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  • Writer's pictureKen

What Happened to Carnival?

Well, you know it’s serious when they cancel Carnival…

I’m not sure this has ever happened before in the history of Bolivia, but Carnival isn’t going forward this year. For good reason, of course. Bolivia is still getting hammered by Covid and Carnival would be an absolute disaster for us in that regards. Thousands of drunk people jammed bumper to bumper in a small confined space probably wouldn’t do us any favours.

So instead, a quarantine was put into place and no one is allowed to drive for the four days of Carnival. Thankfully we are allowed to go outside to walk or bike, so it’s not been too bad. To be honest, I’m not especially sad to see Carnival go. I generally appreciate the citywide water fight, but the hundreds of drunk people throwing paint at my truck, was never a highlight of my year.

Bolivia is firmly in the midst of its second Covid wave. Sadly we’ve seen many people die that we know. Isabel lost her uncle and a cousin, as well as a friend her age from her church. The wife of young couple from Kairos who were just married last year, died a few days ago. Many of our friends have lost parents or other family members. It’s definitely a sobering time for us.

Thankfully, we’ve avoided the worst of that in the house. We think one of the guys had it, but we caught it early enough that he didn’t spread it to the rest of the home. The guys are still studying online and not going out all that much, so that helps.

I’ve managed to avoid it as well, which is somewhat surprising when you think of…well, my life and what usually happens to me. Let’s be honest, we all would have put good money on the fact that I would have gone down early with some sort of weird variant of the virus that no one had ever seen before. =)

But I’ve travelled through five major airports on two continents and spend many hours on a plane, breathing the same air as hundreds of other people…and here I stand, Covid free. So, that’s been nice. Even when Isabel had it, I didn’t get it.

Of course, being Canadian, I was already happy to maintain a safe distance from the people around me. If there’s anything positive that has come out of the pandemic, it’s that I can stand in a line without feeling the breath of the person behind me on the back of my neck. Here’s hoping that we continue that new social construct.

One last update before I leave you. In the last blog post, in August, I wrote about the political situation and how events were ramping back up to be problematic. Our ex-president Evo was back in the country and riling things up. There was a lot of concern that we would find ourselves back in the midst of all the political turmoil of the year before.

But in good Bolivian form, that seems to have just…gone away. No one is quite sure of what happened, but suddenly Evo hasn’t been around anymore. His party won the last election, and for awhile it looked like the new president was planning on stepping down to make room for Evo to return. But then he (and the rest of his party) just stopped talking about Evo. He hasn’t been mentioned in the news and no one really seems to know what’s going on with him.

I think it became clear that most of the country wasn’t interested in seeing him return to power. At one of his rallies in the Chapare (the jungle region of Bolivia where Evo receives most of his support), people started calling him out and someone even threw a chair at him. A couple of his party’s leaders publicly distanced themselves from him and his policies of the last decade as well, and that seemed to be the last nail in his political coffin. Of course we’ll see what the future holds, but for now he’s gone and I think most of us agree, that’s a good thing.

And that’s what’s happening in Bolivia… =)

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