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Bolivia 2010
(page 3 of 4)

The Andes rise above the Altiplano while clouds boil up steep valleys from the Amazon below. The hills in this photo are higher than Mt. Whitney, while the mountain is taller than Denali.

Caleb and Bunky descend from Laguna Chillata. Many of the rock formations we encountered were not natural, but were old Incan remains of homesites, city walls, aquaducts, and gravesites. Some were well over 14,000 feet.

Tihuanaco, one of the oldest archeological sites in South America. This was the center of a pre-Incan civilization that used the waters of Lake Titicaca and a series of canals to create a unique agricultural system that fed 100,000 people. The rocks at this site were carried hundreds of miles across the lake and fit together with precision (they are in the page background photo). Symbolically, Evo Morales held his inauguration ceremony here.

Lake Titicaca, at 12,507', is one of the highest lakes in the world. This is Isla del Sol, the spiritual center of the Inca world. The locals hardly use all the old terraces, but they do maintain the walls and paths built by the Incas. The Cordillera Real rises in the background.

We met this guy who helped build and sailed on the RA II with Thor Heyerdahl. That's him in the white shirt in the photo in the back. More Inca ruins on Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca. Reed boat building is still very much alive; we saw many large and small.

This man was storing his corn crop in his living room. It is to be converted to chicha, a mildly alcholic traditional drink. We also visited a green house, another Quaker project. It enables them to grow vegetables on the Altiplano, where 90% of children are iron-defecient.

One of the highlights of our trip was visiting Rodrigo, our sponsor child of five years thru Compassion International. He is 12 (same as Bunky) and lives at 12,700' on the Altiplano. They have a few llamas, cows, and sheep. He also lives less than a mile from Khonkho Wankane, an early Tihuanaco archeological site (in the photo here).

Rodrigo walks an hour to school, then an hour to the Compassion project site for lunch, after-school activities, and help with his homework, and then an hour home. A local church runs the Compassion site, which has over 200 kids and has been operating for 25 years. We were their first foreign sponsor visitors in 17 years!

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