Panorama

Dear Bolivia blog readers

On the last evening before departure, after a hearty meal at a lovely restaurant, we looked back over the week together and shared experiences.

You can read about our impressions of the development project week here:

Daniel Waldvogel

Daniel Waldvogel:

“I’ll always remember the giant city of La Paz, with its lights stretching out to the horizon. The development project week in Bolivia was a great experience for me. The people here are very hospitable and like body contact. Coming from Switzerland, I’m not used to that! I also found the presentation at ENDA very impressive, it showed us yet another face of the city.”

Besuch bei ENDA

Jasmina von Arx:

“I’ve never seen a city as big as La Paz. The inhabitants were very hospitable, particularly in Ocuire. I’ll never forget this village and the experiences during the whole week. Every day was unique. For me, the visit to Lake Titicaca was a dream come true. I also found Tiahuanaco very impressive; our guide did a very good job. It was a great privilege for me to be part of this group. The presentation at ENDA opened my eyes to life here and how difficult life is for the young women here. I’m happy that we managed to communicate well with the Bolivians despite the language barrier. I was very impressed by the way that people here dealt with their problems and how strong they are. The fact that despite everything they were still able to smile and be happy impressed me a lot. I also think that La Paz has a great cable car system.”

Sreileak Wendland

Sreileak Wendland:

“I was very happy to work with the Bolivians. Initially, I didn’t know what to expect and was even rather nervous, but I’m very glad I was there. The only thing that rather disappointed me was the witch market. I’d imagined it to be much larger. The visit to the villages was the real highlight of the project week. I would never have imagined such a friendly welcome and such nice people. I also loved the encounter with Bolivian culture and all the dancing. The visit to ENDA didn’t shock me so much, because the situation is similar in Cambodia, my homeland. I still hope that the young women there can lead a normal life again as soon as possible. I should like to thank GF very much for this great experience. In Cambodia, we were often visited by groups and aid organizations like this, this is the first time I’ve been able to be on such a visit myself.”

Yves Ackermann

Yves Ackermann:

“The most impressive thing for me was the organization of the trip by GF, Caritas Schweiz, Caritas Corocoro and all those involved. The planning and organization worked perfectly, right down to the smallest detail. Every day we collected countless experiences. The tour guide in Tiwanaku was very likable and knowledgeable. The visit to ENDA and the murals there was a very interesting experience. I found Richard’s statement that order is arising out of chaos here very appropriate. Somehow it ultimately always worked, which was really astonishing.”

Philipp Bachmann

Philipp Bachmann:

“We were only in Bolivia for a short time, but we got to know many different sides of the country. As a tourist, you only see the classic attractions in such a short time, while we covered an enormous range. We met people in the city and on the land, and learned more about their lifestyles. Life in the villages made the biggest impression on me, it was the complete opposite of life in Switzerland.”

Luca Marceca

Luca Marceca:

“La Paz, El Alto and Bolivia generally were very beautiful, but unfortunately also very dirty. There were so many street dogs and piles of rubbish and PET bottles on the edge of the streets. Because of the sea of lights I find La Paz is definitely more beautiful at night than during the day. The highlight in this project week for me was the visit to Ocuire with the warm welcome, the floral wreaths and the lunch. An experience I’ll never forget.”

Besuch bei ENDA

Leandro Ravara:

“I very much liked the people’s openness and friendliness. I was very impressed by how proud they were of the few things they own. When we were in the locals’ homes, they turned the water on and showed us proudly. That’s a very lovely memory. I also think it’s astonishing how much we were able to experience in this week and how well the development project week was organized.”

Besuch bei ENDA

Niclas Galliker:

“I’d expected that people here wouldn’t have much, but seeing it in real life was still very impressive. It was really astonishing that the young women at ENDA radiated so much enjoyment of life, although they have a very hard life. I didn’t like the Bolivian food.”

Besuch bei ENDA

Ramon Grutschnig:

“I found the last two days to be particularly exciting, as we were able to be creative in our painting and that let us get in closer exchange with the young women at ENDA. It was natural, not forced at all. We not only learned more about the country, but also more about the culture. The people here were friendly and spoiled us. I don’t think they cook for themselves the way they always cooked for us. The boat trip on Lake Titicaca was a bit too short. We didn’t see as much as expected. The trip still made me want more; I’ll definitely make more trips.”

Besuch bei ENDA

Kilian Pfister:

“Bolivia is a very beautiful country with lovely people and scenery. The inhabitants left a lasting impression. In contrast to people in Switzerland, you’re always sure of a friendly greeting. Although we have more than most locals, we received so much and were warmly welcomed everywhere. I very much liked the three days in the countryside, and even if La Paz and El Alto are relatively chaotic, I find them interesting too.”

Besuch bei ENDA

Tim Rütimann:

“The development project week was a unique experience for me. Our group fitted together very well. I was very impressed by how open people here are. The presentation at ENDA was also very impressive. Even so, I thought it was rather peculiar that the presentation was given partly about the young women, because that reminds them of their experiences.”

Janine Brütsch:

“It was impressive to see how people live in such poor conditions and were still so happy. You really understand then how well off we are in Switzerland. Beautifying the village square was one of my highlights. Without much talk we made the bare square really colorful and brought a lot of pleasure to the people in this way. I’m taking home many great memories and new experiences from this week. Bolivia was an unforgettable project.”

