Mitt opphold i Bolivia

Nå er det bare 2 uker til vi reiser fra Bolivia, og jeg sitter igjen med masse tanker som jeg gjerne ville dele: De siste 6 månedene har jeg jobbet med 14 jenter fra alderen 10- 15 år, på Aldeas Alalay. Det har vært mange vanskelige stunder, men det har også vært mange gode stunder. Jeg har aldri opplevd et sted med så mange regler, men også med så mye kjærlighet.

Vi var på Hald i 6 uker for å forberede oss på hvordan det kommer til å bli å bo i et fremmed land i 7 måneder, og hvordan det kommer til å bli å jobbe med barn som har en vanskelig fortid. Det jeg tenkte når jeg hørte dette var at det var bra de fortalte det, og jeg trodde jeg forstod hvorfor de fortalte det. Jeg trodde det fortalte det fordi det var andre som ikke har reist like mye som meg og hadde ikke forstått seg på andre kulturer like mye som meg. OK, jeg hadde bare reist maks 3 uker til utlandet, men i tillegg kjenner jeg folk over hele verden, og over halvparten av mine venner har utenlandsk bakgrunn. Barn med vanskelig fortid hadde jeg aldri jobbet med, men det kom uansett ikke til å bli noe problem for meg, trodde jeg. For jeg har jo alltid vært flink til å forstå meg på andre folk, og har alltid vært flink til å lytte til andres problemer. Jeg fant fort ut at slik er det ikke. 3 uker er ikke det samme som 7 måneder, og det å være flink til å forstå seg på folk gjør man ikke profesjonell i å jobbe med traumatiserte barn. Man må oppleve det for å forstå hva det egentlig handler om.

Jeg kom til Bolivia med et veldig enkelt grunnlag av spansk. De 3 ukene vi hadde i Peru på språk kurs før vi kom til prosjektet vårt, hjalp meg heldigvis litt. Men det var fremdeles ikke så mye jeg forstod, og lite jeg kunne snakke når jeg kom til Bolivia. Skjønte 15- 20% av det jentene jeg jobbet med sa, og jeg følte at hver gang jeg skulle si noe, så forstod de meg ikke. I begynnelsen snakket jeg ikke mye. Hun andre volontøren fra Tyskland hadde vært der noen måneder lengre enn meg, og hun forstod mer i tillegg til at jentene snakket mer til henne. Jeg følte meg litt utenfor og var helt grønn på hva jeg skulle gjøre. Den første uka føltes ut som en evighet. Internett var det heller ikke, så jeg kunne ikke snakke med familie eller venner på Facebook, noe som var veldig viktig for meg på denne tiden.

De første helgene kikket meg og Karen litt rundt i byen, men på kveldene var vi for det meste hjemme og satt på dataen, eller så på film. Vi hadde jo enda ikke fått venner vi kunne gå med, og vi kjente ikke byen, så vi kunne ikke gjøre så mye annet. I begynnelsen var alt nytt og vi ble fort slitne av å se så mye nytt, og av jobben, så da var det bare deilig å slappe av på kveldene. Det var mer som en ferie for meg. Etter hvert når jeg ble vant til alt det nye her i La Paz, og jeg forstod at jeg fortsatt hadde 5 måneder igjen, var det da savnet begynte å komme. Jeg tenkte på Norge hele tiden. Det var akkurat som at kroppen min bare eksisterte i Bolivia, mens tankene mine var i Norge.

Av en eller annen grunn angret jeg aldri på at jeg reiste hit, selv om jeg savnet Norge så utrolig mye, og bare mislikte å være borte fra alle kjente og kjære. For innerst inne visste jeg at dette var noe jeg kom til å lære masse av. Jeg hadde nå også fått smaken på det å stå på bar bakke. Det å sitte i et fremmed land, med et språk man nesten ikke forstår noe av, det å sitte og savne venner og familie som er i mitt hjemland, mens jeg sitter her, og ikke har noen. Jeg fikk smaken på det å bli sett på som ”annerledes”, og det å bli sett på en som er dum og ikke forstår noen ting. Dette var ikke bare noe jeg følte i helgene, eller bare på jobben, men det var noe jeg følte hver dag.

