Blogs from La Paz, La Paz Department, Bolivia, South America

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South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz March 24th 2024

Bolivia is astounding! We went through three days in La Paz where the remaining ten individuals joined our visit. We presently have a full truck. La Paz may be a lovely city and I´d unquestionably go back there. We went through a day driving down the ´most perilous street within the world´ by 4WD. A few others did it on bike but my bicycle abilities are miserable with handle brakes. The street contains a notoriety for being perilous since it´s a rock street around a mountain with as it were one path for two vehicles. Presently there´s a modern fixed street for drivers to utilize. The Brazilian Government office in La Paz denied me my Brazil visa since my bank articulations didn´t have my title on them, fair my account number. When I attempted to clarify ... read more

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz March 24th 2024

A low, slow, eery murmur fills the air. A weird, wakening, growling whisper that intrudes out of nowhere. Prompting part-parched eyelids to eke apart as the first flirtations of early morning pink filter through a canopy of Amazon trees. See the dozen fat mosquitoes, content, inside the peak of the mosquito net, having earlier snuck entrance, and supped. Instinctively move limbs away from the dropped sides of the mesh protection, away from the five dozen, and more, ravenous insects sitting outside eagerly waiting to take their own sip from a misplaced forearm or calf. Touch the screen, and lose a drop. Again, the strange moan from beyond rises, like the lowest low of a cow driven by the sound of a breeze through a forest of leaves. Sounds are generally processes of orientation. They let you ... read more
Downtown Trinidad
'Gator under a town bridge - approx 60-70cm
Between here and there - Trinidad

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz April 5th 2023

(Day 279 on the road)"If you need the oxygen bottle, your climb is over and you are going down". This was the firm stance of the guide at the climbing agency in the centre of La Paz. I was there because I had finally made up my mind to try to climb Huayna Potosi, a 6.088 metre mountain that is very accessible from La Paz. I had thought long and hard about whether I really wanted to do it. And why, really? I was quite worried about the altitude. Also, the actual ascent starts at 1 am, so there would be little to no sleep the night before. But as a good friend told me on the phone: I had been at the altitude of La Paz / Lake Titicaca for over a month now; I ... read more
Biking down the Death Road
A bus with 108 passengers went over the cliff here
Huayna Potosi - Inside the High Camp

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz March 24th 2023

(Day 267 on the road)If you read the following blog entry and think "wow, Ben's writing skills have certainly improved", I am afraid I have to disappoint you. Most of this entry was written by my good friend Suzanne, who came to visit me in Bolivia for ten amazing days of travelling together. But before I hand over, a quick recap of the days leading up to Suzanne's arrival in La Paz: My entry into Bolivia from Peru was as easy as possible: A minibus from the travel agency picked up all the passengers at 4am in Puno, the boat from Puno (Peru) to Kasani (Bolivia) took about 5 hours (straight across the beautiful Lago Titicaca), the immigration formalities in Kasani took less than 3 minutes, and a minibus took me to the lakeside town of ... read more
Suzanne with Alpaca street art in La Paz
Sightseeing by cable car in La Paz
Above Copacabana

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz December 19th 2022

Wednesday I had virtual meetings with the founder and board back in the US. They still have a lot they need to figure out for the future of the organization. But I believe the time I have had on the ground with their organization has shown the board back in the US that there is truly a need for financial literacy and skills training. Thursday was my last in person class with my two groups. For my morning group we discussed COGS vs COGM as this applies to several of their businesses. This class has been fun for me because in each session the students will ask me about a subject matter or a business topic and then I build the next lesson plan based on that. It has allowed me to present new topics and ... read more
Ms Mily
Daniel my co teacher
Afternoon Class

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz December 14th 2022

In my morning class I have students that are older and more experienced in business. I have been able to learn a lot from them including some background on the economy of Bolivia. They said, as others have also said to me, that Bolivia doesn't have inflation. One of the men told me you could buy a loaf of bread for approximately the same price 10 years ago as you can today. I wondered about this and decided to do some research. It isn't quite that sample, but when is it ever. In the 1980's citizens did not trust the Bolivian money so the country had a major issue with dollarization: when foreign currency (usually the US dollar) replaces the domestic currency because it is more reliable. When this happens the central banks do not have ... read more
Bolivianos
Bolivianos
Breakfast of shredded llama in toast with avocado

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz December 10th 2022

After seeing my morning class has more business knowledge I spent the morning composing a new lesson plan for them that has more complex financial concepts. In the afternoon I took a bus 30 mins south of town to visit Valle de las Animas (Valley of the Souls/Spirits). The city of La Paz is shaped like a bowl. Some believe that the city was once a lake and that shifts in tectonic plates led to slow drainage of the lake. They speculate the water may have settled in the southern half for a longer period and, due to its acidity created this forest of mammoth stalagmites. It got it's name because locals even say that when the wind passing through the rock formations, it carries the voices of spirits. Switching countries for a minute I received ... read more
Valle de las Animas
Valle de las Animas
Valle de las Animas

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz December 8th 2022

Today was a busy day. I had my morning class where we focused on Cash Flow managed based on the questions they asked me at the previous class. I was glad to see all the men returned a few new ones joined them. We had some good discussions about the cash flow status of their businesses and what we might be able to do to improve it. The afternoon class focused on goal setting. Each of the woman was asked to share with the group their S.M.A.R.T. goal with the class so they could help keep each other accountable. We had a good mix of personal goals for their families as well as professional endeavors. After class, Betty took me on a tour of the Cholets of El Alto. The best possible way to see these ... read more
A morning class student showing his products
Morning class
Lunch prep

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz December 7th 2022

This week we added an additional class for financial literacy. My new class was more than 50% men. I was glad to be able to include them in the training. We started with budgeting, but as I learned about their businesses I determined they are slightly more advanced than my other class. Instead of doing the same lessons I plan to make a new set of lesson plans to address the topics they requested to learn about. One of the men has a small potato sales business and is trying to determine if the business is making money. Another one imports small tools from Chile and is struggling with pricing his items to account for his expenses to import them. My afternoon class focused on savings. The women shared that savings was never part of their ... read more
Morning Class
Savings Class
Savings Class

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz December 1st 2022

Today was the second meeting with the women from the area, but the first class. We are still formulating options for the skills training aspect, but since the financial planning applies to all we decided to get started. Daniel the intern helped me adjust my lesson plan to make it more relevant to the women and their culture. I had the translator on video and then Daniel in person. The three of us worked well together. Daniel started off a bit nervous but he got in the groove and seemed to enjoy it. Majority of the women from the first meeting came back and they brought friends. We had about 15 - 20 people. I have to say "people" because I had my first man attend a class! We tried for this in Uganda, but the ... read more
Daniel
My first male student!
The ladies took detailed notes!




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