Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Altiplano of Bolivia

Today is the 23rd of November and I am in La Paz, Bolivia.

Friday the 21st, Father Ramon Alaix, the former provincial and now the province treasurer, high school president, and weekend parish priest, who met me at the airport and I left early in the morning for El Alto. El Alto is in the mountain plain above La Paz where the airport is. We met Fr. Enrique, the pastor of the Jesuit parish there, and departed for Corpa, which is in the high Altiplano. Here again, after a stretch of asphalt of the road that took us to the shores of Lake Titicaca, returned off onto a dirt road in for the rest of the trip. Driving on the object model in between the mountain ranges is a spectacular sight. The main attraction of this trip was to participate in a Mass is celebrated in the Aymara by one of the Jesuits. Father Fabio is an Italian veterinarian who became a Jesuit and a member of the Bolivian province. His gift for veterinary medicine and for languages makes him an extraordinary asset for the mission. I took pictures and a short video clip of the Mass. Afterwards, there was a communal meal held in the residence of the men who was the host of the Mass since it was a remembrance of one of the departed members of his family. The meal consisted of rice, boiled potato, chuños and a meat that I did not recognize. I suspect the meat was mutton. (Chuños are black freeze-dried potatoes that they use for the hard times during the winter but are also considered a delicacy for special meals.) The spicing on the meat was rather revolting and one of my Jesuit confreres helped me to dissimulate having eaten. I did get some of the potato down however.

Pictures at

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