Daily life

I wake to the sound of a hundred stray dogs barking, the noise of traffic (one of four rush hours) and the relentless cry of the local newspaper man touting El Diario (or rather “El Diaaaaaariiiiiiooooo!”).  At night, the sounds are the same, except that the newspaper man is replaced by a neighbourhood guard and his whistle.

View from my bedroom window

My work day runs from 8.30am-noon and from 2.30pm-7pm.  That makes for a 2.5hr lunchbreak, which is taking some getting used to!  Most people head home for lunch almuerzo (hence the 4 rush hours) which is the main meal of the day.  Breakfast and dinner are very light, often consisting of little more than a bread roll, but a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack are also common.  Already the local pastelería (cake shop) has begun gifting me cookies as appreciation for loyalty, which can only be a good thing.

Work is going well so far. FONCRESOL`s La Paz office has 10 employees and I am slowly getting to know my colleagues, making a start on my mandate and adapting to the different pace of work.  (My boss Gustavo took me for ceviche (raw seafood) and beer at 11am last Tuesday.)  This coming weekend I will make my first trip out to the coffee production zone which will help me get to grips with my fairly ambitious work-plan.

FONCRESOL`s office

My host family/guest-house set up is convenient and comfortable.  I pay a daily fee for my room, lunch and laundry (a luxury indeed).  Three generations of the family live under the same roof (common for young couples/families to reside with the husband`s parents), and so I find myself adapting from living alone to now sharing a bathroom with 6 or more people, depending on how many other guests are present.  The family`s housekeeper, Petronila, is Aymará (an indigenous group that makes up about 25% of the population).

My host family`s house

Petro, grinding hot peppers and tomatoes to make `llajhua`, a spicy salsa. The impressive outdoor mortar and pestle is called a `batan`.

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