Imagine traveling from one region of your country to another region of your country and not being able to communicate with people that are natives because of the multiple different groups and languages that are scattered within your borders

Imagine traveling from one region of your country to another region of your country and not being able to communicate with people that are natives because of the multiple different groups and languages that are scattered within your borders. Now picture yourself not only traveling a short distance and not being able to communicate with individuals only miles away because of language differences, but struggling to translate or determine what is being communicated due to having a poor education and because your entire country has an extremely low literacy rate. There are many countries that are working to improve and raise their living standards, but face many obstacles that only allow them accomplish so much over a long period of time. The information in this paper will be pertaining the cultural environment of Bolivia and the challenges that they face on a daily basis.
There are 38 ethnic groups characterized in Bolivia and each of those groups speak a different language. Although there are 38 different languages spoken in the country, only four languages are exploited by a considerable amount of Bolivians. Spanish is spoken by the majority of the population at 60.7%, Quechua is spoken by 21.2% of the population, 14.6% of the population speaks Aymara, 1.2% of the population speaks Guarani, and the remaining 2.4% of the Bolivia population speaks foreign languages or other languages from the Bolivian ethnic groups. The official language of Bolivia is spanish, which is spoken by educated Bolivians. But the language and dialects differ among the many regions as a result of mixing with its indigenous rivals. The pronunciation and vocabulary alters and diverses according to the location in Bolivia such as areas located in the highlands or the lowlands of the country. The Aymara language is spoken mostly in the plane area, Quechua is spoken in the mountain areas, and Guarani is spoken more along the border near Paraguay. Multilingualism is one of Bolivia’s strengths, but it also creates difficulty and a stumbling block when trying to aid workers, educators, and researchers. “The indigenous languages have a strong oral tradition and little written tradition,” says former vice president Cardenas. “It was very important to send a message to the indigenous peoples that these languages are capable of being written at the international level.” Many of these Bolivians are multilingual or monolingual, which makes it difficult to communicate with them or even when translating with them because there is such a broad range of languages spoken across the entire country.
In Bolivia, religion is very important to their culture and customs. The constitution identifies the Roman Catholicism as the official religion in the country. According to a 2001 survey conducted by the National Statistical Institute, 78% of the population is Roman Catholic, 16% is Protestant or evangelical, 3% follow other religions of the Christian origin, 2.5% practice no religion, and less than 0.2% claim affiliation with non-Christian faiths which include Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Shinto. In urban and rural areas, 75%-80% of the population is Catholic. With almost the entire country practicing a Christian religion, atheist are estimated to constitute to an insignificant percentage of the population. The Constitution provides freedom of religion and the Government respects this right as it is practiced. The Government protects this right fully and does not tolerate its abuse by governmental or private activators. The Constitution has established this recognition and supports the Roman Catholic Church. Although the government supports Roman Catholics, such language is not allowed in the proposed constitution. There are written agreements between the Catholic Church and the Government to formalize the support of the Catholic Church. The Government has provided a limited amount of funds to the Catholic Church, but the financial support that was provided significantly succeeded the support. The Government provided this support for the Catholic Church so that the Catholic Church could provide the country with support in the areas of education, health, and social welfare; areas that the Government would otherwise be responsible for. Government and Catholic leaders expect these written agreements to persit whether or not the constitution recognizes the church. Although it is not formalized by law, the Government will call upon the Catholic Church to arbitrate political disagreements.
For Christians holy days are observed as national holidays. National, holy holidays celebrated in Bolivia include Good Friday, Corpus Christi, All Soul’s Day, and Christmas.
Indigenous faiths are practiced by the Quechua, Guarani, Chiquitano, Aymara, and other native groups. Many of these indigenous groups still have superstitious beliefs that include Akeko (a god of harvests, luck, and abundance) and Pachamama (a mother earth figure) and ceremonies are held to reflect their beliefs. During holidays recognizing lent, many Indian musical and dance groups compete during the most important folk festival held in Oruro. This festival is competitive by day, but by night it turns into a party of dancing and drinking as tens of thousands residents and guest partake in this event.
Bolivians have gained immense influences from the combination of Indian and European cultures. Bolivia’s artistic community is thriving in painting, sculpture, classical and traditional music, and folk dancing. You can see examples of Bolivian music and art by visiting the numerous art galleries and theatres located in the major cities. The most outstanding museums are the National Museum of Art which was built in 1964, and the National Museum of Archaeology that was created in 1864. Both of these prominent museums are located in La Paz’s. There are numerous Roman Catholic churches, because of the importance of their religion, located heavily in the urban and rural areas dating all the way back from colonial times that resemble national architectural treasures due to their style and craft. These churches are generally embellished in beautiful Baroque style, Renaissance, or later styles.
There is not another sport in Bolivia that compares to the popularity of soccer. After Bolivia placed second in the 1997 South American Championship, the country has gained a huge respect for the sport. For the growing upper and middle classes, clubs have been established for horseback riding, golf, and tennis. A few other popular sports include bicycle and automobile racing, volleyball, basketball, and bull fighting follows shortly after. There are few indoor sports because of the lack of facilities, but that has not stopped Bolivian boxers from winning Latin American Championships.
