After 4 hours of bus from Uyuni, we are arrived in Potosi.
Potosi, previously an international city, whose silver made Europe rich, is now one of the poorest city of Bolivia.
Built at the bottom of the Cerro Rico (the rich mountain) in 1545 by the spanish in order to exploit the mine, used to be the city of all excess : The most populated city of all America (after Mexico), the highest city in the world (at 4,090 m), and the richest city. People says that with all the silver extracted from the mine, we could have built a silver bridge between Potosi and Madrid.
Nevertheless, Potosi is a must go destination in Bolivia for his architecture, the atmosphere and finally for the visit of its mines, still exploited.
We stayed two days (Saturday and Sunday) just enough time to visit the historic centre and the mines.
Instead of writting, like any other blogs and articles on the web, two pages about the tough working conditions, the death, etc… jacquesandcaro have made a short video to summarize our state of mind after spending two hours inside the mine. We have followed our young guide, 22 years old, who has spent previously one year and half working in the mine after loosing its parents.
We went through GreenGo Tours, a highly responsible tourist agency whose owner, a former miner is keen to show you around while respecting the miners around.
The objective for sure is not to change the world, but at least make you aware that in the poorest region of the one of the poorest country of the world, life is not easy. When a mineur child loses his father in the mine, it just get him to start his job as a miner a bit earlier.
Today, we can build a new bridge between Potosi and Madrid, but this time a bridge made of the bones from the million of death that worked in the Cerro Rico mine.
When we visited the mines in Saturday, almost no one was working. We only met some workers finishing their 15 hours shifts started on Friday. The use of coca helps them not to eat and not to stop during 15 hours inside the mine.
Here some pictures of our small group inside the cerro rico and around el Tio (the Devil).
Inside the mine (underground), God is not king but the Devil is. We celebrate him with some statues inside the mine, throwing at him leaves of coca and pouring on him a bit of « almost pure » alcool that the miners usually share between them after.
This is the miners life in Potosi,
Blog you soon,