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Survey of Development Issues
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    [post_content] => So I just saw an astrologist whose family worked for the Nepali royal family for generations. I was a little skeptic but now I am sure its all science/math. He told me some really interesting and weirdly specific/accurate things...it was awesome. The astrologist, Dependra, was one of the many speakers that came to share their knowledge with our group. We are so lucky to have heard from such a wide variety of intelligent, passionate people.
I figure I will share a couple of our teachers knowledge on the Yak board. We had one man come in from Next Generation Nepal. His organization tried to prevent child trafficking and rescues, rehabilitates, and reconnects kids from orphanages with their family. He gave us a lot of interesting statistics. There are over 15,000 kids living in an orphanage in Nepal. An orphanage is a place where kids with no parents or any other family to take care of them go. This isn't exactly the case here, at about 2 out of 3 children living in orphanages have at least 1 living parent, and don't need to be there. The business of orphanages is extremely lucrative due to kind, innocent volunteers willing to pay a couple hundred US dollars a week to work there. Approximately 90% of the orphanages are in the top 5 tourist districts and that is not a coincidence.
The kids are being intentionally displaced from their families, so a trafficker can profit. What often happens is a trafficker goes into some of the very poor villages in Nepal and says there is a great boarding school over in Kathmandu.  They say that if they are paid 20,000-30,00 Rupees (200-300 US bucks) they will take the child to that school and give them a good education. The parents want the best for their child and so they borrow money to pay and off he kids go. The trafficker is able to make money off both the parents and the volunteers. Once the kids are at the orphanage they are threatened to tell everyone that they are an orphan, and if not they will be beaten among other things. The volunteers come really wanting to help these kids and believe the stories the children are forced to tell. Money is being made from both good intentions and naivety from the parents and the volunteers. We need to stop volunteering and paying large sums of money to orphanages because it is fueling this business. If there was no money in the business traffickers would eventually stop taking kids from their families. The most important thing we can all do is to spread awareness on the issue.
Another speaker I loved and felt inspired from was Ola who spoke to us about her organization "Her Turn." The organization is based upon the girl effect that is if you help girls stay in school and educate them, they'll marry later, have fewer children and essentially that girls are the silver bullet in international development.
Most girls in Nepal are not recognized as important family members because they will marry and be part of the husbands family. Therefore, their education is not prioritized. In addition, the child marriage rate in Nepal is about 41% which is one of the highest in the world. When the girl gets married she is expected to have children right away.
Another issue is trafficking, about 10,00-12,000 girls are trafficked into India. Rich women from the brothels in India come to some of the poorer villages in Nepal. The parents want their children to be rich and happy like the women coming to them, and let the women take their girls because the parents think it'll be the best life for their child.
One more thing Her Turn focuses on is teaching about menstruation. Menstruation is not widely spoken about or really understood in Nepal. About 30% of girls report to skipping school while they are on their periods because they are afraid of bullying. About 95% of girls report having some sort of restrictions while they are on their period like having to sleep in hallways or not being able to touch dairy products. In the most extreme cases menstruating women have to sleep outside with the animals which makes them very vulnerable to animal bites, sexual assault, and even death.
There is a lack of education on menstruation  hygiene  and other issues and that's where Her Turn steps in. They try to address these issues compassionately and without ethnocentrism. They usually teach and chose local women to lead a 4 week workshop and teach girls health, hygiene  leadership, confidence, and do a community project. These girls bring what they have learned at school home to the family, and the family is able to learn about these issues as well. Her Turn is doing a lot of amazing work.
I wish I had time to talk about every single speaker like Ky who taught us  about disability in Nepal , or the world famous street artists changing the world through art, or our awesome instructors who taught us about history, politics,yoga, Ayurveda, development, learning service and so much more...but I have already written a mini-novel. We have just met and learned from so many people doing incredible things. There is lots to do, but we can make a difference! #powertothepeople #hurrrahhhh
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Himalaya C, Service Learning, Survey of Development Issues

