It’s a 2-hour bus ride from the city of Sucre to the village of Morado K’asa where BiblioWorks has established one of their eight libraries. This has been my home away from home, away from home for the last few months as I’ve spent three days a week working in the library to develop and facilitate literacy programs.
It’s a 2-hour journey that transcends me to a place that remains virtually untouched by the outside world and it takes a while to readjust each time I arrive. It’s a place that gets very few visitors for visiting sake.
I stay with the same family every week, which consists of the boss, Doña Justina, her husband Don Teadoro, their niece Carolina and their four children, Nelson, Nicole, Melony and Margot.
The kids go to school in the morning and then Nelson helps Don Teadoro work in the fields while the girls help Doña Justina around the house. A few times a week, Doña Justina travels into Sucre and other surrounding villages to sell the family’s produce and collect necessary goods.
The days are long but nobody ever complains.
The house is basic, but warm. There’s a tin front door that squeaks open and the rooms are connected with an open-air courtyard. The kids share a bedroom with walls covered with random old ad posters and class projects. The beds are made of hard cloth bags and topped with layers of heavy wool blankets.
The village is a network of about 7 stone roads that all lead from the fields to the main street. Locals pass through town as they guide their herds into the fields to feed. Mules, sheep, goats and cows follow orders, while pigs and chickens roam around on their own accord.
The Library sits between the church and the soccer “area” and although it is small, it’s nicely stocked with resources in Spanish, English and Quechua (the preferred language in town).
Morado K’asa is a place that makes you reconsider your values. It’s a simple place that hasn’t been transformed by time or influence. People live their life based on necessity.
From the outside looking in it looks poor, sad and underdeveloped. Once you get to know the town and how it functions, you realize they have everything they need – they are content.
It’s a place that defines Bolivia. Humble, friendly, slow and beautiful.
One day I asked some of the older kids what they wanted to be when they grew up and I couldn’t believe the response. An older girl, with an old wool sweater and beat up leather sandals, responded:
“I want to help children in Africa. I saw a program where they don’t have anything there…”
The truth is, you’ll probably never visit the village of Morado K’asa. Even if you travel through Bolivia it’s not a place that’ll draw your attention. I would’ve ever come here either if it wasn’t for volunteering with BiblioWorks, but I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to meet such great people and become a familiar face within the community dynamic.
I don’t say this to put myself above you or tell you I’ve been to more or different places. I believe there are a million villages like this around the world.
I tell the story of Morado K’asa because I hope that one day you’ll have the same opportunity to be a part of something far removed from anything you’ve ever known – to visit a place or put yourself in a position that allows you to see the world from a different prospective.
I hope that you go searching for your own Morado K’asa and that you have an experience that questions your values and pulls you outside your comfort zone.
It’s an amazing feeling.
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Awesome! Truly awesome! What more is there to say…
That about sums it up Paula, haha. Thank you.
i like skyline shot of the village.. and more importantly, it’s really great to lend a helping hand to those in need.. it’s more than experience.. 🙂
rdsean recently posted..Eat, Shop and Relax at Batam
Couldn’t agree more RD!
This totally made my heart sing – such a lovely post.
Kate recently posted..A Gift for you! Free Printable Travel Inspiration Poster
That makes me happy Kate.
Wow! I love your blog and this post has made my ♥ happy. I grew up in a small town in Latin America as well and that’s a beautiful and simple way of life. So glad that you’re living + blogging the experience.
Aw thanks EG, I am in love with all the small towns in Latin America!
This place is really awesome I agree with you that people here are very friendly.
Kathleen recently posted..Miami photographer
I can’t believe it. Very heartwarming. It’s good to know that such people like you still want to be in that place and help them too. I salute you for that. Keep it up! I’m proud of you.
Maryden25 recently posted..Coffee For Less Coupons
Thank you Mary!
I can completely relate to your experience. Although I haven’t voluteered in Bolivia – or have even been, I volunteered in Nepal. The orphanage was in a small village outside Kathmandu. I can relate to the satisfaction that you get out of volunteering, and becoming a familar face in the village – Priceless!
Very sweet SFN, Nepal is definitely high on my list of places to visit over the next few years!
Love the photos of the kids smiling and posing. There are so many places people pass through thinking the people are poor and wanting for things, but they just live much simpler. Maybe that even makes them happier.
Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Eating My Way Through BA Part 1: Making Dinner a Social Event
Spending time in Morado K’asa definitely makes me question poverty as it relates to happiness. It’s amazing how culture varies and how material possessions become irrelevant in many cases.
Isn’t this the real essence of traveling? I love discovering places like this village, I think everybody should have this kind of experience at least once in a lifetime.
Angela recently posted..Travel beyond tourism, visiting Palestinian refugee camp Bourj El Shamali in Lebanon
I’m glad that the pigs can do whatever they want because they’re one of my favorite animals. And they seem to enjoy having you around! Great post and keep doing good!
Alexa Meisler recently posted..52 Tips for Responsible and Sustainable Tourism
Haha, if pigs are your favorite then you would love this place Alexa! They’re everywhere… and they’re HUGE!
Fantastically genuine post; love the compassion of the girl who wants to help children in Africa! Things are so irrelevant to happiness.
Natasha von Geldern recently posted..Destination Russia: A Moscow literary tour
So true Natasha, I couldn’t believe it when she told me that. I said “Well, what about people here in Bolivia?” She replied “Kids aren’t sick and dying here, we’re fine” Wow!
Just wonderful…for you, for them, for all of us. Thanks for this!
Lisa | LLWorldTour recently posted..For the Love of Lobster – The “Right” Way to Make and Eat Lobster
Thanks Lisa : )
Wow Gareth! I love the work you are doing there. That alone is awesome! However, thanks for sharing with us villages like this. There are times in my life where I slow down and realize that having less brings more contentment. Slowing down and working hard brings more joy. I think the people in Morado K’asa understand this.
While most of us may not visit villages like this, let’s hope we grow up to become a lot more like them rather than the other way around.
Jeremy Branham recently posted..Sacramento Scottish Highlands Games and Festival – a photo essay of history
Completely agree Jeremy.
What a peaceful village. It must be fun staying there!
Love this post and could really relate to it. I just visited a Zulu Village in S. Africa last week that doesn’t have electricity but is getting it at the end of the month. It made me realize that something I take fro granted and have probably never been thankful for, will make a world of difference for the people that live there. I’m interested in finding out more about Biblioworks, will look into it.
Laurel recently posted..Adventures in a Zulu Village, South Africa
I bet you got as much out of this experience as the kids got out of you helping them. A fantastic read – and good on you!
Wow! What an adventure. Plus, you’re helping out others. Pretty awesome. Nicole is adorable in that pic. 🙂
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