By Courtney Mathos, missionary to Bolivia; Courtney moved to Bolivia at the end of March and shares about what it’s been like to set up her apartment

Cochabamba, Bolivia, has one of the largest open-air markets in Latin America called La Cancha. The word cancha usually refers to a basketball or soccer court. La Cancha covers 15-city blocks, contains over 100,000 vendors, and miles of storefronts, either on the street or in buildings. You can find almost everything you need at the cancha, from cars, food, fabrics, furniture, kitchen appliances, and even witch doctors and medical supplies.

When you first get to the cancha, it looks pretty disorganized, with loads of buses, taxis, and people in the streets and an assortment of stores as far as the eye can see. I soon learned that each section of the cancha is divided according to what is sold, so stores with the same products are usually found close together. Still, it is easy to get lost as you cross streets, go in and out of buildings, and try to find what you are looking for. To avoid pickpockets, I’ve learned that it’s best to go with someone who knows their way around, wear a small purse, and dress casually. Trying to set up my apartment and find things at the cancha, while also learning new Spanish terms has been an eye-opening experience.

Each time I’ve gone to this large open-air market, I have seen people buying incense to burn for Mother Earth (Pachamama), supplies from witch doctors, or candles for Catholic mass. The gospel need is great in Bolivia. Pray for me to learn the language and adapt to culture so I can share the truths of the gospel with many Bolivians.