Susan Kambalu writes:
As white elephants go, this seemed to be one of the biggest I’ve seen. We drove for half an hour through busy streets, then left the road and continued over bumpy, dusty earth. After some time, we stopped next to a pristine creamy yellow building that proudly proclaimed that it was a market. We got out. Where were all the people?
The building was eerily quiet as we approached, with none of the bustle that one normally associates with shopping. There were a few women who had set up small stalls, with a few oranges carefully balanced in displays, some pineapples, plantains, potatoes. Some sheets were blowing in the wind. A few children stood by their mothers, looking on curiously at first. We walked up the stairs to a second floor. There were small kitchens with sinks and basic utensils set out neatly around the edges, and benches and tables ready to become busy cafes for men and women to stop and chat, to take a break from their buying and selling and to catch up on the news… but everything was empty, there was no sign that any of these kitchens had ever been used.
The problem is that the people who live in this area do not have enough food to sell. The President has arranged for these lovely markets to be built, but at the moment food production in Bolivia is going down. It is often harder to farm the land, and many farmers are migrating from the countryside to places such as Lajastambo, a poor barrio (neighbourhood) on the outskirts of Sucre. Continue reading