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Lots to Do…

Sage Bennett,Himalaya C, Service Learning, Survey of Development Issues

Description

So I just saw an astrologist whose family worked for the Nepali royal family for generations. I was a little skeptic but now I am sure its all science/math. He told me some really interesting and weirdly specific/accurate things…it was awesome. The astrologist, Dependra, was one of the many speakers that came to share their knowledge with our group. We are so […]

Posted On

11/3/14

Author

Sage Bennett

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    [post_content] => I woke up early on sunday morning (2 weeks ago) to go to an indoor food market with my MaMa. Though the anticipation that I was feeling for a for a full 11v11 soccer game I would play later that day with some fellow students was laying heavily on my mind I managed to push it aside for a few minutes. When my host mother and I arrived to the market it immediately reminded me of every other market I had seen up until that point. It was loud, crowded, and definitely nothing like your local Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. Although there were some whole foods (as in freshly killed pigs, and soon to be freshly killed fish). Although on the surface this market appeared totally chaotic I soon realized that below the superficial grit there was much more, a method to the madness. We first went to my MaMa's favorite vegetable vendor, and I learned a few new words for vegetables I had never seen before, which I then forgot about seven seconds later. Next we moved on to buy some pork off of a pig carcas so fresh that its feet were hanging off of the table. MaMa told the butcher what she wanted to cook, he chose the appropriate cut.We then continued to a new stand, the man there ground up some of the pork that we had just bought. The smell of vegetables, grime, meat, fruit, and fish filled the air. MaMa and I moved along to the next phase of our journey. As the smell of fish grew stronger I figured out what was going to happen next. We walked up to a booth with two small tiled, constantly oxygenated fish tanks. As my mother chose the fish we would have for dinner later that night I watched who I can only imagine to be the fish lady's 6 year old son washing some unknown thing in a metal bowl. Our two fish were chosen, beaten  over the head, then scaled and bagged. We walked home with our lunch and dinner.

My time in the traditional market had come to an end, the next thing on my agenda for the day was a soccer game. I walked 35 minutes, across seas of scooters, to a 2 year old subway that led to an expensive, incredibly clean shopping center. From there I hopped into an Audi and traveked 30 km to a multi-fielded sports complex in a brand new neighborhood with a dealership for every luxury car one can imagine. I played a full game of soccer on a beautiful grass field, and only then, after the game, did I go to lunch (my biggest mistake of this trip). The rest of my day involved eating a lot of food, wandering through the city, and hoping my legs would feel less exhausted before my Sanda (Chinese Kickboxing) class a few days later.

When I first arrived in China a little over a month ago the I-Team asked me to answer the question "What is China?" I had no clue then, and I still don't; however I have learned some things in my travels. What I know now is that whatever China is, it's rugged, mystifying, beautiful, chaotic, crowded, dirty, clean, organized, developed, and never ceases to contradict itself. I'm constantly interested by what I see, hear, and try to understand with my slowly developing understanding of the language. On that day I truly realized that I can never answer the question "What is China?" with words. The answer lies in the Hutongs of Beijing, the ally in Yinchuan where I played soccer with a gang of kids, the narrow streets of a small Tibetan village where I ran from a gang of kids (they knew Monkey Style), the rooftop porch in Xining where I could look over an entire city at night, the massive shopping centers of Chengdu, and the park I walk through every morning on my way to the program house in Kunming. "What is China?" is not a question, its a guide telling us to slow down and to open up, to allow ourselves to absorb the world around us in the hopes of coming to understand it just a little more through every little experience. As Thom Yorke once said in my favorite song, The Tourist, "Hey man, slow down, slow down."
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Best Notes From The Field, China, Survey of Development Issues

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What is China?

