2008.09.13: September 13, 2008: Headlines: COS - Bolivia: Safety: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer Adventures in Bolivia writes: I'm actually in ************ right now being consolidated with all of the other volunteers

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Bolivia: Peace Corps Bolivia : Peace Corps Bolivia: New Stories: 2008.09.11: September 11, 2008: Headlines: COS - Bolivia: Diplomacy: Safety: Wall Street Journal: Bolivia Expels American Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg : 2008.09.13: September 13, 2008: Headlines: COS - Bolivia: Safety: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer Adventures in Bolivia writes: I'm actually in ************ right now being consolidated with all of the other volunteers

By Admin1 (admin) (70.250.72.26) on Saturday, September 13, 2008 - 12:00 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps Volunteer Adventures in Bolivia writes: I'm actually in ************ right now being consolidated with all of the other volunteers

Peace Corps Volunteer Adventures in Bolivia writes:  I'm actually in ************ right now being consolidated with all of the other volunteers

We're literally not allowed to leave the hotel the entire time we're here. They are serving all our meals here and so we're just cooped up here until this whole thing blows over. So anyway, by the time we got into the hotel, settled down, and had dinner, I was more than ready to pass out. Today the only plans I have are to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The rest of my day is up for grabs. No one knows how long we will be here or what is to happen next. We don't know if we'll ever be going back to our sites, or if we'll be asked to leave. I've gotten to the point where I just don't care anymore. I can't make plans, since things here can change at the drop of a dime, so I'm just going to take it one day at a time. I'm really bummed that we left Charagua on such short notice, though. Since we left at 5 in the morning, I was unable to tell anyone that I was leaving!

Peace Corps Volunteer Adventures in Bolivia writes: I'm actually in ************ right now being consolidated with all of the other volunteers

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Caption: The US Embassy in Bolivia

Oh my gosh, where do I begin? I was planning on writing about how my neighbor died and my shower blew up last week, but now I think I should save that for later. Things are getting pretty dicey down here.

I'm actually in ************ [We have blocked out the location where PCVs are being consolidated in the interests of security - PCOL] right now being consolidated with all of the other volunteers. So how did I get here? Good question. Well, after Ben and I got back to Charagua (after being trapped in Santa Cruz for a week), things took a turn for the worse.

The blockades started getting bigger and bigger and there was rioting in Santa Cruz. Apparently the anti-Morales sentiment is high in some areas, mostly because he is trying to redistribute land from those who have a ton to the people who have very little (which happens to mostly mean the indigenous people), he's distributing Santa Cruz's profits from their oil line to the entire country (as a kind of social security plan), and more. I'll give you all the tiny details later, I'm pretty tired right now and nothing seems to be making sense at the moment.

But what basically is happening is that all the rich people are pissed because Morales is trying to share the wealth among everyone. So the rebels (anti-Morales people) have been protesting his actions by taking over federal buildings, blowing up oil production areas, and in general causing a ruckus.

That left Ben and I trapped in Charagua without any gas (i.e. no gas equals no cooking) with a dwindling money and food supply. Then to top it all off, Morales asked the U.S. Ambassador to leave the country Wednesday night. Thursday morning we were gathering the materials to try to build a solar oven (out of cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, and glass), but luckily we didn't have to try it out because later that afternoon I get a call from my boss asking if I can leave Charagua asap.

Seeing as how the train was blocked and the roads as well, that was looking pretty undoable. Not only that, no one was sure even where to go. After a few phone calls telling us to go here, then there, then somewhere else, we were finally told to go to Camiri, where other volunteers were already consolidated.

The reason Ben and I weren't there already was because a)we didn't know about it and b) we were trapped in Charagua. However, we were eventually able to talk a private taxi driver to take us through backroads (ie cattle trails) to Camiri, about three hours south. The only down side was that he charged us 500 Bolivianos!! That's two month's rent for Ben!! It was unbelievable, but since he was our only hope and we were ordered to go, we had to suck it up and pay it. He literally took the last of our money.

So Friday morning we wake up at 4:30 in the morning, pack a bag each and are on the road at 5:30am. We get into Camiri between 8:30 and 9am, and then are told that a private plane is coming to pick us up. In total there were 8 volunteers waiting there. Since the plane could only take four of us at a time (yeah, it was tiiiiiiiny!!), one group left at 10am straight for ************, while the last three and I waited for our 12:30 plane.

The "airport," since there really isn't one, was just a flat grassy area where a tiny plane could technically land if necessary. We show up at noon, thinking we'd be off in a half hour on our way to ************ and all would be well. However, around 1pm we get a call saying that the plane won't get there until 3pm, and that not only that, the plane wouldn't be able to take us all the way to ************. Instead, we'd have to fly north up to Santa Cruz (where all the rioting is going on!) and then transfer planes and from there head to ************. And that's exactly what we did.

After waiting in the grassy lot for waaaay too long, we finally boarded the world's cutest plane and took a nice trip up north. It was beautiful and totally worth all this maddness! Well, maybe not exactly, but close. After landing we squeezed out of that plane and ran to the next one, which had been waiting for us for hours. The second plane was just as small, but even more beautiful since we were heading west, straight into the sunset.

From the airport we were met by a peace corps guy and driven to the hotel where everyone is staying (well, technically not everyone since some are at a different hotel that filled up before we could all get there). That's when we learned that we were on lock down!

We're literally not allowed to leave the hotel the entire time we're here. They are serving all our meals here and so we're just cooped up here until this whole thing blows over. So anyway, by the time we got into the hotel, settled down, and had dinner, I was more than ready to pass out. Today the only plans I have are to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The rest of my day is up for grabs. No one knows how long we will be here or what is to happen next. We don't know if we'll ever be going back to our sites, or if we'll be asked to leave. I've gotten to the point where I just don't care anymore. I can't make plans, since things here can change at the drop of a dime, so I'm just going to take it one day at a time. I'm really bummed that we left Charagua on such short notice, though.

Since we left at 5 in the morning, I was unable to tell anyone that I was leaving!! My soccer team is going to have to play without me today (even after I guaranteed them that I'd be there!!), the school that I was planning on giving nutrition presentations to for the next two weeks are going to be wondering where I am, and I had a date this week to go out to a nearby community where we were going to discuss putting in a tree nursery!! I feel so bad that I'm letting so many people down!! Hopefully I'll be able to contact at least someone soon to tell them what is happening.

Sorry that was so much info and it was all jumbled, I'm still pretty tired from yesterday's travels. I'll try to clear things up more later. But for right now I'm safe and sound. A little bored, but safe. Keep your fingers crossed that things get sorted out soon!!



Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: September, 2008; Peace Corps Bolivia; Directory of Bolivia RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Bolivia RPCVs; Safety and Security of Volunteers





When this story was posted in September 2008, this was on the front page of PCOL:




Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers RSS Feed
PCVs Evacuated from Georgia Date: August 19 2008 No: 1254 PCVs Evacuated from Georgia
The Peace Corps has announced that all Volunteers and trainees serving in the Republic of Georgia are safe and they have been temporarily relocated to neighboring Armenia. Read the analysis by one RPCV on how Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili believed that he could launch a lightning assault on South Ossetia and reclaim the republic without substantial grief from Moscow and that Saakashvili's statements once the war began demonstrated that he expected real Western help in confronting Russia.


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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Bolivia; Safety

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