Exploring Bolivia Through Art and Music

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I loved seeing artwork from the places my family has lived when I visited them with the kids last month! These two paintings are from Bolivia, and they represent life as I saw it when we lived there! The hut above is like many that are on the Altiplano, and we always saw alpacas and llamas when we drove out there from La Paz, where we were living. There are no trees, because the Altiplano is over 12,000 feet above sea level – well above tree line! Sometimes there wasn’t even a road that you could see, and my dad would navigate by compass and dried-up riverbeds. Alpaca wool makes beautifully soft and warm clothing, and I loved the bright colors locals dyed it! It was here that I hiked one of the highest portions of ancient Inca roads when I was 13 years old – climbing up to 16,000 feet above sea level and then descending into rain forests at 8,000 feet!

The picture below is of a fisherman on Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the world! The reed boat shown in this picture is a smaller version of the type of reed boat that adventurer Thor Heyerdahl used for his Ra expeditions.

fishing on lake titicaca

I didn’t bring my good camera with me to Florida (I didn’t trust myself to navigate the airports with it AND four children). Some day I want to go back to my parents and captures these paintings with a good camera, in proper lighting, to do them justice!

Pan pipes and charango are the instruments I remember best from living in Bolivia. I even learned how to play charango – thankfully from one made entirely from wood rather than the traditional armadillo shell! I have found it a little bit hard to find good recordings of Andean music, so I was excited to see this CD and eBook that Daria put together about life in the Andes. I think it’s a very worthwhile purchase for anyone wanting to give their children an introduction to this part of the world! Her ebook explains a lot about daily life in the Andes, and it includes some fun activities for kids!

Follow the link to read more about my experience living in Bolivia as depicted through childhood art!

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Exploring Geography is a world culture for kids series that showcases cities, states, and countries in a child-friendly manner. Email mamasmilesblog at gmail dot com if you are interested in contributing a guest post. Cities, states, and countries that have been covered thus far are listed on my world culture for kids page!

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

16 thoughts on “Exploring Bolivia Through Art and Music”

  1. I totally get the camera issue. It’s so true with young children you can only do so much, thank goodness my iphone has a good camera on it :)

  2. Hee hee, I was reading it and didn’t read thoroughly and I thought, “Thor didn’t ride in reed boats that was an Egyptian thing…….” Then I read it through again and realized what you were saying.

  3. You really did have an amazing childhood – I love how the pictures take you back and I would like to check out Daria’s CD.

  4. What an adventurous childhood you had! Bolivia sounds like an amazing place to see! And you made all those sculpey figures?! They are amazing! What a great way to record your observations!

  5. Looks like you captured them pretty nicely anyway. The top picture looks so idyllic. I guess in reality life can be tough above the tree line at times! I imagine the winters get quite cold and the farming way of life is hard work anywhere.

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