Bolivia: Rations a part of life

By Angie Washington

Latina Lista

Angie Washington profile pic
COCHABAMBA, BOLIVIA — Dotted along every major thoroughfare, vendors set up tarps to sell their wares. When I drove by a long line of people, shopping bags in hand, I was curious what wonderful product was being offered.

As I peered under the covered bed of the old truck, one man was tossed a white bag to another who handed it to an eager customer. I was watching the sugar ration in action.


“We went to the market.They sold me one 2 kilo bag,” a wife told me. “They told me I couldn’t have anymore. Then when my husband approached to purchase another bag they told him one bag per family was all that is allowed.” I had asked the couple about the rationing.

“I think it is nice that they are only allowing a little bit so that everyone can have some,” the husband added.

Not everyone has such a positive view of this common occurrence. Most bread shop shelves are half bare as they quickly sell out of their diminished stock of sweet items. Coffee shops are urged to provide sugar only if requested and at one little packet per person.

Rationing is a part of life here. A few months ago, flour and rice were rationed. Not long ago, beef was scarce. Gas canisters for kitchens may be plentiful this week and then the next (week) nowhere to be found.

Year round many neighborhoods live on a scheduled water supply so as to conserve for the whole population’s benefit. Now we have been told to prepare for a shortage of chicken coming soon.

Is this the socialistic nation the President dreamed of? Does the proverbial fixed pie actually exist? Should we believe the corruption conspiracy theories?

All political commentaries aside, even though Bolivia is the poorest nation in South America, if the greatest trouble is a sugar shortage, we are doing relatively well in comparison to nations in other parts of the world suffering under harsh lack.

In the meantime, I’ll take my cup of Joe black, please.

Learn more about Angie

Angie Washington lives with her husband and five kids in Cochabamba, Bolivia in the heart of South America. This has been her home since 2001. They run an orphanage called the House of Dreams and have a church called Christ Nation.

She believes faith without coffee is dead, enjoys laughing out loud, and collects cacti and kaleidoscopes.

Angie not only lives life to the fullest but it would probably be an understatement to say her life is full — full of children, full of love and full of the unpredictability that goes with living in another country.

Luckily, Angie shares her daily adventures at her blog “the @.” Readers can also follow her on Twitter at “atangie.”

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