#DayOfTheGirl: step into a day in Flora’s life in the mountains of Bolivia

  • By: Compassion Canada
Flora, in a pink shirt, blue sweater, and skirt, is standing in a brown field carrying sticks of firewood on her back. One of her chores is to collect the firewood.

What does life look like for a girl in the high plateaus of Bolivia? Meet 11-year-old Flora from Ravelo, a community in the southern highlands. Her home is a 20-minute journey up a hill. Flora is the fourth of 10 children. The family are split between two small adobe houses, which they use as bedrooms, kitchen and a storehouse. They don’t have electricity, water or a sewer system.

Flora, in a blue sweater and blue skirt, is walking in a field next to a group of pigs. She is carrying sticks of firewood on her back. One of her chores is to collect firewood.

Like most rural communities, children in Ravelo start chores at young ages to help their families. The family cooks with firewood, and collecting it is Flora’s first chore of the day. She’s on vacation from school but she has a busy day ahead of her.

Flora wakes to the sound of the rooster’s cry. She rushes down to the river to wash her face.

At around 6:00 a.m., she heads back to find firewood. Sometimes she carries it in a bundle up with rope, or in an aguayo, the colorful cloth women use to carry many things: their babies, their food, their purchases and more.

Flora, in a pink shirt, blue sweater, and shirt, is sitting on the ground with her brother as they sort a pile of potatoes.

On the days Flora hunts for firewood, she takes a snack to eat, usually potatoes. She covers long distances, often not returning home until noon. The mornings she doesn’t collect firewood, she has a late breakfast with her family. They usually eat potato or corn soup. Potatoes are staple of their diet: most families grow the vegetable because it grows well in cold weather.

Lunch is usually boiled corn or more potatoes.

After resting or playing with her siblings, Flora’s next chore is to sort the potatoes with her siblings. Potatoes are sold according to their size because different sizes have different uses.

Flora, in a pink shirt, blue sweater and skirt, is walking in a field with some sheep. She carries a slingshot to keep them from straying and to warn other animals away from the flock. There is a dog in the background.

At around 3:00 p.m., Flora leaves to graze the sheep. She carries a slingshot to keep them from straying and to ward other animals away from the flock. On the outskirts of Ravelo, her sheep have large areas to graze, so Flora walks long distances.

When she returns, she doesn’t seem tired. She’s used to these chores. If there is still sunlight, she hurries to do her homework outside before it gets too dark to see.

Flora, in a pink shirt and blue sweater and skirt, is sitting outside doing homework with a book on her lap. There is a boy sitting in the background.

It’s almost nightfall, but there’s still time for one more chore. Seated on a rock, Flora mills the dried corn using a batan. A batan has been used for hundreds of years in Bolivia and can be found in most homes. The kitchen utensil is made up of a flat stone and a grinding stone. Flora rocks the grinding stone over the corn on the flat stone to mill it into a fine powder. Her family uses this to make corn flour soup. For dinner, the family usually has soup or potatoes once again.

Seated on a rock, Flora, in a blue sweater, mills the dried corn using a batan.

It’s ten o’clock at night. After her busy day of chores, Flora is ready for bed. She’s looking forward to attending her Compassion child development centre, which she visits twice a week. “I like to go to the centre because I play with my friends and I eat tasty food,” she says.

Thanks to her being sponsored through Compassion, her family also receives food baskets with nutritious food such as milk, yogurt, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables, which they usually can’t afford.

Tonight, she goes to sleep feeling tired but happy.


October 11 is the International Day of the Girl Child.

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Photos and field reporting by Galia Oropeza. Written by Galia Oropeza, with Alyssa Esparaz.