Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
Today I made quite the observation, Bolivian dog poo is NOT the same as American dog poo. I woke up this morning at 3AM so that I could have 4 full hours to go over my business plan and financials due this evening for DePaul’s Venture Challenge. Call me crazy… this I know (I didn’t even want to think about the possibility of the Internet not working tonight; the possibility is quite high. You know, the power of positive thinking). Well anyways, after 4 hours and lots of Bolivian chocolate I had to run to the town to change some money and get some kind of exercise to make myself feel better about eating all the chocolate. The walk was great, Cochabamba has the best weather. I was practically skipping, smiling at everyone walking by, “Buen dia!” Nothing could be better in that moment. And then it happened… all of a sudden I couldn’t lift my foot. It was stuck to the side walk. I looked down. I had stepped in dog poo (!). This wasn’t just any dog poo, it was Bolivian dog poo. This stuff is more potent that gum. You are probably thinking exactly what I thought at first, “No, that couldn’t have been dog poo. You would never stick to the side walk like that.” I can assure you it was. Being the curious person I am, I immediately began a search for some more poo to confirm my observation. Sure thing, Bolivian dogs must be eating the craziest things. Not only does their “poo” look quite interesting…I believe this could be a new raw material source and market opportunity, Bolivian dog poo glue.
DAY 5: La Cancha, keep your eyes open and your purse close.
Today is La Cancha day with my college’s non-english speaking wife and then lunch with two fantastic people and board members of Puente de Solidaridad (Solidarity Clothing’s partnering Bolivian non-profit). La Cancha, means “The Market” in spanish. It should mean “Small, over populated town.” This market is the craziest, fast paced, noisiest place I have ever been. Monica (the wife of my colleague) came to pick me up in (really) small car. The first thing I thought when I saw it was, “Oh my goodness… How the heck will I fit in there (I am 5’11”)?” Some how I managed to get myself in the car. My head was literally touching the ceiling. Immediately we connected, Monica is such a wonderful woman (and speaks incredibly clear spanish). She drove us right into the middle of the market. HA! (laughing outloud as the a visual appears in my head) One of the main streets was closed for road construction and there was this big yellow ribbon blocking the street. “Jennifer, get out and hold the ribbon up. We are going in, that’s the street we need,” she told me. Um, ok. I got out and held the ribbon up as she quickly drove under. I can’t even tell you how many people were yelling at me. I didn’t even try to understand what they were saying. I just got back into the car as quickly as I could. “Perfecto!” she replied as if she couldn’t hear any of the curses. We drove a little way and parked (we were the only car on the blocked off street, such Royalty). Monica looked at me and said, “Keep your eyes open and your purse close.” Then she just started walking, never looking back. For as little as she was, man did she walk fast. We walked past meat stands, aisles of candy, bread, shoes, sunglasses, fabrics, you name it, it was there. Finally, as if it appeared out of nowhere we approached this hidden aisle of great Bolivian artifacts. Man where they excited to see me. “Pregunta me! Pregunta me! (ask me a question)” Flew at me from all angles. Though I felt completely overwhelmed, I found some beautiful jewelry, placemats, and small artifacts.
After la Cancha I had a wonderful lunch with Carlos and Marie Eugenia (Puente de Solidaridad board members). These are two of the nicest, most admirable people I have ever met. They welcomed me into their home and greeted me with the fanciest lunch I had ever seen. I tried so hard to speak in spanish but my head was so tired from my time with Monica. All my sentences came out making absolutely no sense. They were so patient with me. I have learned that Bolivianos are such loving, patient people. These two are no exception. Marie Eugenia made this wonderful avocado salad that I just couldn’t get enough of. They were so pleased with how much of it I ate that they brought out two more avocados just to satisfy my love. These things were the size of my head! I have NEVER seen avocados this big. Just another reason to love this country, Bolivia. After a wonderful lunch I was ready to return to my hotel, submit my business plan (have it FINALLY out of my mind), and get my self ready to fly to Santa Cruz to meet back up with the doctors. I learned earlier in the week that I would be the “official Operating Room photographer” during tomorrow’s open heart surgeries (!!). Whose said that with 9 years of schooling I could have been a doctor? This artist, world traveler, business student, hippie, entrepreneur, etc., will be in the operating room! My mother should be so proud.
6 years ago