Mother and baby dolls depicting the culture in Bolivia. They are both made with woven cloth and have embroidered faces. The mother has black yarn hair and is wearing a cotton shawl, blouse and skirt. The baby has a red scarf and is being carried on the mother’s back. Woven sandals are on the woman’s feet.
Location: South America
Main language: Spanish
Currency: Bolivian boliviano
Construction: cloth, yarn
Height in Centimeters: 24
Height in Inches: 10
Reading Level: 5.91
Mayra is my name, and I live in the capital city of Bolivia - La Paz. Bolivia is in the middle of South America. It is named after Simon Bolivar, the man who freed us from Spain in 1825. Bolivia includes lowlands by the Amazon River as well as peaks in the Andes Mountains.
Bolivia is also home to the world’s largest salt flat, Salara de Uyuni. This salt flat is huge – over 4000 square miles or 10,000 square kilometers. It was formed many years ago when the water in an ancient lake evaporated.
Last summer, I went to visit my uncle who works at Salara de Uyuni. I learned that mining salt is very hard work. The men begin by digging into the salt with hatchets. Then, they scrape the salt into piles and let it to dry for three days. Because of the blinding sun, the men must wear sheets or masks to protect their eyes. They often work 6 days each week from dawn until sunset. After the salt is dry, it is loaded onto trucks and taken away to be refined.
At the end of each day, we went to a very unique hotel. The building was made entirely of salt. The hotel is named Palaclia de Sal (Salt Hotel). Instead of cement blocks, the walls are made with blocks of salt. The floors are made of salt as well as the walls, ceiling and furniture. The hotel also has a hot bath, swimming pool and sculptures. To my surprise there was a sign that read, “It is against the law to lick any of the salt structures including the walls.” I guess they are afraid the building will collapse if people lick the salt!
I really enjoyed visiting my uncle’s family. Even though they are poor, they are happy. I hope they will visit me in LaPaz soon so I can show them the city. From now on, when I sprinkle salt to my food, I will think the men working long days at Salara de Uyuni.