Sweat beaded down my back as I paused to think about where I could use the bathroom. I turned around to see my host mother carefully and swiftly picking the coca leaves one by one and stuffing them into a bag that was tied around her waist. The voice of Jorge Medina, an afro-Bolivian advocate echoed from the radio next to her. “The government has taken significant steps to recognize the Afro-Bolivian population in the census, but more work still needs to be done. In many of rural areas Afro-Bolivians still do not have access to quality education and even learning their history in schools. Many Afro-Bolivian farmers do not have clean water in their homes or do not have bathrooms.” Just then my host mother looked up at me. Slightly embarrassed I asked, her“where can I use the bathroom.” She pointed to a bush nearby, “make sure you go quickly and duck so no one sees you.
Before doing fieldwork in the Afro-Bolivian community of KalaKala, I did not anticipate asking the questions like where would I use the bathroom? Would there be clean running water to drink? In fact, these questions were far from my mind. My notebook was filled with other questions that focused on the emerging Afro-Bolivian movement and with notes of interviews with Afro-Bolivian activist in the city of La Paz. I was intrigued by their answers that were filled with hope that change was coming. I young Afro-Bolivian activist in the activist group ORISBOL told me, “We are two percent of the population, but we