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Testimonial: Jesse Lalonde

I discovered Sustainable Bolivia while browsing idealist.org looking for positions regarding community development in Latin America. I have long had an admiration with Latin American culture and where better to work on my Spanish than in the city of “Eternal Spring“ (Cochabamba). So, I sent in my resume and I it wasn’t long after that I heard back from John Loveday – the National Director. Both Bolivia and Cochabamba in particular are phenomenal experiences and I highly recommend them to adventure seekers especially to new adventure seekers just beginning their travels; you’ll be hard pressed to find nicer people than in Bolivia – except when they’re driving!

The Sustainable Bolivia staff I can’t say enough good things about them; from the owner Erik right on through the entire organization they are all there to make each interns stay as promising and fulfilling as can be – strong dedication. This can be perhaps no better illustrated than when one of their interns is sick or injured, staff members are translators, confidents, and patrolmen all rolled into one. As for my actual internships I worked with three organizations over a four month stay in Cochabamba; each one gave me great first hand learning opportunities and a high sense of accomplishment.

First off I worked with the environmental organization Gaia Pacha raising environmental awareness in Cochabamba. Second, I worked with CEDESOL, for roughly a month where I researched and began writing grant applications for them in order to finance their mission to sell solar cookers and rocket stoves in more communities across Bolivia. And finally, I believe the most rewarding experience came from working with Performing Life; where I helped with juggling classes for street youth which gives them the skills to earn money through artistic endeavors and not having to beg for money or difficult manual labor; in addition to helping Performing Life gain valuable ties in providing greater medical coverage to those Bolivians they try to help.

The accommodations that Sustainable Bolivia set up are in one word fun. There are in total 3 different volunteer houses owned by Sustainable Bolivia which makes for a cozy and fun-loving environment with fellow interns. I had the privilege to try out living in two of these volunteer houses during my stay plus one month of home stay with a family. My family experience was equally rewarding as everything else on this trip my weekend nights there were filled with just about everything the Cochabamba nightlife has to offer, which is a lot considering the young populous. That concludes my experiences I hope you too enjoy your time working in and exploring Cochabamba, Bolivia with Sustainable Bolivia!

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