April 14, 2021

The common pots, a relief for many Bolivians in quarantine



A row is waiting patiently for their ration of the common pot, a relief for many Bolivians who are further complicated by their quarantine in their precarious situation in cities like Santa Cruz.

“Here in the neighborhood there is a lot of poverty,” Yolanda Valdés, from the neighborhood council of the Santa Cruz neighborhood Ambrosio Villarroel, assures Efe.

The neighbor shows a notebook with a list of diners waiting for their ration, about 460 dishes, every day from Monday to Friday, in three shifts to avoid crowds, especially when the quarantine restrictions to face the coronavirus prohibit massive concentrations.

In total there are between 850 and 900 servings every day at three distribution points in this area where “there are children, young people, who need to eat, the elderly, sick, delicate,” says Valdés, who explains that food they come from neighborhood solidarity and donations.

For this reason, he asks the authorities to “not forget this neighborhood,” somewhat remote from the center of Santa Cruz, the largest city in Bolivia, with more than a million and a half inhabitants, and the country’s financial capital.

Since the state of sanitary emergency was declared in Bolivia at the end of March after the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in the country, common cooking pots have alleviated the situation of humble people, who depend on day-to-day life to earn a living in the country. Street.

But quarantine restrictions only allow you to leave the house for a few hours from Monday to Friday, a single day depending on the number in which the identity card ends, to buy basic products.

They depend on the solidarity of families who pay for their rice or vegetables for the pot, to which they go in a patient row, leaving a meter of distance between each one, with their pots to take the ration home or with dishes to eat it on the street, because Santa Cruz has good weather all year round.

The large pots are cooked and served on the street, by volunteers who contact on social networks, and a blackboard indicates where they are.

The restrictions for the quarantine generated some protests in Bolivia before the difficulties to earn money with which to get food among humble people who live day by day from informal jobs on the street, while on the other hand there are expressions of solidarity from both public entities and private as a private title.

The country’s interim government extended until May 10 the state of sanitary emergency in the country, which reports 71 deaths and 1,470 confirmed cases of coronavirus, among a population of some eleven million inhabitants.

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