A FAO Greenhouse

A FAO Greenhouse
One of the members in my training group taking a look at a plot of lettuce

Another Visit With QBL

Another Visit With QBL
We visited the innaguration for a series of new chicken coops QBL financed in a small village in the low-lying andes mountains, 7 hours north of La Paz

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dancing on the Altiplano

A few Thursdays nights ago the president of Rotary Club San Jorge gave a great inspirational presentation to club members and invited guests. He explained the international and national role and achievements of Rotary coupled with what could make the club even more effective.
Afterwards I chatted with a number of Rotarians about service, the meaning of giving to others, and occasionally we dipped into more philosophical discussions. I always enjoy certain aspects of the Buddhist outlook- that we are simply a reflection of others- diamonds in net that reflect our setting. You serve just to serve as opposed to helping others in pursuit of selfish fulfillment (in my opinion, hard as heck to remove selfishness when it’s tied to the happiness of helping. At this point we could begin a fun discussion about society, the self, and the reality of theories in practice).
So after a delightful night I ventured home and watched a bit of a movie- I was nearly in bed when I got a call from the president of Rotary Miraflores, El Capitán- “Yohn! Manana vamos a pachacamaya con QBL- 8:30, plaza triangular!” Le digo “estaré allí, plaza triangular 8:30, por supuesto!”
Rotary provided the funding for more than 20 water pumps in a small community of 25 families and they were going out to see the final product.

We headed out to the site and met up with a couple members of the community who proudly showed their brandnew pumps- worked like a charm. The community did all the work with the help of a technician; Rotary/ QBL helped put up the funds.
The plan was to grab lunch in the community hall- meet up with the families, etc.
Before I knew it, I was swept up by a beautifully dressed woman in a traditional poncho, small felt hat, a flowing colorful skirt. Its tradition apparently to dance to the dining hall accompanied by flautists (These flautist were our musical performers for the rest of the day and wore traditional head dresses with plumes of feathers spouting off the sides).
Once we made it down the short dirt road and to the main community hall we ate a delicious meal of meat, rice, potatoes, and soft drinks. As we ate, the flutes continued and slowly the community trickled in, all told about 50 people. The leaders of the community said a few words, the capitan said a few as well, and from there the good times began. Since we had finished our meals and were celebrating, that meant some shared beers. It was by all accounts a modest affair, but it signaled the music and more dancing. The women who led us in at first swept us up from the table and we whirled around the small hall until the music stopped. We would rest for a few minutes, then once again the music started the dance and my 60-70 year old partner ( who had more energy than I did) grabbed my hand to dance. Bar far, the best discoteca I’ve been to so far.