Proyecto Horizonte

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As our South American adventure is almost over and soon we’ll be back in London, it’s time to meet the little ones we helped to look after during our volunteering at Proyecto Horizonte. Ania worked in kindergarten with 4 years old children for over three months.

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And Artur worked with 8 years old kids from tercera secundaria which is equivalent of Year 3 of primary school. Both of us helped during afternoon classes. We’ve had the most wonderful time and we would love to be able to do it much longer!

Kindergarten seen from the main street and its playground.

Five minutes walk up the hill on the same street there is colegio building which houses primary and secondary school.

How to extend your visa in Bolivia

We have just survived anther encounter with Bolivian bureaucracy. This time we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the service and support we received at Dirección General de Migración when applying for visa extension. Which means that there is hope for all volunteers who want to stay in Bolivia for up to 6 months (3 months longer than their standard 90 days tourist visa).

SAM_1319The visa you need to apply for is called Visa de Objeto Determinado Casos Especiales (30 días). You can extend it twice which gives you in total extra 90 days of a legal stay in Bolivia. The first 30 days cost 600 bolivianos and if you present yourself with all the documents listed below you should be able to apply for it within one day, although be prepared to spend a good few hours in the process.

  1. Passport valid for six months beyond the date of entry.
  2. Passport size photo on the red background.
  3. Passport photocopy of the page with your photo and the page with the last entry stamp to the country.
  4. Recommendation letter from the institution where you work voluntarily to confirm your role with them.
  5. Photocopy of the ID that belongs to the person who wrote a reference letter.
  6. Formal letter (solicitud) signed by the lawyer requesting Visa de Objeto Determinado Casos Especiales.
  7. Most recent bank statement to prove you have sufficient funds to support yourself financially during your stay.
  8. Formal letter (declaracion jurada de solvencia economica) signed by the notary to confirm that you have enough money to cover your expenses. Unfortunately, the bank statement does not suffice. We asked and were told it needs to be submitted along with the notary letter.

SAM_1322After one month you can apply for Primera Prórroga de Visa de Objeto Determinado Casos Especiales which allows you to stay for another 30 days. It costs Bs. 300. The last application for Segunda Prórroga de Visa de Objeto Determinado Casos Especiales grants you final extra 30 days. It costs another Bs. 300. The entire process may be time consuming but gives you peace of mind of a legal immigration status during your stay in Bolivia and surprisingly, saves you money as it is cheaper than paying 20 bolivianos per day per person overstay fee when leaving the country.

The only bad experience we had during the whole process was the way we were treated by abogado (lawyer) who wrote a letter to request the visas. He also charged us in advance for preparing the notary letter which we were supposed to collect from his workplace on Monday morning. When we returned to his office, the only one located on the first floor next to the immigration office which is on Av. Ballivian 722 (also known as El Prado), we found out that nothing was ready. We had to walk with one of his workers to the notary office which is a good few streets away. We spent there over an hour waiting for the documents to be written. What is more, we were informed that if we did it directly through the notary it would cost us 150 bolivianos compared with Bs. 195 that we paid to the lawyer. Dissatisfied with the customer service we received, we returned to the lawyer to complain about the fact that he overcharged us (not about the amount of course, but just for the sake of the principles). We also added that it was not fair to make Ania walk long distances in such a heat. With a smile on his face, the lawyer arrogantly replied that it is good for pregnant women to walk a lot in the late pregnancy. As if we came to him for health related pregnancy advice! He also contemptuously added that we could take him to the lawyers’ tribunal if we wanted and refused to refund the difference. We would rather spend another day working voluntarily in our project and let this lawyer continue to work in line with the code of conduct he chose for himself. But we also thought it would be prudent for others to know about it and judge it for themselves when looking for immigration lawyer!

Is it a boy or is it a girl?

Well, now there is almost no doubt about it :-) Ania has had the second scan done recently and the little bump you can see on the left photo with the small arrow pointing to it, supposedly is the proof of the masculinity of our second child!

If you look closely at the second photo just below the arrow and the word boca you’ll see the blurry image of the face of our son. It requires some imagination but you can do it :-)

Welcome Back!

After having almost settled in a beautiful city of Cochabamba in Bolivia, where we will live until August, it’s time to say sorry to our family and all our friends for not posting anything on the blog for so long! We hope you’ll all forgive us and give us a second chance to re-activate our journey journal! We promise to update you on all our travel adventures! For the time being a few photos from our new home…

Mateusz just before his first day in the new school…

 Waiting for Easter guests to arrive…

No Mateusz! I’m really sorry but we can’t take this puppy with us back to London :-(

Salar de Uyuni

Prison portions of poor quality food, promised wine that never materialised, inattentive tour driver, sleeping longer than agreed on the last day, taking us on a rushed and hurried final excursion. The same driver having the cheek to try to extort the money from us at the end of the trip and leaving us alone on the frontier when we refused to give him extra tip. We could keep on writing about our negative experiences with Huracan tour operator but does it really matter? Will we remember it after few months? I don’t think so! But I’m sure we’ll never forget surreal landscapes, whiter than snow salt plains, hundreds of flamingos and alpacas, sunset near the volcano, hot springs, geysers and the lagoons with unbelievably red, green and white waters.

The last photo shows Mateusz in the made in Bolivia public toilet at the international border crossing with Chile :-) At least we didn’t have to pay for using it.