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Day 6: May 21st

Today started off bright and early at 9am (pretty harsh for Harsh since we got home at 2am last night) anyways it was still super nice of Rodrigo to once again pick us up for no real reason. He helped us find hay and honestly without him there was no way we would have found it because we drove to the other side of the city and then randomly stopped and a small boy was just selling hay. Impossible to spot. Then we bought caulk and went to the bathroom site.

Once we got to the bathroom site we saw that Angel was not yet done laying the 3 layers of brick so we had time to do other things. We (by we I mean Harsh) started building the actual toilet part of the bathroom by sawing off the top and bottom portions of a bucket. The toilet is essentially a bucket with a pie pan on the bottom and a toilet seat up top. However, Angel finished the 3 layers of brick before we finished this. So it was on to laying the 3 layers of mosquito netting.

​Supposedly the netting is supposed to stick to the inside of the brick layers using caulk. Well that was just a lie. We tried caulk twice, epoxy and glue --nothing worked. We then asked Angel if it was possible to lay cement on the edges and he said no. We were at a standstill for probably a good 30 minutes. By this time it was 12pm and Angel’s kids were calling him to go eat lunch but he graciously stayed with us to help think of a solution. I asked if we could put the wire through the cemented parts of brick to hold the netting into place and he originally said no. Angel thought our best bet would be to go into town to a tool shop and buy small nails --but I said that this was impossible because it would take far too much time. Ultimately we did end up putting the wire through the cement layer so that was great! Really without Angel we wouldn’t be able to do anything...he doesn’t just work with us he helps us solve problems/ solves most of our problems.

After we put the three layers of mosquito netting on and the hay we started trying to make the cement layer that would rest on top. This was extremely challenging to explain… so hopefully it will make sense here. Essentially there are three layers of bricks and then the mosquito netting layers have to go inside and then hay. And then on top of the brick layers you lay cement. So in the middle it’s empty --there’s a space between the hay and the cement layer. After we managed to explain that to Angel he quickly knew how to do it and we started making cement. We poured the slab and it was 6:30pm -- aka darkness and time for us to leave.

We took a trufi into town again but I generally like to wait until all the passengers are off the trufi to ask the driver if he’ll drive us all the way home from somewhere between 20-30 bs, depending on how generous I feel that day. Once the final passenger got off we were in the middle of a night market on the outskirts of Cochabamba. I had only been to this place 2-3 times and already knew traffic would be bad getting out. But the market was pretty lively and sometimes Harsh is nice to talk to so the ride wasn’t super bad coming back.

Health Surveys with Akshay and Lathan

More surveys! Since we had to finish the map of Libertad, we decided to have a taxi driver take us around to explore the barrio instead of trying to find the borders on foot. Our taxi driver was a nice guy; for 50 Bolivianos, he agreed to drive us around the barrio while we drew our map. In the car ride we were talking about differences between jobs and income levels in the US and Bolivia, and he told us how as a taxi driver he makes 350 Bolivianos per day (70 USD). I think our conversation prompted him to charge us WAY more than we had originally agreed. When we were about to get out of the car, he said, “That will be 80 Bolivanos, please.” We paid him 60.

Our survey results have been very interesting. Here are some of the main findings after having surveyed 29 houses:

  • The nearest health facility to Libertad is about 60 minutes away by public transport

  • Almost all the people surveyed feel that visiting a health facility is expensive

  • Most people don’t go to see a health professional unless they are sick

  • All families treat illnesses with herbal remedies and sometimes with human urine

  • Although the majority of women in Libertad are overweight, obesity and overweight are not considered big health problems

  • Almost all families burn their garbage

One of the women in Libertad was making this colorful cloth - with this furry friend!

Once we got back to the house we were greeted with a fantastic dinner of pizza like items with pasta -- all vegetarian and all prepared by Akshay and Lathan. The pizza like thing was a whole wheat tortilla with salsa, cheese and basil on top that had been placed in the oven. Amazing. Me and Harsh washed the dishes as a thank you. Today Rodrigo also had a paint party that he was nice enough to invite us too. After somewhat forcing Akshay and Lathan to go, Rodrigo picked us all up at 10pm. The party was pretty fun and we all really enjoyed it!

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