Cochabamba, Bolivia

Bolivian FlagLocation | Andes Mountains, Bolivia
Support | Community Initiatives in Bolivia
Service Opportunities | Construction at schools and community centers, tutoring children, working with disabled youth.
Cultural and Recreational Highlights | visiting El Cristo, La Cancha (the largest open air market in the Americas), Inca Ruins at Incallajta, Indigenous Parades and Festivals, salt flats, and sometimes Lake Titicaca

Program Overview

2815_95908343153_3911679_nYou will stay in or near Cochabamba, Bolivia (the third largest city, encircled by the breathtaking Andes Mountains); work with children or the elderly, or help a rural community build classrooms; and explore the culture through recreational activities and community events. Your volunteer service immerses you in the local community and offers you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the region’s most vulnerable people.

Cochabamba is located in a highland plateau and boasts a perfect climate with a daytime seasonal average of 72 F with no humidity.  Cochabamba is a bustling city of 400,000 people, home to many beautiful plazas, fountains, churches, and the largest open-air market in the Americas.  Despite the beautiful scenery and perfect climate, Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in all of the Americas and faces a variety of social and economic challenges.

Lodging Guest houses and homestays | Food Meat (beef and chicken), potatoes, corn, vegetbles

Flights All flights go via La Paz or Santa Cruz | Visa Yes, obtained at the border or embassy

Communication Cell networks, internet, etc.  | Closest Airport Cochabamba, Bolivia

Our Community Partners

Since 1996, Amizade has partnered with several effective community-based organizations, each working specifically to improve the well-being of people in the region. We try to match volunteers’ interests with community needs.

Ceoli provides education and healthcare to low-income children with disabilities and works with those children to develop self-sufficiency. Many Ceoli employees speak some English, so volunteers may begin serving immediately after arrival. Volunteers work in a number of areas, including health-related care, school administration, and student art projects.


Site3Viloma High School

Viloma is a rural community outside of Cochabamba, Bolivia. The current school is a small converted cow stable. Local masons supervise and teach both the Amizade volunteers and local community members during every part of the construction project. No special skills are needed to work on this project. A basic understanding of Spanish is helpful but not necessary in order to communicate with local workers and residents. Amizade volunteers have helped add several classrooms to the school building.

Cohachaca Chico School

Established in 2001, the Cohachaca Chico school provides education to 713 preschool, primary, and high school students. The school is part of the Bolivian Public Education System and the local authorities have helped with the initial construction of a few unfinished classrooms but the school, local leaders, and community members are seeking additional sources of support to complete the ceilings, add wall covering material (stucco), and finish the floors which are currently dirt.

The school has secured funding from the City Hall of Sipe Sipe that will allow them to complete the structural work for a 2nd floor and roof for the high school. The classrooms in this part of the building, which are in regular use by high school classes, are still a long way from providing a comfortable and safe learning environment for the students.  The classrooms have only dirt floors, the ceilings are unfinished, and there are still not windows or doors.

Working with the community, parents, students, and local leader OTB Mr. Genaro Rojas, Amizade will support the school in completing and improving the existing classrooms as well as building new classrooms to accommodate the additional 50 students that the school expects to receive each year.

Amizade volunteers will work alongside the Cohachaca Chico community to help make this school the safe and welcoming learning environment that students need. The community is prepared to supply much of the raw materials such as sand, dirt, and rocks, as well as their own labor, but there is much more needed!

Photos

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Resources

Incoming Call with Jean Carla

 The Basics

Review the Amizade Bolivia Site Handbook.

Recommended Reading and Viewing

  • WATCH: Even The Rain (También la lluvia), 2010 movie.
    • As a director and his crew shoot a controversial film about Christopher Columbus in Cochabamba, Bolivia, local people rise up against plans to privatize the water supply. Director: Icíar Bollaín
      Writer: Paul Laverty
  • Yashar, Deborah. 2005. Contesting Citizenship in Latin America. Cambridge University Press.
  • Lewis, Paul H. 2006. Authoritarian Regimes in Latin America: Dictators, Despots, and Tyrants. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Klein, Herbert S. 2003. A Concise History of Bolivia. Oxford University Press.
  • Illich, Ivan. To Hell With Good Intentions. Speech. April 20, 1968. Found in the Amizade journal.
  • Zemach-Bersin, Talya. “American Students Abroad Can’t Be ‘Global Citizens’.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 54(26): A34, 2008.
  • Esteva, Gustavo and Madhu Suri Prakash. “From Global Thinking to Local Thinking” in Rahnema, M. and Bawtree, V. (Eds.). The Post-Development Reader. New York: Palgrave, 1997.

Stay Engaged! 

YAPSA 2016 Begins

This coming weekend, Amizade staff and U.S. youth participants of the Youth Ambassadors Program with South America are leaving for…

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Silvia and Ceoli

I don’t know how she does it alone. Silvia, the doctor I have the pleasure of working with this semester, is a 25-year-old native of Cochabamba, Bolivia who loves working with the children at Ceoli; her passion for her job is evident in her interactions with the children. Her weakness is she only has two hands. With nearly 200 children who are constantly sick or hurting themselves as well as in need of basic regular medical care she needs another set or two of hands.

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On Carnival

You couldn’t walk anywhere without getting hit by a drive-by water balloon or have a bucket dumped on you from…

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Michael in Bolivia!

Michael Niemann is spending his spring semester serving and learning in Cochabamba, Bolivia with Amizade. Michael has been keeping a…

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Volunteer Stories: Reflecting on Bolivia

This winter, three Amizade interns took part in Amizade’s Winter Break course in Bolivia. Here are their thoughts.

Chloe, West Virginia University:Mallcorancho Community Center…how can I describe this place to you? So many words come to mind (none of which I knew before arriving) so I will try to narrow it down to hermoso, feliz, bondadoso, generoso, amoroso, y brillante…beautiful, happy, kind, generous, loving and brilliant.

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Reflecting on Bolivia

Less than 24 hours ago I was ambling from one plane to another connecting flight, through another security line, through customs, and then to baggage claim. Now, 5 minutes ago I finished my first day of class—my final semester of my undergraduate career. But, I’m not tired. I’m not exhausted. Oddly enough I’m not even too stressed, considering the situation. I am energized. I am refreshed. I am reinvigorated. I came back fully reassured that I want to continue studying Spanish; that I want to continue to foster a relationship with and support Amizade; and that Bolivia is Latin America’s best kept secret.

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Tutoring English, meeting the President and enjoying life in Bolivia

Out of all the programs he has participated in, Tom Murphy’s recent trip to Bolivia was his “best trip by far!” After traveling on three different Amizade programs, Tom Murphy is a well versed Amizade alumni and friend, he previously participated in programs to Poland and the Navajo Nation. In October, Tom traveled with Amizade on a Road Scholar program and had the privilege of spending two weeks in beautiful Bolivia.

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Healthy and Safety

As you or your loved one prepares to serve with Amizade in Bolivia, you can rest comfortably with the knowledge that Amizade has an exceptionally strong safety record and ability to respond to any emerging challenges. We have safely partnered in Bolivia since 1996. For the most up-to-date health, safety, and security briefings, please review the following: