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Bolivia Social Manager's Blog

SUPPORT FOR FLOOD VICTIMS IN COCHABAMBA by Daniela Viljoen Bolivia Country Director   (published in Bolivia)

March 22, 2011 by   Comments(0)


Clothing was collected from friends and family members of Projects Abroad staff and volunteers to donate to over 200 victims in two neighborhoods in a small area of Quillacollo (30 minutes from Cochabamba), who suffered massive flooding during the month of February.


After reaching the location, we found one neighborhood taking shelter in tents provided by the civil defense force in Bolivia. As soon as we reached them, we began handing out clothing and bottled drinking water to each person. As we moved to the second neighborhood, the victims, mostly women and children were walking with us, explaining what they had experienced the first time it flooded. It was sad to hear that it was not once, but twice that they suffered flooding in the same month.


When we reached the second neighborhood, we finished handing out the donations. Some of us stayed behind to talk to the community; others were taken around the neighborhood to visit the homes that were affected the most.


Many different organizations such as the SAR – Bolivia (Search and Rescue), Rotary Club, and the Municipality have all been helping with what they can, as well as individual families in and around the area. Some volunteers have asked if they can help in any way, and we are currently working on an afternoon program to support these people. Most of the support and help needed at present is help with cleaning the homes.


For those volunteers interested in helping, please contact the Bolivian office at or myself at


Together we can rebuild a community!

Loading the bus!

Arriving to the 1st neighborhood.

Getting everything ready

Handing out the clothes

Arriving to the 2nd neighborhood

Getting things set!

Handing out more clothes

Kids with bottles of fresh water.

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SUPPORT FOR FLOOD VICTIMS IN COCHABAMBA by Daniela Viljoen Bolivia Country Director
SUPPORT FOR FLOOD VICTIMS IN COCHABAMBA by Daniela Viljoen Bolivia Country Director

Club Olympic by Jesse Rebecca Cirillo   (published in Bolivia)

March 14, 2011 by   Comments(0)




Even though I´ve only spent a short time at Club Olympic I already feel like part of the team.  Everyone from the coaches, to the parents, to the man who runs the cafe, made me feel welcome beyond my hopes and expectations.  The children display a remarkable level of respect, and although they like to mess around and have fun at times, they are incredibly well behaved.

From day one there hasn´t been a hint of the awkwardness that I dreaded.  I´m greeted each day with smiles and "Hola Profe Jesse".  It´s also safe to say that my level of Spanish is none too impressive.  But, even so, I am able to communicate with everyone just fine--even if hand motions and great patience are needed.






Jesse teaching her students




 A Projects Abroad team


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Club Olympic by Jesse Rebecca Cirillo
Club Olympic by Jesse Rebecca Cirillo

A Traditional Bolivian Dish: Plato Paceño   (published in Bolivia)

March 4, 2011 by   Comments(0)

Plato Paceño (for two)




2 white corns on the cob

1 pound of Lima beans

2 unpeeled potatoes

4 slices of Paceño cheese (cheese that is original from La Paz)

One spoon of oil

1 cup of llajua (spicy sauce made of tomatoes and chilies)


Put the corns and the Lima beans into a large pan with boiling water. The water needs to cover them. Cook them for about 25 minutes.

Wash the potatoes very well and put them into a pan with boiling water. Cook them for about 25 minutes.

Heath the oil in a small pan and add the cheese slices, fry them until they turn gold.

Serve the Lima beans first, then the corn and the potatoes. Put the cheese slices on top of the corn and don’t forget the Llajua and voila, you have the Plato Paceño to enjoy!!

