Some of you are going to see the title of this blog and decide to skip it. Thats ok. I´m actually kind of proud of myself that I can follow some of the political happenings and what they mean, what the people do in reaction, and the over-arching political mess that exists in this country. Its important that I understand it because I live it. There are strikes nearly every other week that make getting around town to run errands nearly impossible, there are rallies (like today) in the main plaza that although it was a peaceful gathering Americans (esp with white skin) were told to go nowhere near the plaza. So here is the breakdown as far as I can figure:
There are 12 departments in Bolivia. Each department has a govenor. 6 are for the President, 6 are against the President. This week the 6 that are against tried to get to the US UN meeting before the other six. Those who are for the president got there first. But they basically went to tell on each other! Anyway, the result was that the strike that was planned for today was cancelled and a simple rally that was held in the main plaza instead. This was a rally FOR the president. It was being said that 80,000 people where being bused in from the mountians and rainforest and I believe it. Folks that traveled more today then I did said the city was packed, every bus was full, ect. I watched the news tonight hoping to catch a shot of the crowd but no such luck. I did hear a report that said 3 people died in transit when the driver of their car fell asleep at the wheel. That made me very sad.
My upcoming trip to Chapare (rainforest) has also been cancelled do to unstable political conditions. The constitution is being voted on actually in the Chapare region. Blockades are almost a given. The church leaders do not want to get stuck out there with a busfull of teenagers. I don´t blame them. I went to a house sale today (we don´t have garages!) of some missionaries that are moving back to the states soon. Missionaries help each other out like that, sell stuff a decent price so they have more money to move home with and we get furniture and what not for less then we´d pay in The Concha. Anyway... they are moving home because their ministry is to literally bus people all over Bolivia, Bolivian believers, short-term teams, church groups, ect. All they charge is the cost of the deisel for the bus. Side note, Bolivia has had a huge shortage of deisel for a long time now. At times they are even short on gasoline. I´m not sure why. So not only do they have a diesel problem but they are running into blockade problems nearly every week. Sometimes strikes/blockades are country wide, others are for specific departments. Given these missionaries drive all over Bolivia they have decided to pack up and move home until the political situation calms down, or when Evo is no longer president.
Also a problematic thing has been that the dollar as been dropping. In other words, the exchange rate is not what it used to be. This is not just for Bolivia but for the whole world. European missionaries have had major problems with the exchange rate there for years. These last couple of weeks the rate has been 7.60 B´s to $1. This is down from what used to be about 8.2. My tutor has had to increase the cost of my classes to cover the difference. There is goodnews however, my team leader told me today that he saw on CNN that ´the dollar was strong´. There is a good posibility that our exchange rate will increase in the next couple of days. This is yet another thing that is outside of my understanding. What exactly makes the dollar strong or weak???
In other news, I have come down with a headcold of sorts. All this delisious food and it hurts to swallow it. Although tonights warm bananna bread tasted wonderful! I bought a ´chair hammock´ today as a real hammock is not possible for me in this house (long story). This is the next best thing and I got it at probably half the price of a new one at the house sale. I had a two hour ´review´ for Spanish class today and she tested me on chapters 1-5. All verbal. And I did good! Its a relief to know that I do remember this stuff and understand it! Thats it for now, hope I didn´t bore anyone.