Out in Maragua I still search for light switches in the dark, and here in the city of Sucre, I still turn the “C” knob in the shower when I want cold water (C is for caliente “hot”). However, I am continually becoming more accustomed to life down here. I now have a functioning little bedroom and an adjacent kitchen area. I also used the excess stones from the work we did on the house to build a vegetable garden.
Work is beginning to take shape and I have developed a number of small projects to help integrate me into the community and keep me busy when I am not working on my house (still trying to get a bathroom up and running). There was a volunteer living in the neighboring village of Irupampa before me. He did manage to buy some foodstuffs and start a little store before he left, however, the store is already basically shut down. There is seldom anyone there to keep it open, and definitely nobody to regularly restock it from the city. It is now reduced to some noodles, rice, cookies, and homemade cigarettes. I am not sure if it is revivable or not. I am still gathering information and trying to set-up a little accounting system, so we can actually estimate if it is generating enough revenue to allow it to struggle forth.
I also have plans to support other community initiatives. There is certainly some epic cultural and natural beauty in and around the village, and we even get the adventurous tourist every once in a while. I will be running training courses for guides to help them take tourists around to the local sites. I want to start a project to plant fruit trees in the village, as currently fruit is impossible to get, and there seem to be some strains of peaches that grow at this altitude. There also seems like their might be the potential to do some fish farming, and there has been some talk about rehabilitating the community greenhouse. These projects will all start after carnival as I gather nothing productive gets done during the month of February.
The rainy season is upon us now, and that means ideally all the heavy planting work is done, and time is spent preparing for the upcoming carnival celebrations which mark the beginning of the resting period where farming work is light. However, it also means that the Ravelo River we have to cross to get into the city has been roaring, and the closest a car can get to the village is still a long hike away. It involves around six hours of trekking by means of shale cliffs and goat paths and is not advisable with my backpack full of supplies, or really at all. This means no restocking of the community store’s inventory, no visiting tourists, and no support from my non-profit with which I am working. So I have been doing simple things, stonework, farming, learning Quechua, and hiking the sites around the area. Just me and the pueblo.
The next blog in the Bolivian Blaze Series is, The Roaring Ravelo.