Monday, May 25, 2015

You may wanna grab a chair, but you’re only going to need the edge of it!

You may wanna grab a chair, but you’re only going to need the edge of it!
8 weeks ago I was in my room packing frantically, leaving it to the last minute, as obviously, only I know how; suddenly realizing that I was going on a 24 hour plane to the other side of the world to do… something. What exactly, I wasn’t sure! All I knew for sure was that I was working on the Urban Agriculture project getting my hands dirty- well, that’s what I presumed…  at least I got that right. 

Fast forwarding to now sitting in ‘El Classico”, which for those who don’t know, is a café  ( actually called blueberries) that me and my friend Ruby come into everyday without fail and order the same thing everyday. They know us so well now that we don’t even need to order! See, little things like that make living here so comfortable and like I’ve been here for years. I’ve gotten into the swing of life here and I’m loving it. I mean who couldn’t when you wake up and are surrounded by the most dramatic and beautiful scenery of huge mountains for as far as the eye can see.
Coincidentally, at the top of one of these mountains is where me and my dream team work for part of the week in El Alto. Let me paint a picture of it for you. Think of a South American India; loud, dirty, colourful, chaos, cars going any which way they choose with no care in the world! Food stalls everywhere and among the bustle people just trying to make a living and get by. In my opinion it’s a million miles away from life here in La Paz even though it’s only a 20-minute teleferico ride away (I’m sure you’ve heard all about them in previous blogs).  I love the contrast, and the diversity in both areas.
The day starts at 8 o’clock when we meet and start our often looooong journey to the families’ houses that are scattered around this deceivingly enormous city. When we get off, we are such a sight walking though the rural part of town, normally applying sun cream, attracting angry dogs, carrying some kind of equipment with us and always eating our second breakfast. Yes the ‘Gringos’ have arrived!!
Our latest project is working with the cutest couple in El Alto; Perpetua and Saul, whose greenhouse (in their back garden) we are working on. Working on it was, physically, the hardest days work I’ve ever had to do! We arrived at their house and immediately given a coca cola (The devil juice, let me tell you, we’re all hooked on it now!) their hospitality was incredible, and with high spirits work began.  

Now in week two of the project and the green house is up in its full glory! Roof and all, we done it with blood sweat and tears and the best thing is that it will so useful for this family. The mud brick will (surprisingly) live to see many a year to come (the bricks were 10 years old to start with), that’s what I love most about Bolivia/ Bolivians they are so resourceful and inventive!  

 Next week we will go and work on actually planting the inside of the greenhouse. I can already tell its going to be nice and sweaty in there, oh the joys of being a gardener!

The rest of the week we usually work in the office.  This week we were rushing to finish organizing a market fair selling ecological products from the women’s’ producer of Apu. The fair was to be held at ‘Casa de los Nigunos’, a gem of a place tucked away on an unassuming street in La Paz. ‘La casa” is a hub of community living, interesting talks and amazing vegan food. A perfect location for the fair.

After a long but eventful week of work, Saturday had arrived, the day of the fair. We all arrived to ‘La casa’ in tiptop form (as you can imagine) and began setting up for the fair. In pride of place stood our hand made stall, made from pallets that we had hustled (from only the biggest printing press in Bolivia. Ha!) Just another day on the Urban Agriculture team! 

 With the balloons and signs all ready, we went off trying to entice the general public to come to the fair, which actually worked surprisingly well and meant that the ladies SOLD OUT of all their stock, which I think is a sign of how it went.  I reckon there’ll be fair number two right round the corner.

 In the evening we said goodbye to one of our lovely team leaders; Eugenia, who went off to the U.S to start an amazing adventure at Harvard business school after coming third in a world wide competition for the World Bank! The evening was lovely, the whole office came and I think it is safe to say we sent her off with a bang!

Hopefully you can tell there is never a dull moment here in La Paz, both work wise and socially! A big shout out to everyone and I love you all! I’m so lucky to have met everyone and it’s a miracle that we all get on. A special thanks to my cooperantes and team leaders, as work wouldn’t be the same without you.

Living on cloud nine, Bring on the next week ……

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