Cocha, Cocha, Cochabamba

So, this is Cochabamba!

After doing all the paperwork I got to know the city a bit and I have to feeling that I ll like spending 2 months here! Lots of bars and restaurants around, with a mountain panorama and in comparison to other Latin American cities I ve seen rather clean. There s still a lot of stuff to discover, though, which I plan for this weekend (for example the huge Jesus-statue which is in fact a few centimeters bigger than that one in Rio. In Rio it measures 33 m for the 33 years that jesus lived, the cochabamba statue measures 33 m and a bit because they say here that Jesus actually lived 33 years “and a bit” (“y un poquito”). Sounds logically to me, sorry Rio, but you messed it up!

In the afternoon I got to know Energetica, the project where I will be working. It turned out to be a company more than a project which works in the field of renewable energies as applied to remote rural areas (especially small photovoltaic modules). They have been working with a couple of international programs (eg with programs from the EU commission, worldbank, interamerican bank) offering different services and products to individuals and/or rural communities which range from more energy efficient ovens with ventilation to simplified photovoltaic modules which produce energy for 3 lamps, a radio, a cell phone charger and a tv. Bigger versions can be used to run refridgerators for vaccinations in medical centers. Some of the projects are financed or at least co-financed by the government or international donors (eg vaccination fridge, cause it s too expensive), others are completely private and the motivation is based on the money saving which results from replacing wood and/or batteries as energy sources. In the latter case, the villagers have access to a microfinance system if they cannot pay the modules at once. The costs of the smaller systems range between 400 and 700 $ and usually generate an economic benefit from the 4th year on, compared with other energy sources (wood/battery).

Today it was my first day of work, but it was more a getting to know everyone and everything and reading a bit about Energetica and its idea. Tomorrow, however, I ll be going on the first trip to some villages where there are modules to be installed and to be maintained (regular maintaining service comes included with buying a module). They told me that it could be snowing up there and the rivers are usually frozen, so I ll take more or less all the clothes I have with me. Let’s see what happens!

I ll be posting more pictures after having returned to Cochabamba on Friday or Saturday. Actually, until now I didn t take any of the city here because I wanted to check out first a bit where to go and where better not to go with my camera before running around and talking pictures.

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