BOLIVIA, Adrián Betancourt Henestrosa (14 ) •
Takesi is a two-day, one-night walk, carried out following part of the Inca road through La Paz. It is already a tradition for the Pioneers, university and pre-university students from La Paz, and for several years, the Boys’ Youth from Santa Cruz de la Sierra have also accompanied us.—
We made the trip with our groups’ Chilean advisers, until last year, Fr. Jaime Gayangos, and this year Fr. Cristóbal Asenjo.
Zebras on the streets of La Paz
Three Pioneers came from Santa Cruz: Santiago Franco, Santiago Villarroel, and I. We arrived a couple of days before departing to get accustomed to La Paz’s altitude (for those who do not know: Santa Cruz is only 400 m/ above sea level, and it is a tropical climate. La Paz on the other hand has an altitude of 3,600 m/ above sea level. During that time, we had some activities. For example: we dressed like zebras and we went out on the streets demonstrating to people how to cross and make drivers aware so that they respect pedestrians—a community activity of road safety education.
Then the walk really began. What time did they depart? Unfortunately, Fr. Cristóbal could not accompany us because the altitude affected him greatly. We left on Saturday at 5:00 a.m., and for those of us who live at 416 m above sea level, our greatest challenge was in climbing the peak that was 4,640 m, since had difficulty in the thin air, many times it was very difficult physically, but the group’s encouragement was always very motivational.
Once we go up there, everything was worth it. There was snow! Those from Santa Cruz live in a very hot climate, and getting to see snow was really an experience for us. We began to eat it! That was the most fun. Moreover, we saw impressive scenery like the Yungas and the mountains.
Feeling God’s presence
Beyond the experiences that we had as a group, God’s presence was very real for us, in nature as well as in our prayers. I would recommend to the pioneers from everywhere to organize this kind of activity, where physical effort is combined with the strength of belonging to a group encouraged by God’s motivation.
Original: 23 July 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA