Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
So 2 weeks till I go home. I have been traveling around Bolivia and Peru for the past 3 weeks, seen some happy, some sad faces, some beautiful landscapes and some destroyed landscapes. But the one thing that I can say about the tragic things I've seen is there is hope in them, it may seem hopeless at times but there is a brighter future for these people and places though the work that the Toybox charity is doing and many other charities.
I am in Oruro, in Bolivia for the last 2 weeks before I come home, I am staying with my brother who has been living and working in South America for the past year and a half. I am going to been volunteering in 3 projects over the next 2 weeks, helping children with homework and thinking up some creative ideas to have fun with them. One of the projects is going out on the streets in the day to visit working street children where we will play on the spot games with them talk to them and generally give them some love. None of the street children sleep on the streets in Oruro cause it is to cold at night so they pay 3bolivianos per night (25p) to sleep in a room somewhere, they can earn this by shinning 3-4 people shoes for example. Last night it was -9 brrrrrr, I just about had enough layers to keep me warm, I'm going to buy some gloves from a market today as right now my fingers are freeeeeezing..... Oh and Bolivians don't heat there houses as its to expensive, so sometimes its actually warmer outside than in. BUT the sun does still shine here, and it can still burn your skin.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
I am in the depths of the Andes in Peru, this place is stunning! The last fews days we have traveled through the scared valley, seeing some amazing landscapes and architecture built right back in 1535 by the Inca's. I am off to Machu Picchu early in the morning...
|Find the Lima in the wall...|
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Today we went to visit the reed island on Lake Titikaka, there are 36 Islands that people live on. To my surprise there were even sheep, cows and pigs living there to. We got off our boat at one of the islands where we had a demonstration on how they build there islands. The people who live on the island eat a part of some of the reeds daily, peeling it like a banana. Sitting beside us was a baby eating some of the reed, which reassured me to try some, it didn't really taste of anything but I liked it. One of the families took us into there home and let us try there traditional clothes on, which was funny, I got given bright orange to wear.
We left the reed island village and took a boat our further into the lake to another island (this one not a reed island) All the people who live like english people would have done about 150 years ago, as we walked up through the island people were working in the fields by hand, women were walking around spinning wool, it felt like we had gone back in time. The walk up to the village on this island was steep, and hard to walk as again the altitude affects your breathing and your lungs struggle without enough oxygen, but the beautiful scenery helped. When we got to the top we had some lunch, fresh trout from the lake and soup, we finished off with Coca tea to help with the altitude. All the men on the island wear hats, men with white at the ends of the hat show that they are single and men with just red hats means they are married. Most of the women will wear a black scarf over there heads.We had a quick look round the centre of the village and then left as the thunder storms were setting in. Below is a young boy who was sitting in a field whilst some others were working in the field.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Today I took a bus to Lake Titikaka. Lake Titikaka is the highest lake in the world at 3800metres, not the largest but one of the largest, oxygen levels are low due to the altitude so breathing was a challenge today especially when I were walking round ‘Sun Island ‘The scenery was out of this world, I fell asleep for the first half of the bus journey, but woke up just as we came round the corner to the lake. I saw many country people working in the fields farming reeds, which make the famous reed boats and islands on the Lake. Also many abandoned houses where country people have moved to cities because country life is just to hard. When we stopped in a little village to cross the narrowest part of the lake some dressed up alpacas arrived, the man with them was charging 5 Boliviano’s to take a photo but I managed to take a photo before I new this. When we arrived in Copacabana we took a boat ride to Sun Island where we had a traditional Inca meal, with a stunning back drop of the lake and mountains in the background (see photos below) We then took a hour trek across the island visiting the Inca temples ‘Sun Temples’ At the end of hour we came the ‘Fountain of Youth’ with three holes where the water was coming out, these three holes represented the three Inca rules; don’t steal, be lazy or lie. From here we walked down original Inca steps and took the boat back to Copacabana. We had some time to look around the shops and I bought an alpaca jumper and some leg warmers. We left Copacabana and 10 minutes later arrived at the Peru boarder.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Today we took a 4 hour bus ride from Oruro to La Paz. Most of the journey was a straight road surrounded by a wide flat plain and then mountains in the background, it was beautiful, especially when the sun went down. Along the way we past mud-hut villages and shepherds watching there sheep/limas/cows/horses. For about an hour of the journey a little boy behind us was singing Old Macdonald had a farm...in spanish it was cute. My window wouldn't opening so I took photos through the glass, unfortunatly this caused a bit of a reflection but it didn't matter because the scenary was stunning. When we arrived in La-Paz we turned a corner and the HUGE city dropped down into a valley in front of us, all lit up in the night, it was beautiful.