Sam Belkowitz,Best Notes From The Field, China, Survey of Development Issues

Description

I woke up early on sunday morning (2 weeks ago) to go to an indoor food market with my MaMa. Though the anticipation that I was feeling for a for a full 11v11 soccer game I would play later that day with some fellow students was laying heavily on my mind I managed to push it aside […]

Posted On

10/28/14

Author

Sam Belkowitz

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    [post_content] => 

Yesterday

Potosi´s Cerro Rico mine was the crux of Western industrialization, producing enough silver to bridge South America and Europe. Within twenty years of the Spanish discovery of Cerro Rico, Potosi became the third largest city in the world, having the same population as London and ten times as many people as Boston (Galeano, 20-1). Blood and bones of indigenous and African slaves fertilized the soil of Cerro Rico--three centuries later the extortion had amassed a holocaust of eight-million people. In the eyes of the Spanish, the Quechua and Aymara were ¨stray animals,¨ full of idolatries, sins, and bearing no souls (Galeano, 40-1). The Spanish ¨way of Christ¨was the means in which they would exorcise these devils from their sins, and this way of Christ was forced labor and new idols: the colonial "masters". They forced the indigenous to sleep out in the open on a mountain with freezing temperatures, waking up to the oven of the mines. In this scorching heat, they triturated in the mine´s arsenic and inhaled mercury fumes, which they used to extract the silver. If they weren´t working to their master´s standards, the whip and other forms of torture were implemented. To survive in the mines more than four years  was a rarity. When the miners revolted against these conditions, the Spanish quelled the revolt by building Devil statues--called Tios, because the local people were unable to pronounce ¨Dios,¨ the Spanish word for God--and making the miners worship these devils for their idolatry tendencies (Davidson). The river runs deep with irony.  The offerings to the Tios served as protection and wellbeing to the miners while they were forced to desecrate the insides of Kay Pacha, the Earth, who along with the Sun and the Moon, the indigenous worshipped more than anything else. Cerro Rico is a cornerstone that the builders used to create today´s economic oligarchy; Potosi and the centuries of oppression of its native inhabitants is the cornerstone that the builders refused. While the Spanish were the plunderers of Potosi, the British and its´ child state, the U.S.A., along with other European colonizers, were the main capitalizers. The Spanish used the silver to live lavishly, purchasing luxuries far and wide, especially in the European market and feeding the British-American manufactures. These states are also at blame for the travesties of the Spanish, for without a market there wouldn´t be incentive.

Today

In the poorest city in the poorest country in Latin America, thin cobble-stoned streets dissect their way through Potosi´s colonial-styled buildings. The economy is slim: mining and mining tourism. Cerro Rico sits above, deflated from centuries of pillage, watching down on the city. Ghosts of the Crown walk over the mountain wearing  translucent garments bearing the logo: neocolonialism. The silver and other minerals are sold for dirt cheap to the U.S.A., China, and Europe to be processed and by the time the same minerals return to Potosi, their value has increased twenty-fold. The miners do not touch the refined products that they bleed and sweat for--the complacent and affluent Western consumers are at the top of those who do.

Miners work up to twenty-four hours straight, suffocating in the deep caverns and chewing coca to stimulate strength and suppress their hunger to save their earnings for their families. Child-labor is common. In 2005, UNICEF, the International Labour Orginization (ILO), and the National Insitute of Statistics found 7,000 children working in the mines, some as young as six years old (UNICEF). These organizations broadcast an image that they are supporting the child labourers, but what they have done in Potosi, is created worse conditions. At the International Labour Orginzation´s Convention 182, two articles were passed: 1) prohibiting work for children under fourteen and 2) determining standards of how low the quality of work is allowed to be. These agreements were passed by entities outside of Latin America and other ¨Third-World¨countries. As the child-labor in Potosi often does not pass either of these standards, the children do not recieve suppòrt from the Western hegemony´s orginizations that are supposed to help children in such conditions. Whether child-labor is legal or illegal in Bolivia, it will continue to exist in Potosi, for that is the harsh reality of the global economic systems that are in place. The children, many without fathers, work the mines so that they can eat and go to school. For many children, there isn´t an alternative. So when UNICEF expresses anger at a Bolivian law that allows children as young as ten to work the mines, they are ignorant of the history that has created such poverty within a population that is majorly indigenous still.