Plato Paceño (Picture from internet:

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A Traditional Bolivian Dish: Plato Paceño
A Traditional Bolivian Dish: Plato Paceño

Physiotherapeut in Cochabamba by Thomas Braeutigam   (published in Bolivia)

February 14, 2011 by   Comments(0)




Mein Name ist Thomas Braeutigam. Ich werde für drei Monate als Physiotherapeut in Cochabamba/Bolivien arbeiten. Ursprünglich war geplant, dass ich hier in einem Krankenhaus arbeite. Aus Personalmangel und auf Grund meiner Erfahrungen, die ich in meinen vorherigen Projekten gesammelt habe, hat man mich in einer Reha - Klinik für körper - und geistig behinderte Kinder und Jugendliche untergebracht.

Ich habe mich sehr schnell in meiner Arbeitsstätte zurecht gefunden, und auch alle Mitarbeiter haben mich gleich herzlich aufgenommen. Ich habe bis zu fünf Patienten am Tag, mit denen ich zum größten Teil eigenständig arbeiten darf. Mein Talent liegt in der Massage und so freue ich mich, dass ich mich damit voll einbringen kann. Meine Projekte davor waren: ein Monat Fußball und zwei Monate Regenwald in Peru, drei Monate Behindertenschule in Costa Rica, zwei Monate Physiotherapie im Krankenhaus und ein MonatSprachkurs in Mexiko. Dieses Projekt hier kann ich allen, die sich dafür interessieren, sehr empfehlen.

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Physiotherapeut in Cochabamba by Thomas Braeutigam
Physiotherapeut in Cochabamba by Thomas Braeutigam

Water Project Underway! by Daniela Viljoen Projects Abroad Bolivia Country Director   (published in Bolivia)

January 31, 2011 by   Comments(0)

     The Water Project in Bolivia is under way! After receiving over 100,000 Bolivianos in donations from around the world, Ciudadela SEDEGES finally has a new borehole. Members Wendy and Mark Tisdell of the BridgIT Water Foundation have arrived with a team and now working hard with volunteers to get the remaining stages of the project completed.


The Water Project consists of getting the new borehole in, setting in a new pump, building a concrete platform for 2 auxiliary water tanks to store water in case of emergencies, new electrical connections for the new water pump and borehole and collecting rain water to use as well.


Last week, volunteers worked hard digging trenches and setting in new electrical wiring for the pump. This week the concrete platform should be completed and the water tanks installed the following week.


Our special guest, Jeff has been honored with the title of Jeff “el Jefe”, he’s been helping us supervise the Water Project in Bolivia for the past week, making sure we get running water to the casitas at Ciudadela in time!


          Kirsten, Wendy Tisdell, David Miller painting wood to close off exposed water tubes.


                         Wayne Fradley, Stephanie Tisdell packing in the cap for the old borehole


                                                                         Cement cap for the old borehole


 Cristal clear water coming out of the new borehole!! (project not yet completed, but still so exciting!!)

Jeff el Jefe

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Water Project Underway! by Daniela Viljoen Projects Abroad Bolivia Country Director
Water Project Underway! by Daniela Viljoen Projects Abroad Bolivia Country Director

The garden at kindergarten Escuelita de la Bienvenida at Ciudadela SEDEGES by Ana Karina Patiño (Educator Escuelita de la Bienvenida)   (published in Bolivia)

January 27, 2011 by   Comments(0)

We started the garden in the kindergarten park one year ago. We planted vegetables directly into the ground, however it did not work as there was not enough water and as it was not in a closed area, the children some times went and took the vegetables

When we saw it was not working. Erica the planting supervisor suggested putting them into boxes in the kindergarten yard area.

The teachers and the children helped to retrieve soil from under  Molle and pine trees which we then mixed with compost before filling the boxes.

We then began planting seeds again and the children helped watering the plants everyday before 9:00A.m. The children also helped by removing the wilting plants in order to help the healthy plants grow. This helped to tech the children now to look after plants.

We grew lettuce, radish, broccoli, tomatoes, etc. which, when ready we picked and used to cook with the children. The children enjoyed watching the process of planting the seed, watching it grow and of course eating the end product.

Watering the seeds.

One year later...

Time to pick!

Qué rica ensalada!

