one at about 50 ft. tall. Each of these falls has been carved into the limestone rock creating smooth channels and ending in cute little pools of water, each with its own unique shape. They figure that about 60 gallons a second tumbles over the falls. The bottom pool flows into a quaint stream with lots of big rocks and water plants growing in it. At the top of the falls the creek widens and is said to go to a 5 spring source. Steve, DJ, and Jodi walked up the stream a little ways...that is until Steve and DJ got tired of being "spider men." There were hundreds and hundreds of these large 2" bodied spiders with thick yellow stringed webs all across the creek. The beautiful blue butterflies flying by made the trek up the creek extra enjoyable.
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All too soon, the afternoon was pressing on and we felt it time to go. We figured we'd have to walk out and the sun goes down about 6:15ish. It was around 3:30 and we had flashlights, but we didn't want to be out that long after dark. (By the way, it's not very dangerous in Bolivia, and there was not a safety issue with being out after dark) Truthfully.
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As we prepared to leave, Mrs. Kim offered to drive us out. It had rained just a little bit while we were there during the day and Jeff didn't want to take his family back out on the motorcycle, so they were going to go with Mrs. Kim and we just got lucky :)
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Mrs. Kim drove us about 3 miles down the slick, clay road at which point we came to the end of a long line of cars. We got out to see what was going on. Had there been a road slide? An accident? Well, come to find out, the road was just in rather poor condition. We decided that we'd walk over the bad hill and then Jeff would shuttle us on his bike to the river. So we said goodbye to Mrs. Kim and put the two littlest kids on our backs and headed out walking. The next few pictures don't even do justice to the condition of the road. There must have been 30 or 40 cars lined up, unable to proceed. Now, that's a lot, considering the size of the village :).
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Steve having fun (below).A few cars that slid!


The clay stuck to the bottoms of our shoes and made even walking difficult. But at least we were moving...unlike the 50 or 100 people that would most likely have to spend the night there with their vehicles. We were reminded of our many dear friends who are serving as missionaries in the Philippines and who have to do this kind of thing weekly, if not daily!
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The sun sank lower and lower in the sky as we plotted along one foot after another. Jeff was having a hard enough time controlling the bike and stopping to clean out the mud that he was in no place to play shuttle man. So we walked along, enjoying the fun of the mud, taking pictures and videos with Jeff & Fawna's camera, and trying to keep the kids happy. We walked until the sun went down before the road was sandy enough and dry enough for Jeff to begin shuttling people. First he took Sierra and Steve (who had fallen earlier and injured his hip and knee), then he took Fawna and the two little ones, and lastly he came back for us. By that time, we only rode on the bike for a mile!

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We finally arrived at the river to another challenge... the water had risen. The deepest part now reach a good way up our thighs. We made it across ok, linking elbows, but then there was Jeff on the bike. We prayed hard as he began to cross in the shallow water. When he reached the faster flowing, deeper channel, all we could do was hold our breaths and pray. The water came up to the seat on the bike and somehow managed not to enter the air intake as the bike kept going, revved up really high. We all couldn't imagine how the bike would stay up under the circumstances. In seconds, however, Jeff raced up out of the water and up onto the sand flat. I can't wait to get to heaven and hear about how many angels were there pushing the bike up!
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Once on the sand flat, Fawna and the kids got a ride in the back of a kind family's pickup truck to the car. Steve, DJ, and Jodi sprited across the rest of the sand flat and got to the car shortly after Fawna and Jeff had. About a minute later, Fawna realized that she had left their backpack in the pickup. Sierra started crying frantically for her teddy bear and Savana was hungry. Jeff and Fawna left the kids with us and rode off after the truck to try to catch them. We all prayed that they would get the backpack back. Not that it had a lot of valuables in it, but kid's teddy bears are hard to replace. A few minutes later, Jeff and Fawna came back with the backpack. The people in the truck had realized that they had the backpack, stopped and were on their way back to give us the backpack. So finally we were in the car and arrived home at about 8:00.
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Such a fun Sabbath day!

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