Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Service Synopsis

Aruni Ranaweera (Hanszen ’17) conducted research for CADEPIA (Chamber of Small Business and Artisans) in Cochabamba, Bolivia for nine weeks. Her project was a study identifying the various production and business needs of small businesses affiliated with the organization. She spent the first month of her experience learning about CADEPIA and meeting with executives at the organization to plan and design a survey. The final survey contained questions about marketing, financial, production, industrial safety, and technological needs of the businesses. Once the survey was created, she spent several weeks interviewing business owners in sectors ranging from leather-work and textiles to confections and chemical products. Aruni was able to meet with these business owners at market fairs, technical workshops, and walk-ins at the CADEPIA office. At the end of her summer, Aruni wrote a report for CADEPIA summarizing the results of her research. Her findings will assist CADEPIA in deciding what future workshops will best serve the needs of their affiliated businesses.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The return

Strange habits I've picked up from living in Bolivia:

1) Feeling the need to pay for things in cash
2) Leaving the house without my phone
3) Looking for things in actual stores instead of ordering it on Amazon
4)Trying to remember where places are instead of using my GPS
5) Trying to get businesses to accept different currencies (okay haven't actually done this one yet, but I always have to fight the urge)
7) Feeling awkward about NOT individually kissing every person in the room when you enter/exit

Thursday, July 16, 2015


My eyebrows were in desperate need of help after 8 weeks of neglect. So I searched Cochabamba for a threading place. After calling about 5 salons, I found one that said they could do it.

I made an appointment for yesterday and it was...unexpected. The lady actually only threaded the top part. The bottom part she tweezed. With tweezers. And then it got worse. She pulled out this razor type thing and either sheared or shaved part of my eyebrow.

I was terrified to get out of the seat and see what had become of my eyebrows. But they actually look really good! I'm worried about how they will grow back though: shaving and tweezing look fine, they just mess up your skin and hair follicles.

Ill go back to my regular lady in Houston and get her to repair me if anything seems drastically awry. Overall...3/5 stars for this place.

Frustrated again

I had a series of unfortunate bad luck moments the past few days. I only need 6 more survey respondents, but for the first time ever, people coming into the office have been saying they're in a hurry and dont have time for a survey! This week is literally the first time ever that someone has said that- usually people are pretty complacent. So the last 6 have been hard to get.

I thought I was in for some good luck when I was told that we have a fair today and tomorrow. There will be lots of business owners there, so my organization told me I could administer my survey there. However, since there is no wifi at the fairgrounds, I would have to print out my Google Survey and conduct it manually.

Unfortunately, our printer is broken, so I had to rush to the copy center after work, print out the survey, and make copies. The copy center was cheap and easy to find, so it wasn't an issue. Directly after making copies, I went out with friends, so I ended up taking the copies with me in my bag. But at the end of the night, I absent mindedly left them at my friends house!!!!

So this morning I had to retrieve the copies from my friend before going to work. The fair starts early to begin with, so I already had to be at work half an hour earlier than usual. But because of going to retrieve the coipes, I had to wake up even earlier than planned. And because I left my house early, I missed breakfast.

When I finally go to work after chasing down the rogue copies, I was told that it would be better to do the survey at the fair tomorrow. Apparently the business owners will be busy setting up their stands today and wouldnt have time to be surveyed.

So I went to all the trouble of panickidly making copies, chasing down the copies, waking up an hour early, and missing breakfast all to not do my survey. So I'm stuck in the office once again.

Hopefully we get some foot traffic today. Its warming up a bit outside!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

I'd like to sell a vowel

Uhhh, ehh, aaaay, aaa-, meehh, errr.

I now have a second non-American friend to confirm that I make weird American noises.

The sounds sometimes appear when I'm fumbling for a word in Spanish and want a filler. But usually its just how I pronounce words- English and Spanish. My German friend who speaks a more delicate, European, English always makes fun of my long "a" sounds. My Bolivian friend makes fun of my accent in Spanish that has heavy "e" sounds.

I wonder if my twang has gotten twangier since moving to Texas. Either way, I like my distinct Ay-merican vowels.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

First time I missed something

Today, for the first time on the trip, I missed something in the United States. I was taking a shower this morning and the water kept going from luke warm to hot. I had a sudden urge to be in the shower of my house in Indiana. For 10 years I took showers in that shower, and I know exactly how to get it to the perfect temperature.

Interesting, that house is sold and I'll never be able to shower there again. So, yep, still not missing anything actually attainable.

Monday, July 6, 2015

When winter came and Cochabamba ceased to function (aka. Miercoles! its cold outside!)

The problem with Cochabamba having such perfect weather is that the smallest weather hiccup leaves the entire city in panic.

On Saturday it rained and no one knew what to do. It’s not the rainy season, so the rain was definitely unexpected. But it’s not like Cochabamba suffers from droughts, people (should) know what to do in the rain. Instead, the world fell to chaos. Towels drying outside were soaked (=no shower), bread was not bought (the 2 blocks to the store was too much to handle), shoes were muddied, fear was invoked.

I guess the bigger issue was the cold. All the mountains surrounding the valley are covered in snow! It looks like La Paz up in here. It’s a nice change of scenery, and its beautiful. But I think seeing the snow psychologically makes everyone (including me) think its colder than it actually is. 

I will admit that its actually pretty cold outside. Despite my dry towel this morning, I did not shower because I would have frozen to death. There is no snow on the ground in the city, but the air is pretty chilly. 

The cold is good for my siblings though. If the weather keeps up, they will get another week of winter break! It seems pretty likely, because people are already starting to not leave their homes. My host mom seems to be going to work an hour later, I assume because no clients come into the office at the peak-cold morning hours. Even where I work, we have almost no afliados coming into the office before 10:30am.

Here’s to a hopefully warmer afternoon. Please come out sun!!!