Water and Greenhouse projects
It was the dry season when we were there (early September) and much of the Altiplano seemed incredibly bleak, almost desert-like. Here is a view of a plowed field. Incidentally in our two weeks we saw only one tractor. We did see people plowing with oxen and wooden plows.
Bolivia has plenty of rocks. Many are used to build walls, which as you can see are held together just by gravity and balance. There are no gates, and when a farmer wants to let cattle into a field he pulls down part of the wall, lets the cattle in, and rebuilds the wall.
The roads to some of the projects were very serpentine and passed through wonderful scenery.
Besides the incredible bleakness of the landscape, you can see here one of the QBL greenhouses. It was chilly outside but unbearably hot inside! The community people build the walls and tend the crops. QBL provides some funds for the roof and sends an advisor around for the first three years, to see how things are going and to provide assistance. This staff person is paid about $400 per month, full time for Bolivia.
Here is another version of QBL greenhouse, with a more durable (and expensive) roof, and also a chicken coop. It gets very cold in the Altiplano at night and the greenhouses allow the community to grow crops which would otherwise freeze, and keep animals that could not otherwise bear the climate. A greenhouse costs QBL about $600, more for this one since it has the chicken coop.
Inside a greenhouse it is very warm. Here are some crops being tended..
Whenever we visited a project, the community came out to welcome us, and usually also to feed us.
The people are very grateful for the greenhouses, which substantially improve their economic lives. Here a woman gives thanks to the Olympia WA Friends Meeting which donated for the expense of a greenhouse.
This little lad was left in charge of the horse while the mother met with us, but the horse got away and the lad had to be helped to get it back.
QBL provides water for many homes and communities. On flat areas like this, that means digging wells. Before the wells, people had to walk to the distant hills with buckets to get water. We were told that in some cases that meant getting water from surface ponds, scooping out the tadpoles and other pond materials.
Another QBL water project, this time in the hills requiring laying pipes underground for long distances. (photo by QBL)
The people of the villages do the work. (photo by QBL)
Here they are digging trenches for water pipes.. (photo by QBL)