Finally: Entre Rios
Trip Start Jan 12, 2006
41Trip End Mar 12, 2006
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Entre Rios lies east of Tarija City, a 3 hour drive (on the great Pan-Am Highway!) and is the "county seat" of O'Connor Province. The Catholic parish is St. Louis, which encompasses the entire county/province, amazing in that it is hour's drives in each direction to the county line. Entre Rios is located in the center of the province, and yes, it lies among 3 rivers, for two rivers conjoin here to form a third. It is a beautiful area, mountanous and lushly deep greeen in this rainy season of summer. The sun is powerful when it comes out, and we're prepared for hot weather, tho so far we've been lucky.
I was really surprised that the streets are concrete, an improvement from couple years ago. The church has a pretty exterior on the central park which is FULL of blooming rose bushes--well over a hundred of them, each full of many blooms, making a lovely sight. The town is a real comfortable size for me: about 1,000 people, you can easily walk around in the streets and avoid the occasional vehicle that passes. There are a couple hotels, a couple restaurants, lots of little stores, a bank, an internet spot, a hospital.
The Sisters of the Presentation have been wonderful to us, welcoming us right into their home to live, to eat and to pray with them. It is comfortable and spacious. They've lived in this building since the 80's when they first came here, and have gradually improved it through the years. The town improved, too: electricity is 24/7 now.
Sr. Suzanne gave us an informative running commentary as we wound our way here from Tarija City in their red Toyota Land Rover, a gift of the Catholics of the DBQ Archdiocese back in 2000. We arrived to a good ole IA roast beef dinner, the first of many wonderful meals prepared by Sr. Terese Marie, who is a stellar baker also. We met Sr. Myra, a PBVM from Aberdeen SD, who is a woman of action and makes us piping hot coffee daily.
Our work will lie in the community just west, Narvaez, where we will reroof and renovate a building that will become a community education center and home/headquarters of a mission team. Sr. Julianne will anchor this center, but since she's in Coch now, Sr. Suz is in charge of the renovation, and we are her helpers. Our first days here have included measuring, brainstorming, visiting hardware stores, scouting out busses for transport of building materials, and hiring of skilled workers.