Monday, September 22, 2008


OK, I´ve been told that some of ya´ll up there are worried about the political situation in Bolivia. In all honesty, we are all worried but not many missionaries are worried enough to leave.

Things that are true:
1. Bolivia kicked out the US ambassador and the US kicked out the Bolivian ambassador.

2. There are roadblocks set up around the country preventing basic foods from going for town to town resulting in meat shortages resulting in very high prices.

3. Organizations such as the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Peace Corps have been temporarily evacuated.

4. Things you are seeing on the news are taking place on the east side of Bolivia in Santa Cruz, Pando, Beni, and the like. Coch is smack dab in the middle of the country and it is peaceful here. There has been a total of 30 deaths as a result of fighting.

Things to keep in mind:
I´m safe. I´m well cared for and well tuned into whats happening. At first sign of real danger and I´m out of here. I´m out of here in 10 days anyway.

Bolivia has a long history of ¨almost¨ having a civil war. Some think it is really going to happen this time, others believe that its going to blow over just like it always has. It depends on who you talk to really. My return to Bolivia is still scheduled to be at the end of November given things return to normal and not escalate.

For up to date information you can always go to and click on the heading ¨world¨ and then on the link that says ¨americas¨. There is usually something new every few days.

So keep praying that I can get out of here in 10 days and that I can return to continue my work here in Bolivia.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Got Gas?

Got gasoline? Because Bolivia sure doesn´t. This is the first time since I´ve been in Bolivia that I´ve seen gasoline so scarce. I walked out of my house yesterday with a friend to find a line of cars about 4 blocks long parked on the main road. Two blocks from my house is a gas station. Near to the station the cars were packed 2 or 3 deep waiting for their turn. You can see what I saw.

Now there is something that you don´t see everyday. And its funny and really sad at the same time. Sad because taxi and trufi drivers depend on their jobs for their daily bread. Suddenly there is no gas and they can´t make their daily pay and feed their families. I should clarify, there is SOME gas in the city but not nearly enough. As a result most taxi´s have doubled their nomal fares and a lot of people walk if they can. As a result of recent riots in Santa Cruz, a gas line was damaged or something like that. This is why there is suddenly a shortage. There are also major blockades between cities preventing food from getting around. In effect, the prices of meat and produce has been increased by substantial amounts.

Please pray for Bolivia right now... things are worse then ever before and many are worried about the future. For the time being I don´t have to leave... but I´m leaving in 3 weeks for the states anyway. I am concerned that I might not be able to return if things continue in the way they are going. Already some have died in the riots in other cities.

On a much brighter note... Its Cochabamba Day! Lets party... again! Here are some pictures from yesterdays parade. This parade was rather boring, as many of the parades here are. It consisted of marching bands and students marching by school and grade.

Tomorrow (Monday) is the actual holiday though I´m told nothing much happens on that day aside from lot of things being closed, including my language school and Viviana´s physical therapy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This stinks!

Quite literally. This city stinks. OK, cultural snapshot... garbage.. 1) its everywhere because people throw it out of cars and buses 2) there is no house to house garbage pick up. There are community dumpsters scattered every couple of blocks around the city.

OK, so then we have another problem. Street dogs and trash pickers, people who look for anything of value or that can be recycled. This is how some people make a living, esp at the Coch city garbage dump where all the garbage ends up eventurally, a whole community makes a living from picking through the garbage. Anyway, much of the garbage ends up outside the dumpster that should have been inside the dumpster. The dogs of course are just looking for food.

Next problem and the reason the city stinks at the moment. Garbage pickup seems to be on strike. The dumpsters have been full for a while and now the garbage is just piling up next to it. You can´t get within 10 feet of a dumpster without having to hold your breath. They stink normally but this is terrible. My house is a half a block from the dumpster, I walk out the door and want to hold my breath. Hopefully things return to normal soon.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day of the Walker

Bolivia doesn´t go for very much time without have some kind of holiday! And yesterday has to be one of my favorites. Day of the Walker is a day when no cars are allowed on the road (with the exception of a few taxis with special permits). So there were no taxis, no buses, no cars, almost no motorcycles. I really wish motorcycles would have been banned just cause they are so noisy on an otherwise peaceful day. So quite literally, all over Bolivia (I would have given anything to get a birds eyes view of Cochabamba) people took to the streets, on foot, on bike, on skateboard, on rollerblades... anything that had wheels... and it was quite a sight. I was in Coch once before on this special day but unfortuntely, I was terribly sick and unable to leave the house. So this year, I took some pictures.
This is a view looking down from the top of El Prado, the nickname for a very popular street about 5 mins from my house.

There were so many bicycles on the street I thought they might as well have a bike-a-thon. Two seconds later, I saw this...

Turns out there was a bike race as well.

I came down to Prado in the morning as my church was having a sort of service/outreach time in the midst of all the actvities. We had to relocate due to the loud speaker competition that was going on all around us. It was loud and it was in English, go figure that one.

Prado looked very much like a ¨taste of...¨ in chicagoland. Including many activites for the kids.

The rest of Prado looked a lot like this

There was a lot sitting around in the shade, a lot of entertainment and concerts and games.

And I´ve saved the best for last. I asked a stranger if I could take a picture of her dogs as she was arranging them. Hands down the most wackiest thing I´ve seen in 10 months in Bolivia

Thus concludes ¨Day of the Walker.¨