January 17, 2011

The Highest City in the World

So I have now been in La, Paz Bolivia for a couple weeks. This is a beautiful city of approx 20 million people.  This is the highest city in the world.

Pedro de la Gasca, to whom the Spanish king had entrusted rule over the former Inca lands, commanded Captain Alonso de Mendoza to found a new city commemorating the end of the civil wars in Peru. Then the city of La Paz was founded on October 20th, 1548 under the name of La Ciudad de Nuestra Señora de La Paz (The City of Our Lady of Peace).

 this is the The Pacha Mama a statue symbolizing the Mother Earth.

 These two pictures are of an early 19th century Catholic church.  I all of the south american "Plaza de Arma's" there is the main cathedral and usually a few government building including the capitol building which you see below in yellow.   These buildings are beautiful and massive.  it's hard to believe that they built them so long ago.

 Me and my friend Craig tried Papaya ice cream for the first time.  I have to say that it wasn't great, but I actually dislike papayas they have a really weird smell and taste.  YUCK!
I'm on top of the world LITERALLY!  I have to say coming to Bolivia has been such a gift and a blessing.  There are so many amazing things to learn from other countries.  Especially ones that are as poor as Bolivia.  Even the little guys have so much we "big shot Amercan's" can learn from them.

What I love most about Bolivia thus far (my top 5)
  1. I love that whenever you greet anyone it is with a hug and a kiss on the cheek
  2. I love that they have 2 hour lunches, because they believe it is important to spend time with your family and eat and cook homemade food.
  3. Because Bolivia is such a poor country they have what is called "medicina primero" which means primary medicine, which is not what you and I call our primary docs, it is actually the primary level of medicine meaning PREVENTION.  They have to force doctors, nurses, and public health workers to educate their people in ways of prevention, because they do not have the resources or infrastructure to handle the secondary level which is treatment of diseases.  In my clinic that i work in they spend a lot of time teaching the poor about sanitation, bathing, nutrition etc...
  4. I love the Spanish language even though it is hard trying to understand it.
  5. I love that each meal is formal.  All my breakfast, lunches and dinners are on china with tea-cups and bread plates.  Meals are supposed to be a celebration with one's family.

Here are the TOP 5 reasons I love the US:
  1. we have indoor smoking regulations (I am soooo sick of being a smoker, even though I have never had a cigarette in my life, living here I might as well be one because 50% of Bolivia smokes all in my face).
  2. I love that in the US people are not allowed to pee in the streets.  First of all our streets do not stink to high heaven.  But, yesterday a man just whips it out and pees right in front of me and everyone else.  AHHHHH sooo gross :(
  3. We can get loans to go to school.  In Bolivia there are only a couple public universities and in order to get into one of them you have to score VERY high on your exams.  Otherwise in order to attend the private universities you have to pay cash, which prevents the poorer students from attending.
  4. I am so grateful that we have safe drinking water in the US, it's really a hassel to not even be able to brush your teeth with the tap water or don't get it in your eyes etc... for fear of infection.
  5. I am grateful for our ease of living in the US.  Even the poorer class in the US still has relative ease compared to the agrarian poor districts here that live in mud houses and work sun up to sun down for their food and income. In most places of the world people farm their food.  There is no such thing as Safeway or Smith's.  I don't want to take my abundance of food for granted.  the children in my clinic are fed twice a day by our clinic, but do not get dinner at home because their parents have to feed the older children (who did not eat breakfast and lunch) so they go to bed with many tears


EmWJ said...

That's just incredible. I love that you are now a smoker. :)

Erika Hanks said...

WOW, you have had some awesome experiences!!! Congrats on the white coat ceremony! Congrats Jake for being such a great cook too!!! So fun to see how you are!

Otto said...

Did you ever get high altitude sickness when you visited there?


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