Tomorrow

Providing food or a one-time stipend to the children will not end their poverty and hunger, it will only stall it. Only by creating an infrastruture in which child labor is no longer necessary will enforce such standards. This infrastructure is devoid of U.S. corporations coming and plundering a continent rich in resources. The next ILO convention could, perhaps, pass an article that prevents corporations from going into impovershed countries and creating monopolies--for example, Bechtel in Cochabamaba, Bolivia, where they privatized the water and charged prices that are unaffordable for a necessity of life, just to garnish profits. However, this is still thinking within the system. One must think outside of the system that works better. Don´t call it a utopia, but a distopia of the dreams of a few and the nightmeres of the many. (Pre-sanctioned Cuba, devoid of the image created by U.S. propaganda, might be a good place to start).   Davidson, Kief. The Devil's Miner. Salzgeber, 2005. Film. Galeano, Eduardo, and Cedric Belfrage. Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. 25th Anniversary ed. New York: Monthly Review, 1997. Print. "Young Bolivians on Working in One of the World's Most Dangerous Mines." UNICEF. UNICEF. Web. 4 Oct. 2014. <http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/bolivia_58867.html>. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Bmr5rdaemYk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> [post_title] => Potosi: Rags and Riches (Regional Seminar and CIDL) [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => potosi-rags-riches-regional-seminar-cidl [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-10-06 06:59:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-10-06 12:59:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=110787 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 125 [name] => Andes and Amazon A [slug] => andes-and-amazon-a-fall-2014 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 125 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 239 [count] => 131 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7.1 [cat_ID] => 125 [category_count] => 131 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Andes and Amazon A [category_nicename] => andes-and-amazon-a-fall-2014 [category_parent] => 239 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2014/andes-and-amazon-a-fall-2014/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 47 [name] => Survey of Development Issues [slug] => survey-of-development-issues [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 47 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 488 [count] => 57 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 34.1 [cat_ID] => 47 [category_count] => 57 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Survey of Development Issues [category_nicename] => survey-of-development-issues [category_parent] => 488 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/program-components/survey-of-development-issues/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 57 [name] => Focus of Inquiry [slug] => focus-of-inquiry [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 57 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 488 [count] => 38 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 34.1 [cat_ID] => 57 [category_count] => 38 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Focus of Inquiry [category_nicename] => focus-of-inquiry [category_parent] => 488 ) ) [category_links] => Andes and Amazon A, Survey of Development Issues ... )

Andes and Amazon A, Survey of Development Issues, Focus of Inquiry

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Potosi: Rags and Riches (Regional Seminar and CIDL)

Jeff Williams,Andes and Amazon A, Survey of Development Issues, Focus of Inquiry

Description

Yesterday Potosi´s Cerro Rico mine was the crux of Western industrialization, producing enough silver to bridge South America and Europe. Within twenty years of the Spanish discovery of Cerro Rico, Potosi became the third largest city in the world, having the same population as London and ten times as many people as Boston (Galeano, 20-1). Blood […]

Posted On

10/6/14

Author

Jeff Williams

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    [post_content] => Potosi is a beautiful place with a sad history and most likely a sad future.  Potosi was founded as a mining town by the Spanish conquistadores as it was rich with silver and other minerals.  They exploited both the land and the indigenous people, using them as the labor force that made Potosi the third biggest city in the world, but it was at the expense of the deaths of 8 million, if not more.  The Spanish told the miners that they had to pray to Tio, the god of the mine, and make him offerngs so he would be content and spare them their lives.   After the Spanish extracted and exported all the main veins of silver and other minerals from the mountain they left behind a metropolis of people dependant on the mountain for their livlihood.  The main economical problem is that the Spanish and the Bolivian government only exported the raw silver and did not create an industry, or any skilled labor force for that matter, that could refine the silver or craft it.  Two hundred years later, this problem is still an issue, and the working conditions have still not improved.

Walking through Potosi, I see a full city with an empty mountain and an empty future.  Families rely on a rutheless underworld mined hollow, so much so that every time before they set their hammers to work they set coca in the lap of Tio, praying he give them silver instead of injury.  But the Tio is only so rich; geologists say that he will have given all the silver he has to give within the next 5-10 years, and then he will drink his final fill of miner blood as he collapses.

