It’s been a few days since I’ve blogged, initially due to being unwell and more recently because the prospect of catching up has been so daunting. However, having had a couple of days to relax, reflect and recover a little, and since there is now a less output on other bloggers, I figure it’s time to put finger to touch screen. I’d already been starving myself of decent nutrition doing the overland leg of my journey to Cochabamba and then, when I got a stomach bug a couple of days in, I returned to very limited diet. That probably would have been fine for a day or two buy I then had trouble with a wisdom tooth that no cocktail of pain killers could disguise. Unable to sleep, I had no choice but to see a dentist who pulled it out there and then. Unfortunately the conference had now started and I had to go as I was on a panel in one of the side workshops. To add to my problems, the dentist hsd said I must stay out of the sun, no work and no food. Having already consumed pretty much only water for previous couple of days I knew I need calories so started to make my way to the conference (with a climate camp flag over my head as an ineffective sun hat) and I tried to locate a bag of chocolate soya milk on route to keep me going. Having failed to find any before Unsuccessful reaching the conference I purchased a huge bottle of coca-cola, ubiquitous at every street stall and store. I’d arranged to met Agnes at Mesa 18 before heading over to the workshop together. I was in pain, thumping headache, parched and starving. I sat down amongst the participants of Mesa 18 and even as I heard the speaker say the words I pulled out this huge bottle of coke, unscrewed the lid to a satisfying hiss and gulped down a long thirst quenching slug of the stuff. It could have been worse. Okay, I’d cracked it open right at the moment that the speaker was taking a pop at the coca-cola and all it represents, but at least the bottle hadn’t been shaken up and sprayed everyone with the evil liquid. As I lowered the bottle from my lips I could see dozens of people giving me evil looks but there was no point me trying to tell people that it was purely medicinal. I hate coke, not just the company for it having union workers killed in Columbia or sucking drying water supplies in India and elsewhere. It’s also just not an especially nice drink. However, there was no chance that it had been made with local tap water and since it’s stuffed with so much sugar, it was the closest thing I’d have to meal for a while. Anyway, I located Agnes who was waiting for an opportunity to tell Mesa 18 about the solidarity action climate campers had done at the offices of the company which owns the San Cristobel mines in London. We agree to meet later at the workshop so I headed off. I’d not prepared anything for this workshop which involved three people on the panel talking about specific campaigns against multinational corporations, the tactics used and what lessons might be shared. I was last to speak and my head killing me. I took a couple of pain killers from my pocket and washed them down with some more coke. When my turn came round spoke about the campaign to stop a new wave of coal power in the Uk which targeted German energy giant Eon. The session went well but over ran a little leaving no time for the planed question and answer session so instead the facilitators handed out paper and pen. Everyone was asked to write down one tactic that could be used to fight corporations. The slips of paper were then passed around so people could read the different responses, then some were read allowed at random. Imagine my shame as somebody read out a slip saying, “stop drinking coca-cola”!
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