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Department #4 Potosí

Potosí is a department in southwestern Bolivia. It comprises 118,218 km² with 823,517 inhabitants. The capital is the city of Potosí. It is mostly a barren, mountainous region with one large plateau to the west, where the largest salt flat in the world, Salar de Uyuni, is located.

Potosí is a really unique city and one of the highest at 13,420 ft. Its long mining history is on view at Cerro Rico, a mountain and working silver mine south of the city. Potosí’s former mint, the central Casa Nacional de la Moneda, is now a museum dedicated to Bolivian art and history. Next to the mint, Plaza 10 de Noviembre is a square lined with ornate colonial buildings, including the cathedral.

I had the opportunity to visit this city and go inside one of the mines. What I saw in there was shocking. I saw the devil. Story has it that this devil is named El Tio the devil god of the mines. The workers will make offerings of coca leaves along with alcohol and cigarettes to El Tio. It is reported that each of the 38 businesses running mines on the mountain has a statue of El Tio in their tunnels. He has horns because they believe he is the god of the depths. It is reported that one of the workers said this; "Usually we gather here on Fridays to make offerings, in gratitude because he gave us lots of minerals, and so that he will protect us from accidents. Outside the mine we are Catholics, and when we enter the mine, we worship the devil." This goes to show you the spiritual state of the people there and the need for the Gospel.

Also in this department is the city of Uyuni where I had the opportunity to stay overnight in a motel. I remember it being so cold that we had two super thick wool blankets on our beds and it felt like it was gonna suffocate me haha. I also got to see God's marvelous creation by touring the salt flats. I do remember attending a church there, but it wasn't a baptist church. I believe that was the only church there in that city. Continue to pray for Bolivia and that churches would be started in every city and department.

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