Issue - August 2007

August 2007

In this issue, Amy Pollock reviews the successes of Arnold Brower’s school garden project, while Lucy Witter talks with the rector of an English school enrolling impoverished students; we hear form Save the Children about their reconciliation programme after the Cochabamba riots in more...

August 2007

Tablas Monte

1st Fair of Biodiversity and Nutrition, Silvia Bustillos & Carminia Arias from the Tourism Departament of San Simón University

By: Silvia Bustillos & Carminia Arias
Conservation Biodiversity, , San Simón University
Sindicato Tablas Monte

The natural and cultural richness of Tablas Montes is gaining popularity with tourists, not least because of the attraction of a canyon that is home to a rare indigenous species of blind birds, the Guacharo. For this reason, a group of organisations including the foundation PROINPA, Proyecto Papa Andina, of the Ministerio de Desarrollo Rural (Ministery of Rural Development) and the Sistema Boliviano de Tecnología Agropecuaria (Bolivian System of Agricultural Technology) staged the first Fair of Biodiversity and Nutrition in June with the community of Tablas Monte.

The fair celebrated the diversity of crops from the region – Andean tubers, for example - their nutritional benefits, and the rich cultural heritage that people from this area enjoy when cooking with these indigenous foods. The women of Tablas Monte Organisation cooked some traditional meals such as fried ‘Rellenos’, with arracacha, yacón, ajipa and achira (traditional tubers of the region), for the enjoyment of locals and tourist visitors.

The Health Centre of Tablas Monte gave a presentation about the nutritional benefits of Andean tubers produced in the community. Local schools got involved by presenting a puppet show about biodiversity in the region and the audience was treated to a tasting of blackberry and guava jams made from fruit grown in Tablas Monte.

The Guacharo birds’ canyon, is ten kilometres away from Tablas Monte and is a prime example of biodiversity in the region not to mention a fabulous destination for tourists who want something more from a holiday in Bolivia.

Adventure is to be found here – currently with a little more work though, as the road to the canyon is being worked on and traffic can only use it after sunrise and after 6pm – and there are no hostels there yet, so visitors need to be handy with a tent and a stove and bring their own water supplies. It is also important to bring trekking boots, sun-block and insect repellent, light clothes for daytime and warm clothes for night-time. And make sure not to forget your camera! In fact, this area is so new to tourism, it is best, if you are unsure, to hire a local guide – one such person who tourists can contact when they arrive in the area is Gumercindo Orozco, who knows people from the community who have experience in this and who know the land well.

To really get to know Tablas Monte and the canyon, it is essential to understand the importance of conservation of biodiversity there, which the fair helped to promote and which many organisations are focused on preserving while promoting tourism also. Visiting the Guacharo birds´ canyon is an excellent way to support this initiative and learn about something very important to Bolivian natural heritage. The Conservation of Biodiversity Projectdeveloped by the Tourism Departement at San Simón University propose eco-tourism as the best option to conserve the evironement while concurrently creating opportunities for local people to capitalise on these changes.

Children and Youth ...
Save the Children is a non-profit institution here in Bolivia. The children’s rights based organization has been working in the country since 1985, and since then, has expanded its activities to every department in Bolivia....
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