Sucre in the province of Chuqusaca — we were travelling to different projects and churches around the city and in rural areas. Joell, a community leader, offered to drive us to each location. The fact that he drove a two seater pick-up was no problem, Tim and some colleagues hopped in the back and got the best view of the mountain roads.
Iscayachi, a small village in the high altitude planes -- we were asked to do a morning workshop for a local church. Afterwards we were invited to share lunch in the home of a young woman who had taken charge of her house when her parents moved to the city for work. We sat down around a worn table in a small adobe home with a dirt floor and piled our plates high with rice and chicken. As we ate with the young lady, her siblings, and some neighbour kids, they shared all about their lives in the remote region.
Opoqueri, a village in the province of Oruro — we had just visited a project in this rural village and had no way of getting back to the city, a 2 ½ hour drive away. We sat on the quiet highway for what seemed like hours until finally we were able to hitch a ride. We squeezed into the back of a van and were met by the giggles and stares from a gaggle of children wondering what these gringos were doing in the middle of nowhere.
Cochabamba department -- we had the chance to do a series of classes with high school students around love, sex, and relationships. In a country where “machismo” is prevalent and over 50% of women suffer from physical and sexual abuse, Tim had the opportunity to sit down with 16 year old guys and discuss the importance of respecting women and seeing them as equals, while Kallie shared with young women about self-worth, rights, and consent.
Bermejo, at the very southern tip of the country on the border to Argentina -- we were in the back of a taxi-van navigating the windy roads coming down from the Andes Mountains into the tropics. As we swung around another hairpin turn, the teenaged girl next to Kallie leaned over and commenced vomiting down the side panel. We discreetly moved our backpack to the other side of the trunk and tried to breathe through our mouths as the oblivious driver continued down the road.
San Lorenzo, thirty minutes outside the city of Tarija — we walked along the cobblestone streets among whitewashed houses. A local pastor and his wife enthusiastically explained that the whole village is painted white with yellow trim to celebrate the town’s famous meringue topped pastry. After drinking peanut juice from a terracotta pot, we sat down in the main plaza square with our new friends to enjoy the acclaimed dessert.