S: Bolivia 2011
FC: Bolivia 2011
2: In February of 2011 we moved to a small town outside of Santa Cruz Bolivia called Montero. We lived with the Badani family who had 5 daughters. Eric worked with a local Non-profit called Etta Projects and Lissa taught art classes.
3: To get around Montero one usually takes a moto taxi which costs you 30 cents. It's not a lot but it adds up so we eventually decided to buy our own little scooter. It was so liberating to just ride off into the campo as the sun was setting. We enjoyed it thoroughly. One day a cat from the streets decided to have her babies in our kitchen. We didn"t mind caring for the cat and her kittens, in fact it became quite a pleasure to have them around.
4: Lissa spent most of her time preparing and teaching art lessons at a boy's orphanage or Hogar de Ninos. There were 22 boys and she taught them in classes of 6-8 boys divided by their age, ranging between 4 and 16 years old. They had next to no exposure to art so it was all new. It was challenging but a lot of fun. | Oliver | Eleuterio | Jose Luis | Gustavo | Pablo | Chino | Marco Soli | Maicol
5: Juan Gabriel | Marco Ramos | Estiven | Alex | Ismael | Estiven | Juan Carlos | Samuel | Alex | Juan Carlos | For Easter we [painted eggs and had an Easter egg hunt. This is Lissa demonstrating how to paint the eggs. | Alfredo | Jose Luis | Mateo
6: Every other Friday, Lissa went to Santa Cruz and taught art classes with HIV patients at Communidad Encuentro, an HIV residential hospital. It was more of an art therapy experience with more talk of emotions and creative expression. | Tiffany, a friend from the office, was involved with this hospital and she would always come, then afterwards we would have dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Santa Cruz, and drink horchata.
7: Lissa also taught a weekly class to a select group of students at the Etta Projects office. This was a much more advanced group so it was fun to push them a little more. She introduced them to a number of famous artists and had them paint in their style. | Franco | Josue | Maria Rene | Widen | Cristian | Saul | Jose
8: Eric worked with Etta Projects mostly on their bathroom project. They were building composting toilets in the rural areas outside of Montero. The children loved Eric and the other workers. They came running over when they arrived to work, calling them caballeros (cowboys) These pictures are all from the community of Paisaje where Eric spent most of his time. | Bathroom Project
9: Eric also planned and implemented a hygiene workshop for the children of the community. It involved games, acting and drawing. In the end they were all very educated on the importance of washing their hands to stay healthy. | Paisaje Workshops
10: To celebrate our third anniversary we decided to go to a nearby "resort" in a town called Buena Vista, Known for its nice view of the Amboro Rainforest. We ate yummy food and vegged by the pool, We also attempted a romantic horse-ride to the river, but turns out lissa is VERY allergic to horses and had a severe reaction and eventually had to be taken back on a motorcycle. Eric later surprised Lissa with tickets to see Shakira! | Buena Vista
11: We arrived just a month before Carnaval, a holiday that is celebrated for at least three days. It begins with parades in the evening and spraying people with espuma, or foam. During the first day one can get squirted with water or pelted with water balloons, then towards the end of the celebration the guns and balloons are filled with ink. We were advised to stay inside being that we were prime targets. | Carnaval
12: Alacitas! | Alacitas is a traveling fair that sets up in town and stays for over a week. Its filled with carnies peddling their miniatures. The tradition is that one buys a miniature version of something they may want that year, like a house or food or luck in their soccer games. Then they offer them to a little sculpture of Tio. There were also fortune tellers reading your silver, food on sticks and rickety rides like ferris wheels.
13: We took a trip to Cochabamba with our bishop to visit the temple. They had a hotel there for the members so we stayed for three days. We then traveled around Cochabamba to see the sights including the world's tallest Statue of Christ, a huge market where they sell peanut soup with chicken feet, and a plaza filled with nice architecture and street performers and men talking about politics. The weather was perfect. | Cochabamba
14: After Cochabamba we headed to the world''s highest capitol city, La Paz. It was way high in the Andes Mountains, above 12,000 feet. We saw the colorful tourist markets, The Valley of the Moon Park, more old buildings and a huge outdoor black market. We ate some interesting food and saw some colorful people. | La Paz
15: We also took a bike tour of "The World's Deadliest Road" This narrow road wound 40 miles through the Andes dropping some 11,800 ft. from La Paz to the lower valley. The sheer cliff along much of the road left no doubt the truth behind the claim of "World's Deadliest" .
