We’ve spent this week visiting friends. In the international teaching world, it is rare to see old friends, so it was good to see my former colleague Hudson T. He still teaches at the school here in Santa Cruz where I worked from 1997 to 1999. Hudson is doing very well with a nice family and beautiful home.
We also had a family photo shoot with our good friend David G. He is a professional photographer and owns three photo stores in the city. We went out to Urubo and took some outdoor shots. He wants to do more of these and is using us as a test case. I’ll be posting the photos and update the “About this blog” page with the updated family photo. “Davicho” also showed us his home in construction out there. Breathtakingly beautiful gated community and a stunning home! He has two children and is happily married and it is good to see him happy and successful. We had many good times together. We also went out last night with Nadia’s high school friend Gabriela and her husband and daughter for pasta.
That is a nice thing about Santa Cruz is that we have many friends and family here. I am mad that the narcotrafficking money in the city has raised real estate prices so much. It is not a good time to look for a retirement property, as I feel there is a huge market bubble. For example, I inquired about a new community out by David’s place in Urubo. For half an acre property, the land alone cost $132,000, which is totally out of whack in this developing nation. I think that with a change in government policy the flow of dollars will subside or there will be an economic crisis that will bring real estate prices back down to realistic levels. Prices for land and homes has doubled in the past few years.
One thing that hasn’t changed are the Mennonites are still in Bolivia. The photo above shows a Mennonite man with two women walking behind him on the far right of the picture. The Mennonites are a religious sect like the Amish, that believe in shunning modern technology and conveniences in order to concentrate on working on the farm and living according to the Bible. The Mennonites are originally Germans from coastal Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. They follow the teachings of Menno Simmons, whose big departure from the Catholic and Protestant Churches in the 1500’s was to believe in an adult baptism instead of child baptism. He believed that one should be able to choose his/her church when they reach an age of consent. There are about 1.5 million Mennonites worldwide and they have a wide range of living styles, but the colonies of up to 60,000 here in Bolivia live as “plain people” like the more famous Amish. The group originally came from Mexico via Canada and settled the fertile farmlands of the northern Santa Cruz Department. My father-in-law buys eggs from one of them. He speaks fluent Spanish as well as Old German. He was saying that the girls in the colony only get education up to grade 8 and the boys through to high school. I take the Christopher Hitchen’s approach to religion and feel sorry for them being brought up like that. If they are happy great, and I don’t know enough about their lifestyle to make a strong comment, but to have to walk around like that and not take advantage of humanity’s advances is so bad. I feel sorry for their limited life opportunities. They are fascinating however and I would love to get to learn more about them.