Monday, April 2, 2012
I'm starting to learn about Bolivia and it's past. They were a colony of Spain for hundreds of years, so for most of recent history until about 20 years ago, there was a huge separation of classes (caste system) between the rich "White" people of Spanish descent, and the poor indigenous populations (like the Aymara above). They live and work in different places - the rich with the money and poor with little of it. There has emerged a middle class here of sorts with business people, lawyers, doctors (who get paid little with socialized medicine and most of whom have 2 jobs). However, it is still required to pay for medical care in most places and the rich fly to other countries to get better care than what is offered in La Paz. I'll be learning more about this in the coming days.
Another problem here in Bolivia: money for social programs to help children without parents, street children, teen mothers, better education for children of the working poor. Thanks to Foundation Arco Iris (Rainbow Foundation) which was started about 15-20 years ago, many of these programs have been started and continue on with funding through the Foundation. It runs on volunteers and attempts at self-sufficiency with bakeries and clothes-making businesses. The Hospital where I'll start tomorrow is another part of this Foundation's work.
I tip my bowler hat to all of you - thanks for reading! And more to come....