RELEASE DATE: 01 Feb, 2015

EDITORIAL BY Sara Shahriari

The fantastical and the real, Andean tales and Grimm’s fairytales, the vastness of the world and the pluck and spirit of the children we spoke with for this issue were on the BX team's minds as we brainstormed cover options this month. Yesica, our brave and adventurous cover model, took to the idea with gusto, turning a sun-dappled forest glade (just off the highway between La Paz and El Alto) into an otherwordly stage, and showing us a new, sassy take on Red Riding Hood.

In this issue we focus on the experiences of childhood by talking with young people about their daily lives, aspirations, and free time. From Yesica, who wants to be a dentist, to Rina, who is torn between plans to become a clown or go to university, our writers found that childhood dreams and amusements haven't changed much since their own primary school days.

We also take a look at President Evo Morales' tough upbringing on Western Bolivia's high plains, where he helped his family plant potatoes and tended sheep and llamas, and how leadership on the soccer field may have foreshadowed the future leader's ability to unite and motivate people.

Of course the idea of childhood is inextricably tied up with family, and to a great extent all our childhoods are formed by the people who raise us, and what they think is right or wrong, good for us or bad for us. In this issue we feature the beautifully told story of a young man who was abandoned as a baby on the street, adopted from a Bolivian orphanage, and raised by a loving Belgian family. Today he has returned to Bolivia and is searching, with only meager records and recollections to guide his way, for his birth mother.

We also hear from a few mothers on their experience raising children in La Paz and El Alto. Nadia, an Australian and new mom living on the outskirts of El Alto with her husband and his family, talks us through the delicate cultural negotiations of raising a child far away from where, and how, she herself was brought up. We also explore the difficulty of obtaining affordable daycare (something that will resonate with many mothers far beyond Bolivia), and the great lengths that many parents go to when it comes time to enroll their children in school.

Here in the Southern Hemisphere the new school year has just begun, and as the streets once again fill with packs of uniformed young people we salute their energy and imagination—and perhaps envy them those gifts just a little bit.



24 Feb, 2015 | Ali Macleod

The Travails of Young Morales On 21 January, Evo Morales was inaugurated as president of Bolivia for the third time at the ancient site of Tiwanaku, near Lake Titicaca, in a ceremony that mirrored I...


24 Feb, 2015 | Laura Wotton

Rethinking How to Be a Man An hour or so southwest of La Paz lies the town of Viacha, bustling but comfortably so, its maze of brown-faced buildings baking in the midday heat. Corner shops spill on...


24 Feb, 2015 | Christof Bex

A quest to find my Bolivian birth mother PHOTO: NICK SOMERS Every day I spend wandering through the streets of La Paz, I see scenes that are foreign to the world I grew up in. Cholitas pass b...


24 Feb, 2015 | Nick Somers

Let the Queues Begin ‘Some parents have slept here since the first of January’, says Fidelia, who is queueing toward the end of a long line to enroll her youngest child, who is four and a half year...

Putting Women First: The Mujeres Creando Daycare of Dreams

24 Feb, 2015 | Laura Wotton

It is 11AM on a Monday morning and twelve young children wielding plastic cars and picture books totter about in the brightly coloured basement of the Virgen de Los Deseos. An array of animal cushions...


24 Feb, 2015 | Nadia Butler

Raising a Baby in El Alto PHOTO: ALEXANDRA MELEÁN A. Doña Basilia rushes out of the store where I stopped to buy eggs, wrestles my baby from me, and wraps him tightly in a blue fleece blanket...


24 Feb, 2015 | Ali Macleod

One man’s life and the dreams of his daughters “I know it sounds funny, but I want to be a clown!” says Rina, laughing, wearing a half-guilty, half-thrilled grin. Then there is a pause. Rina cons...


24 Feb, 2015 | Sophia Vahdati

Be true of heart, persevere, and all your dreams shall come true.Damsels in distress will eventually be saved by rich, attractive gentlemen.Mother-in-laws are evil by their very nature. PHOTO: MI...


24 Mar, 2015 | Laura Wotton

A BURGEONING FASHION INDUSTRY BORN FROM TRADITION AND THE WORKING CLASS COME INTO ITS OWN ‘The catwalk reminds people of the cholita’s new economic and social confidence in Bolivia.’—Rosario Aguilar...


24 Feb, 2015 | Laura Wotton

Yesica is eight years old, wears a bright pink top and a contagious smile. Sitting together in the early morning sunlight we talk boyfriends, animals and what she wants to be when she grows up. Wha...