Saturday, September 5, 2009


From time to time news say that El Alto within 10 years there may have serious problems of water supply. ¿More shortage? ¿How can it be? El Alto is located about 4100 over sea level and it has around 1.000.000 inhabitants most of which are from aymara indigenous origen. It has a growing population and according to statistical data it is the second biggest city in Bolivia. Now it has 11 districts, 8 urban and 3 rural. According to Fejuve, there are 600 registered neighborhoods distributed in this city. A high porcentaje of its population is young since families tend to have more than two children. Unfortunately, many people doesn´t have yet access to drinkable water.

El Alto is supplied by water that comes from mountains. However, mountains through the years have been losing their white layer and it is said that in some years they will have lost all the ice and snow they have. Up to now, this is the main source of drinkable water, which after processed by Epsas is distributed to the neighborhoods in El Alto. Chacaltaya was one of the most well-known snow-covered mountains. Local and foreign people used to go there to sky, but now an important part of it doesn´t exist any more. Only rocky mountains stay as remembrance of what 10, 20 and 30 yeas ago was completely white.

Additional conditions difficult access to water. A lot of people arrive from rural area to El Alto and establish wherever they can. Because of lack of money, they live in neighborhoods where there is neither drinkable water nor sewer system. Some of them dig a hole which should be about three metres deep until they find water. More or less in November, it starts rainy time and it is other possibility for neighbors to collect water. At the end, lack of water added to existent levels of poverty many times result in illnesses.

There is an heterogeinity of situations. I have water at home but some of my neighbors don´t. This is a serious problem for the families. In my case, I share water with other family. Basilio and Juana have four children. They are renters. The house where they live doesn´t have drinkable water. Whenever they need, they use a hose to collect water from my house and at end of the month we divide the cost of water invoice to pay.

It is important that all the families could have water at home but it is not always posible. In August 16th. neighborhood there are only public places from where, people can collect water. Generally, children carry water to their houses.

La Paz is also supplied by water that comes from the mountains. For example, many small towns sorrounding Illimani mountain benefit from its waters for domestic use. Illimani is one of the most visible mountain. Local researchers say that it is also losing its snow. Part of the State Constitution says that “Hidric resources in all their states are strategic, vulnerable, finite resources and have a social, cultural and environmental role”. Mountains are considered Achachilas by indigenous peoples here. Achachila is a spiritual guide to which rituals are made in certain dates.

Bolivian Constitution, says that “Water is a fundamental right for life. The State will promote use and access to water based on the principles of solidarity, reciprocity, equity, diversity and sustaintability”. State will protect and guarantee the prioritarian water use for life. Although it is being installed water nets, it seems that population grows quicker and a combination of factors: lack of the proper technology, human and economical resources complicates the situation. So, it is probably that when all citizens may have drinkable water system at home, there won´t be water because all the snowed-covered mountains would have melted. El Alto has water problems now and nature doesn´t wait.. Please, stop warming the planet: ¡We need water!.

Picture 1: Part of Chacaltaya mountain with a view of Illimani mountain.
Pictures 2 and 3: Parts of Chacaltaya mountain.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This morning Education Minister announced a Decree that benefit all Bolivian students. According to this Decree about 160.000 students this year will receive their bachellor diplomas free. In Bolivia, one has to go to school for 12 years: 8 years at primary school and 4 years at secondary school. After that, one receives a diploma, which is an important document to continue studies at the universities.
When I finished school I had to follow a lot of procedures to obtain this diploma: first at my school, then at Education Minister and finally at the local public university. This meant for me to spend a lot of money and a lot of time. I know a lot of people that although they finished school they couldn´t obtain that document mainly because of the lack of money. I remember that all the procedure to obtain that diploma was a complete nightmare in that moment. Situation was worse for students from rural areas because they had to go to the cities to make this procedure.
But, now, according to this Decree, students will receive their diplomas at their schools at the end of school year which is in December. There used to be a lot of complications to obtain this document in the previous years. I think that with this Decree a lot of students will benefit not only this year but also in the future. It is a door that opens an opportunity to continue higher studies.
Other Decree announced by Health Minister, says that from now on, the private and public health insurance covers people until they are 25 years old. Before, health insurance was only until 18 years old. Minister said that this Decree has the objetive that universty students or students from technological and other institutes could benefit with the extension of health insurance.

Monday, August 24, 2009


It is a month since I had the possibility to participate at BlogHer 2009 Conference that took place last July 24, 25 in Chicago and although it is a bit late I would like to share some thoughts about this event.
My participation was possible thanks to the decision of the BlogHer Staff to select bloggers from other countries and continents through a scholarship. Annie Zaidi from India, Toyin Ajao from Nigeria and Pilirani Semu Banda from Malawi and me, Cristina Quisbert from Bolivia could share our experiences as bloggers in our countries.
I have to say that for me, it was a complete surprise to see such a huge group of bloggers in the same place
On July 23, a group of speakers had a meeting. There, I met Annie and Pilirani but also other speakers who were part of other sessions. This was a small group and perhaps due to that there was the possibility to briefly know about their backgrounds.
On July 24, it started the official sessions. It was a great surprise for me to see for the first time to the founders of BlogHer, Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone. It was very nice to see that a project they started some years ago had grown up a lot. According to what I heard, about 1500 bloggers were attending the Conference this year.
One of the activities I enjoyed a lot was de Speed Dating BlogHer Style. During this activity I spoke with a lot of people and I received a lot of cards.
There were a variety of activites during the Conference but I liked to go to Geek Lab. I specially remember to Gena Haskett in her videoblogging session and Virginia Debolt in the Css Style sheet topic.
When I departed from Bolivia, I said, "I know nobody in Chicago, and nobody knows me", but during the Conference I saw Liz Henry. I met her last year in other country and I felt really happy to see her again.
It was my first time to attend BlogHer Conference. To be there, meant to enrich my life and my knowledge. I want to end this post by saying Thank you very much, to Elisa, Jory, Lisa, Jes Ferris, Liz and all the Staff of BlogHer.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


"Untie the colony to built the plurinational", says a phrase included in the invitation for a third conference being developed since three months ago within a process of "retrieval of the ideological identity of indigenous movements and leaders".
Last January 25th, more than 51% of the population in Bolivia approved the new Political Constitution which recognizes all the indigenous peoples and afrobolivians. As part of the process of deep changes being held in this country, it was created a Decolonization Viceministry, leaded by an indigenous historian and an afrobolivian woman as one Director of this State office.
According to the invitation, this event will take place July 31, at 18:30 at the Vicepresidency Hall, at Mercado Street in La Paz, Bolivia.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

At Blogher Conference 2009

After some hours of travel from El Alto, La Paz, Bolivia I arrived to Chicago where officially another version of BlogHer Conference will be held July 24 and 25th. The whole program promises to be an opportunity to learn a lot about blogging. I am expecting not only to meet the other people who will participate in the BlogHer Scholarship Winners, but also to meet other bloggers that are arriving to this event.

Following the steps of my ancestors

To the Amazon