A day in the life of Ken...
Updated: May 31, 2020
I woke up at 5:40 am to go to the market before the lines got too bad. We thought we could make it in Isabel’s truck at that time of the morning but after driving around and over various blockades that weren’t being manned, we finally got to within 10 blocks or so and that was it. Then there were big blockades that we couldn’t get past. Isabel dropped me off and I walked the rest of the way and she went back to the apartment with the truck and brought my bike.
We shopped as fast as we could (and called Samuel to come help us). Isabel got a taxi with the groceries for the house and Samuel and I rode our bikes. We scouted ahead to find a route for Isabel but then got a bit sidetracked. As we biked past our favourite saltena restaurant I laughed and looked yearningly because obviously I haven’t had my fix in over a week. Samuel laughed too and then said, “And it’s even open.” I was like, wait…what?! We quickly circled back around and sure enough, the door was open. So Isabel had to wait while we bought saltenas. But we bought her one too, so it was all good.
Eventually we carried all the groceries to the apartment and enjoyed our saltenas. Isabel left for work (she works for a national energy company that supports our president, so “si o si” (yes or yes) she had to go to work). She had to bike since there wasn’t any other way to get there. Samuel and I finished organizing the groceries and he set off with bags of vegetable and chickens balanced on each handlebar.
I started baking cupcakes because in the craziness of everything, we missed Sandro’s birthday yesterday. Obviously we can’t go buy a cake and I didn’t want to try to balance a cake on my bike, so cupcakes it was. I also kept an eye on social media and the news. There was a lot more tension today, with fights breaking out between supporters of our president and people in the city. There was fighting as well in Cochabamba, La Paz and some of the smaller towns around Santa Cruz. There’s talk of government supporters blockading roads into the major cities and not allowing produce trucks to pass. Our president is actively encouraging his supporters to “siege the cities”. So I was watching for more news on that as well. I read an update from a friend who’s at a conference in Chile about how international flights back were delayed hours because the flight crews all had to walk to the airport.
A fellow we’re friends with came over to the apartment and I put together a bag of groceries and a chicken for him and his sister and her baby and gave him some money to buy more food. Without being able to work, he’s run out of money (like many people around the city).
Then Isabel got home in the afternoon and I biked with Mario and Samuel with the rest of the groceries and the cupcakes. I brought along icing for the cupcakes and that was a good thing. Icing covers up a multitude of mashed up cupcakes.
We sang “Happy Birthday” to Sandro and ate cupcakes and drank pop. It was about 40 C in the house so that pop was a happy moment. Then we realized that we had one extra cupcake left so I taught the boys the “I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 100” game. They weren’t good at it. They all picked numbers under 23 except for 3 guys. David won and everyone else was bitter.
Then we talked about what’s happening in Bolivia and had a time of prayer. I was proud of the guys. They prayed earnestly and seriously about the situation we’re finding ourselves in and for the people around us who are suffering. We talked on Sunday about the importance of praying for our leaders and even though I’m sure it just about killed them, they prayed for our president as well.
Then it was time to bike home in the dark. There was a story in the news today about a group of government supporters attacking a lone guy on a bike, so Isabel was worried for me. But our area has been safe and calm, so it was fine. I biked around for a bit trying to find my wife some Sprite Zero, but no luck. Today they were asking people to walk their bikes and motorbikes past the blockades in the traffic circles out of respect for the people there. By this evening though, it was a bit hit and miss as to whether people cared or not. But I figured it was better to err on the safe side, so I walked my bike. I came up to one of the blockades and a fellow stepped forward to step on the rope and security tape across the road, but I got there first and didn’t realize at first what he was going to do. I just hefted my bike up onto my shoulder and stepped over the wire.
ALL the people at the blockade (like 20 or so) started clapping and yelling, “Eso! Eso!” (This! This!). It was probably the funniest moment of the day. I had no idea what to do, so I just laughed and told them no problem. I think I’m now a member of the tribe. That’s a random Star Wars quote, but don’t worry about it.
Now I’m home safe and sound with my wife. Well, she’s in the living room watching the news and catching up on everything that happened today. People on both sides are doubling down, so I think things are going to get worse before they get better. As I said tensions are high and for the first time, there was a lot of fighting around the country. An encouraging note though, is that churches are stepping up and having times of prayer and singing around the city. It’s helping to calm people and it’s been incredible to see huge crowds of people at the demonstrations kneel and pray together. We’re certainly seeing God do an incredible work in the hearts of the people here. It’s hard to know what to make of it all to be honest.
It’s nearly 12:30 am and even though the firecrackers (and I use that term lightly…they sound more like little pieces of dynamite ) are still rattling our windows, it’s time to go to bed so we can do it all again tomorrow. Thanks for thinking of us and praying. We’re doing well and we’re safe. I’ll keep you updated on what continues to go down.