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dorns’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 11 May 2005

Location: Potosi, Bolivia

MapWere still in Potosi, and it proving a very hard place to get out of. The miners have blocked all roads in and out, and arent letting anyone passed. Today we went on a tour to one of the working mines here. It was even hard to get into the mine to have a look. After working in the mines in Oz it was quite an experience. The tunnels are all different sizes, ranging from ones I could just walk in to ones i could just squeeze through on my stomach. I think that there are four levels, but we went only to the third. This was far enough as there is no ventilation so its very dusty and you are also about 4700m above sea level so breathing is hard enough any way. The mining methods havent changed in the last 400 years. Most of the holes for the dynamite are dug with a metal rod and a hammer. Depending on how hard the rock is it can take between 4 and 9 hours to dig a 15 inch hole. Every part of the mining is hard work. Ill put some pics on soon as its easier that explaining.

On the way up to the mine we stoped at the miners market to buy presents for the miners (smokes, coca leaves, alcohol 98% and dynamite) anyone can buy dynamite here, even little children. We were advised to chew the coca leaves to help with the altitude and also to generate saliva to catch the dust before it entered our lungs. The miners work for around $A5/day and 90% of them do it because there is no other option for employment. It really is hard work. As pish said today any child in australia who takes their free education for granted needs to be sent somewhere like this to see what life could be like.

hopèfully well be hable to move on to Sucure tommorow. Then were off to La Paz and Lake Titicaca (of something like that).