14 October, Sorata, Returning to La Paz
The next day in Sorata I thought I was clowning at a school Alicia told me the Principal was not there. I thought in the afternoon I was going to another school but turns out I was just showing the kids at the Quaker school juggling. I was pretty tired so it was good to not dress up.
After juggling we grabbed the cases and went to catch the bus. It was raining. Alicia told me that it was good that the rain was coming as they were experiencing drought and the farmers had to plant corn and other vegetables. They had been worried. She said most of the people in Bolivia were farmers and many were illiterate. They had an oral tradition and apparently they were strict. So their customs were adhered to.
I remember at the beginning of the trip looking at this Bolivian man facing us in the mini van just behind the front seats. He was asking Alicia to make room for this friend, by moving her case. She said no. he didn’t get angry and I saw a broad smile on his face and in his eyes. Then he persisted a couple of more times, eventually she moved her bag and he allowed his friend to sit. I noticed there was no conflict. Just an assertion done persistently. There was no anger from Alicia either. That is different from western culture.
Alicia’s story was interesting as she applied to study English in the US for one year. She suffered culture shock but some American girls quickly befriended her and go her out of her room. On the way there apparently her flight was cancelled and she was quite scared as she didn’t have much English and this was her first time away from home. People tried to convince her not to go as she was a girl but fortunately she went ahead and studied. The job she is now is the first one with Quaker. She teaches English at night in another job and studies as a forward from her degree. She also works Mondays and Fridays at the Quaker office. So she is very busy. I asked of she gets tired and she said not much, sometimes.
As we drove down from Sorata to go to La Paz, the mountains were brown and huge. I saw farm lands, cows, donkeys and chickens. The land reminded me a bit of Australia because it was dry. Also you could see the higher mountains that were snow capped, they looked very spectacular.
I took some photos as we drove towards La Paz trying to capture a bit of local life as many traditionally dress. As we got closer to La Paz I saw a huge mountain that looked like a Christmas cake it is called Momtanas. It was very spectacular.
We got into the outskirts of La Paz and Alicia got us off the mini bus and onto another one. I had to go to the toilet, she said not around her, but I found a hotel. I am so glad I did as I was busting and we ended up traveling for another ½ hour. We got to the location where we were to meet Ruben and Rebecca but they were not there. Alicia tried to call and was perplexed they hand not called her as they were not ready to host me. I was tired and not to keen to find out I had to pay a taxi and hotel Cococabana. I thought it had been organized but it seems not. I did come back a day early so I can understand it was late notice. But we were not called, that was the surprising bit.
Alicia bundled me into a taxi and I closed the door thinking she was coming part way. I could see in her face that I had not said goodbye and when I realized she is not coming, I opened the door. I tried to say goodbye but the taxi went and she closed the door. I got the feeling she was not too happy. May have misunderstood me.
I was actually feeling quite down. I got back to the hotel and had a cry. The sadness I carry is to do with a man I loved for along time who stonewalled me. I never expected to be with this man but I found the stonewalling affected me as I felt it as cruel. I don’t seem able to get over it. It is something that blocks my happiness. I keep writing to him and hurting myself more over this, I recognize the issue is mine as I am hurting but I don’t know how to deal with it. I can’t see where the underlying beliefs are that generate the suffering that is triggered by stonewalling. I am unable to move forward and the man in question doesn’t appear to care. I don’t think much of this man as a person, but who knows what his reasons are. I have no idea what to do. It does leave me sad and so I cried and then put make up on and went for dinner.
Interestingly on my way to dinner I wondered if life may send me someone in this moment. It just flittered through my mind. I got to the restaurant ordered the cheapest on the menu an egg sandwich and a coffee. I ended up getting a second coffee as I wanted to stay with the music. I was feeling very low and alone. Then a woman turned to me and spoke in Spanish. I told her no Espanola. She said you speak English, I said yes. Her name was Dalia and she was from New York. She worked for a woman’s organization. So we had a long conversation about women’s issues and the fact that women have to raise their voices. The men don’t seem to understand the mess that is being made and they have to be faced. Not in a feminist tone but in a tone that has to look into the suffering of men and how they project it onto the world. Certainly lack of communication and emotional intelligence are huge issues in the way the world is shaped by men. There is so much violence these days which I feel is caused by suppressed emotions.
So Dalia told me about her field and her life back in New York. She had a nice boyfriend and it seems to be working. She is Jewish so has embedded herself in a new neighbourhood and feels part of the community. I thought of how important community is and the fact I don’t feel a sense of belonging anywhere. I do get on with whoever I meet, but I don’t seem to fit. I am a peace clown where do you go? not the circus, schools are hard to get into and not peace groups. So I have no peer group or indeed group that I feel resonance. Even my family is dysfunctional and I find myself moving more away from them. I feel more moved to live simply and away from negative people. I have felt disappointed when I think over the people who have rejected me over the years for small reasons, who never stopped and talked through issues. So many people just cut you and walk away. They won’t talk. I would forgive in an instant but you can’t even get to the point of talking, so you have to deal with the misjudgement and feelings of rejection. This is not good for self esteem. Of course there are many who do accept you as well, to balance it, but I don’t feel real community. I guess I just have to learn to deal with it and manage life as best I can. It is for a reason I do know that.
I had a good chat with Dalia and turns out she is a Councillor we did discuss my problem briefly but I feel no solution in it. She does co-counselling and has learned to be able to just sit with people without offering advice. I did find that a little uncomfortable as she is silent I keep going but I don’t feel interaction in the conversation. I actually do want advice so witnessing my situation is not really what I am seeking. Although for some people that is what they want. Maybe I just have to live with the pain of it, as the man concerned refused to speak at all and I am stuck.
Anyway, she cheered me up, another angel sent to me I feel. Strangely we are never left alone for too long. I went to bed, it was a rough sleep, tossing and turning. I have to work it out and make peace with others in the past. It is not easy, but I will try. I have much inner peace work to do.