Jobben var vanskelig for måneder. Noen av jentene stolte på meg, mens andre var det åpenlyst at de enda ikke hadde funnet tilliten i meg. ”Ikke hjelp meg, jeg kjenner deg ikke. Jeg vil at hun andre volontøren skal hjelpe meg, bare ikke du.” Dette var noe jeg blant annet fikk høre fra noen av jentene. Når jeg fikk høre dette, hadde det allerede gått 2 måneder. ”Jeg trodde vi hadde blitt kjent, og jeg vil bare hjelpe. Hvorfor er du ikke takknemlig?”. Det var en av en del tanker som kom opp i hodet mitt, når jeg fikk høre dette. Flere liknende episoder var det også. Mye frustrasjon, tanker og lengting etter Norge, var min hverdag på Alalay de første månedene.

Det største problemet som gjorde at jeg hadde det slik som jeg hadde det, var språket. Det var vanskelig å kunne snakke ordentlig med jentene mine. I tillegg trengte jeg venner for å kunne lære språket mer, og også for å kunne finne på ting, og ikke bare sitte inne på rommet og snakke med mine venner i Norge. Jeg fikk høre på Hald at det var i Bolivia det var vanskeligst å få venner, fordi vi bor på barnehjemmet 3-4 dager i uka. Likevel kunne ikke dette fortsette. Jeg fant fort ut at jeg måtte gjøre noe med det. Det jeg kunne starte med var å få venner. For å kunne få venner, måtte jeg endre måten å tenke på. Jeg kunne ikke fortsette å være så sjenert. Å være sjenert hjelper meg ikke. Å være redd for å si grammatiske feil på spansk, hjelper meg ikke å snakke. Jeg måtte bare hoppe ut i det. En gang ble jeg invitert på grillkveld av noen av volontørene. Med en gang jeg så det var noen bolivianere der, tok jeg sjansen og gikk rett bort til dem. ”Hei, jeg heter Linn. Har du Facebook?”.

Det var noe jeg aldri hadde trodd jeg kom til å tørre å gjøre. Det hjalp. Jeg ble vant til å snakke til fremmede folk uten frykt for hva de kom til å tenke om meg. Jeg fikk flere og flere venner, og til slutt hadde jeg så mange venner at jeg hadde ikke tid til alle. Venninner fikk jeg til og med også etter en stund, noe som i begynnelsen var litt vanskelig å få. En gang jeg var i en bursdag til en kompis, la jeg plutselig merke til at jeg snakket foran mange fremmede folk, hvor alle satt stille og hørte på hva jeg sa, uten at jeg ble nervøs. Jeg ble kjent med så mange forskjellige folk pga at jeg turte å snakke.

For det om jeg hadde en gebrokken spansk, og også en del feil her og der, så ville de fortsatt være venner med meg. De ble nysgjerrige på denne hvite jenta fra Europa. Jeg gikk ut med venner i helgene, og lærte dermed mye av kulturen, og masse spansk. Følelsen når jeg kom hjem etter å ha vært ute med venner og snakket masse spansk, var utrolig god. Jeg følte meg så glad. Det gikk mye bedre på jobben også nå som jeg hadde lært meg bedre spansk, og humøret var mye bedre. Jentene begynte å stole på meg. Spydige kommentarer fra barna klarte jeg å ignorere. Dette fikk meg til å tenke mer over kulturen vår. Hvorfor er nordmenn så sjenerte?

