No power, no water yet only 20 km from the capital

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Sucre, Bolivia
Most groups here in Sucre for their 2 days undertake the active physical activities like horse riding, hiking, paragliding, quad biking …

It was for me too hot to undertake any of these activities so the whole group opted for a visit out in the countryside to a typical village and a little bit of walking.

As the title said this Jatun Yampara village was about 20 km from modern civilisation and the capital yet it was light years away literally untouched for decades. Here the villages have their own ancestral land which they can not sell to a third party. On average, each family now has 5 members, down from the 8 or 9.

The two houses we went into had dirt floors, no sanitation to speak of, no running water or electricity yet they were happy with the very simple life that they lead. Cooking was over an open fire in a separate building. Next to this was a store room then finally a small room to sleep in. Sadly it is the old people who are still living here as I suppose this is the life style that they are use to. I do hope that the younger people will return to the land and keep it in their family.While we were allowed to photograph the people and I had wanted to … I didn’t.

Then a short walk up and onto the ridge with a panoramic vista of the area that this community of 50 families owns. No power lines to be seen, just fields, houses made out of abode mud and brick with their red tiled roofs dotting the landscape. Away in the distance were the community white school houses where children have free education till 12. While education in Bolivia is free till 16, this community has no access to such education so the children either have to travel further away or don’t attend at all.

The government 10 years ago provided the materials for a small scale tourism complex to be set up here. It currently has only 3 buildings sleeping in total 12 people but with at least a western style WC! Darn sight much better than my La Paz windowless hotel room set up.

llamas abound and an old tattered whipala fluttering in the wind. The flag has 7 by 7 squares and it is known as the whipala - Bolivia’s native flag.



A small bar where the local beer (chicha) was dispensed

The little church is only used several times a year. It is to me a blend between their beliefs with Pachamama and Catholicism (Christianity). Note no figure of Christ by the wooden cross. These people are spiritual but not active practicing. They believe in God and mother earth.  

Next to the comedor (dining room / lounge) were several buildings like a mini ie small museum which explained a bit more of their life style.


It was so peaceful with literally no noise, no signs of any mechanical machinery … I wonder how much longer this will last for as understandably they want power and water. The senior community's representative who showed us around had on his belt a cell phone so I asked how did he charge it up with no power? Answer: in the car (cigarette lighter). This small complex had a generator for limited evening power.

I am glad that we came here today and suggest that an overnight option be offered so that others can enjoy the peacefulness plus learn a bit about the current simple life.

… then home wards bound BUT ….

A truck was parked across the road and we were informed that because of road works ahead clearing a minor slip, that the road would be closed for 4 hours ie till dark. Crazy - why don’t they open it say every 30 minutes to let the traffic on both side through? This is Bolivia I suppose.

Solution, walk following the water pipe by the fields to the road ahead where we could see by the next very small village the traffic stopped at the other side and try to get a taxi(s) back to Sucre which was only 10 kms away. Long shot this getting a taxi out in the country.

Because Bolivia has provided modern telecommunication, we were able to call the agency back in Sucre and arranged for a car to come out and pick us up.

Dinner was at La Posada and for me something new: Plato Adino or dried beef from the Andes. This was very salty by itself but when mixed with the egg, cheese and potato it was fine. I can see how this dish would be eaten high up in the Andes. Looked like dried vermicelli.

Plus a 1/2 jug of Jarra de Jugode with the Thumbo fruit. A big 1/2 jug but I finished it!

I couldn't refuse the Suzette crepe dessert offering simply to see again it being lit.
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