June Donaldson and Edward Garry live at an altitude of 2,600 metres in Mosoj Llajta, Yotala, 20 minutes from the colonial city of Sucre in Bolivia, South America. Using earth and stones from the land, we have sculpted beautiful buildings which compliment the high desert landscape and incorporate creative and innovative elements of design.

We have designed a high quality hotel in Sucre for guests who want to get off the treadmill of travelling from city to city in South America. At Sky Hacienda you can dictate your own timing and choose how to enjoy your stay, whether it is doing very little or exploring the best that the Andes in Bolivia has to offer.

16 August 2010


Drainage is a big issue for us. We need to protect the foundations of the house from occasional downpours in the rainy season.

We excavated a section around the house and shaped a gulley to carry water away from the house.

Then we placed stones on the other side of the gulley.

The stones have to be kept level in preparation for pouring concrete on top.

The pool is starting to take shape - this is a view from the terrace, so the deep end is in front of the living area. Our workers are doing an amazing job hand digging the pool, and in the process they found a seam of gold coloured clay that we are going to use for the final layer on the adobe floors.

Geronimo puts the final touches to the rim of concrete on the bath pedestal that will join up eventually with the adobe floor.


The arch below the house will form the main entrance to the walled garden.

We are using a different technique to the other arches where we used plywood as forms. This arch is so heavy we have made a frame of handwired reinforcing steel which will be kept in place and rendered over.

It takes a lot of wooden scaffolding poles to support this heavy structure during its construction.


Due to the complexity of the roof design for the living area, we decided to call in contractors to do the work.

They are fitting the cross beams on top of the main beams.

We will be putting in the styrofoam insulation underneath these beams and then sealing the underside with plaster.

But the main beams will remain exposed.

We chose prefabricated concrete panels to cover the roof as they are a lightweight yet strong material. The paint being applied is resistant to UV rays.

13 August 2010



We are laying earthern floors in the two bedrooms, the walk-in wardrobe and the corridor (pictured left).

We began with a deep layer of gravel to allow any moisture in the earth to drain freely rather than rising into the walls.

In my bedroom, we installed plumbing and made a concrete pedestal to support the bathtub. This will later be decorated with pebble mosaic.

It makes a huge difference having at least one layer of the floor in place. The floor is drying well in my bedroom, although it will take around three weeks to be ready for the next layer.

Ed's room is drying well - thanks to the intense afternoon sun.

The adobe floors will soak up the warmth of the sun during the day and hold the heat when the sun goes down.

In the bathrooms and the utility room we have layed concrete floors that will be tiled in stone.

11 August 2010


On 7 August I wrote what I though was a witty, if hysterical account of our problems with the electrical connection to our apartment in Sucre. The principal character was my landlady, Nela.

I would like to thank the one *anonymous person who commented on the post for showing me that I had, in fact, launched a character assault on Nela, when he/she concluded, 'What a "bitch" your landlady sounds'. It was such a shock for me to read those caustic words, as I consider that I have a good relationship with Nela. She has been very helpful to Ed and I with our applications for residency; I have brought her flowers and biscuits; she has made me herb tea when I have been sick and we always exchange a kiss on the cheek when we meet.

I asked my dear friend Ed to read the post, and he gently steered me to place where I could see why I had invited such a comment. On re-reading my post it is very clear that I forgot that Nela was a struggling human being and instead painted her as someone who deliberately set out to make my life a misery. I also forgot to remember why I am here in Bolivia - because I love the country and I love the people.

Bolivians rarely complain about anything (although when they get really mad they demonstrate and even block the roads), and this is a very attractive characteristic (and one I struggle to adopt). The negative side of this trait is that behaviour that is taken for granted in other societies - punctuality, competence and honesty are often disregarded. This is not a problem for Bolivians, but can be a problem for those adapting to living in Bolivia. Most of the time I remember that what can be interpreted as shortcomings are not malicious, and should not be taken personally. But sometimes I forget my desire to be patient and compassionate - I miss the mark.

I am going to renew my efforts to be a better person. I am off to deliver the flowers pictured above to Nela, with an apology for my bad attitude and a hug. I am also going to hit the delete button on my post of 7 August.

* Although I am grateful to the universe for using this person to give me a much needed message, I am slighty puzzled by their identity as they were signed in as the Absolute Absolution, the name of the boat I share with friends.

09 August 2010


As I have been in Europe for June and July visiting friends and family, and spent most of May preparing for the trip, there has been a distinct lack of blogging. However, Sky Hacienda has continued to develop, and I will be posting restrospectively our progress in May, June and July. For the present time just scroll down to see latest pix.