Can there be a Potosi without a Tio?  Does Potosi have a future without a mine?  When I worked in a bakery in Potosi for a day I asked some of the bakers who also work the mines, and they said that they think not unless the youth is trained in skilled labor and/or some kind of industry.  They are not ignorant to the fact the the mine is running dry.  However, with the current job market in Potosi, mining is pretty much the only option that provides sufficient enough income to support their families.  Sadly, this means that when children from poorer families are looking for work they gravitate towards the dangerous mines.  This has lead to a controversial child labor law that, firstly, allows child labor and, second, offers child workers legal protection; with or without the law, the children will work.  However, with or without the law the children have a dilemma; work for a relatively steady income in the mine for the next 5-10 years, or try to learn another skill without knowing for certain that there is a pay off for their family.  For this reason, when I walk through the beautiful city of Potosi, I realize that nothing abuot this place is permanent, and I am sad for the people who have called it home.
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Andes and Amazon A, Survey of Development Issues, Focus of Inquiry

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A Walk Through Potosi

Rebecca DiSomma,Andes and Amazon A, Survey of Development Issues, Focus of Inquiry

Description

Potosi is a beautiful place with a sad history and most likely a sad future.  Potosi was founded as a mining town by the Spanish conquistadores as it was rich with silver and other minerals.  They exploited both the land and the indigenous people, using them as the labor force that made Potosi the third […]

Posted On

10/6/14

Author

Rebecca DiSomma

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    [post_content] => Founded in 1545 by Spanish Conquistadoras as a mining town, Potosi became the third most populated city in the world within a century of establishment, behind only London and Shanghai.  The world´s highest city, at about 4100 meters, lies at the foot of the Cerro Rico, or the Rich Hill, which was deemed to be ¨made of¨exploitable silver and gold. An estimated 2 billion ounces of silver has been extracted from the mountain, much of which bankrolled the Spanish Empire and allowed them to pay back their debt to the Catholic Church.   The absurd amount of wealth accumulated in Potosi during this time triggered the existence of capitalism and through the church, money was funneled to the rest of the world kicking off the European Renaissance and industrialism as we know it today.  The world would be a very different place if not for Potosi.

The Holocaust, which is largely perceived to be the worst genocide in human history, took the lives of an estimated 6 million Jews  during World War II. El Cerro Rico is famous for being the ´Mountain that Eats Men´, reportedly claiming the lives of around 8 million miners since colonial times.  The victims of this atrocity were enslaved indians or imported African slaves, and for centuries they toiled and died as a result of mining accidents or from over-exhaustion.   This is an immensely important historical incident that is seldom spoken of in most history classes I have ever been around, and I don´t quite understand why that is.  I encourage you to spread awareness about this too-often overlooked genocide.

After around 500 years of continuous exploitation, one can surely assume that the mountain´s stability has been greatly compromised.  According to an engineer by the name of Rene Espinoza who has conducted a three year study of the mountain there are over 600 entrances, most of which are now abandoned, and over 60 miles of veins that have essentially hollowed out this monument to the devastation of the Spanish conquest.  Rene also believes that total collapse of the mountain is possible, endangering the livelihood and more importantly the lives of the 15,000 miners who are contracted by the Bolivian government to risk their lives day in and day out in these dark, cold, and hazardous tunnels.    Despite measures to ensure the mountain remains on its feet, the summit sinks by a few centimeters every year.

We were guided into El Cerro Rico and immediately were able to feel the weight of the mountain.  Our guide was a local miner who took us into the vein where he and 10 of his compatriots work all year in search of silver.  Their earnings are based on their findings. If they are not successful, they are not paid.  And you can imagine that after 500 years of mining, the mountain is pretty dried up.  For this reason, fathers and their sons often work two day shifts with little respite in search of the funds that will keep their families off the streets.  We put on our rubber boots and ventured into a place where so many have suffered and perished.  About 100 yards into the vein, we stopped to pay homage to El Tio who is worshipped in this area where it is believed God has no influence.  We sprinkled our offerings of Coca leaves and asked that this menacing demonic figure protect us from the many perils of the mountain.  With every step deeper into the vein, I was enveloped by the cold and felt increasingly vulnerable, at the mercy of the mountain.

