Monday, April 16, 2007


The first week of December I spent in Sucre, colonial city of contagious tranquility and ironically the hot center for everything relating to the Asamblea Constituyente. The picture on the left is a typical street - very dainty and quaint.

The La Paz Red Cross sent me along with the new head of the Health unit, Griselda Vargas, to participate in a course on Operational Security in case of Internal Violence (the non politically term being "social conflict"). We took an overnight bus on Saturday and therefore had all of Sunday to discover our cute hotel and the surroundings - had breakfast at the market with Ruben (National Head of Aid and Disaster relief) and Ronald (his sidekick), then managed to get lost and buy the best Bolivian chocolates around (Taboa and >>>?) before jumping on the bus to go see Dinosaur tracks! Turns out we could only see them from far away, which was a shame because I was looking forward to sitting in a dino track for the picture of the year, but it was still fun - my favourite part was the lifesize reproductions of the big critters, hehe. On the left I'm hugging a bronchosaurus's (?!) leg.

The course itself took four days and included a lot of background information on the Federation and ICRC and role-plays dealing with situations of violence we could find ourselves in. The course was taught by Dominique Matthieu, a Belgian ICRC delegate currently working in Lima, Ruben Gonzalez, and Ronald Clavijo. Food was mediocre, other participants were fun, and course material was interesting. I realized that in La Paz a lot of things that we at the Red Cross consider normal happenings are considered extreme and unusual - you know, things like hunger strikes, marches, etc. Live and learn! The end product was a Contingency Plan in case of Internal Violence (which we got to pull out and apply just a few weeks after coming back from the course! Never a dull moment.).
All in all, a good week. Sucre seems like a very tranquil but fun town, wouldn't mind going back for a calm weekend away from everything! And I admit, their chocolates are scrumptuous! They don't beat the Swiss kind, but still.
This here is the whole crew in the classroom on the last day. Enough said!


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