Thursday, 26 January 2012

Sucre and the search of a better life

Weed-out and dehydrated we arrived in Sucre, with its white-washed buildings and beautiful churches on every corner. We went to see dinausaur prints here - they were the longest trail in the world until a chunk of rock fell off - oops.
     In Bolivia in general there are children everywhere. They are on corners, on streetcurbs, in plazas, selling sweets, selling on jewellery stalls, begging, working in shops, restaurants, or hotels. So you often find yourself ordering food from one, checking into a hostel with another. One little girl sold us a magazine for an organisation working with child workers, and it was only then that I realised the number of child workers there are, everywhere. I had gotten so used to it that I no longer noticed.
     We went to a museum of masks and folklore, which was filled with amazing masks of all different shapes and sizes, from the various regions and cultures of Bolivia.One was over 1 metre high. A particular person wears this mask in carnival, and afterwards, sleeps with a virgin. Much more than old fashioned fancy dress!
     Anita, the girl working in our hostel, got chatting to us about Spain. One of the wonderful things about this journey is the ability to talk to people in Spanish. In such a small moment, you can learn so much about a person, about their culture, about what it is like to be from their country. Our chat with Anita over breakfast was one of those moments. One of her brothers and two sisters moved to Spain eight years ago, leaving their children to their mother and sister Anita, to bring up. Between them, they left six children behind,including two babies. When her sister returned five years later, the babies didn´t recognise them or want to know them. Now, though, they have moved away, bought houses and are relatively well off.
     Anita´s brother, though, won´t come back. He refused to come back with his sisters, and refused still when his wife died in a car accident and left their two sons alone. He lives in Madrid with another name. His mother wants him to be thrown out of Spain so he is forced to come home and face his responsibilities. It must be so easy for him, so far away, with a new name like Miguel to help him to forget.
     Anita goes to university studying Plastic Arts. She wanted to move to Argentina to work but now has her own baby. Her mum told her to go, that she would look after her daughter, but she doesn't want to leave her. I imagine this is because she has lived it once, and she doesn't want her own child to forget her. She's not studying this year becuase she needs to work in the hostel, earning 50 euros a month. I hope she studies next year and becomes a Plastic Arts teacher.