Our headlamps were the only source of light that we had, and in the shimmer of the light were the floating dust particles that plagued the lungs of so many who worked here. Silicosis is a disease contracted by inahling dust.  Almost every miner who has worked there for too long has it, and it pretty much cuts their life span in half.  I was strcuk that the miners did not wear face masks as some form of minimal protection from this horrendous illness.  I was hesitant to ask our guide out of fear that it might be a touchy subject.

¨Cuanto tiempo has trabajado en las mineas?¨ I asked him, beating around the bush

¨35 años. Entonces ya tengo la enfermedad en mis pulmones¨ he offered with an earie air of pride.

Getting the sense that it wasn´t a subject i needed to shy away from, i proceeded to ask him why workers did not wear any masks, and he informed me that it would prevent them from chewing their sacred coca leaves which fuel them, combatting their hunger and fatigue.  Talk about priorities...

It was a very potent experience that I took a great deal away from.  I encourage you to watch a documentary called ¨The Devils Miner¨which elicits the issue of child labor in el Cerro Rico.  If you are moved by what you see and want to get involved, here is a link with a message from the director´s of the film on how to get involved through the many organizations that work on the ground to fight this harsh reality.

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/devilsminer/howtohelp.html

Thanks for reading.
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Andes and Amazon A, Survey of Development Issues, Focus of Inquiry

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The Overlooked Genocide of Potosi´s Cerro Rico

Luke Frey-Wedeen,Andes and Amazon A, Survey of Development Issues, Focus of Inquiry

Description

Founded in 1545 by Spanish Conquistadoras as a mining town, Potosi became the third most populated city in the world within a century of establishment, behind only London and Shanghai.  The world´s highest city, at about 4100 meters, lies at the foot of the Cerro Rico, or the Rich Hill, which was deemed to be ¨made of¨exploitable […]

Posted On

10/6/14

Author

Luke Frey-Wedeen

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    [post_content] => First World, Second World, and Third World countries are terms that were invented by the Western hegemony during the Cold War to designate the Capitlist Bloc/Western Bloc, or so-called "Free-World" (First World countries), the Eastern Bloc/Communist Bloc (Second World countries), and the countries that were not aligned to either side (Third World countries).

Today, these terms still fall into many people´s dictions, albeit they now connote measures of affluence. All of the countries who were not aligned to either the Western or Eastern Blocs, had previously experienced centuries of colonialism by the same European countries that invented these terms. Colonialism is inexclusive to genocide, slavery, extirpation, and exploitation. Although all of these are equably wrong in terms of morality and worthy of vigourous study and contemplation, the latter is of top consideration when traveling into a country that is considered "Third World."

No "Third World" country was inherently poor in terms of resources. In fact, they were commonly the most abudant in resources. However, over centuries of colonialism and neocolonialism, exploitation of these resources invetibably led to a wealth status of poverty. When wealth was distributed to foreign interests, whether that was overseas to Europe or to European colonists living in the respective country, the wealth clearly was not used to build infastructure for the people native to the country. This exploiation is the dark shadow that follows every "First World"  country´s prosperity.

I hold this in thought constantly while traveling in Bolivia. The poverty is indicative of the ills of my ancestry and in a country whose demographics is majorly indigenous, I must not forget the last half-millenia of history. I will be judged for my skin color, my nationality, and the generalizations that come with both. This stigma is not escapable, but it can be redefined by the actions that I make as a guest in this country.

My place in this country is to do just that. Instead of imposing on the people and culture of Bolivia, I am here to absorb the people and culture of Bolivia. This means stepping outside of my status quo to immerge myself into traditions, rituals and rites that have miraculously survived genocide, slavery, extripation, and exploitation. It also follows that I must embrace the political structure in a country that has recently achieved liberation from its colonial past, electing the first indigenous president in Bolivia´s history. It is a political system that is far different from the United States in terms of domestic and foreign policy as well as politcal activism among the population. It is thus ¨coincidentally¨ a subject of the U.S.´s intelligence communities´ new Cold War: Operation Conqoer the World.

