Visiting projects in Sorata
Bolivia is the poorest country in South America. Quaker Bolivia Link was established by two Quakers, Pam and Ken Barratt, who saw the need to support development projects there. Now about ten years old, Quaker Bolivia Link (qbl.org) has created projects mostly in rural sections of the country - water projects, greenhouse projects, animal projects, projects supporting women, a medical center, and much more. The purpose of our Bolivian trip was to visit some of these projects. They are done very inexpensively since the rural people themselves provide most of the labor (for example making the adobe bricks for greenhouse walls.) QBL provides technical guidance, support, and some funds. . (photo by QBL)
The road from Sorata ends where you see the roofs, and the rest of the way to the projects we were visiting was up a fairly steep climb, for half an hour or so.
This lovely flower dangling from the shrub is the national flower of Bolivia and has the same colors as the Bolivian flag.
QBL helped this community to build toilets, one for each of the homes in the community, a big contribution to community sanitation. There was ample water in the area for them to have flush toilets. Each toilet had a translucent yellow plastic roof section for light inside.
Here is a photo showing a typical kitchen "stove" - the fire is built inside the home which tends to be smoky.
The woman of the house showed us her beautiful colorful corn.
One of the projects for the day was to put a roof on a community building. The walls, not really adobe but a kind of compressed dirt/stone mixture, were in place, but a roof is necessary to keep the walls from washing away.
Here is the roof a little farther along.
QBL had chosen four different communities, and four different kinds of fruit trees, to be tried out to see what would grow well where. So this was a research project with the long term goal of creating successful orchards. Here one of the fruit trees is being planted.
After the tree planting and roofing, a feast was laid out, some contributed by our group but mostly contributed by people in the community.
We were each given a plate with this local food - potatoes are a staple, and other tuber crops are popular.
This lovely young woman came back to town with us in order to play in a soccer game.. (photo by QBL)
Sorata is set in a very beautiful location. From it we went on a walk in the hills. That's Sorata, disappearing in the distance.
Looking back toward Sorata. The road we walked was quite spectacular, with no guard rails of course. Fabulously beautiful area!
After the six mile walk we were glad to get a ride back to town.