We left early with the students on our two week mission trip, in the back of the truck by the time the sun came up. By the time we stopped at a small town for a picnic lunch, half the girls in our all-girl truck had thrown up, the other half were getting altitude and diesel fume headaches (though I don’t think anyone was afflicted by both head and stomach), my friend Yesmi had three new hair wraps in her hair as I tried to figure out how to do them, and we had climbed up a huge and treacherous mountain in the hands of angels with a broken truck axle (I think that’s what it was) tied by a piece of rubber tire.
We stopped in a place called Pongo for lunch and took pictures at the nearby waterfall. There are often many waterfalls visible on the journey between Caranavi and La Paz. Once I counted 85 before night fell! Some of the waterfalls are incredible, some are much smaller, but to make a side note, I don’t count trickles. As we entered the La Paz area, we fixed the truck. I needed to go to the bathroom, and a woman on the street directed me to the cemetery behind us (which I used; sorry dead people).
We kept going, stopping on the other side of La Paz for some things. While stopped, Shannon’s bag was stolen from the front seat of the car. Luckily, Tucker had come back to the back of the truck with the girls, so he was not harmed. The Paceñas (people from La Paz) say that in this region, people aren’t afraid to take children. This kind of thing really makes you appreciate a child.
We arrived in our first pueblo of the crusada, Pucarani, very late, but warmly welcomed. The church complex included the church building and a building with classrooms and a kitchen. We girls filled a classroom, the floor covered by the hay-stuffed mattresses that are common here. I shared my bed with two friends and we put to use at least five or six heavy blankets in the cold climate of the altiplano.