16: Next stop was the famous Lake Titicaca, full of trout and pre-colonial history. The small town of Copacabana sits on the shore of this huge lake, some 12,000 feet above sea level. A small island, Isla del Sol, sits just off of the shore on the Bolivian side of the lake.(bellow from left to right: Lissa enjoying one of many trout meals eaten; children practicing fishing from their boat on the island; and ripening quinoa in several of its various stages of color. | Lake Titicaca
18: Copacabana | There was a beautiful church in Copacabana, and every Saturday people bring their vehicles to be blessed by the priest. We also saw a wedding procession outside of the church. It was one of the most beautiful and colorful churches I have ever seen in side. The shrine in front was decked in gold and huge beautiful paintings. We saw many local markets selling food along the streets outside.
19: The Isla del Sol is a very important place historically for the Incas and pre-Incan indigenous groups. There are a number of ruins on the island, including a ritual table, supposedly still the original after thousands of years. Our tour guide told us that this island is where their God, the panther, was born. The lake also derives its name from the still-sacred panther rock located on the island(titi meaning panther, and carca meaning rock) Other ruins included a labyrinth of old walls and a fountain of youth. There were also a number of secluded sandy beaches on the island, which would have been wonderful if it were summer time. | Isla del Sol
21: Eric visited his co-worker, Carlos, for a weekend in his home town of Camiri. "Everything is bigger and more beautiful in Camiri", Carlos said. They hiked the hills and fished the river with nets (although it wouldn't really be fair to call what Eric did "fishing", so much as just throwing a crumpled net into the water). Carlos and his family were generous and hospitable as they showed Eric this beautiful corner of Bolivia. | Camiri
22: Samaipata | We took another trip before we left Bolivia. First we went to Samaipata, a sleepy mountain town near some ancient ruins. We stayed at a great hostal where we camped and hiked all the jungley parks nearby.
24: We went to the ruins called El Fuerte to see a summer solstice celebration. No one really knows what these ruins were used for so it brings a very eclectic group of folks. It ended up looking more like a loud party all night long with music, drinking and a fake llama sacrificing ceremony as the sun rose. | Las Ruinas
25: Next we went to Sucre, the judicial capitol of Bolivia. We went there to meet with Eric's friend, Jeremy, whom he met while he was in El Salvador. Sucre is known for its white colonial architecture and its delicious chocolate. | Sucre
26: Potosi | From Sucre Eric went on to Potosi, one of the highest cities in the world. Potosi is famous for Cero Rico, a single mountain that was the source of the Spanish empire's wealth for several hundred years. Some 8 million native Indians and African slaves died working these mines to provide the Spanish with silver. At its height, Potosi was larger and wealthier than London or Paris, and still is home to dozens of beautiful, if a little run down, churches, convents and monasteries with beautiful original art paid for by wealthy Spanish patrons. | Today the mines are still active, with mining cooperatives blasting tunnels through in every direction. Eric took a tour of an active mine, where the guide demonstrated how to use dynamite! Tio, the devil, rules the underworld, and is brought gifts every day by the miners. There is a long history of miners leading social movements and demanding their rights through whatever means necessary. A truly significantly historic and unique place.
28: Potosi and Oruro | The above pictures, as well as the one bellow at left, are from Oruro. This city is known for its amazing Carnival celebration, the most colorful in the country. A view from a hill on the side of town, and some street food that tasted better than it looks. Bellow are costumes in a shop that show a biit of the color you can expect at Carnival. | These two pictures at left are from Potosi. Potosi was the first city in the Americas to have a mint, where the Spanish turned their lucre into coins. The mask hanging in the archway has an uncertain origin story, but it has been there for many years, and is now an image of the mint. The sculpted stone church front, while hard to see here, is an example of some of the intricate and elaborate work found at many churches in the area.