On Friday morning, it was time to pack up and say farewell to Sucre—our home for this past week.
We left our hotel at about 9:30am for the drive to the Sucre airport and our 11:30am flight to La Paz. When we arrived at the Sucre airport, we were greeted by about 6 Food for the Hungry (FH) staff who had come to see us off, complete with a farewell banner! The FH staff and all the Bolivians we’ve met take hospitality to a whole new level!
After the one-hour flight to La Paz, we boarded a bus and drove a short distance to a scenic overlook where the driver pulled over and we all piled out of the bus and hiked up to a viewing area. The view of La Paz from there was breathtaking (quite literally because the elevation was around 13,000 feet). La Paz is a vast, sprawling city with snow-capped mountains as a backdrop.
We wound our way through La Paz traffic and made our way to a luncheon put on for us by Juan Pablo (an FH staffer) at his parents’ house. Juan Pablo’s father is retired, but he was once a high-ranking military official and his beautiful home is filled with a lifetime’s worth of military memorabilia. The family fed us well (extremely well) and showed us remarkable warmth and hospitality. Over-the-top hospitality appears to be a hallmark of Bolivian culture.
After the luncheon, we boarded our bus and went to downtown La Paz for some souvenir-shopping. After we exhausted our supply of Bolivianos (local currency) it was back to the hotel for an early night in preparation for a 3:30am wake-up call to start the last leg of our trip home.
Saying goodbye to Bolivia and FH staff has been bittersweet. The relationships we’ve established here have gone deeper faster than any of us anticipated. So it’s hard to say goodbye, and all our farewell ceremonies have been emotional. But we look forward to seeing family and friends back home, and sharing stories of God’s tender mercies and remarkable provision for each of us.