Dear Bolivia blog readers
On the fourth day of our development project week, we visited the ruins at Tiwanaku and the world-famous Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable waters in the world. This trip was not purely for pleasure, as the main objective was to get to know the ENDA workers and the girls that they look after. All in all, we would be spending two-and-a-half days together. ENDA Bolivia (Environmental Development Action in the Third World) is a partner organization of Caritas that looks after girls who live on the street or are exposed to extreme violent behavior at home. The two centers in in El Alto provide the girls with professional psychological care, healthcare, tutoring and training opportunities. Richard had told us all about the organization and the girls’ situation in the run-up to the trip, so we were looking forward to meeting the workers and the girls.
We met ENDA at the entrance to the Tiwanaku ruins, the most important archaeological site in Bolivia. Tiwanaku is not just the name of the place, but also the name of the people who used to live in the ruins and literally means “sit down, little llama”. Tiwanaku was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. As our language skills were not yet ready for a tour in Spanish, we split up into two groups and we were taken on a journey through time by a German-speaking and Spanish-speaking guide. “Back then, they used to have water channels made out of stone, which is something that the locals in the rural areas clearly lack nowadays. I found Tiwanaku to be very impressive,” explains Marco.
Afterwards, we drove to Guaqui, a port situated on Lake Titicaca at an altitude of 3,810 m above sea level. From here, we took a boat across the lake and enjoyed a group lunch on board. The mood throughout the group was good and we quickly struck up conversation with the girls, despite our broken Spanish. “They were very friendly and open. I had expected them to be somewhat more guarded and cautious,” said Jasmina, discussing the young Bolivian ladies. We found out that it wasn’t just the youth of Caracato that like to play volleyball and football, the girls from ENDA were also massive fans of these two sports. After taking numerous selfies on the boat, we visited the railway museum at the port.
At approx. 3.30 p.m., we said farewell to ENDA and made our way back to La Paz. However, it would not be long until we saw them again, as we would be spending the next two days working together with the girls and putting our creative and technical skills to the test.
You can find out more about how this partnership worked out in our next blog post. Stay tuned!