Valentine's Day

Dave's Handmade Scrapbook Yes, it is a little late to be writing about Valentine's Day. However, due to being in Santa Cruz, I only received the wonderful gift Dave sent when I got back. And even then, I had to go collect it which only happened a few days later. So, that is why I am only writing about the gift now! Dave sent me the best gift possible!! First of all, I love mini eggs. And I love dark chocolate.

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Posted in Dave Submitted by Meg on Mon, 2007-03-12 20:54

Sightseeing in Santa Cruz

While I was working in Santa Cruz, I was able to take two days off to explore! One day we went to Biocentro Guembe, just outside of the city. It was a lot of fun! The other day was my last day in Santa Cruz (although not forever because I am actually going to be back there in a week!) and I wandered around the city centre and did some shopping.

Lovely PoolsBiocentro Guembe is a lovely park with pools, lakes, a butterfly conservatory, a few short trails and a great restaurant. The whole day cost us 120Bs ($18) including a delicious buffet lunch. I went with two coworkers and another friend who works in La Paz at another UN agency. We got there early in the morning and went through the laboratory where they keep all sorts of butterfly specimens and caterpillar specimens. It was really interesting! There was also a tarantula, which all the others in my group held, but I did not!! After that we went wandering through the butterfly conservatory and up to a lookout. As you can see from the photos, there were a lot of butterflies! We had a fantastic buffet lunch, and then wandered around the lakes a bit. Finally we took a dip in the pool, which was refreshing and a lot of fun! All in all it was a well-deserved day of relaxing for all of us.

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Posted in travel Submitted by Meg on Sat, 2007-03-10 18:04

Carnaval in Santa Cruz

Floats As I mentioned in a previous post, although I wasn’t able to go to THE Carnaval in Oruro as originally planned, I was able to experience a bit of Carnaval in Santa Cruz. I have posted my pictures for all to see! I was able to go and experience the festivities twice. The first time was to see the Entrada, or parade. There are floats, dancers and bands. It was quite the sight! There were tonnes of people out to see it.

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Posted in Events Submitted by Meg on Mon, 2007-03-05 20:04

Back in La Paz

IMG_1049 I flew back to La Paz today. Tomorrow it will be back to the office and back to normality. I have mixed feelings about being back. On the one hand it will be good to have a regular schedule again and not be working all the time. I am very much looking forward to the extra sleep. And it will be good to get back into my projects at work. At the same time it was hard to leave because we are starting to see results. Things are improving with the response to the floods. We delivered 400 hygiene kits (kits that contain basic personal hygiene items like toothbrushes and toilet paper) Fri and Sat to families living in camps. Three weeks of work is finally paying off!

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Posted in work Submitted by Meg on Sun, 2007-03-04 21:21

Making Progess!

Things in Santa Cruz are moving forward!! This is a big deal and makes me very happy. I’ve been here for almost two weeks now. Time doesn’t really mean much at the moment – mostly my schedule is work sleep work and all the days seem to turn into one another. At the moment I am taking a brief break to update you all on my time in Santa Cruz, and also for my sanity! It is looking likely that I will be heading back to La Paz on the weekend or early next week.

After two weeks we are finally making progress in the water and sanitation response. The first week was difficult because there was a lack of information available about the conditions in the affected communities. So, I spent a few days with teams of people gathering data and evaluating the situation in some communities. There are, however, still some communities that can’t be reached by road because the floods washed out a lot of roads and they haven’t been fixed.

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Posted in work Submitted by Meg on Thu, 2007-02-22 21:11

Update from Santa Cruz

I’ve been in Santa Cruz for 10 days now. It’s been a very busy 10 days. Emergency response is work that involves long long hours and very little sleep! I’m fairly certain that I haven’t had a night of 8 hours of sleep since I’ve been here. Tonight is the night!! 8 hours, here I come!

I have been working as a member of the water and sanitation commission of the Departmental government. I am not supposed to be coordinating the group, but really I am. I have spent several days out in the field evaluating the water and sanitation situation of people who have been affected by the flooding. I have spent many many many hours in meetings. And other hours working on our strategy and trying to get things done.

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Posted in Events | work Submitted by Meg on Mon, 2007-02-19 21:57

Water Water Everywhere

It is hot in Santa Cruz! I am back down at an elevation of about 450m, and you can certainly tell the difference. First of all, it is hot. Very hot. The past few days have been about 40C. Today wasn’t quite that hot. There are A/Cs almost everywhere, which is nice. I have found out how much someone can sweat without really doing anything though since there are no A/Cs in the field (except in the truck, thank goodness!). Santa Cruz is also flat, which is very different from La Paz, which is built on the side of a mountain. In general, although I haven’t seen much, I like Santa Cruz. There are lots of restaurants with patios and all kinds of shops selling ice cream and goodies!

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Posted in work Submitted by Meg on Sun, 2007-02-11 22:02

Lending a Helping Hand

I am off to Santa Cruz! The flooding has continued in 8 out of 9 departments of Bolivia. Due to El Niño, the rains and flooding are worse this year than they have been in a while. Santa Cruz is the department worst hit. As of yesterday, there were 12,000 families displaced in that department alone and a total of 30,000 families displaced throughout the country. Some of these families will have gone to live with relatives where there is no flooding. Some of these families will have gone to camps that are being set up for them. I saw pictures today of families living in the back of a truck, and one woman living on the side of the highway.

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Posted in work Submitted by Meg on Wed, 2007-02-07 22:13

Carnaval is Just Around the Corner

Dancers in La Paz Carnaval is in a few weeks, the week before Lent. The main weekend is Feb 17-18. It will be a four-day weekend, with the Monday and Tuesday as holidays. It consists of dancing and parades and all-around craziness, from what I understand. Today, a group of dancers were out on the main street in my neighbourhood practicing for the main event. I’ve posted a few pictures. I’m sure there will be many more from Carnaval itself!

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Posted in Events Submitted by Meg on Sun, 2007-02-04 13:44

Water Quality Monitoring

Working at UNICEF has so far been very interesting, and there is always a lot of work to be done. I have had various tasks and assignments since I’ve been here. One of these has to do with water quality in Bolivia.

In Canada, standards and guidelines exist for drinking water quality and are enforced. We have the knowledge, resources, and laboratory capacity to carry out testing, analysis and reporting. We also have the ability to provide resources to fix any problems that might be encountered. How do you monitor water quality in a country where, at least in rural areas, most of these requisites are missing?

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Posted in work Submitted by Meg on Wed, 2007-01-31 21:43

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