RELEASE DATE: 23 Aug, 2017

EDITORIAL BY Caroline Risacher

If one had to pick the most notable Bolivian characteristics it would be their resilience and determination. It is not uncommon to come across marches in La Paz; Bolivians chant and protest with an unbreakable zeal, and you can see that they are not about to give up. Bolivia will probably survive any of the incoming end of the world scenarios that are looming over us. There is a good reason for this.

As the immortal chuños on our cover illustrate, there are things in Bolivia that will survive us all. The chuño, a lyophilized potato, goes through successive freezing and sun-drying cycles in order to become the ultimate survival food. It is the epitome of Bolivian nature and exemplifies an intrinsic Bolivian trait. We never give up.

This month, we are celebrating our 75th issue of Bolivian Express. As we have explored in the previous 74, Bolivia has an undeniable rich history and culture. But it also has an heritage that it struggles to preserve. The crumbling architecture of Sorata can attest to that. And optimum preservation demands maximum toil.

Undoubtedly, Bolivia’s past is filled with lessons for the present, such as Sebastiana, who has come back in 2017. The eponymic heroine of the iconic 1953 film, Vuelve Sebastiana, is returning in graphic novel form, breathing new life to her story and to the Chipayas. Different lessons were learnt when we traveled to the disaffected ski resort of Chacaltaya, to watch olympic participant José Manuel ski down the slope in his Calgary 88 ski gear. Still dusting the snowflakes from our pens, we eased into conversation with La crítica y el poeta, whose critical analysis of distant Bolivian poets leaves further food for thought.

While the critics revive the classic, the green areas of La Paz and Bolivia are left to both Bohemia, an initiative that produces biodegradable paper with seeds inside, and Emaverde, who works hard to maintain and replant the trees of La Paz.

Behind these efforts at preservation and regeneration we found people whose work can seem in vain, but whose passion and hope inspired us to produce this issue. Individuals who, against all odds, and in an uncompromising and unfavourable world, fight for a cause: the skiers of Chacaltaya, a city official in Sorata, poets, a film director, a young entrepreneur, green space workers in La Paz and jugglers in Cochabamba.

We invite you in, to read about the past, to understand how it is shaping our present and future. But the future may not be as certain as we would like. Temperatures are rising. And like the glacier on Chacaltaya, the chuños of the Cumbre may become another casualty of global warming. With revival comes conservation - otherwise all these efforts will have been short-lived. We can learn from these lessons, to preserve our present and prepare for the future.


A Country of Poets

23 Aug, 2017 | Rosie Collier

Bolivian poetry is recognised in a new collection – and finds its voice in the streets, bars and cafés.Mónica Velásquez is the general researcher and coordinator of La crítica y el poeta, a collection...

Performing Life Bolivia

23 Aug, 2017 | Hannah Chukwu

Photo: Hannah ChukwuBreathing life into young performersThe streets of the residential neighborhood Montenegro in Cochabamba are dusty, sparse and sprawling. At sunrise, the vast expanse of land is pu...

Chuños and Tuntas

23 Aug, 2017 | Felix Medlock

Photo: Iván RodriguezUnearthing Bolivia’s potato traditionsThe chuño and tunta are traditional ingredients in Bolivian cuisine used in a wide range of dishes, notably chairo, a soup consisting of vege...

Sebastiana Returns

23 Aug, 2017 | Raquel Diaz

Photo: Iván RodriguezA classic of Bolivian cinema receives new life as a graphic novel Flipping through the pages of one of the two copies in existence of ¡Vuelve Sebastiana! Los Chipayas, a graphic n...

Bohemia PAPEL

23 Aug, 2017 | Hannah Chukwu

Photo: Hannah ChukwuPlanting seeds of hope for Bolivia’s sustainable futureWalking into the Bohemia Papel workshop feels a little like walking into Wonderland. Every surface is covered in a miscellany...

A Greener La Paz

23 Aug, 2017 | Daniel Johnson

Photo: Courtesy of EMAVERDEEmaverde’s mission to protect and create parks in the cityLa Paz, which spreads across 472 km², is fairly big by Bolivian standards. While its little sister, El Alto, gives...

Mauricio López

24 Aug, 2017 | Nick Ferris

Photo: Iván RodriguezThe young face of a new Bolivian cuisine From the most succulent pork terrine and delectably crispy lamb mains, to a starter of alligator escabeche or pudding of milk whey sorbet,...

La Paz Aims to Be a Super Host

24 Aug, 2017 | Michael Protheroe

Photo: Iván RodriguezThe changing face of tourism in La PazIn 2014, after a successful Internet campaign, La Paz was included on the New7Wonders Cities list. As a result of this, the municipal agency...

The Slopes of Bolivian Skiing

23 Aug, 2017 | Felix Medlock

Text: Editorial BoardPhotos: Carlos IbañezIs There a Future?Chacaltaya, an hour and a half north of La Paz, was the highest-altitude ski resort in the world until 2009, when it closed due to lack of s...

Seeking the Past in Modern Bolivia

24 Aug, 2017 | Nick Ferris

Photos: Nick FerrisA journey to Sorata, to experience life in colonial timesWalking around central La Paz, amidst the exhaust fumes and market stalls, it’s hard to know what things were like at the ti...

The Dos and Don’ts of El Alto Market

23 Aug, 2017 | Rossie Collier

Photos: Esteban TerrazasHere at Bolivian Express we’re giving you a ‘Dos and Don’ts’ guide of the best second-hand clothes on offer at El Alto market. Forget the alpaca jumpers and ‘gringo’ trousers a...