Issue - February 2008

February 2008

In this special edition, we want to offer you a closer look at Carnival by Walter Sanchez, Luis Fernando Terrazas describes the architectural style of Laguna Carmen, Emma Luna gives her experienced knowledge on The Tropics of Cochabamba and Amy Stillman tells about cochabanner more...

February 2008

the cocha banner celebrates its
30th edition

Portrait Profession: Concert Pianist, Piano Professor, Music Therapist and more! Currently residing in: Cochabamba

Amy Stillman
Projects Abroad - Volunteer
St. Andrews, United Kingdom

For the readers of The Cocha-Banner, this month marks a special milestone since the first creation of the magazine. The Cocha-Banner is celebrating its 30th edition. Those dedicated readers might even remember the times when the Cocha- Banner was little more than some sheets of paper compiled together with a few pictures in a hodgepodge of articles, poems, tongue twisters, and virtually anything the staff could add to entice the Cochabamba public. Needless to say, the magazine has come a long way since the days of posting signs on España Street asking passer-bys to contribute articles and short stories to help keep the magazine running. This article is a commemoration of The Cocha-Banner’s success throughout the years, and its speedy development into such a widely-read local magazine. The Cocha-Banner was created by a Projects Abroad teaching volunteer, Scott Liddle, in collaboration with students from the University of San Simon. At the time, the magazine was predominantly linked to the student population of San Simon, both in terms of its creation and readership. According to the director Daniela Viljoen, Scott Liddle began the magazine in order to be utilized as a teaching-aid for his students to study English, and above all, get his students writing! When he left, he planted the seed in the minds of the permanent staff members to turn the magazine into a journalism project. Soon afterward the staff at Projects Abroad decided that the magazine was in

fact gaining enough popularity to become an independent enterprise. Ximena Noya took over the editing and graphics of The Cocha-Banner in 2006. On the phone to colleagues in the UK, she introduced the idea of using The Cocha-Banner as a project in its own right. The office in the UK was more than happy to oblige the request after reading the first few editions, and consequently, the Cocha-Banner was born as a volunteer project. By its eighth edition the magazine officially became funded by the Projects Abroad office in the UK, and subsequently it was transformed into what it is today.

However, The Cocha-Banner has not always flowed easily from one edition to the next. As Daniela has attested, the first six months were accompanied by a severe shortage of staff. With a drought of volunteers, Daniela, Ximena, and a few others were the magazine’s sole supplier of articles, and as she stated, “everyone took part” in the office as a result of the shortage. Though since those first shaky months, The Cocha-Banner has more than adequately found its feet, on occasion hosting up to 6 volunteers at a time lining up to use one of the two computers available! Though both Daniela and Ximena are adamant, the most important goal of The Cocha-Banner today is to “get more readers!” The objective is to create a magazine that creates awareness amongst the Cochabamba public of the significant organizations and volunteer work that is going on around the city, and in many articles, the country at large. In order to celebrate the Cocha-Banner’s 30th edition we should begin where the magazine itself began, through the creativity and ingenuity of the volunteers that made it possible. Hence, this article is a testimony to the experiences of volunteers in Cochabamba. To gain insight into what makes volunteering in Cochabamba such an attractive option, The Cocha-Banner decided to get the insiders scoop from the volunteers themselves.

So there you have it! Both The Cocha-Banner and the volunteers that make the material for the magazine possible have not always had the easiest time adjusting to the trials and tribulations that come with the production of volunteer projects. Though overall the journey has been worth every step. As the Projects Abroad staff can attest, it continues to change and develop with every passing year. Thus, for those of you interested in being a part of it, it seems to this journalist that the formula to success in volunteering can be summed up in four simple steps: be patient, come with an open mind, keep smiling, and most importantly, enjoy it!

Carnival Chaos

If Christmas and Lent affect spiritual retirement, Carnival is linked to carnal excess expressed through the abundance of eating, drinking, playing and dancing. In Carnival, daily life reaches another dimension. The satire, mockery and popular laughter become cultural devices that can be dangerous if they are not controlled.

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