Today is our last day in Sucre! Early tomorrow morning we leave for Potosi (about three hours from here) – it is the highest city in the world and is famous for the silver and other mineral mines that once made Bolivia an extremely rich country. One night there and then we are on a 7 hour bus ride to Uyuni, which is the starting part for a tour of the salt flats that will end for us in Chile. Internet availabilty will be sketchy past Potosi, so this will be the last update for a few days.
It is very bittersweet for us to be leaving tomorrow. We have been extremely overwhelmed by the hospitality and generosity of our new friends in Sucre! In the last few weeks we have been treated to home cooked meals, biking and hiking tours, extensive travel advice, CDs of new music, and today we are even being given a going-away bbq! While we will be sad to say goodbye, we are looking forward to when our paths will cross again!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!
What a tremendous feeling it was for Pete and I to deliver such a large sum of cash to Ñanta on Friday. Thanks to our generous family and friends, we were able to give $1,100 US! We will soon be getting a specific breakdown of where the funds are going (that we will pass along to the donors), but we know that this money will help with birth certificates, nutrition and allowing 100 kids to enjoy something special at Christmas.
As usual, we are in awe of the generosity from the dearest people in our lives. The people at Ñanta were very excited as well, and each of the donors will be shortly getting a special gift in the mail made by the kids!
We had a very busy last week getting ready for the next leg of our journey – replenishing some of our supplies while they are still cheap! I was very disappointed that I could not enjoy my last few days swimming with the kids (problems with the pool, it will be closed for awhile), but Pete and I had some really great English classes at the center. Most of the swimming kids joined in on the fun seeing as the pool was closed, which meant that we were overwhelmed with people and both days ran out of exercises and bingo cards. On Friday we bought some special prizes for the kids as it was our last day (yo yo´s!) and the kids went NUTS for those! We are very sad to see it all come to an end, but are super happy that another couple has started at Ñanta and will take over the classes. The director has told us that many people have attempted English classes before with the kids, but none have seen the success that we have! We really hope this success continues.
With a few of our English class regulars!
Pete´s ¨gaggle of girls¨ were fighting over who got to stand closest to him for the picture!
Last night we had quite the experience. All week we had heard many people talking about ¨Bolivia´s Best Band!¨ coming to town so we did decide to go and see what it was about. For $5 CDN, how can you go wrong?
Kjarkas are a 14 piece ensemble band that apparently have been around Bolivia for something like 40 years. They played all the traditional instruments – a bunch of different guitar type things that I can´t name, pan flutes, and drums.
Wow. Not ¨wow¨ because of the music…I mean, one minute they sounded absolutely brilliant, and then the very next minute it sounded like they waltzed out of the cheesiest cruise ship bar ever. ¨Wow¨ because of the reaction they got from the crowd! I have never seen anything like it – fans of all ages (4 – 80!) belting out all the words and dancing for two hours straight, until 1am! Most of the time, the 14 band members would just sing and play their instruments in one place, but as soon as one of them would do any slight movement resembling a dance move, everyone went nuts!
It was UNBOLIVIABLE. No, I didn´t just make that word up – some people actually use it here!