A month to go!

Hilary and Friends

I can't believe that I will be in Bolivia in one month. I am trying to read as much in Spanish possible to prepare and listening to Bolivian news on line. I have gathered a small amount of classroom material but am hoping that I will be able to adapt to the needs of the schools when I arrive. I am completely flexible as to the kind of support I can give staff and students, I just hope I can help. I have good spiritual support from my meeting here in Abergavenny, especially from the small discussion group I attend regularly. These Friends will be reading my blog while I am away. My family are quite excited about my adventure and very supportive. My husband is hoping to visit sometime in October. I have been raising funds for the BQEF through meeting - see attached photos. Bendiciones Hilary

Blogging from Uyuni

Now that Colin has arrived, I have turned into a tourist and we are currently stranded in Uyuni a small town about 200 miles south of La Paz. We returned here yesterday after a short visit to the beautiful salt flats to find that the overnight bus to La Paz was not running due to a "bloqueo". A "bloqueo" is the Bolvian way of drawing attention to social or political issues which people feel are not being dealt with appropriately by the authorities. My other experience of a  blockade turned out to be a real Quaker experience! When returning from a weekend in Copacabana on Lake Titicaca we were held up for over 4 hours by local Quaker villagers who had several issues with their local authority and the police. It was interesting to here them debate these issues, although much of the debate was in Aymaran. The villagers shared their food with us in true Quaker fashion. We were given a 10 minute window to pass through the blockade only after a Quaker pastor from Oregan interceded for us. We really enjoyed meeting him and his group who had already visited the BQE office in La Paz; some of you reading this will surely know of this group.

The highlight of my stay so far was my second visit to Copacabana. Colin and I were really priviliged to accompany the students from the Internado on their annual excursion, some of whom had never been to Lake Titicaca before. We set off at 5 am and shared their lunch which everyone had prepared the night before - we had never seen such a huge picnic! The boat trip on the lake to a floating island was a surprise and a joy for everyone and was an indication of how well the event was organised and how hard the staff work. I will try to add some pictures later.

Hopefully back to La Paz tomorrow with a visit to a school there on Monday. We are hoping to fit in visits to Tiwanaku and to Machu Pichu before setting off for home.



Blogging from La Paz

I am back in La Paz for a few days so there is Wi Fi, I really am an internet addict!

I suffered a spot of "Bolly Belly" [??] yesterday, so the 4 hour public minibus trip from Sorata was a little uncomfortable as I was afraid to eat or drink in case!! However it soon passed and  I have had a great day in the city today.

This morning I went to a presentation on the Aymaran language and its status on the Internet. It was very interesting to compare the issues raised with those faced by the Welsh language. There are no Aymaran schools and Wikipedia is still not available in the language but there is plenty of radio and TV.  There are 5000,000 speakers of the language in South America. The students in Sorata are still determined to teach me some Aymara but I am very slow!

This afternoon I visited a Quaker school in La Paz and met the students who receive grants from the Bolivian Quaker Fund to continue their studies. They were a delightful, enthusiastic group and I hope to hold some English classes with small groups of them in November  - some have requested basic German too!

Tomorrow, Sunday, sees my first visit to a Quaker Meeting here. They have at least 200 at every meetimg so should be very different from Abergavenny in many ways  - watch this space for feedback!

IF   Love to all who read this.


New link for this post

Hi Hilary and Friends,

I moved this new piece to a post of its own, here. That way folks can easily find the most recent updates in the News box at our home page.

Blogging in from Bolivia!

Well, I had really expected to be blogging every day, but there is no Wi Fi anywhere in Sorata and the connections in the internet cafes are very slow; so my first blog starts two weeks into my stay in Sorata.
I had a warm welcome at the BQE office in La Paz and I was glad to meet them after my two day journey from home. There was a strike at La Paz airport so I spent the best part of two days in the airport hotel in Miami – not a good start!
The journey by minibus from La Paz to Sorata was breathtaking. The last 40 minutes or so is a dirt track and I still can’t see how so much food, building materials and all the necessities for life in a small town actually get here along those roads.
I was excited to actually arrive at the Internado after so many months preparation. The students who live there during the week are very friendly and I think they have just about accepted me in spite of my strange Spanish. One or two are determined to teach me a word of Aymara every day and I am not a good student! Today will be my first session of voluntary, extra English practice after supper. There seems to be quite a bit of interest, which is not surprising as the level of English taught at the school is extremely low.
As other volunteers have commented in their blogs, the work at the school is demanding although the students are keen to work with new materials and generally respond well. They really need a native speaking language teacher who is able to commit for a year at least, to get the English curriculum off the ground.
The climate in Sorata is idyllic, like a permanent British summers day. La Paz was much cooler and wetter. I wish I could upload some pictures to show what a beautiful place this is.
Colin [my husband] arrives next week and we are intending to travel to Lake Titicaca and to the salt flats in the south of Bolivia. The planning is not easy as every trip will have to be preceded by a 4 hour bus journey to La Paz.
I hope to blog again soon. Love to all who read this.

Likewise here

New post for this update can be found here.

I have arrived!


Well, it took exactly two days to get to La Paz from Abergavenny. There was a strike at the airport here which meant that no planes  could land for 24 hours. 36 hours in Miami airport was interesting!!

After a short rest I hit the town. The location is breathtaking and the women really do wear traditional dress. The centre seems quite compact and I hope to have time tomorrow to look at some more places of interest. Most of all I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the Internado in Sorata. 

I am really excited now about meeting everyone. I am writing this in the lobby of the hostal as I wait for Ruben. Wi fi access is good here and I have at last worked out how to Skype.


Moved to new post


Friends who want to see all of Hilary's posts on one page can access her blog page here.

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