Almost a year and a half ago, I remember going to the Catholic Volunteer Network blog page and reading “A Day in the Life of a Franciscan Lay Missioner—Nora Pfieffer”. I never would have guessed that I would be asked the following year to write my own “A Day in the Life” as a representative of Franciscan Mission Service and how different my typical day in Cochabamba, Bolivia would look compared to one of the other missioners in my community! As other missioners across the world have previously stated, not one day in mission is the same. However, I will do my best to provide insight into a more typical Wednesday.
After I get out of the shower, drink my coffee, and eat my oatmeal, I take 15-20 minutes to meditate and do yoga in my living room. This is a very important part of my day because it helps me to center myself and prepare myself for another busy day at the short-term shelter for adolescent girls.
Up until June, I would take a “micro” to and from the shelter every morning and evening. Because traffic is so heavy downtown, I would leave no later than 8:10 to get to my service site by 9am. Most days, I would bring a book or a notebook to pass the time (a very important thing to remember when living in Cochabamba, Bolivia!)
Now that I live in the city, I walk each day to the shelter. On my way to service, I always say hello to a few of the local business ladies who I walk past each day and the zapatero (the shoe-repairman) who is a great help to the shelter. I may not know their names and they may not know mine, but our presence and our remembrance of one another makes all the difference each day 🙂
Each morning when I enter the doors of Madre de Dios, I am brightly greeted by these beautiful faces and the most wonderful voices saying “Señorita Kipsy. Señorita Kipsy! ¡Mi besito! ¡Mi besito!” How blessed am I to receive this grand welcoming each and every day?
At Noon, I walk back to my apartment to cook and enjoy a short break. Here in Bolivia, we typically have a two hour lunch period between the hours of 12 & 2. I am thankful for this time because it allows me to recuperate from the morning with the girls, cook, clean the apartment, and take a little nap before heading back to the shelter for the second part of the day.
When I get home from the shelter at about 5:30, I turn on music and start working on projects that I can use with the girls. I like to try out every art project so that the process is much smoother when I present it to the girls. This was an etching project I did at home before taking the idea to the shelter. I used materials that we already had in the room, including recycled cardboard! I also spend time preparing various worksheets for the girls using my love for creativity and my love for psychology. The above worksheet is one that I created based upon a series of “feelings” books that we have in our bookcase. This one was specifically made for the book on courage and helps the girls to comprehend what they read and to also apply these feelings to situations in their own lives.