2008.09.17: September 17, 2008: Headlines: COS - Bolivia: Blogs - Bolivia: Safety: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer Erica writes: Leavin' on a Propeller Plane

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By Admin1 (admin) (70.135.10.182) on Friday, September 19, 2008 - 10:48 am: Edit Post

Peace Corps Volunteer Erica writes: Leavin' on a Propeller Plane

Peace Corps Volunteer Erica writes: Leavin' on a Propeller Plane

"Leading up to our evacuation, things had been escalating in Bolivia for a couple of weeks. We had been cut off from our regional city by multiple bloqueos. There was even a roadblock in El Puente that had lasted three days. We saw a rock fight break out between those maintaining the bloqueos and those trying to pass through and we heard dynamite go off at night in an effort to scare people from trying to pass. We were put on alert on Sept 10th and then moved up to "standfast" on the 11th. That evening we got a call from our project director, who wanted us to pack right away to get to another town that night so we could catch a morning bus to Cochabamba. Normally we would go to Tarija, which is about 4 hours by bus compared to the 18 or so it would take us to get to Cochabamba. The reason they wanted us to go to Cochabamba by land is that the roads were blocked between us and Tarija and the airport in Tarija was closed due to protesting. Since we weren't comfortable trying to cross the dynamite infused bloqueo at night, we decide to pack and depart the next morning. We were able to say goodbye to most of our friends and co-workers that morning and miraculously flagged down a taxi to take us north almost immediately. We took that taxi to Villa Abecia, about 30 minutes up the road, then transferred to a small van to travel another hour to Camargo where we spent the night. The next day, we took a bus from there to Potosi (about 4 hours) where a PC employee drove us the remaining 9 hours to Cochabamba. We got to sleep around 3am and had to get up for an 8am meeting where we were informed that we were, in fact, being evacuated. A group of about 70 volunteers left for Peru that morning, and the rest of us were consolidated at a hotel until the next day when our flight would depart."

Peace Corps Volunteer Erica writes: Leavin' on a Propeller Plane

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Leavin' on a Propeller Plane

Caption: A view from the Peace Corps office in Cochabomba.

We're about 1 hour east of Lima, Peru in a little community called Chaclacayo. We started the COS process (close of service) on Tuesday with the distribution of film canister sized containers that we have to use to make sure we don't have any parasites. For those of you less desensitized to talking about digestion, I'll spare you the details. We have to go through a whole medical clearance like we did before we started. On Thursday a team of people from Washington, D.C. will be arriving to assist with paperwork and to tell us about our options. Some people will be signing up for a year or two in another PC country. Some people are going straight home to the states, and others will stay and travel for a while. We are still trying to figure out exactly what we're doing, but we're definitely going to travel around South America before coming home. We may even go back to our site briefly to finish the mural, shift around some of our belongings, and say goodbye more thoroughly. Roque is safe in Cochabamba with a PC staff member's family and he will most likely be brought to the US by said staff in October. All 110 volunteers are staying in the same place, so we've been able to hang out and do a bit of much-needed processing.

Leading up to our evacuation, things had been escalating in Bolivia for a couple of weeks. We had been cut off from our regional city by multiple bloqueos. There was even a roadblock in El Puente that had lasted three days. We saw a rock fight break out between those maintaining the bloqueos and those trying to pass through and we heard dynamite go off at night in an effort to scare people from trying to pass. We were put on alert on Sept 10th and then moved up to "standfast" on the 11th. That evening we got a call from our project director, who wanted us to pack right away to get to another town that night so we could catch a morning bus to Cochabamba. Normally we would go to Tarija, which is about 4 hours by bus compared to the 18 or so it would take us to get to Cochabamba. The reason they wanted us to go to Cochabamba by land is that the roads were blocked between us and Tarija and the airport in Tarija was closed due to protesting. Since we weren't comfortable trying to cross the dynamite infused bloqueo at night, we decide to pack and depart the next morning. We were able to say goodbye to most of our friends and co-workers that morning and miraculously flagged down a taxi to take us north almost immediately. We took that taxi to Villa Abecia, about 30 minutes up the road, then transferred to a small van to travel another hour to Camargo where we spent the night. The next day, we took a bus from there to Potosi (about 4 hours) where a PC employee drove us the remaining 9 hours to Cochabamba. We got to sleep around 3am and had to get up for an 8am meeting where we were informed that we were, in fact, being evacuated. A group of about 70 volunteers left for Peru that morning, and the rest of us were consolidated at a hotel until the next day when our flight would depart.




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

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

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