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The garden at kindergarten Escuelita de la Bienvenida at Ciudadela SEDEGES by Ana Karina Patiño (Educator Escuelita de la Bienvenida)
The garden at kindergarten Escuelita de la Bienvenida at Ciudadela SEDEGES by Ana Karina Patiño (Educator Escuelita de la Bienvenida)

My Work at CAT by Yvonne Miller   (published in Bolivia)

January 21, 2011 by   Comments(0)

I have worked with intellectually disabled children in both permanent and short term care.  I have travelled through Central and South America. I have been a nurse for 15 years.  I am ready for this. NOT. 

Culture shock hit the moment I walked through the gate. One little girl grabbed my leg and I could not resist picking her up. Within a minute I had a boy wanting to be cuddled, but the girl did not want to be put down. I managed to manoeuvre into the office to meet the director and then out to be introduced to the other staff, and shown around. The rest of day one is a blur.

Day two and beyond, my fondness for the children grows. Some days I play rough with the boys, other days the same boys make paper aeroplanes, boats and variety of other stuff with me. Some days the girls will want to spend hours on the swings or roundabout, other days they draw, make paper boxes or hats. Some days I am climbing the fence after one of the boys, other days we sit and cuddle.

Each day is different, each day is new. Some days I go home almost clean, others I am not sure if I should totally change my clothes before I get on the bus. Each day is full surprises and I guess a little sadness on my part, that I can never show to the kids. I am learning so much from them, including a little Spanish and I hope they are learning a little from me.  Three months will not be long enough.

Yvonne with a child on the swings

The children doing what they like best ... to be cuddled.

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My Work at CAT by Yvonne Miller
My Work at CAT by Yvonne Miller

My Trip to the Isla del Sol in Copacabana by Birgitte Kaas   (published in Bolivia)

January 6, 2011 by   Comments(0)


Last weekend I went to Isla del Sol. I took a (night) bus-cama to La Paz, and from there in the morning,  a bus to the very turistic little town Copacabana. The scenery on the altiplano is fantastic. It was a beatyful day, with high blue sky and a little wind. In Copacabana I ate a very delicious fish a la plancha in one of the habour restaurants, and then I took a boat to Isla del Sol in the Lago Titikaka.

You can really feel the altitude when walking up the stairs on the island. The first time I did it, my lungs were hurting, and I had to stop every 10 meters to catch my breath. But it was like i quickly got used to the lack of oxygen, and walking around the island felt much easier.  When you stand on the top of the island you can see water on boath sides, and it looks like the ocean. It is an overwelming sight to see the sun going down.

Isla del sol is a very relaxed place; no cars only mules transporting stuff and water from the spring you see just beneath the giant inca man on the little habour. It is the best water i have had in Bolivia and it is said that it should keep you young.  

    The highway to Copacabana


Copacabana main church entrance

Lago Titikaka view from the Isla del Sol

The sunset

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My Trip to the Isla del Sol in Copacabana by Birgitte Kaas
My Trip to the Isla del Sol in Copacabana by Birgitte Kaas

Thomas Braeutigam's Birthday   (published in Bolivia)

November 23, 2010 by   Comments(0)



Thomas Braeutigam  is a German Physiotherapy volunteer that enjoys his work very much and is always in a really good mood, so Alinka de Sainz Thomas’ host mother decided to celebrate his birthday and invited us to a delicious meal  on  Friday November the 12th .

We arrived to Alinka’s department and while we were waiting for the lunch to be ready she gave us something very traditional in Bolivia: the aperitivo. The aperitivo is a sweet alcoholic beverage served in small cups of glass before lunch to “open” the appetite. This time it was a delicious Strawberry Pisco.

We were chatting and enjoying our aperitivo when Alinka announced that the meal was served.  Thomas was very surprised  when he discovered that  Alinka cocked specially for him a  south Germany dish called Spätzle with Gulasch. It was a big and delicious plate of food that I couldn’t finish because it was too much (Cochabambino style) for me and because I was waiting for the best part of every meal: the dessert a really good homemade Apfelstrudel with whipped cream on top of it.

