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I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends


Lately my emotions have been all over the place.   I get stressed out when I think of all the stuff I have to bring to and from the US.   I’m stressed out about the missioners who will be leaving Bolivia (for good) while I’m away and won’t be here when I get back. Last but not least, I am stressed out about my decision to stay for another year, or leave Bolivia at the end of 2015, when my contract is officially over.

Fortunately I had a chance to “get away from it all” this past weekend. Jeff, another Franciscan Lay Missioner, Caitlin, a Maryknoll Lay Missioner, and I decided to go away for the long weekend and visit with our buddies, Nate, Mary and Tom. What a good time we had.

What was so good about it? EVERYTHING.

We had time to ourselves and time to catch up with other people. We went for long walks, we met people on the campus where Nate, Mary and Tom work, and ate amazing food (Nate is a great cook and, much to my surprise, Jeff and Tom like working in the kitchen too)! We laughed at stories from formation, talked about our hopes for the next year or two, and listened to really loud music.

I guess we allowed ourselves to be ourselves, and that was such a great feeling.


Admiring the scenery


When I’m sitting around at the age of 90 reflecting on life, my friends, and the moments in my life when I felt genuine joy, I will think back to that weekend.

And about the funny nicknames I called everyone during our time together. My personal favorite is the name I gave to Tom, the newest FMS missioner in Bolivia. His new nickname is TOMATE. You have to say it with a Spanish accent. I’m very proud of it. I only wish I had thought of it sooner.

I hope, wherever you find yourself in life these days, that you are surrounded by good friends who can laugh with you.   For example, we all got a big kick out of this quote from one of our fellow missioners: “I took it off when I went cooking”. She was talking about her watch. And no, she did not go cooking. She did help someone cook on Saturday night. But her version of the story was so much better.

Ah, the joys of friendship.   Paz y Bien from Cochabamba!

Together for a meal

Together for a meal

P.S. The photos that appear in this blog post were taken in either Carmen Pampa or Coroico. I hope you enjoy them!

A self-described “Hija de Brooklyn y Puerto Rico,” Hady Mendez is the youngest of four daughters raised by Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, NY. A proud Jasper, Hady graduated from Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY, before starting a corporate career in technology that lasted for more than 20 years. Hady has a true passion for world travel and social justice and recently returned from two years of mission in Cochabamba, Bolivia.