Preparations in Cochabamba

Monday, June 4, 2012

It’s Sunday evening, and we’ve been working all day in Mano a Mano’s sixth story office in the center of Cochabamba. The office has windows on nearly all sides, allowing sunlight to flood in, and offering an outstanding panorama of the city. Today we’ve been writing practice scenarios for our course, the first on a list of things we need to do in preparation for the start on June 11th.

Terence, Emily, Seth and I arrived last Thursday from JFK, and were greeted in Santa Cruz by Ethan who traveled there to meet us. While in Santa Cruz, we got a tour of the airport’s fire department with the airport training officer, Froilan Rocha, and then flew back to Cochabamba in a 1970’s Boeing 727 painted with the markings of now defunct airline, Lloyd Aereo Boliviano.

Since arriving, we’ve set up camp in Mano a Mano’s Apoyo Aereo’s hanger and visited their offices on Junin and Ecuador, meeting with Dr. Victor Hugo and Maria Blanca. We also hiked to the Cristo our first morning here, and visited La Cancha, Cochabamba’s massive, sprawling market, to stock up on provisions for our apartments.

Having never been to South America before, I am enjoying Cochabamba immensely. All in all, Cochabamba maintains a certain grittiness and authenticity which has me ever more enthusiastic about my role as documentarian. There are very few other North Americans, and virtually no presence of foreign tourism. The food is good, and I’ve been eating all sorts of things I had previously not known existed, though I have not been able to remain a vegetarian. As A Tu Lado’s weakest spanish speaker, I am pleased that no one here tries to speak to me in English. It is giving me great practice, blowing the dust off all the Spanish I learned in school but never practiced beyond that.

-Will

Will Chilton, Terence Steinberg, Ethan Forsgren, Seth Forsgren, and Emily Berger of A Tu Lado  in Santa Cruz
The team visiting the airport fire department in Santa Cruz

Boarding the Lloyd Aereo Boliviano to Cochabamba

Salteñas for breakfast. We eat them for lunch and dinner as well.

Working out of Mano a Mano’s Hangar

Saturday night in Mano a Mano’s office

Street art near Mano a Mano’s office

Preparing scenarios on Sunday afternoon


Sunset from the office window