The Garbage I Found in Bolivia: Part One

Over the next three blog entries, I will share through pictures and words what
Daisy and I experienced in our Bolivian adventures.

daisy and me in downtown santa cruz, bolivia

What I found in Bolivia and what I write may surprise you.
I know it surprised me.
Although I am proud as punch to be an American and I love America,
I admit that we do not always have the monopoly on good people
or the right way to do things.

Our story begins with some comparisons.

In South America, there are some things smaller than in my area of North America....
such as:


(these darling boys are the exact same age: one from St. George, Utah, 
the other from Montero, Bolivia)


professional sound systems

and dogs.

notice the skin and prominent bones of this skinny, sickly dog....and it was typical of many of the dogs....

But there are things that are  bigger (as in size and/or quantity) such as....


Mighty Amazon from the air


National flower of Bolivia- Patuju


pigs in the street


fungus balls on the telephone wires



Largest lake in the world: Titicaca. Photo courtesy of cheap-o-air

piles of dirt covered in clay tiles

my ankles

teen-agers practicing cultural dancing on a Thursday night

massive amounts of chickens roaming freely in streets

sloth sightings in the trees right in the center of town

sloth in downtown plaza of Santa Cruz. photo courtesy of about.com

boys excited about getting their fingernails painted by an American gringo

and beads of sweat..... (notice the glistening at the pre-auricular area on Dr. Barnett.)

Ahh….the sweat. Without air-conditioning, the saline drips from the skin of tourists faster than water from a hose. This oppressive humid heat of summer not only steals moisture but robs the afternoon. Around 11:30 am, activities screech to a hot humid halt. As temperatures climb and sweat saturation reaches its zenith, the streets and shops grow quiet as people go home to take respite from the heat, eat lunch, take a cold shower and a siesta before returning to work at 2 pm.

In the morning hours, however, the heat hasn’t yet won the battle.  The city is alive with productivity. People rise early to take advantage of the cooler part of the day.
Already at 7 am, the honks and rumble of motorcycle taxis and cars


drown out the bird’s pleasant chatter

and fill the dusty or uneven cobblestone streets with organized chaos.

 The air is saturated with the acrid aroma of burning sugar cane, choking those
unaccustomed to such a miserable sensory assault.

truckload of sugar cane

Street vendors uncover their carts teeming with chorizo, chicken and beef empanadas,
jewelry and hand-stamped leather items.
Shop owners put out colorful varieties of fruit, vegetables and meat for sale, and
 anxiously await customers while absent-mindedly batting away the flies happy
with the bonanza of available raw meat.

Women begin the daily chore of washing laundry outside in a large tub filled with murky yellow water.


At the District 3 Centro de Salud, women begin lining up with their
babies and children
to see the doctor and get free immunizations.

The clinic is ready for them.
Nurses competently and compassionately screen patient after patient,

educating each mother about five cuidados b√°sicos (basic cautions): nutrition, adequate hydration, hygiene, temperature control and descanso (rest). Referrals to the clinic physician or dentist are made if necessary. These offices are in back of the health clinic.

Dental patients sit outside in a white plastic chair next to a rusting sink for dental care. Teeth are pulled with minimal anesthesia. Some children display tantrums by throwing themselves on the ground in defiance to see the doctor. Some things are universal no matter what country we are in.

Clinic 3 was where I spent nearly two weeks, trying to learn as much as I could
about their public health program and their health care delivery.

Each day, the kids and teens in our travel group put on a puppet show for the local schoolchildren
teaching them about nutrition and germs.

Most of the kids laughed...

Except one...

continued on Part Two.....


Greg and Heather said...

How GREAT!! My dad served his mission in Bolivia, and my parents went back for the temple dedication & really the stories they tell are amazing. Such wonderful, humble people!

kelli said...

Now, I see why you were in Bolivia. That is awesome! I would love to go do something like that some day. That is great that you got to take your daughter with you!

LGH said...

Marvelous pictures and profound writing.

Nat said...

Okay, what happened to your ankles???? That spider is HUGE! Puppet show- how awesome! It looks like an amazing time. I loved looking at all the pictures and can't wait to see the rest of your adventures!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...