Posted by Megan Kraa, 3 September, 2018

“Bolivia… where’s that?!” was more often than not the question I got asked when I told people that was where I was headed on my next work adventure. (Not to mention Cochabamba!)

To be honest I didn’t know a whole lot either. I knew where it was located on the world map due to my previous back packing in South America in 2012, but that was where my knowledge ended.

I did some research to find the city of Cochabamba is 8,432 feet (2,570 meters) above sea level. One of the highest cities above sea level in the world (La Paz, Bolivia being number one at 3,640m). The population is also 45% in poverty which is extremely high.

Our travel agent tells me that anywhere in South America is hard to get to from Australia. Connecting flights are difficult at the best of times, and there doesn’t appear a massive amount of Aussies heading to Bolivia either. I knew straight up it was far away but now I am certain! After nearly 36 hours of traveling I can hands down say that it is nice to have my feet firm on solid ground. I am sure I speak on behalf of the team too.

arrving

However, after only two days here I think it’s safe to say that it is well worth the long haul journey. Bolivia and specifically the city of Cochabamba is a hidden gem that is somewhat untouched and has a sense of beauty I’ve never experienced before in other countries.

Today was Environmental Day in town which meant no one worked, and there was no public transport available until 6pm. The majority of us decided to take this as an opportunity to walk from our hotel up to the “Christ the Redeemer”, in the morning. This was an additional 300+ meters above sea level (making it approx 2900m) which made it a fun team building experience as we encouraged each another through the acclimatising process.

christ

Today the final two team members arrived and now there are 13 of us – a complete team! Now to get started!

team

The case conference commenced at 7pm tonight to select the patients for the duration of the week. This may change as others patients are reviewed, but it is a good draft to start with. Two patients have been selected for life changing surgery tomorrow morning (Monday).

caseconferenceteammeeting

Stay tuned for more!

Tags:  Bolivia,