Hadde det ikke vært for mine venner her, hadde jeg ikke lært så mye. Hadde det ikke vært for dem, hadde jeg kanskje ikke hatt det så bra som jeg har hatt det. Det å tørre å gjøre noe annet som jeg ikke er vant til, det og bare hoppe ut i ting som jeg er redd for, har hjulpet meg veldig med oppholdet mitt her. Det å tørre å snakke til fremmede folk har fått meg til å bli kjent med så mange mennesker, og det har lært meg så mye. I tillegg hjalp det meg på jobben min også. Nå har jeg det så bra på jobben. Jeg vet hva jeg skal gjøre, og jeg kan snakke masse med jentene mine. Dette er noe jeg håper jeg kan ta meg med videre i livet, for det har gjort ting så mye enklere. Det å ikke kunne snakke til fremmede folk i Norge var noe jeg ikke tenkte så mye over før, for jeg var så vant med det. Etter oppholdet her har jeg bare begynt å tenke: Hvorfor er vi nordmenn generelt så redde for å snakke med folk vi ikke kjenner?

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~Linn Kristine

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Exploring Bolivia

Aside

Hola!

We’ve been very busy the last three weeks. We’ve been working, and traveling a lot. Because we didn’t travel the first 3 months, so we’ve a lot to do now the last months. The weekend after the trip to Oruro, we went to Santa Cruz. It’s a beautiful place, and it felt so good to take a brake from everything, and just relax in the sun. On the other hand, in Santa Cruz the weather is really warm, and for me and Karen that are Vikings, we felt like we almost melted away. We were sweating just after 5 min. in the sun, and the air was humid. It always felt really good to jump into the pool, when we came back from walking in the city or just for beeing in the sun.

One of these days, we went to a park where they had turtles, different kind of birds, and a lot of butteflies. As well they had one of the most beatiful pools we’ve ever seen. It was like beeing in paradise. ImageThis was just 1 of the many pools they had. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe week after the trip to Santa Cruz, we made something called Salteñas at work. It’s a tipical food from Bolivia, and you can only buy it in the mornings. It has sauce inside and chicken or other meet with vegetables. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThey were much better then the Salteñas we buy on the streets 😉

This weekend we went to Sucre, the historical capital in Bolivia. It’s a beautiful city. The buildings are white, and look a bit old, and they were so beautiful. The weather was so nice and warm (but not too warm). We looked at historic buildings, took a walk in the park (parque Bolivar), and visited different churches. We also went to the cemetery which was very nice and very big. It was like walking around in a park. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES1903992_10152445908261844_787334496_nrSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES The cemetery.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSuddenly there were a lot of soldiers standing outside the Freedom House. We found out that the 23th of March was a special day. 23th of March is called “Day of the Sea”.  They mark the loss of the “Litoral”, which was a area by the sea, that Bolivia lost in the war of the Pacific in 1879. It was Bolivia and Peru against Chile. Anyway, on this day, the soldiers stand outside the Freedom House, singing 3 freedom songs. Afterwords someone had a speech, and then the soldiers, people from the government and different kind of schools and corps marched around the city. It felt like it was 17th of May again (the norwegian national day).

Some hours before we went back to our dear home, La Paz, we had no idea what more we could do. We saved all the museums to Sunday, but when Sunday came, everything was closed, something we’re not used to in La Paz. But however we had a great trip, and now, after we came back home, we have just been lying down in our beds the whole day. 16 hours in bus made us exhausted.

– Linn Kristine

 

 

Bolivian carnival, foam and water

FINALLY!!

I am FINALLY able to stick my head out of the door without getting bombarded with waterballoons. The Bolivian carnival stated last week, and after that it has been extreamly fun for everyone to attack “the gringas” with everything they got. They have foam on sprayboxes here, which is a genius invention though. The Norwegian graduates “russ”, should get this to spray down the kids with.

Here I am with my own box having a foam war with some kids, while the others are taking cover.
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Here in Bolivia we have the fourth biggest carnival in the world, located in Oruro, and me, Linn and a bunch of Norwegian girls (+ Mark from USA) decided to go together. So on Friday we packed our bags and jumped on the bus, ready for 5 hours without a toilet.

We got to the hostel, late at night. Some went to find food, the rest of us just crashed on the hardest beds ever and slept until early morning.

At 8 am we went to eat breakfast, and the parades had already started. Afterwards we went to get our costumes. I didn’t have one so I just  bought a mask.
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We watched the parade all day. It was awesome. A lot of different costumes, dances and music. People from all over the world come to see this parade, and as well participate.