Besuch bei ENDA

Lea Tahovsky:

“Our trip to Bolivia was a unique experience for me. It made me much more grateful for the things in my life which I unfortunately take as a matter of course far too often. I was deeply impressed to see how happy people there were despite their misfortunes and sorry circumstances. I’m happy to have been part of this project.”

Lukas Bachmann:

“I really liked seeing how people here live and what their attitude to life is. That fascinated me, particularly in the villages we visited. I also thought the cohesion within the group was great.”

Enes Palabiyik:

“I’ll never forget the development project week, it opened my eyes to many aspects. The organization was remarkable and the program was well thought out. Even if everything didn’t ultimately work as had been agreed with the Bolivians.”

Ussama Chaudry:

“It was a very impressive week, and we collected a lot of personal experiences. The only tiring thing was the numerous speeches, which you knew by heart after a while. Otherwise, I thought it was a great week.”

Marco Baechtold:

“I was very impressed by how happy the people in Ocuire are, including because of access to clean drinking water. The resident who showed us his house and water system was so proud. I’ll never forget that. I was also very impressed by Bolivia’s scenery. It was just great that we could contribute something towards getting things moving in the villages. The organization by GF, Caritas and José Balmer was also very good. Thanks to everyone, including the group! You were great!”

Besuch bei ENDA

René Feser:

“GF gave us a great opportunity to spend a unique week. You never experience a week like this as a tourist. I’m very grateful for this. There were very many impressions. We saw the countryside, the city and numerous contrasts. I should like to say thank you for the organization and the group’s work.”

Anna Oetinger:

“At the beginning of the week I had the impression that the apprentices were rather shy. It was very impressive how this shyness disappeared, day by day. They spoke Spanish, danced and laughed with the Bolivians. The local work by Caritas also impressed me greatly, they’re supporting important projects.”

Anna-Lisa Veljkovic:

“It’s difficult to capture all the great experiences and impressions in words. It was a very exciting development project week and a great country, which we got to know thanks to GF and Caritas. The program was unique and the group’s team spirit was unbeatable. Thank you all!”

José Balmer:

“I’m very pleased I had  the opportunity to spend this week with this great group. I was really lucky to be asked to organize this trip. The apprentices were very open to the country’s culture and meeting the people. I think any number of inhibitions were overcome during this week. There are many contrasts with Switzerland, and the group came to know these and get new insights. I should like to thank GF for this initiative and Richard Haep and Roland Gröbli for their assistance with the organization. I wish the apprentices all the best in their training and their future life. They’ve seen now that they have many more opportunities than most young people here. I hope they appreciate this and take advantage of these opportunities.”

Roland Gröbli:

“The development project week and the dynamic of the group were unique. It’s by no means a matter of course for so many parts to fit together. It was a very demanding week, at times over 4,000 meters above sea level. In terms of the encounters, the week was very authentic, you could feel a lot of warmth. However, on the organizational side the investments were extraordinary. The work of José, Richard and Caritas Corocoro shouldn’t be underestimated. It was a project with three objectives, and all of them were achieved. I thank everyone for the respect, the openness and the way they embraced this experience.”

Richard Haep:

“It was an exhausting but also very wonderful week. The group did a great job, they took things as they came and weren’t judgmental, even if things weren’t what they were used to. In development cooperation, motivations are very important, and I feel the group has contributed a lot of motivations in this week. The people here asked themselves if it took young people coming from Switzerland to refurbish their village squares or their buildings. I think that the experience here was very valuable for the apprentices. It’s important for them to be aware of their responsibility in society. Even if their awareness was increased just a little by the development project week, the week fully achieved its goal. Thank you all!”

 

Our thanks go to all those who made this wonderful time possible:

  • Caritas Schweiz, (Nadja Zgraggen, Esther Belliger and Odilo Noti)
  • Caritas Schweiz in Bolivia (Richard Haep and José Balmer)
  • Caritas Corocoro (Ruben Araujo and Soledad Limachi Mamani)
  • ENDA El Alto (Patricia Beltran and her team)
  • Instituto Tecnológico Don Bosco (rector Luis Quispe, Dennis Hanna and Bejaín Condori)
  • Jules Tusseau (Photographer)
  • Edith Wicki-Waser and Wendelin Waser, Oberrickenbach
  • Leo Funez, Bern
  • Sosleydis Stocker (Spanish teacher)

and all the children, young people and adults in Bolivia who welcomed us so warmly to their villages and in the city.

Also,

  • Clean Water Foundation, and particularly Roland Gröbli, who initiated and headed this project
  • Yves Serra, CEO, and the GF Executive Committee, which approved the necessary funds
  • Katia Güntert (GF company medical service)
  • Cristina Marinoni (Head of HR Management Schaffhausen)
  • Lea Ritter, who implemented the Bolivia blog as the final project in her training as mediamatician (http://bolivien-blog.ch)

The Bolivian development project week (28 July to 5 August 2018) was organized on behalf of Georg Fischer AG by the Clean Water Foundation in cooperation with GF Piping Systems, Wibilea AG and Caritas Schweiz. Local support: Caritas Schweiz in Bolivia, Caritas Corocoro and ENDA El Alto.

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