Friday, May 6, 2011
|We were in a taxi and suddenly just noticed this man on the side of the road face down, I like to think this is not tragic, later on when we drove past he was not there anymore|
Thursday, May 5, 2011
I have so many opportunities to take photographs of babies in there mothers backpacks but I wanted to wait for the right opportunity to get a good photo rather than exhausting myself with taking a photo every time I saw a baby, I am pleased with this one
Lots and lots of faces today, we went to some big projects today, run by churches. The projects all offer support with nutrition and care for the parents and children themselves, also a doctor who can check the child over, this gives them a good chance to see any problems that could be going on at home. We had lots of welcomes today with gifts and drinks. A random lunch and weird juice, Bolivia seems to have alot of weird tasting juice I can never work out what it is? By then end of the today I am so ready to go to sleep, it has been a really busy few days. It really has been emotionally draining, what with the culture, people, language, altitude, family life, street children etc etc...
I have enjoyed every bit of my trip so far, but haven't had time to sit down and take it all in, which is so important. I am so pleased with what Toybox has been doing here to help, everyone is just doing a great job, there is so much enthusiasm and love here. The adults and children are always so pleased to see us, welcoming us and feeling like old friends. We will be leaving Oruro on Saturday but in about 2 weeks I will be coming back with my brother and working with him for two weeks, visiting some of the projects I have been to whilst I am here.
On a good note my altitude sickness seems and is much better, I think the altitude tablets are helping and the gallons of Coca tea I have drank in the past fews days, the air is defiantly thinner here and I still feel short of breath but I should get used to it, at least today I haven't felt bad with it.
Today we saw lots of little people (toddlers) South American toddlers are the cutest children EVER! The first two places we visited were in one of the poorest area's in Cochabamba. The first project had about 20 toddlers and the second (an older project) with 60 children from the ages of 0-5. Most of the children in these two projects have come from single parents, the project allows the parents to work in the day, otherwise the children would have been left at home all day or would work on the streets with their parents. The projects also work with the parents teaching them about good nutrition and care for their children. The helpers/teachers at these projects were amazing, so patient and peaceful with the children. In the second home we had a song from each classroom (accept the 0years olds) they just stared at us, sooooooo adorable though.
In the afternoon we visited a project, which for me I couldn't believe after meeting the boys and girls that they actually come from this background: The children still live with with their parents but the project offers them an opportunity for escape in the daytime. All of these childrens parents are prostitutes, normally from the age of 0-10 the child will work in the brothel cleaning, and then at the age of about 10 (both boys and girls) they begin to do what there parents do, if they are not involved with this, they will just be locked in there room all day. The youngest in the project is 2 and the eldest is 14years old. There are some days when the children don't turn up at the project because they have been locked in their room by there parents. For me this project offers the child an escape out of this business and a chance to understand and be taught others ways to make money. Yes it is awful that these are there backgrounds but again a project which is providing them with a brighter future.
At five o'clock we traveled to the bus station in Cochambama to buy our tickets for Oruro. What a place, people milling around everywhere, ticket offices shouting out their sales, people selling things, busy busy busy. We got our bus at 5.30 and four hours later arrived in Oruro, after a twisty, bumping journey around the mountain, we stopped a couple of times on the side of the road on the way and people would hop on the bus trying to sell food. Bruce Almighty was on the little tv on the bus (in spanish) I still found it funny even though I didn't understand.
That night I stayed in a girls and boys home with my brother. The children here have been sent by social services, from parents who are either in prison or abuse them, even children who have been found wondering the streets without a family. Its hard to believe when you meet these children that there backgrounds are so dark, but they are so grateful for what they have now and have been told about christianity, when they pray and talk about there lives there is such passion in there eyes and faces, they just know they have been given another chance. I slept in the girls dorm and my brother in the boys. The children have met my brother a few times before, so were excited to meet his sister, they want to no everything about you, including the question, which I have had asked to me everywhere I have been on this trip so far: 'Do you have a husband' (which I don't) usually with a surprised look on their faces, and then they usually they try and set you up someone, its amusing. My spanish has improved since I got here, I defiantly understand better what someone asks me, I just struggle to reply. When we went to bed the girls were all eyeing up my suitcase, and then the questions came? I was lost, I had know idea what they were say? They tried to speak in english but all I got from them was: 'What is bread' I'm not sure if this was what they meant? I am going to buy a dictionary...