Reasons I love Sucre, Bolivia #5

There’s a fierce female who the city has embraced and her name is Juana Azurduy. I first learned about her at the Casa de Libertad (House of Liberty) museum when I saw this striking painting.

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I looked her up and her story is worthy of sharing. Azurduy, an indigenous woman, was a highly ranked officer in the Bolivian fight for liberty in the early 1800s. She successfully led troops, totaling approximately 6000 soldiers, against the Spanish forces. During the fighting she saw her 4 sons die (of infectious diseases, I think) and her husband die at the hands of the Spanish. She fought while pregnant and took a break only to give birth!

After the war which successfully earned Bolivia’s independence from Spain, she lived in extreme poverty for many years in Argentina. She returned to Bolivia to die, at which time she was approximately 80 years old.

Although she was forgotten by everyone except for her family for many years, the Bolivian and Argentinian governments have embraced her heroic story in recent years.  Sucre has commemorated this brave hero by putting her picture on many buildings, and naming various landmarks after her including the Sucre airport.

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Wondering where my first 4 reasons to love Sucre, are? They’re on FB but I’ll recap them here:

Reasons I love Sucre, Bolivia: #1) There are heroes who are paid by the government to dress up like zebras and help children, the infirm, and tourists, yes me, cross the chaotic streets and dodge cars whose drivers have decided traffic rules are for the weak.

Reasons I love Sucre, Bolivia #2: at the market you can go to one of these fruit stands and ask for a fruit salad and you get an overflowing bowl of fresh-cut fruit of all varieties, yogurt, and cream whipped by hand for <$2.

Reasons I love Sucre, Bolivia #3: the city sits at 9,200 feet above sea level. This makes light efforts feel like extreme workouts.

Reasons I love Sucre, Bolivia #4: It's a fantastic place to practice Spanish because the pronunciation is clear, there's not a lot of slang, and people don't immediately engage in speaking English when they see me.

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