It just so happens that I despise the United States´political system and its own traditions, rites, and rituals. Home is where the heart is, and my heart has instantly felt at home in Bolivia.
    [post_title] => One´s place as a visitor
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Andes and Amazon A, Survey of Development Issues

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One´s place as a visitor

Jeff Williams,Andes and Amazon A, Survey of Development Issues

Description

First World, Second World, and Third World countries are terms that were invented by the Western hegemony during the Cold War to designate the Capitlist Bloc/Western Bloc, or so-called “Free-World” (First World countries), the Eastern Bloc/Communist Bloc (Second World countries), and the countries that were not aligned to either side (Third World countries). Today, these […]

Posted On

09/22/14

Author

Jeff Williams

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    [post_content] => I inhale particles of dirt with each breath as I run down our country road in Tiquipaya. I pass empty river beds filled with trash, expansive farms, Quechua women with veggies slung over their backs in blankets, and men with skin like dark leather taking their cows for a walk. Compared with these extraordinary images, the intentional whistle of a taxi driver and bizarre glances I get while running seem superfluous. However, it is the subtly of ¨the whistle¨ and ¨the look¨that impacts me the most. Although I am dressed in soccer shorts, a grubby old tee shirt, and a baseball hat, I have called attention to myself because I am running and I am a woman.

Running is an integral part of my life back home. Thus, I didn´t think twice before throwing on my sneakers and sinking back into my comfortable rhythm. Although, I did grab a couple of rocks to throw at any aggressive dogs! However, once out on the dirt roads of Tiquipaya I had a realization. Women do not run here. This simple fact shed light on gender stigmas that I am not particularly accustomed to.

Later that night, I discussed the idea of women running with my homestay Mom, Doña Eugenia. She explained (very matter of factly) that women in the countryside do not run. I began to reflect on other gender issues I had noticed. For example, at my homestay in Santiago de Okola, an Aymara community on the shores of the sacred Lake Titicaca, my ¨father¨ate dinner at the table with me while my ¨mother¨ate alone in the dimly lit kitchen.
As I let these instances sink into my mind, I began to draw conclusions. I do not want to generalize about gender roles in Bolivia. However, men do seem to be the dominant sex. As I though more and more about gender stigmas, something did not feel quite right.

My current homestay mom in Tiquipaya, Doña Eugenia, works harder than any woman I have ever seen. She wakes up before the sunrises. She cooks three meals a day not only for her immediate family, but also for more distant relatives. She tends to the cows, chickens, guinea pigs, and bunnies. She washes the families laundry in the outdoor sink, scrubbing until her strong hands turn raw from the hard cement surface. She smashes potatoes with rocks to make them the correct consistency for soup. Her attention to detail and tireless work ethic indicates just how strong women are. Through her undeniable fortitude, Doña Eugenia (and other countryside women), transcend the feminine stigmas of a machismo culture.

I will forever remember Doña Eugenia´s long, black braids flying behind her as she looks for the next task to conquer...
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Bolivia 6-week, Survey of Development Issues, Homestay

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Transcending Gender Stereotypes

Lyla Connolly,Bolivia 6-week, Survey of Development Issues, Homestay

Description

I inhale particles of dirt with each breath as I run down our country road in Tiquipaya. I pass empty river beds filled with trash, expansive farms, Quechua women with veggies slung over their backs in blankets, and men with skin like dark leather taking their cows for a walk. Compared with these extraordinary images, […]

Posted On

07/21/14

Author

Lyla Connolly

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-17 07:48:42
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    [post_content] => Bolivia is unarguably a country that holds bountiful wonder - but as is the common case with most things in life where one's initial idea of an experience is shown to be far from correct after having finally been exposed to the experience – Bolivia didn't always seem so wonderful, to me. That is the intriguing notion I aim to discuss: the overall transformation of my thoughts on Bolivia from when I only depicted it as a position on a map to now having embarked in-country for two weeks.

Back in the US, my perception of Bolivia short-shortsightedly stemmed only from a collection of Google images, short descriptions attached to those pictures and some hearsay. However, two weeks into my South American excursion, I found that those preliminary beliefs were only hollow statements, lacking depth of any kind. Fourteen days into my Bolivian immersion aggregated background, reason and justification to the somewhat unfair terms I assigned to Bolivia – words like “poor” and “developing”. This short time span also added richness, color and meaning to my overall conception of Bolivia.

