Alex Bustamante: National Director
Born and bred in London, Alex first visited Bolivia (his father´s country) at the age of 8. In the first of three trips he was introduced to Andean culture, dancing in the Urkupiña festival, eating chuño (potato without the happiness) and playing for the Enrique Happ football school in Cochabamba. Last year he swapped London for Bolivia to be closer to his girlfriend and dad, to explore his own culture, and to apply E.F. Schumacher´s theory of Buddhist Economics to his own life. After an early career teaching English, football coaching in England and Ghana, facilitating volunteer activities and travelling to six continents, Alex’s own deep enquiry into how to bring out the best in people led him to join a business education charity, Young Enterprise. In three years he delivered programmes to over 20,000 young people, recruiting and training, hundreds of volunteers. Subsequently, Alex spent three years at another youth organisation, Future Foundations, where he led teams in designing and delivering leadership programmes including the organisation’s first global programme. Alex loves Bolivian food, South American music and Monday night futsal.
Milli Spence: Assistant National Director
Growing up in an Australian seaside town, Milli loves the ocean and any body of water. Having travelled internationally since birth she has a passion for exploring new countries and cultures. Milli lived on the island of Oahu Hawai’i for 2 years with her family. Later she participated in a cultural exchange to Brazil returning again for a seminar camp at the age of 18. She worked in England and travelled through Europe before studying first year Chinese Medicine. Milli traveled around Australia, often volunteering at festivals or working in exchange for accommodation. She studied a Permaculture Design Certificate, Ka Huna and Lomi Lomi massage, Mayan Abdominal Massage, meditation and yoga. Returning to Melbourne she lived in a communal warehouse while studying International Development which deepened her respect for grassroots NGOs and fuelled her passion to work internationally. Working for a Melbourne based NGO for 4 years supporting newly arrived refugees and migrants Milli gained experience working cross culturally, project management and intensive case management. Having lived in Mexico for two years cumulatively Milli wanted to explore a different Latin American country and jumped at the opportunity to work for Sustainable Bolivia. Milli adores dancehall tunes, loves jewelry and is a bit of a snob when it comes to coffee and cocktails.
In 1973, Gary graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a B.S.in Education. He lived five more years in Oxford, becoming Coordinator of a Junior High In-school Suspension Program, and raising organic vegetables. In 1978, Gary moved to San Cristobal, New Mexico, just north of Taos. He lived in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains, working in a variety of jobs: house parenting, landscaping, chef, bartender, electrician, Junior High and High School football coach, and teacher. In 1992, Gary moved to the Mora valley in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and worked as a counselor in a residential treatment facility. In 1996, Gary received a Masters’ degree in Special Education from New Mexico Highlands University. He then began teaching in Cheyenne, Wyoming where he introduced group therapy to the classroom and taught for nine years at East High School in Cheyenne. In 2007 Gary quit his job to travel through South America. He arrived in Cochabamba in January of 2008 and has been with Sustainable Bolivia ever since. He is a prominent figure in SB’s culture and has many roles. He is our resident gardener, counselor, hiking guide, cookie-baker and fajita master.
Danilsa Jauregui: Office Assistant
Danilsa was born in La Paz, Bolivia on the 20th of April. She completed her primary and secondary education in the city of Santa Cruz and is currently studying Social Communication in the University Mayor de San Simón. In 2010 she worked as a news reporter for local program “The Morning Show” on 94.3 FM. Following this experience, she continued to work with radio programming in the San Simón university. As part of this work, she formed part of the team to research and create tourist documentaries about the city of Cochabamba and contributed to such works as “El Pueblito,” “Tarata Moderna,” amongst others. In her spare time she enjoys viewing theater, creating handcrafts and watching movies.
Jessie Maguire: Blog Editor
Blog Editor Jessie Maguire grew up in the North Pennines, UK. At age 10, she moved to Zanzibar, Africa with her family, where she learned a little Swahili and a lot about a very different culture. She went to high school back in York, then travelled widely in southern Spain and lived on a boat. After studying at university in Cornwall, she moved to Cochabamba in 2010 to visit her family on the other side of the world, where she has now settled. Jessie is a certified complementary therapist, yoga teacher, freelance writer and copyeditor who loves sesame milk, coconuts and reading until her eyes hurt.
Doctora Garapiña Sandia Sostenible (a.k.a. Piña)
SB’s new director, Piña, joined our family in November 2010 after we deemed her the most beautiful puppy in all of the San Martín de Porres refuge for dogs. Although we have given her all the attention and amenities any modern dog could ever expect, she is still a street dog at heart. We are yet to discover any food she will not eat which includes meat of all kinds, vegetables and fruits; although she once had an aversion to grapes. She enjoys meeting friends in the park, greeting all new SB volunteers and hiking in the nearby mountains. Piña is bilingual and always does her best to create a warm and positive environment in SB’s main house.