Friday, September 26, 2008

Adios, Bolivia-Bienvenidos a Peru!

Our bags are packed, again, and we have loaded ALL of them into station wagon taxis-once to the airport in Cochabamba and again from 13,000 foot El Alto airport down to La Paz. You cannot get from Cochabamba to Lima in one day, hence our stopover in La Paz. Normally, I welcome the chance to spend a day in La Paz, but schlepping our 6 bags of worldy possessions around was enough to make me wish we could go straight from Cochabamba to Lima.

We're leaving at a good time-I was able to get a lot accomplished with our Bolivian team, Matt was tiring of his Spanish teacher, and we finally were able to climb Pico Tunari-the 15,500 ft. peak in Cochabamba that we looked at each morning. The one thing we didn't get to do was go see chollitas wrestle-some of you may have seen my earlier post with a link to this fascinating new fad taking over Bolivia.

Work in Peru is going to be full of different challenges-Water For People has never worked in Peru, so I get to start from scratch. To me, that is a positive thing as I can take the positive aspects from our work in other countries, modify them to Peru, and innovate where it makes sense.

I'm exhausted from our despedida last night. It is tradition in many Latin American countries to have a big going away party the night before somebody leaves, full of food and even fuller of booze. After spending the week immersed in Excel writing budgets for next year, it was a much-needed fiesta! I was really touched that all of our staff members AND partners showed up, showering Mateo and I with really kind words and friendly pressure to come back soon. After lots of laughter, feet sore from dancing on uneven surfaces, bottles of cerveza, and cuba libres for nightcaps, we rolled home around 3.

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