Potosí to Oruro: Uncle Pete Rides On!


I'm very much enjoying getting out into rural Bolivia. Things are a bit on the rustic side in the many little villages. Many of them are sparsely inhabited or deserted. Usually there is one tap for the village (which you have to go searching for) but sometimes just a hand pump or a bucket and a well. My daily shopping list looks a bit like this:
6 bread rolls - 20p
2 packets of biscuits -20p
3 bananas -10p
It is often a case of looking for a woman with a wheel-barrow full of fruit. Eating out is cheap too, a 3 course Almuerzo for 80p and in the cities there are heaps of chicken and chips joints. You get half a chicken, rice, chips and a drink for about a pound...
UyunitoOrorno 013
Every afternoon there tends to be a thunderstorm.
storm approaching
I have got the hang of putting on my raincoat when the wind picks up. On the way in to Challapata I passed a nice lake with some mountains behind and then hit a huge open plain. The land seems fertile here and it is the first place where I have seen much arable farming. Lots of llama farming in the hills. Usually being looked after by old women. The crops seem to be grown in very small amounts. The size of a back garden. I saw a few people harvesting wheat, by hand, with small sickle. Just done a few sums, with the help of Google, and I reckon if it is a 10m x 10m plot you'd get about 50 loaves of bread. sell each one for 50p and you've made yourself 25 quid. Not bad for a years work.
UyunitoOrorno 019
The level of education here seems to me low. It is better among younger people which is encouraging. I think most people out in the sticks are illiterate and innumerate (better watch my spelling!). There are lots of young kids working in shops, cafes, looking after llamas etc. They generally do the adding up for their elders. Wikipedia says kids get about 4.2 years in school on average in the countryside. Old people seem to have difficulty understanding my Spanish (possibly as it is a second language for them too) whereas I can usually make out the jist of what they say to me. Sometimes a kid will come and translate which is fun! I have seen old people being treated badly, or at least with very limited patience, on several ocassions. Once in a cafe, an old lady, near deaf and shortsighted, who had clearly lost her marbles, got a good shouting at because she wanted paper money rather than coins, then got manhandled out of the place.

Right I am off for chicken and chips!

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