Hey guys.

It has proved harder than I originally thought to faithfully upload my blog. There is so much I want to tell you! So, while you guys have been left in the dark, I´ve been doing some traveling around Bolivia. I passed through Lake Titicaca, which is beautiful, and made my way to La Paz. La Paz is a strange and beautiful city. It is full of traditionally dressed women, called ´cholitias´ who wear bowler hats, big sparkly skirts, and intricately woven sweaters. There are more Aymara people here than Quechua.

The fascinating thing about this is that nobody knows where the Aymara people come from. Their language is the oldest in South America, and there is no recorded history of their existence. The Quechua people, who are descended from the Incas, stretch from the southern regions of Colombia all the way to the north of Argentina. The Incas were a conquering society. But the Incas let the conquered cities keep their religion and way of life. Isn´t that great? Aymara people are a lot harsher, more scared, and secretive than the partying, friendly Quechuans. They are all beautiful people.

So, what do I remember over the past few weeks? What do I really need to tell you? I went camping on the side of Mt. Illimani,  who symbollically represents a father/creator in the local spirituality.  I ate a steak for the first time since I became vegetarian months and months ago! It was so delicious that I ate much more steak than any human should ever eat, and afterwards I declared that I was going to give up all meat and eggs and milk for the rest of my life. I felt like such a barbaric animal!

I´ve also learned a lot about the socio-political situation in Bolivia. Before I came here, my idealistic little self used to idolize Evo Morales for being the first indigenous president in Latin America. Little did I know how terrible he is! I am so naive. His radical left-wing politics is too radical even for the socialists in this country. He is a fighter, not a diplomat, and will stop at nothing to ensure that his agenda is secure. Just a few weeks before I arrived, he surrounded the congress with his army, not letting it dismiss until they passed a bill that was in his favor for the upcoming election. In short, Evo has shot himself in his own foot by following his socialist agenda. The landowners in The East (the lowland jungles) who had been making a ton of profit for the country on their large farms, aren´t allowed to keep their land any more. The land is divied up and supposedly given to those who have none, but the people who get the land do nothing with it; and the truth is, much of the land doesn´t end up in the hands of those who need it anyways.

A couple of days ago Evo staged an attempted assassination of himself to garner more support for his party. He also used this as an opportunity to kill a couple of right-wingers. As you can probably draw, the country is in a huge racial, social and political division between the people of the mountainous altiplano, who support Evo, and the people of the jungle, who support the opposition party.

ANYWAYS:

What really gets to me is that 90,000 of Bolivia´s 9 million are street children. That´s 10% !! I couldn´t believe that when I heard it. It´s the largest percent per population in South America. I was living in La Paz with a friend, Jaime,  who had met Johanna in New Zealand. He started an organization that helps the street children, mainly shoeshiners, write and sell a monthly newspaper. They are allowed to keep the profits of the newspaper if they attend the free weekly school that he offers. How great is that?! The kids have a chance to meet up, and play and learn.

Jaime also told me that a couple of years ago he did a survey of 200 street children who live in the more dangerous part of La Paz- and out of those 200, 100% of the girls had been raped, and 90% of the boys. I can´t believe how fast some of these kids have to grow up down here. You look in to some children´s faces, and their eyes look like they have lived 40 years when they have only lived 8.

By the way, I´m writing this from Ascensión de Guarayos, in the middle of the Jungle! I had forgotten that the jungle is HOT AS BALLS! damn! I´m sweaty as hell! I leave today for Comunidad animal rescue place. awesome. At the risk of losing your attention, I am going to continue my journel in another entry. bye!

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