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BOLIVIA: How Not to Milk a Cow

Thursday 13th October 2011

My first week in Bolivia has been a whirlwind of activity and new faces, human and animal. Now, as I settle in to the vida tranquilla and slowly begin to find the heat slightly more bearable, I thought an update was in order.

Comparing my first experience to that of my predecessor’s (see Blog: My First Week in Bolivia) you can immediately tell how far the school has come. On my arrival, the residents of the school number 200 chickens, 5 cows, 2 calves, Paola, Elfidio (the resident teachers) and more ants than I care to think about! The school now boasts an extensive vegetable patch, an orchard of citrus trees and 3 beehives with hundreds of very busy bees.

                                 Chicken dinner                                                                          The new arrivals

The students sell the fruits of their labours, including milk, cheese, jams and honey, in the village of Tarairi, as well as at the farmers market in Villa Montes on Saturday, where they compete with the hundreds of other campesinos.

Classroom time is spent developing business plans and entrepreneurial skills, fundamental to any new venture. Third, and final, year students have each developed a business plan, which many intend to implement on graduation in November.

Yesterday the school was given some added amusement when the new resident gringa (me) had her first every attempt at milking a cow. Sadly, I clearly lack the milking gift, considering the volume of milk that ended up outside the bucket, and doubt my career as a milkmaid will be long lived. I think this is a skill best left to the experts.

                            The experts at work                                                                         The new milkmaid 


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