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Around 6 pm, the tragedy happened. As some of you might have read in the papers, a bridge fell down in the parade and killed 5 people, and hurt 60. We were only 50 meters away, watching it all happen. No one from our group got hurt, even though we were all kind of shocked. My thoughts go out to the affected families.
The bridge that fell:1620579_10152397457226844_1609839992_n

After that we all decided it was better to head back to the hotel. Only five of us went back to La Paz, and the rest headed for Uyuni Saltlake.

We were all exhausted and emotional after the trip, but nevertheless, we all enjoyed most of the Oruro Carnival and were really happy we got the chance to see it.

When we came back from Oruro we celebrated a little bit in La Paz as well, and ended up IN the parade instead of watching it.
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I hope everything is good in Norway. I’ll see you all in 1 month and 20 days. 🙂

Vacation

Hey!

Now we have vacation, and we are enjoing it a lot ! On Thursday we took a trip to lake Titicaca where we saw a lot of nice nature. Copacabana is the name of the city that we visited. It is a beautiful city! We took a boat over lake Titicaca and slept on a island called “Sun Island”. Or in spanish “Isla del sol”. Beatuiful island as well.

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Tomorrow we are going cycle at the Death Road. Wish us good luck!

Alasitas

Hey!

Alasitas is a traditional day in Bolivia, and it’s every 24’th of January. It’s a day where you can buy things in miniatyre. Almost everything means something, and they say that if you save it for a year, your wish will come true. Like for example if you bought a hen or a rooster, it means that you will next year get a boyfriend or girlfriend.

First we went with the man working at our house to talk to a woman about our visa. Because after new year, it has become more difficult to get into the country. So we had to make sure everything was ok. Afterwords we went to buy ice cream, where we randomly met 2 of the street boys that we haven’t seen since a month ago. They lived under the bridge in Obrajes, until the police came and arrested them. Alalay payed them out, but they couldn’t live there anymore, so now they live in different places. But it was so good to meet them again. We bought a news paper from them, and it was good to see that they at least had something to make money for, or something to do.

Later me and Karen met an old man that was begging for money. I gave this man 5 bolivianos (ca 4.5 norwegian kroner). For me it’s nothing. But this man became so happy, he took of his hat and he bowed for me, and thanked me a lot. I was shocked that only 5 bolivianos or 4.5 norwegian kroner could make someone so happy, that I almost got tears in my eyes. I think people most give lik 1 or 2 bolivianos to people who are begging. That really made my day that this man became so happy.

When we came home, I went down to the streets of Obrajes, where we live, to see if I wanted to buy something at this day. And yes, I bought a lot of things that I know I am never going to use. But it’s a good memory though. I also took some pictures. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES 

When I was walking through the street with my new things I had bought, a man stopped me and asked if he could do something with my things I just had bought to make my wishes come true. First I said no, because I was afraid he was going to take my things or that he was going to destroy my things with the liquid he had. But after a while I thought that I should stop beeing so norwegian, and be afraid of everything that was different to me. I tryed to leave this norwegian thought, and went back again. I saw a bolivian family doing it, and I understand that they were not going to do any harm. But I had to be a bit turist, and asked him if I could take some pictures.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES First he took my things over somke, and mumbled something, but I couldn’t hear what he said.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES I had completely NO clue of what he was doing, I just had to trust him. But when I came back to our house, one of the persons working there told me that this is a gift from God and that this make all my wishes come true. Here he puts alcohol on my things.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES To be honest, I have no idea why he is doing this. But afterwords he gave me the alcohol in my hans. I had to put it on my purse, and then put it on my hands as well. He did the same thing. And then we had to shake hands with the alcohol on our hands, while he said something, I also didn’t hear because he was talking so low.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis is how it looked like afterwords. A nice mix of alcohol, leafs of some kind of flower, and coca leafs. Now I felt really bolivian, and proud.

The people working at my house laughed when they saw I had bought this:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBecause it means that I want a baby. But I really just bought it as a memory from Bolivia.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAnd then I bought this cute mini- news paper, and a lot of other stuff.

