Yesterday I arrived in Sucre and I have to say that it’s the most stunning city I’ve ever seen. There is a lot of poverty here but the buildings are just beautiful, the streets are narrow and steep and the whole place is set against an incredible mountain backdrop.
My spirits rose when I saw the hotel we were all going to stay at; it’s muy posh and grand-looking, with lovely warm rooms (and showers! Are you detecting a pattern here?) and the most amazing breakfast buffet I’ve ever laid eyes on. This morning I tucked into wholemeal rolls (heaven after endless mounds of white bread), milk, yoghurt and… strawberries!! I hadn’t eaten strawberries since leaving home. I also had chips today for the first time since leaving Scotland, which took me aback a little bit as I hadn’t realised I had gone for so long without them!
Earlier today I visited a boys’ orphanage with some others from the group, and like my volunteering in Buenos Aires, it was a humbling experience. We took along some books, pencils, paper, skipping ropes and a football that we had bought, and of course the boys immediately fell on the football! The woman in charge of the orphanage gave us a tour, and although the rooms were quite clean and spacious, they definitely could do with some TLC. The orphanage is government funded but the money doesn’t stretch nearly far enough to feed, clothe and shelter the 48 boys living there, so it depends quite heavily on donations and volunteers. I was staggered when the señora told us that she pretty much hasn’t left the orphanage for two years; she lives there with the kids, works there all day every day and doesn’t go out to visit friends or anything. She is undoubtedly the most inspiring and dedicated person I have met on this trip, and I hope for Bolivia’s sake that there are many more people like her around.
We’re due to leave for Cochabamba tomorrow night, but it’s been said that there might be a transport strike from tomorrow so I’m not sure what’s happening yet. Bolivia certainly has its fair share of protests – last week it looked like we wouldn’t make it to Potosi because of strikes blockading the city, but they ceased on the day we were due to go there and we made it as planned. Most protests in Bolivia are peaceful, though, so the best thing to do is just go with the flow and don’t panic. I wouldn’t mind staying in Sucre for a little while longer if I have to anyway; I’ve fallen in love with this city!