Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Domonique Thompson shares about a typical Tuesday at her ministry sites in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
I shall choose Tuesday for a day in my life, because it is one of my favorite days.
I live at the Franciscan Social Center in the center of the city. It is a space open to the public during the day, providing various services to the public. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday we have a soup kitchen. Here we serve a main course, juice, bread, and fruit all for 1 boliviano (approximately 14 cents). At 10:30 AM, I help set up the various stations and from 11:00am to 12:00pm we serve the meals to the public. There are dining rooms separated by men in one room and women and children in another. They wash and dry their own plates, silverware, and cups. I personally think that is a fantastic way to uphold responsibility and agency. It’s also a great way to meet the community, while also being intertwined with their lives outside of the center.
Afterwards I help clean up, and then I have lunch with people at the center and the other volunteers. I am able to get to know people and form a community with the other volunteers. At 3:00pm, I head to Hogar Nuestra Casa, my ministry site for the year. It is a home for girls who have experienced sexual violence, and it is about 6 blocks from the Franciscan Social Center. I teach English to the girls, which I’m not an expert at, but I enjoy because I can bond with the girls and we can have fun making mistakes together. I also usually help them prepare dinner. I’ve learned how to make a lot of Bolivian meals, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Because I am vegan, it’s difficult for me to try the cultural meals here. But since I’ve learned how to make them, I am obsessed!
After dinner, I teach the girls dance! There is a big culture here in Bolivia that loves K-pop. So more often than not, I am learning and teaching them those dances. I like to do the dances the girls enjoy because it allows them to be more engaged. It is also great for me to practice my Spanish! We continue this until 9:30pm, and it is usually cold at night. But after 2-3 hours of dancing, I am very hot and, like Elsa from Frozen, “the cold never bothered me anyway.” Then I walk a well-lit and densely populated path home.
Thank you all for taking the time to read a day in my life! Each day in my life here is very different, and I am so happy to be able to share one of them with you!