This day has been exiting, and later tonight I will go out with some of my bolivian friends. A great day!

~Linn Kristine

A fun week at work

Hi everyone!

This week has been a fun/ interesting week at work. It started sad, but also good. One of my girls went home with her father. When she heard the news, she screamed and jumped around. She was so happy, and told everyone she met that she was going home. First I thought she was only going home for visit. But then I understood it wasn’t only a visit. Her father and her siblings came to get her stuff, and they talked to the boss at the orphanage, and then she said goodbye to all of us. It was very sad, because she is a great girl that loves to talk and is always positive and smiles a lot. But at the same time it is good that the family reunated again. Her father looked like a good person, and they all looked so happy to be all together again. ImageAfter 1 year, she finally got to move home again. I hope everything will go well at home. I’m going to miss her so much!

The day after, I showed a movie to the girls. It was a movie I had bought for only 10 bolivianos (10 kroner)! The movie is called The Pursuit of Happiness. It looked like also the girls thought it was interesting, because they were talking a lot about it. It was great to get all the girls together.Image

On Thursday we went to the park in Mallasa with the whole Aldeas. 49 kids, 5 of the adults working there, and 6 voluntaries. But when the bus came to pick us up, we were all stressed up. And suddenly a girl I have never seen came. She was the sister of one of my girls. I got to know that she wasn’t going to the park, because she was going to her sister’s house. Again I thought she was going only for a visit, so I huged her and wished her a great time with her big sister. When I was in the bus, the other voluntary that works in my cabaña told me that she was going forever. 2 girls in 2 days! And we had just 2 days before celebrated her 15’th birthday! She was a lovley girl, and again it was sad, but good that she can live with her sister, after being in Aldeas Alalay for 2 years.Image

Anyway, the park! The park was great. Everyone had a great time. The kids were swimming in the pool, and we ate and played together. Image

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Image  I really didn’t want to swim because I didn’t bring my swimming- clothes. But I really didn’t have any choise. The kids/ one of the educadoros and the voluntaries found out that they wanted to throw the “dry people” at the pool.

I have a lot more pictures from the park, but it’s too many to put them here. Therefore I put the rest on our Facebook group “Tupper på tur”.

~Linn Kristine

Infield and first week back at work

Hey everyone.

Last week we went to Lima in Peru to attend “Infield” which is a camp organized by our school. We met everyone who lives in Latin-America again, which was pretty awesome. We had classes, team conversations and alone conversations. We could tell the teachers how we were and how things are in our respective countries. We ate a lot of good food, people got sick and had a lot of fun.
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This is where we stayed. Colono Inn in Cieneguilla, Lima.

1555707_10152296772781844_697458111_nWe  learned how to dance afroperuvian dance, salsa and how to play cajon, which is what we are sitting on.
2014-01-07 13.59.46Playing cajon.

But the most important thing we got from on the camp, was new inspiration to keep doing what we do and to keep working towards our goals.

On our last day on the camp, we went to Miriam and Ingvild’s project in Pachacutec, Lima. It is called ACJP and is extremely important. It gives kids from the slum something to do during the day, which prevents them from ending up in gangs and violence. It also teaches the kids how to behave, for example to wait for your turn, to say thank you and so on. What they do is that they teach acrobatics, dances and play with the kids. We were lucky enough to see a show they put on, as well as trying some ourself. I got to try stilts, which was so awesome. Ended up with me trying to do some tricks on it as well, but that ended up on the ground in stead though. But at least I know how to walk on stilts, downhill, uphill and in stairs. Which for my lack of balance, is a pretty good achievement.   If you don’t believe me, here are some proof:
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From the show the boys at ACJP gave us.

Both Linn and me got back to La Paz with a lot of new will to do a good job at Las Aldeas Alalay. Which resulted in a really great first week back at work. Linn’s girls have finally started trusting and cherish her, and playing all day with my boys weren’t as exhausting as it normally is. Both of us shared a lot of good moment with the kids, and are really excited for the rest of our stay. The only problem now is that time passes way to quickly. We are already halfway through.

Ciao.
– Karen