Although Bolivia is continuing to develop, it has still allowed some of the world’s greatest writers to influence the world. Within the country’s borders there has been much political turmoil, but authors and writers have overcome these obstacles and have been capable of capturing the richness and spirit of these great people. Rather than being silenced during the various changes of government, many of these great authors have migrated towards writing about this interesting culture. Bolivia consist of many native people and people of Spanish descent which allows them have a mixed culture. With the different groups of people living in the country and because there are various languages that are used for communication, many of these people’s stories are expressed in a verbal fashion, rather than being written. One of Bolivia’s many famous authors and writers is Javier del Granado. Granado is considered to be Bolivia’s favorite son and poet. He was born into a wealthy family in 1913 and spent most of his youth at his family’s large estate, referred to as hacienda, which is a large piece of land that is used for farming or ranching. His environment and settings played a very influential role in his work. He received much recognition throughout his career. A funeral was held and marked as a state event and included three days of mourning. Since his death in 1996, the country of Bolivia has dedicated two avenues and plaza’s in his memory along with a commemorative postage stamp as a tribute to his memory. Because of intense scrutiny, it is not easy to publish literary work in Bolivia. Other interferences to the political conflicts include the multitude of languages thand subcultures with publications and translations. Although there is little exposure to their own culture, there is very minimal exposure to literary works from around the world. The native people have much to offer, but there is very little written about them.
Although farming accounts for one-seventh of the countries GDP, two-fifths of the countries population is engaged in agriculture. Bolivia’s staple food product is potatoes and it is available in dozens of different varieties. Quinoa and canahua are two other highly consumed grains that are both extremely nutritious and ripen well in the growing conditions of the country. Other crops that are important to Bolivians include barley, wheat, fava beans, and corn. Although the country has it’s three main crops, it produces a variety of different crops produced that includes coffee, citrus fruits, bananas, avocados, pineapples, mangoes, papayas, melons, chili peppers and sweet potatoes. When the weather is warm and the appropriate climate of the Valles, corn, wheat, barley, alfalfa, grapes, flowers, strawberries, peaches, and vegetables and grown and sheep and dairy cattle are raised. The garden of Bolivia is considered as the fertile region and it has been an important factor for Bolivia’s agriculture and food source as more-systematic irrigation systems have been introduced and advanced farming techniques have been practiced. Soybeans, sugarcane, rice, and cotton are the main crops in the Santa Cruz area and the raising of beef cattle is significant as well. The daily food consumptions in typically abundant in carbohydrates, but lacks in other food categories. Because different regions are better at producing specific crops and livestock, diets tend to vary throughout the country. In the Oriente region, rice, cassava, peanuts, bananas, legumes, and corn are the main crops that consist of their diet, supplemented by either fish or poultry and sometimes beef. Two of the national favorite dishes for are guinea pig and deep-fried pork. Meals consumed by Bolivians are served with hot pepper sauces. Most early morning meals will consist of coffee, tea, or hot maize (a beverage consisting of alcohol), and is normally served with bread or toasted ground cereals. When lunch time arrives, upper-class households will consume a four-course mean and will have a much smaller meal during the evening. Peasants and low-income urbanites will typically consume boiled potatoes, homemade cheese, a hard-boiled eggs, and hot sauce as a meal or they will eat a stew that consist of potatoes and rice. In the event of special occasions such as baptism, marriage, and death, the most elaborate meals are prepared and consumed. These meals served on special occasions include fresh vegetables served with either beef, chicken, or pork. During these times, Bolivians have the opportunity to have bottled beer and other beverages containing alcohol that they normally are not offered or that is not regularly available to them.
The daily life of Bolivians is highly dependent on social class, economic status, and where they reside. Although traditions are carried out throughout the country, they are heavily practiced around the rural and working-class areas. Most individuals that belong to the middle and upper classes tend to gravitate towards more “modern” or even Western cultural ideals when it comes to their choice of music, clothing, entertainment, arts, and reading material. Advancements has allowed Bolivians to access to both television and cellular phones. Middle and Upper-class residents have the ability to own computers and cable tv programming, along with a wide variety of food, clothing and public transportation. However, the poor urbanites are far from having the ability to have these luxuries. Residents located in the tropical lowlands typically participate in more social gatherings because there are more restaurants and clubs are more available. Social standing is a huge determinant when it comes to shopping. The upper and middle-classes will shop in malls and supermarkets in nicer areas while the lower-income residents shop at local markets so that they can save money. However, because music recordings, computers, and cellular phones can all be purchased in the black market, members of all social classes will be found shopping to find the latest technology and the best deals that are offered.
Marriage is expected of all Bolivians and is a fundamental step that represents adult status. There are three steps in the typical marriage ritualization. The first initial step of cohabitation consist of the spouses setting up a household and having kids, which normally takes up to three years. The next two steps include a civil wedding and then a religious wedding followed by a three day long celebration. The most important rule for marriage in the highlands is not marrying someone that has an identical surname and someone that is not a first, second, or third cousin. Divorce is very rare, but if it occurs it is expected of individuals that they get remarried. Men hold important positions in the country and women play the the domestic role of working in the kitchen or even in the fields when collecting crops. Children are raised to contribute to the household at a very early age. Many children will help there mother sell goods at market. Although education is highly valued, the literacy rate is 20. Norms of respect and formality control social interaction that is also based on age, gender, status, and class difference. Physical greetings are different different statuses. In most situations a short, firm handshake is acceptable. A hug and a short pat on the back is expected when you are greeting a close friend or a family member. Public touching and kissing is frowned upon among couples in public. It is required that all individuals show acts of generosity which normally results in sharing food or beverages.
Bolivia is a country that faces the challenges of political scrutiny, low literacy rates, and is still developing it’s country. With the many obstacles that Bolivians have placed before them, they manage to go through their daily lives and live with a great spirit. With little access to literary work from other countries and with extremely poor educational programs, the country continues to improve one step at a time to increase the living standards. I found it very interesting that although the country is many steps behind the United States and has far less resources and opportunities than we do, they still strive to better their country and their lifestyles as well. I find one major influence of their setbacks and challenges is the diversity among many different languages that are spoken within the country. With many languages and low literacy rates, it is an extremely hard task to communicate to individuals as a whole and to get everyone in the country on the same page and understanding the environment within their country and other countries around the world.

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