Habitat for Humanity (Part One)

I decided some time ago that I wanted to do some volunteer work over the duration of my trip, and with the support of my employer I signed up for one of Habitat for Humanity’s “Global Village” projects in Bolivia.  Habitat for Humanity is a US-based and church-affiliated non-profit that builds low-cost housing around the globe.  The Global Village projects allow people from many different walks of life to give both time and money to the organisation.

I flew up from Buenos Aires to the city of Santa Cruz in Bolivia, in the eastern lowlands of the country, and met up with a few members of the group there.  While we were working in a village outside of the city, we were housed in a (I have to say pretty nice) hotel on the city’s outskirts.  Over the weekend we greeted other members of the group as they arrived, and took the chance to explore a little of the city centre and adjust to the climate.  the tropical heat and humidity of the Amazon basin in wet season was quite an adjustment after the dry heat of Buenos Aires!

Plaza Principal in Santa Cruz:

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Sunday Market:

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                                                              A busy church schedule…!

By Monday morning we had all members of the group (bar one) and were ready to start work on the house.  The local affiliate arranged a minibus to take us to the site, and we drove around 30 minutes south-west from Santa Cruz to the small rural village of El Torno.

On the build site:

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The house starts to take shape.              Steve works on the septic tank pit.

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I get started on “The Hole”.                     Everyone busy at work…

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Steve in the hole – 3m deep by now!

Time Off in the Evenings:

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Enjoying a local football match.              Local schoolkids put on a show for us.

Before I forget, thanks soooo much to those of you who sent me birthday wishes for the 13th!!!!  Have to admit however that there’s nothing much worth celebrating getting this old!  While I didn’t do anything “special” on the big day, I did see in the day dancing salsa and saw it out singing kareoke, so it aint all bad!!  As my birthday fell on a Saturday I was keen to get out of the city and explore a little of the region over the weekend.  Together with the rest of the Habitat group we chartered a minibus to drive us to Samaipata, a small town up in the cooler climes west of Santa Cruz.

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Pre-Incan ruins at La Fuerte.                   You can’t beat a good waterfall…

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