The day I almost saw the president

Evo was supposed to come! All villagers from the area were forced (!) to come (800 Bolivianos if they didn’t, that’s 80 €)! We, the Energética-crew came, as well (to find as much people with debts as possible on one spot)! To put in a nutshell: EVERYBODY WAS THERE! Everybody? No, Evo didn’t come in the end because of “asuntos importantes”. Cabrón de la madre! Asuntos importantes! First they (the rural communities) force everybody to come or to pay 80 € and then Evo just doesn’t show up! I didn’t really mind but I was sorry for all the campesinos who travelled various hours by foot to go there and see the president (or to avoid paying 80 €)…

4 days in the mountains, 3 nights in the f…cking cold mountains sleeping in churches, schools or whereever they would let us sleep, lots and lots of kilometers on roads that are not worth being called such! All in all a lot of fun! Unfortunately I caught a cold just before leaving and my body was killing me on the first day, but after that only my nose kept on annoying me, so it was not too bad. In those situations, however, when you are in some villages “en el quinto coño”, your head wants to explode, your throat to implode, you are sleeping in a school with broken windows and you’re just freezing the whole night, in those situations you realize that after all, Europe is not so bad. Especially when you consider that those people live there their entire life in houses that are so badly constructed that you don’t need broken windows to freeze (not that they would have any glass in their “windows” anyways)…

It’s quite a difference between Europe and Cochabamba, but between Cocha and those villages the difference is just as big!

Though we had to do the rather nasty task to collect debts, we didn’t encounter one single villagers being mad or unfriendly with us. You could tell that these people are really happy about the project, the EU and Energética launched in the area about the mini-solar-systems! All of the owners of such a panel are prowd to have light after sun goes down at around 6-7 pm and most of them bought either a tv or a portable dvd player (which can be used more or less an hour per day). as we were passing by some villages where they already paid there debts, people spontaneously invited us to have a tea or “api” (some hot drink based on corn) with them and showed us how well their light and/or dvd player worked. as well, many villagers asked us if there were more panels available, because now that those systems work for up to two years in that area and most of them do so without major problems, the confidence in such technology is much greater than it was in the beginning and there is a great demand for more panels. However, there won’t be another project before this one terminated (with most/all of the panels paid for).

Although it was only 4 days and I was kind of sick half of the time, I learned a lot a lot a lot about the way a development project can work, about the problems that may arise, about the different mentalities and how you have to bring them together somehow to make the project work and, last but not least, about the possibility to turn a car on an extremely narrow “road” when there is a truck ahead and somehow you have to solve the situation (photo 5)…Therefore it was worth every second of freezing!!!

Morochata 1 Morochata 2 Morochata 3 Morochata 4 Morochata 5 Morochata 6 Morochata 7

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