August 19, 2013
Today was Cole Chernoff’s 15th birthday. We woke up bright and early, loaded all our suitcases back onto the bus, and then went for breakfast. During breakfast we sang Cole Happy Birthday and gave him the card that all the Interactors and leaders signed as well as a beautifully decorated cake.
After breakfast we all rushed out to the buses and began our journey to Cochabamba. After about 20 minutes of driving, we stopped to switch onto our new bus. We took all of our stuff off the old bus and loaded it onto our new double decker bus. We then started our 10 hour bus ride. After driving for about 2 and half hours we stopped to eat lunch at Yapacana. For lunch we were served three courses, a peanut or noodle soup, chicken, rice and yucca, and a Bolivian desert. After lunch we continued our drive, and the scenes that we saw while driving were quite beautiful. We drove through country side that looked very tropical and saw many small towns.
While in one of the small towns most of the Interactors went and bought themselves some big bags of Coca leaves to help them with the change in altitude. We were all surprised at the amount of stray dogs there were along the road, either sleeping or wandering around. The most famous pass time for us on the bus was definitely playing cards and having random outbreaks of singing. Everywhere you looked on the bus there were groups playing games of Egyptian War, Crazy 8’s, speed, and many, many more. Some of us sat as a group at the top front of the bus and watched the road and the scenery. We came to the conclusion that driving in Bolivia is basically like a huge game of chicken as we almost hit multiple vehicles, a chicken, and a pig. For fear of getting altitude sickness Wren drank more than 6 big bottles of Coca Tea and water so she was probably in the bathroom more than 12 times and ate many coca leaves. When we finally saw Cochabamba in the distance, excitement came upon all of us…we had finally arrived.
Once we made it to the scout hall where we would be staying for the duration of the project, we had to get the luggage off the bus and drag them all up 3 flights of stairs. By this time everyone was beyond starving. After getting ourselves settled and our room assignments, we ate some chicken, rice, noodles and sandwiches. We then sang Cole Happy Birthday again, and ate the cake we had gotten for him. Joining us at dinner were various representatives from the Rotary clubs that included the Presidents of the Interact and Rotaract clubs from Cochabamba. We all helped with the cleanup and then went and cleaned ourselves up before going to bed. What we all had expected to be a long boring bus ride actually turned out to be a very eventful and fun day. Everyone is now VERY excited to begin working on our project tomorrow morning.
– Ashlee and Anna