Friday, February 27, 2009

Bolivia in Photos

Photos from Carnaval in La Paz and from a visit to Villa Victoria, Cochabamba, to inaugerate a bathroom project.

This little girl was sitting in front of us-she was very well-prepared for the festivities; a lucha libre mask and her waterproof and "espuma"-foam-proof poncho.

This "action" photo shows the "espuma" falling onto everybody. For less than $1 you can buy an aersol can of this amusing, yet mildly irritating soap-like product.

I love this. This woman has only covered her bolo hat; the most-frequently reported crime in La Paz is theft of these traditional hats. She obviously didn't want espuma, water balloons, or super soakers getting anywhere near her hat!

Another espuma action's nonstop!

The streets are full of male and female dancers in extremely elaborate costumes.

Trying to capture the general craziness of the day....
I wish we had zoomed in here. This family is ch'alla-ing their store; offering beer to Pachamama, the earth mother, so that she will bless them with a good year. In rural water and sanitation projects, there is often a ch'alla at both the beginning and the end of a project to ensure a good execution (at the beginning) and sustainability (at the end).
Ahh...the campo. It's the middle of the rainy season now, so everything is extremely colorful now. People have planted their crops and are beginning to harvest them. The flowers and fruits were gorgeous. The adobe buildings are typical in this area where we work.
This is Miguel Angelito (see video below) and his Grandmother. He was just as precious in person, giving demonstrations on how to use the bathroom, wash his hands, and tell his parents and grandparents what to do. This is Dona Rosita; one of the women from Villa Victoria; she is taking a rest after cooking all morning for the party.
There are so many delicous fruits in people's backyards right now. Carnaval season coincides with summer, so one of the traditions is eating all of the differnet fruits. From house to house, we sampled the differnet products of people's small orchards: pomegranites, grapes, figs, and cactusfruit.
Here is the gringa ch'alla-ing the bathroom. Somebody says some nice words, everybody takes a sip of homemade chicha -corn malt liquor-or you pretend because you had your appendix taken out three weeks earlier-and then you throw the pot down to ensure a nice long life for the toilet!
The aftermath of the ch'alla.....

More toilet decorations.................

We caught Carnaval in La Paz last weekend and they celebrate this weekend in Cochabamba, so look for more photos sometime next week....

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