Peace and Goodwill in Boots and Hardhats

A team of lineworkers from electric cooperatives in Virginia and Maryland travels thousands of miles to bring light and hope to the residents of several remote villages.

November-December 2019

Richard G. Johnstone Jr., Executive Editor

Bolivia is a land of breathtaking contrasts. Lowlands barely 300 feet above sea level. Sky-scraping peaks more than four miles high. Extremes in weather, from equatorial heat to arctic cold.

This South American country is mountainous in a way that we in the East can’t fathom, and Coloradoans can but envy. The mighty Andes reach to the sky here, in parallel ranges towering over 20,000 feet.

Nestled between these Andean heights is the Altiplano, or “high plateau.” A flat depression 80 miles wide and 500 miles long, its elevation of 12,000 feet would make it a rooftop almost anywhere in North America. In this part of Bolivia, though, it’s merely a floor. Cold winds blow through this bowl year-round, eroding the dry soils of its slopes and hills. Coarse grasses, low shrubs, cacti and mosses cover this rocky region, grazed by llamas and alpacas.