Friday, 16 May 2008

Ed's First Campo Trip

Ed's first Campo Trip

Finally after many weeks of talking about it at the end of April I finally got to go into the Campo (rural areas) for 3 days and see some of the areas that I have been making maps of, with my own eyes. The purpose was to help teach some of our (FH) technicians and some of the government workers in the Municipals of Ravelo and Ocuri, about the mapping programmes we use. This was an interesting trip to the world of different cultures, granted the roads are not that good out here and the guys from Ravelo had a flat tyre, but still it was an eye opener.

Monday 28th - April I left the office at 8am for the 3 hour drive to Ckara Ckara (where we have an office/house), stopping off on the way at a couple of offices to collect some computers for the training. It was great to see the countryside at ground level and not just from the air. The first part of the journey was through mountains, zig zagging down the side of one hill to cross a river and then climb back up the other side. Then just before we entered Ravelo (the first notable sized settlement since leaving Sucre 1 ½ hours earlier) the terrain levelled out and the rocky land gave way to large areas of cultivated land of wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas and a number of other crops. It was quite a change.

Ckara Ckara is a small drive through village with huts made of mud walls and corrugated roofs. The FH two storey, brick walled office stands out like a sore thumb. The village itself is in a flat plain and is very windy at this time of year, which brings in lots of dust storms especially coming off of the roads. That said it is a beautiful pace to look at. The office, you know how it is in the UK in Summer you need to take a jumper to church because it is always cold inside well the office there is even worse. Outside it is warm and sunny and a T-shirt is enough, but inside I had to wear a thermal T-shirt, shirt, jumper, thick fleece coat and a hat in order to be just about at the right temperature.

Once we arrived we sorted out the room and computers and prepared for a 12:30 start. That time came and went and no one arrived. Finally at 1:30 we decided we would have lunch, a lunch Bolivia style with lots of boiled rice and potato and a fried egg!!! An hour later the guys from Ravelo arrived. After they'd had lunch we started training but the Ocuri guys didn't show at all (our guys were coming the next day). A few hours later we went to one of our work areas to collect some data using GPS's and returned to the office after dark. As we drove the only signs of life was the occasional lamppost marking a community that had electricity. We worked until 9 and then the plan was that everyone would sleep over at the office, in order to start at a reasonable time the following day. However, the Ravelo guys had other plans despite the fact that they had a flat tyre and a spare tyre also with a hole in it! So our driver took them back to Ravelo returning to us past midnight.

Tuesday 29th - The plan was that we would start at 8:30 with a full day of training! Well plans can change, and they usually do here – several times! 9:30 the speaker for the morning arrived, 10:30 one of our guys arrived followed half an hour later by another of our guys and then at midday the guys from Ravelo arrived only 3 ½ hours late! So eventually we got started. I did some teaching which I enjoyed as they were a group that wanted to learn. That night we finished at gone 11 and the Ravelo guys thought that it was unlikely that they would be returning for the last half day of training.

Wednesday 30th - Last half day training with our 3 Technicians for Natural Resources. Despite not having any of the previous guys return we had a very positive day helping our own technicians get to grips with the programmes. Including an unprompted clearing of the office, when we saw water coming through the ceiling because the night before there was no water on the top floor and someone had left a tap on. So after brushing water down the stairs and out of the front door we carried on, before packing up and getting a guided tour back to Sucre with my boss showing me the different areas where we are working.

So that was the first trip, it was a good time and I look forward to exploring more of the campo.

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