Before arriving in Villa Abecia, I didn’t know much about the town. With our travels, Mike is the meticulous planner. Always finding good travel deals, reading up on locations, knowing exactly what he’s getting himself into. Me on the other hand, I just show up.
We left Sucre at 7:30 in the morning, and sat in the first row of a bus for eight hours. Traveling the roads of Bolivia is beautiful because you are constantly in low valleys and then before you know it, back on top of the highest point. Llamas infest the roads, and it’s always interesting to pass the small villages out in the middle of nowhere, and get a small taste of how they live. This trip however, wasn’t the best of them. Front row has its advantages with it’s extra leg room, which we both especially enjoy, but on Bolivian buses the front of the bus where the driver is, is cut off from the rest of the bus. So instead of a big window to stare out of we had a wall. The car sickness didn’t take long to settle in.
We arrived in Camargo, the small town outside of Villa Abecia and unloaded our bags. From here we would catch a taxi into Villa Abecia. By the time we left the bus and reached the taxi, we were soaked from the sudden thunderstorm that struck during our short walk. All ready though, we knew we were going to be pleasantly surprised at what Villa Abecia had to offer us.
After a short 35 minute crammed taxi ride, we arrived in our beautiful little town. The first thing we noticed was how clean it was. In Sucre, where we had just stayed for a week, there was always garbage on the streets. Multiple times Michael and I would be floored at just how much garbage was all over the place, and how the people just tossed their empty bottles and papers into the wind, needless to say Villa Abecia’s starch clean streets were a very pleasant surprise. Direct from our taxi we were taking to what would be our new home for the best six weeks. Before leaving Sucre we were told that a “very basic” apartment had been set up for us, so we prepared ourselves for the worst. Thinking a half built brick shanty with mattress on the floors and no bedding what so ever. We, again, were pleasantly surprised when we walked into our second story giant bedroom, which had two fully dressed beds, a table, and at end table. Our apartment was complete with a private kitchen and bathroom, which the town and recently fixed up just for us. After the eight hour bus ride, and 6am wake up nothing felt better then looking at that bedroom and knowing I would sleep like a baby that night.
We set our packs down and immediately went to checkout the library. The library turned out to a couple stacks of books on the ground in a room full of blankets and a table. Not quite what we were expecting, but they assured us that bookshelves would be arriving tomorrow and that the space would be ideal for our library. Satisfied, we went in search of some dinner and found ourselves at what would become our favorite place to eat in Villa Abecia – a hamburger and fry combo for 5 bolivianos, equal to 75 cents. Yes, we could definitely get used to this new home of ours.
After a brief nap we returned to the library at 7 for a meeting with the mayor, his council, and the women who would be in charge of the library and creation of the Jacob’s Scarves line. Since Villa Abecia is known for its grape vineyards and wine, we were sat in front of a table with the biggest green grapes we’d ever seen, as the mayor and other council members including Michael, explained the library and what it could do for Villa Abecia. Afterwards we were given some Coca-Cola and another hamburger and fry combo. Again, Villa Abecia was treating us well.
After the mayor and his people left, we gathered the women into a circle and started to get to know them. We played a game where we all stood and introduced ourselves and our favorite hobby – the hobby had to have an action, and then we would all repeat the hobby and do the action. It turned out to be a great way to break the ice and get these women laughing and enjoying themselves. As we were playing the game both Michael and I were amazed that most of all their hobbies were chores. We heard things from mocking the floor, to doing the dishes and laundry. It was a small peek into the lives of these women and how desperately they wanted some change.