So, as you all have seen from our pictures and movies, overall things are pretty well-developed here. We have running water, electricity, a solid roof over our heads and Bolivia is quickly entering the computer age. But sometimes I wonder…
One day when I was working in the Kinder, the teacher handed me 35 sheets of paper and asked me to stamp the numbers 1-20 on each one. However the only stamps we had were individual numbers 0-9 and so I had to take each individual number and stamp the ink pad and stamp the paper over and over and over. And I thought to myself, you know I think someone has come up with a faster way to do this type of thing, Gutenberg? I seem to recall he had a good idea for this. Not to mention photocopiers.
Then, on Tuesday while we were doing our end of year cleaning at the Guarderia, Madre Inez asks me to fix any loose chairs we have and to re-attach the back of our cabinet. She brings some short nails and some long nails, gives us instructions, and leaves. So I say to Carmen, well what am I supposed to nail with, where’s the hammer? So she calls back to Madre Inez, “You didn’t bring us anything to nail with” to which Madre Inez replies, “Yeah, just find a rock or something.” So we found a rock and a piece of wood and we nailed those nails. But I couldn’t help but think to myself, “wait, what century are we in again?”
Before anyone jumps up and puts a hammer in the mail for us (that would be heavy!), they have tools here; it’s just that Madre Inez didn’t want to go and look for a hammer for us. And I guess the part that (culture) shocked me was that she felt it was an adequate equivalent to tell us to find a rock.