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My Trip through Bolivia's Plantations

Posted on September 08 2010

This August, I traveled to Bolivia to visit a friend who was teaching music. I hadn’t been down to South America since I lived in Paraguay during my Peace Corps experience 12 years ago.

The trip was amazing – the exquisite beauty and vegetation of South America is incredible. It is cobbled stoned streets to rustic farms to awe-inspiring landscape to cosmopolitan cities. In the city of Santa Cruz, these beautiful trees full of purple flowers line the streets and the parks (see below). The markets are packed with vendors from all over the country bringing in their native crops like peanuts (3 different color peanuts – and boy did I eat a lot) to the most luscious avocados and nickel sized potatoes (again so many varieties).

My favorite day was of course hiking through the coffee fields. We took a three hour walk along a mountain ridge through field after field of plantations. We did not pass a single person – and just hoped that a dirt path would lead us down at some point. Below, I could see distant villages whose livelihoods depended upon these mountain top crops. They plant these crops in 30 degree sloping hills. I have no idea how they do it without losing their grip. But the sloping terrain definitely produced great products.

I’m a hobby beekeeper so I kept my eye out for honey bees and what they were sucking the nectar out of. The country is lined with orange trees, which honey bees swarm to because of their abundant nectar and pollen.  I try to use as much beeswax in the Babo lotions to continue supporting beekeeping – a great passion of mine.

The wonderful aspect of using natural ingredients versus synthetic is that I know that I’m sourcing ingredients that help support farming communities. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that our essential, flower and seed oils get distilled on small farms like the ones we hiked through.

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