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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Our Action Friday...And The First of the Cohort...

It all started at 12:30 pm, the time at which the entire ICS team of International Service Bolivia met with enthusiasm for the first Action Friday of the Cohort; the first time that we built together.
Doña Emiliana Vergara Mamani is a 40 year old widowed mother of five young children, named Rebecca, Abraham, Juan, Gabriel and Belén. She has few resources and lives in a remote area of El Alto, Playa Verde, which is about an hour and a half from downtown La Ceja, the centre of the city. She is, therefore, also this time away from where she has all the basic services such as drinking water, toilet, shower and sewage.

Currently she has two greenhouses but the problem was a complete lack of materials for these. Not only was she not utilizing the space of her greenhouses, but they were highly-susceptible to inclement weather; not uncommon with the high plateau. Snow, high winds, rain and dryness are major problems that the citizens have.

The support that the Urban Agriculture team offered on 17th October of this year, during the Action Friday, was a great opportunity to enhance the quality of life of this family, based on the principle of sustainable development in the community. With almost 40 volunteers from all of the projects coming to help, we were able to accelerate the building process in a way that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible. We have now finished completion on the construction of two windows, a door, insulated the greenhouse against the cold nights of El Alto, fixed the roof, made new earth that can be used for growing, and initiated a water system to collect the water that falls on her greenhouses; a precious commodity in Playa Verde.

As a result of the day, we expect to commence planting vegetables in her greenhouses within the next week, which is a really exciting development.

The team at the end of our Action Friday day, featuring almost all of the volunteers and the family of Emiliana.


The experience was one of the most productive afternoons of my life, and we knew that all volunteers, regardless of project, left with a deeper understanding of the difficulties and conditions under which Emiliana lives. Hopefully, this will be a memory that stays with them all and they can appreciate all the small gifts that life gives. This was a truly successful Action Friday in terms of what we achieved and it left an unforgettable memory in my heart because for the first time in my life I could feel the wind, the sun, the mountains, the land and the collective energy of the whole team slowly changing the way we see things in this world.


Written by Matthew Vera de la Vega

Edited by Cameron Angus

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