On the Ground February 4, 2016
Turning challenges into opportunities.
From an article that appeared in The Gaurdian newspaper and written by Jonathan Jones in his series "Framing the debate".
Here’s what Ben and Julie planned to accomplish today, March 20th, in Guatemala…
Bolivia has long been one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America, with an average annual income in rural areas of just US $150. Bolivia also has the largest proportion of indigenous people, comprising about two-thirds of the total population. According to Bolivian government-supplied statistics, the percentage of people with access to safe water is only 68%.
So much of the imagery associated with development work focuses on the problem and not on the solution. But often times the solution is a much more powerful image, as this photograph demonstrates.
For most of us the act of washing clothes is a pretty easy task given the machines we have that do nearly all the work for us. But for many people in the Cuchumuela district of Bolivia that simple act is a time consuming burden where access to water for washing clothes usually means walking long distances to a nearby stream or hauling jugs weighing up to 40 pounds back to your home.
Lajas is a small remote Bolivian village where the people live simply and close to the land. Water access has always been a challenge so collectively they decided to change that.
One of our days in Bolivia included shooting stills and video of a local entrepreneur harvesting mushrooms near the small village of Villa Victoria in the district of Cuchumuela. The village has a fairly sophisticated water delivery and monitoring system that allocates water for pine seedling growth that they plant in a nearby forest.
I’ve just returned from a multi week assignment in Bolivia shooting stills and video for a non profit client’s annual report. We were based in the Cuchemuela district about an hour’s drive from Cochabamba near the majority of the projects they have in operation. With a team that consisted of a creative director, marketing director, writer, translators, drivers, local ngo liason’s, government officials and myself, we packed into two SUV’s everyday with the goal of telling the story of how my client works to ensure that everyone has access to water and sanitation in this region.
Looking back on my travels this past summer in Morocco, I’m struck by the similarities between that nation and others I’ve visited in regards to water.