Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Sorry for not posting. I've been reading The Rough Guide to Bolivia.

Why on earth would I be reading that? Because I found out on Christmas morning that I am going to Bolivia.

In October or November of 2005, Robin and I will be travelling to Cochabamba, Bolivia, as part of an Amizade Volunteer Program. For two weeks, we will do volunteer work in a part of the world I never, ever expected to see.

For readers who don't know me, this is totally out of character. We don't even camp. We don't speak Spanish (yet). We don't spend money on travel. We are typical, Euro-centric Americans who know little of South America. But, in a few months, we'll be in the Andes, visiting a city I had never heard of until Christmas morning.

By a huge margin, this trip is the wildest Christmas gift I have ever received. (Because Robin recently received a small inheritance, and because college aid policies make it more sensible to spend than to save, I was kind of expecting a slightly more generous package under the tree this year. I was expecting something more along the lines of golf lessons, though . . .)

I suppose some background is in order. Robin put her name in a drawing held at Waldeaux Wines & Liquors several months ago, and about a month ago, she got a call saying she had won a two week, all-expense-paid trip to Bolivia. She kind of laughed it off, and, even though I encouraged her to give it some thought, I didn't really expect her to do so. I suppose I underestimated her intrepidness (intrepidity?). She made plans for me to come along.

I am, of course, blown away by this totally unexpected opportunity. I've been reading up on Bolivia and Cochabamba, but still know very little.

I did learn that Cochabamba was the site of a revolt against the power of Bechtel - the 2000 Bolivian Water Revolt.
Before April 2000, few people outside of Bolivia had ever heard of Cochabamba, a city of 600,000, tucked away in an Andean valley 8,000 feet high. Four months into the new century that changed. Cochabamba became the front line in the growing international battle over the rules of economic globalization. Standing down soldiers, resisting a declaration of martial law, and rising up against a wave of worship the market economic theology, South America’s poorest people evicted one of the world’s wealthiest corporations and took back something simple and basic – their water.
Don't expect this blog to turn into a font of Bolivian knowledge - for that, I recommend Blog from Bolivia - but I will share more as I learn more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope you have a GREAT trip.

What kind of volunteer work will you be doing? It sounds like it will be a blast.


12/29/2004 9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cool, congrats!

12/29/2004 10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suddenly I feel the urge to say "Awesome, dude!" :) Promise to tell about the trip when you return!

Happy New Year


12/31/2004 7:45 AM  

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