Alrighty, folks. This has basically been our first full week of getting the word out about our hostel. And guests have actually been trickling in! In the beginning, they were sent by friends of friends, but it looks like we’re starting to get bookings from strangers now as well. We’ve had many a happy guest come and go, despite a rocky start with our first booking on hostelbookers. It’s been a bit of a difficult adjustment for each one of us as our overnight shifts begin to take their toll on us. Some travelers tend to get sick and spend all night throwing up, while others simply do not follow the house rules/norms. However, many have told us what a great time they’ve had and how they’re certain that we will have a full house in a few weeks. Fingers crossed as it is low season!
We’re also in talks with a student volunteer organization in the US that coordinates volunteer activities throughout the world. They have a special group that comes to Bolivia and there is a chance that their students may be able to stay with us a for a few days while attending and leading community workshops! These students are certain to learn so much about Bolivian reality and it’s exciting to think that we could be part of these potentially life-changing experiences!
We’ve also had our first stay-in volunteer, Leyla, who has been such an immense delight to have around. She’s cheerfully helped us with advertising, cooking breakfast, sewing our keychains, color-coordinating our keys, cleaning our walls, and so on. We’ll really miss her. With any luck, we’ll have future volunteers who are as wonderful as she is, though it’s hard to imagine!
At this point, the February calendar needs to be planned. Carnaval throws a bit of a wrench in things because no one is in town or wanting to come to a workshop during the holidays. This allows us just the last half of the month to offer a few language exchanges, basic workshops, etc. But sometimes, we want to do a lot more than we really can or should try to do. With workshops, all of us want to get to the point when we can start offering them, but with the hostel needing the most attention right now, our hands are tied. The learning curve has been rough. In the end, it is probably best that guests do not arrive in a sudden and overwhelming wave as this gives us time to adjust and figure out how to balance our priorities with the hostel and the community center. This will be an ongoing challenge we hope to continually overcome!
Until next week, thanks for tuning in!