We ate it with pleasure, but Alinka had another surprise waiting for Thomas and us. Suddenly Alinka appeared with a chocolate birthday cake  and we all sang happy birthday to him. After singing we delighted ourselves with that delicious cake too!

As you can see birthdays in Bolivia and specially in Cochabamba are an excuse to do what the Cochabambinos do best: They do not eat to live, they live to eat and Thomas became a good Cochabambino eating all the delicious plates Alinka prepared for that special day.

Now envy us with these pictures!


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Thomas Braeutigam's Birthday
Thomas Braeutigam's Birthday

Pelota de Trapo Football Club by Timothy Hillgarth   (published in Bolivia)

November 15, 2010 by   Comments(0)


Pelota de Trapo


One of the finest youth teams in Bolivia is strongly linked to Projects Abroad here in Cochabamba. Pelota de Trapo was set up by William Ramallo, arguably the most talented football player in Bolivian history, scoring his most crucial goal in 1994 against Ecuador to send his country to the world cup.

            William set up the charitable organization, Pelota de Trapo, in order to help out the poorest of families in Cochabamba. It is free to enroll and train at the club, the idea being that it will develop professional stars that will in turn be able to lift themselves out of poverty and support their families. Since William Ramallo founded this organization in1994, Pelota de Trapo have produced three professionals, two playing for Strongest, a team from La Paz and one playing for the best team in his home town of Cochabamba, Aurora.

Pelota de Trapo works with children as young as four to teenagers of the age of 16. The club trains everyday, encouraging as many children as possible to participate. One of our volunteers, Sebastian Koblar is helping out as Assistant Manager and Medic for the U/16 Pelota de Trapo team.

The team has had a lot of success recently in qualifying for the U/16 National cup. Two teams from each region in Bolivia qualify for this competition, in the region of Cochabamba, Pelota de Trapo qualified along with the school of Enrique Happ. Pelota de Trapo did well to qualify considering Real Cochabamba is on great form at the moment. Pelota de Trapo is in the group stages of the competition, so far having beaten a team from La Paz called Ramiro Castillo.

Most recently the team played against a team called El Tropico from the region of Chapare, as usual the match was played next to the Felix Capriles Stadium where Aurora play every Sunday. This was the first game for the team with Sebastian as Assistant Manager; if he was nervous he didn’t show it. Sebastian did a great job warming the players up, talking tactics with them and making them focus on the task in hand. As a med student Sebastian gave the 19 players in the squad the best stretching session I’m sure they’ve ever seen and they all seemed calm and reassured by this.

After a thorough team talk by William, the players were ready to start the match and the selected eleven jogged on to the pitch with an air of authority. The match started slowly with a few loose passes from both teams but as the game progressed the pace started to pick up and it was clear that Pelota de Trapo had control of both wings, playing precise long balls for the strikers. Pelota’s dominance did not pay off till the closing stages of the first half when a beautiful build up gave Cristian Ribero the opportunity to slot home a cool finish to make it 1-0 to the home side.

            In the second half, the youngest player on the pitch Angel Ramallo was looking sharp with some great footwork and ball control and was making a mockery of Tropico’s defense. The fifteen year old Ontiveros twins also both put in notable performances. Halfway through the second half, Tropico had a series of great opportunities including an open goal and a couple of astonishing saves by goal-keeper Wilder Patiño but didn’t manage to convert. The team from Chapare paid for it a few moments later when they were struck on the counter by Bernardo Uriarte. It looked like the score was going to stay the same with only ten minutes left when out of nowhere a cross came in for Cristian Ribero. He made no mistake and enjoyed finding the net with a powerful volley from just outside the six yard box to make it his second of the day and seal the game for his team. 



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Pelota de Trapo Football Club by Timothy Hillgarth
Pelota de Trapo Football Club by Timothy Hillgarth