Bolivia 2021

On this trip I had brought an additional large bag full of school supplies, deflated soccer balls, small stuffed animals, stuffed animals from my girls and dolls from my girls.  Most of the stuff I bought from Amazon. Being able to buy in bulk on Amazon, the way it was packed, and the money savings just made it easier to do.  The bag at weigh-in at the airport was way over the 50-pound mark. When I told them what was inside and showed them they waved the fee. Super awesome of United Airlines. 

This was my first trip out of the country or anywhere since covid hit the world. Bolivia was one of the first to open for US. My dad and I took advantage of this, as we needed a trip to get back to sanity. This is also the first trip that I notified our guide ahead of time about what my intentions where while there. He was very receptive, excited and thankful for what I wanted to do on my “holiday” trip. 

We were some of the first travelers to come to Bolivia since covid flying restrictions ended. We were our guide’s first travelers since covid, and he was one of the main guides for several companies. When we got there he was so happy to have us. Our guide also had fallen on hard times with no clients and had to move in with his sister’s family. He explained  to us he had villages that were in real need of school supplies and anything else I had brought. 

The first village I was able to give to was on the Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca. This is a very important isle for the Inca and pre-Inca people. A huge traveler’s destination too. We arrived by boat and had to walk to our place of stay uphill. As we walked, our guide knew everyone and talked to all of them in Quechua. He had not been here since covid started. Later we found out that he owned a piece of land here too and, because of covid, no one was allowed on the isle until a couple weeks before we arrived. 

There were two different villages on the isle who were at odds with each other over one village building too many places for travelers to stay. They did not like having many foreigners on their island.  The buildings that were built by the coast were blown up not long before. Most got their income from travelers,selling trinkets, other little objects and kadawas dolls made from  fur. Karawas is the real name for llamas. You can blame the Spanish for that name as our guide pointed out. This was the side we stayed on and we later found out the other side allowed no foreigners to set foot on their side.  One traveler, not knowing about the war or consequences, crossed the line and the other village killed him. Our guide did not know about this war because he had not been there during covid. We had told him what we heard, and he did not completely believe us, until he talked to his friends on the isle. He came back and said we were right. That was the night when we arrived. I did not find out till after I had been hiking on my own after lunch and almost crossed the line. There was a small rock wall that was the line. I had just seen some locals jump over it. I started to walk that way.  Lucky for me I was a little tired and late on time. I had to head back, otherwise I would have jumped that wall and continued my adventure. 

My guide, before finding all this out, had told me I would be able to give to two different schools, one in each village. He said that no travelers had been there in years really, buy they needed many things. He said there were usually many more locals selling their goods on the pathways. He hoped that more would start to show up in the coming months. I know that did not happen as we still talk to this day. While we stayed on the isle for many days we were the only travelers around it seemed. We did see a couple travelers come to the isle for a short bit during the day. Usually only staying a couple hours. The economic consequences of this post-covd quiet were disturbing.

After my adventure, we went on a little walk around our village. I brought only a couple things on the walk. The guide just wanted to show us around, most of which I had already seen on my adventure.  My dad had not gone out, so it was all going to be new to him.