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Santa María de los Angeles, Camiri

When reading over my last post, I in no way want to be too harsh on the Italian friars which whom I live. They are good men. They have been here much longer than me, have many more successes than me, and are undoubted better friars than I am. The fraternal life here in Camiri is one which is familiar to them and which sustains them in their work. I, in no way, criticize them for the work they do or the lives they lead.

My only problem is that is not the life to which I was formed. It is not a life which sustains me. It is not a life at which I feel at home, nor do I think it is a life to which I would ever be able to adapt.

I went up to Cochabamba last week to try — once again! — to get my new ID card. As is usual with my dealings with Bolivian bureaucracy, I had no luck. (The Immigration folks didn’t want to give me a new ID card because I have a new passport, and when we went to try and apply to have the visa transferred to the new passport, it turned out the Interpol police had lost my registration card. So I have to wait at least a month for them to get a new report on me before I can begin the process to transfer the visa. That process, once it is started, will take an additional three months.)

While in Cochabamba, I was able meet with the Bolivian provincial minister but had little success. The poor guy has problems in a number of areas of the province and kept saying, “But, if I move you, who will I move into there?” I did get to talk to a US friar who has been here for years and who is on the provincial council, and he did give me a bit of hope that something could be worked out.

So, we shall see where this takes us. It’s all a great adventure.

Sometimes it’s tough being the only norteamericano for hundreds and hundreds of miles. It’s also tough being locked up in a monastery with little opportunity to make friends on the outside. It is a joy, therefore, to be able to share my dilemma with those of you who care to read about it. Thanks.

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