This past Friday afternoon once again found me hiking in Tiquipaya, this time not just with Bill (another Maryknoll Lay Missioner), but also with his wife Eileen and the Franciscan Lay Missioner couple Mary and Nate. There has been incredible amounts of rain these last couple days (feels more like weeks, years, eons) and Eileen wanted to see what the abundant water had done to the waterfall I had visited with Bill a couple weeks back.
About halfway through the hike, the path splits and the one to the waterfall heads left, crossing over and following a small trickle of a creek that eventually feeds into the river seen in the above picture. HOWEVER, "small" and "trickle" were definitely not words to be used for the "creek" that was present on Friday. In fact, the creek was so high and swollen with rainfall, that it was impassable. Below is a picture to prove that I'm not exaggerating.
The water may LOOK like it isn't deep with a strong current, but it is. As Mary so wisely put it, one would need a good sturdy stick (or some great trekking poles) in order to even attempt crossing over to the other side. And although it was sad for us to not be able to cross and reach the waterfall, it was much worse for the woman and her daughter we met at this place who needed to cross in order to reach their village located on the other side... Yup. Some people walk this path everyday not just for pleasure, but as their way to and from home and town. After hiking a bit up and down the banks of the creek looking for a safer place to cross we had to finally give up, wish the mother-daughter pair the best of luck, and head back to Eileen and Bill's house.
Along the walk to Bill and Eileen's, you can get great views of Mt. Tunari, central Bolivia's highest peak, clocking in at a little over 1700 feet above sea level. Below is what it looked like on Friday, surrounded by many low-laying (probably soon to be rain-producing) clouds. So beautiful! We are definitely going to have to plan a trip up to that peak sometime in the near future.
Not only were there great views on the walk to Eileen and Bill's, there was also very interesting road "paving" construction going on--a type of paving that involves zero concrete and is done entirely with manual labor.
The picture on the left is of all the materials needed for the pavement process--ie piles and piles of rocks and clay-like sand. The picture on the right is an almost completed paved part of the road. The process starts with rocks--moved strictly by human lifting and wheelbarrow--being laid out into straight rows (as you can kind of see on the part of the picture in front of the wheelbarrow). Next, the clay-like sand is dumped over the organized rocks and stamped into place. It is a loooonnngggg back-breaking job, but according to Bill it very much helps with keeping the dust at bay in the dry season (clearly not this season), so I guess it's well worth it :) Upon getting to Bill and Eileen's house (sorry no pictures), we all sat out on their front porch, drank tea, chatted, and listened to a couple songs Bill sang accompanied by his guitar. All in all, I'd have to say it was an incredibly wonderful and relaxing afternoon. I'm already looking forward to my next visit!