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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Wyles

A bad week with a happy ending

I would say that I tend to be a glass-half-full type of person. If it’s not actual optimism, then I’m usually just keeping my troubles inside so as not to burden others. Usually my mom is the only one who can convince me to spit out my troubles, but this time I’m just going to come right out with it. I’ve learned that mission work is too difficult to go on with masking my emotions.

This week SUCKED. And I mean every one of those capital letters. Monday was a tough day because the weekend in no way left me rested for the week to come. For context, I have one free day a week. The other six days of the week, I am working at the hogar from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. I have a couple of hours of downtime throughout the day, but the honest truth of working at an orphanage with 36 girls to take care of is that even your downtime isn’t all that relaxing. And when 7:30pm rolls around, it’s pitch black out and if I have the energy to go anywhere it will take (at minimum) 30 minutes to get there. Before you start feeling too bad for me, remember I signed up for this. God prepared me to be where I am right at this moment. And I love all 36 of those girls with my whole being. But that one free day of the week is so sacred.

But ever since I got here, I’ve felt a lot of pressure to “make the most” of that free day. And in my mind, that has meant filling my free day from dawn to dusk with activities that end up leaving me more tired than I was before it came.

I’ve been craving alone time. Independence. Pizza (lol). Mourning my time in university where I was only responsible for myself. All of this to say that things had been building up for a couple of weeks. So when Tuesday came along and I was told the work day was going to start an hour earlier (and end at the same time), my reaction was similar to that squirrel from the Ice Age movies chasing an acorn only for the glacier to split in half right before it gets it.

I’m laughing about it now, but I was a mess. I only slept one hour that night. But then my two site partners (truly angels sent from above) told me to take the morning off and they covered my classes. I was able to sleep a bit, have a few meaningful conversations with people from home, and attempted to start the week fresh on that Wednesday afternoon.

Then Thursday came along and I came down with a nasty sickness. Extreme nausea took over, everything inside of me and more ended up in a bucket, and I couldn’t stand up without feeling like I was going to fall over. I’m not even going to mention some of the other side effects, because you might not be able to eat your next meal if I did.

Being sick in a foreign country is not fun. Especially when the healthcare systems are not quite what they are in the U.S. I was scared and I felt so very alone. I had the overwhelming heartache of just wanting my mom seated next to me.

But when your mom can’t be there, God still delivers. My two site mates, aka friends, came into my bedroom to keep me company for a couple of hours and we just talked. As pathetic as it sounds, they were even bringing ice cubes to me in my bed because it was the only thing my body would take. Their company may not have helped me physically, but it sure did wonders for me emotionally (I love you both!).

The next morning I went to the doctor and found out... drumroll please... I have intestinal parasites! Oh, happy day. The rest of the day I was laying on the floor of my room (because the temperature is cooler down there!) just trying to get bread down my throat. By Friday evening, I could feel myself starting to get better.

Unfortunately, I had to bow out of a day trip into the mountains to go hiking (today) because there was no way my body would be in shape for 6 hours of hiking at incredibly high altitudes. Heck, I couldn’t even walk for more than a minute without feeling dizzy until this Saturday afternoon.

But today has been an absolutely perfect day. I had a good night’s sleep for the first time in a while, and after I finally woke up I decided to track down a place in the nearby city to get a massage. After that I took the bus to a mall that I’d heard about and ate half a slice of pizza (my body is still getting used to the whole food thing). I walked up to the box office of the mall’s movie theatre and decided to see whatever movie was playing next. It was some cheesy high school movie set in Ecuador but I had an absolute ball— laughing my butt off all by myself at the movies. After the movie I finally felt strong enough for a longer walk and went to my favorite coffee shop, which is where I am as I’m writing this.

It has truly been a fantastic day. There will be no pity parties. As my favorite Youtuber said recently, “You’re not invited to my pity party, because there isn’t one”. I won’t lie and say that all of my worries have been resolved, but I can say that my soul is in a much better place than it has been the last week. I’m joyful and I’m excited to continue fulfilling my purpose here, taking everything one hour at a time. Because in Bolivia, there is no such thing as planning.

Also, the hogar got a new pet sheep to “mow our grass” for us :)

Until next time, enjoy some random pics!

Just hangin after a field trip to a local pool

Nothin like a little online gym class

Sunday afternoons are for making mud pies in the garden

La Parque de La Familia water & lights show with fellow missionary friends in Cochabamba

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