post-title Miners’ Blockade, Rocks and a Ginger Ponytail as the Volunteering Begins in Earnest

Miners’ Blockade, Rocks and a Ginger Ponytail as the Volunteering Begins in Earnest

Miners’ Blockade, Rocks and a Ginger Ponytail as the Volunteering Begins in Earnest

Quest News

Hi people,

Going down t' pit in Potosi, Bolivia

It’s been a while since we posted a blog and a lot has happened in that time. We left you while we waited in Sucre, uncertain as to whether the Bolivian miners would permit our departure. After a good 48 hours we boarded a bus to Potosi… only to disembark 10km outside the city as transport was prohibited by blockades. All luggage on our backs (plus Sophia’s additional wheelie), we staggered towards the highest city in the world, the altitude literally taking our breath away. Kitted out with helmets, boots, jumpsuits and headtorches we ventured 1km deep into ‘the mountain that eats men’. We made our coca offering to the Tio so, luckily, made it out alive, if a little shaken.

 

Our next stop was Uyuni, from where our muted but lovable driver, Hector, drove us for 3 days across stunning landscapes varying from lagoons to volcanoes. The climax of our tour was watching the sun rise over the salt flats (not Matty’s nude photo).

 

Two hideous night buses from there we finally arrived at Parque Machia for the construction phase of our volunteering. In the 10 long days that followed we relentlessly lifted rocks, carried rocks, collecting rocks, sat on rocks, stared at rocks, dreamt about rocks… All in the name of Balu the bear and his new enclosure.

 

Our work in the morning was supervised primarily by Gato, veteran puma, and also Dictator Matty, although he was hard to take seriously with his ginger pony tail, and face smeared with mud and other questionable brown stuff.  Besides lugging rocks, we clawed at our bites, prayed that the water was running at the end of the day and ate our weight in double portions of delicious vegetarian lunches (and oreos).

 

Physically exhausted but proud of our contribution (we reached our goal 2 days ahead of schedule). We now head to Ambue Ari to face the big cats.

Over and out – the Bolivia team