For instance, before I could only say “Bolivia is poor”. Now, after a museum visit and talk with former Bolivian politician, Rafael Puentes, I'm able to say “Bolivia is poor because..” and explain that Spain entered the land, into mining areas like Potosi, colonized Bolivia and exploited costly minerals and exported a large part of the profit back to Europe, leaving Bolivia with only a drip of the wealth. I can also point out figures like Simon I. Patino, who through mistreating his fellow Bolivians became one of the richest men in the world.

Also, I thought Bolivia ate typical Hispanic dishes like rice and beans, etc.. However, after visits to the mercado (market) and a week of home-stays, I now know that Bolivia possesses a wide arsenal of culinary creations – things like sopa y segundo, saltenas, and humitas (one of my group's favorites). Beverages, too, like the crowd favorite, trimate.

Additionally, I thought Bolivia only spoke Spanish, like I do. However, I learned that Bolivians do speak Spanish but a lot of people also remain true to other several indigenous languages like Aymara and the one that I personally have learned to speak, Quechua.

Furthermore, I knew nothing about Bolivia cultural beliefs. But now, I'm aware that Bolivians, specifically miners, believe in the Tios, a god to whom they pray and request the availability of minerals in the mines from. I had the honor of having entered a mine in Llallagua and viewed first-hand the offerings made to the Tios, things like coca leaves and cigarettes all placed on an already heavily decorated shrine.

Now, the list proceeds indefinitely but undoubtedly, the transformation from my ideas of Bolivia before I entered the land to my conception of it half a month in-country speak to the indispensable enrichment incurred from experiential learning.
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Bolivia 4-week, Survey of Development Issues

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How I See Bolivia: Then Vs. Now

Jorge Mejia,Bolivia 4-week, Survey of Development Issues

Description

Bolivia is unarguably a country that holds bountiful wonder – but as is the common case with most things in life where one’s initial idea of an experience is shown to be far from correct after having finally been exposed to the experience – Bolivia didn’t always seem so wonderful, to me. That is the […]

Posted On

07/17/14

Author

Jorge Mejia

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-16 14:12:08
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    [post_content] => I slowly take in my next breath, the freezing air burning every part of my lungs. My legs ache with every movement, but I force myself to take one more step forward, one more step towards the top. With one more breath, I look up and take in the view. Below me was the entire Sacred Valley of Peru basking in the South American sunshine. I could see the small pueblos scattered around the mountain, the rivers cascading through the landscape, even the distant Ausungate Mountains. From the top of that mountain, I could see everything. And yet with another breath I began my descent back to humanity, experiencing the entire way back an aching sense of inner peace and content.

"It is not down in any map; true places never are." - Herman Melville

Never in any universe would I imagine myself climbing thousands of meters to the top of a mountain. I can barely motivate myself to reach the television remote on the seat next to me. However, something about the Sacred Valley keeps pushing me, keeps making me go further. I guess the work ethic of the people has finally rubbed off on me. Everyday I would wheeze me way to the meeting area while my host family would happily skip ahead of me. At first their ease was annoying, but then I realized that instead of resent them, I should strive to be them. I need to cultivate their sense of pride, their sense of work, their sense of honor. Actually, sitting here confined in the cubicle of this computer cafe is making me antsy. I am just waiting for my thoughts to finally come together so I can unleash my energy on the city again.

The people here have also taught me the importance of a purpose. Everyday I go to school, do my chores, do work, and for what? Truthfully, everday seemed like busy work. I went to school because I had to, did chores because they needed to be done, did work because people needed help. Never did I think about the true effect and purpose my actions had. Now everything I do, I think about how it effects people, how it changes the world. Even if it only helps one person with one menial task, I know that what I did had a purpose. The people of Peru, in my opinion, are much more advanced than in America. They have perfected the art of purpose, the art of doing things for a substantial and meaningful goal. I may never be able to acheive what some of the indigenous people that I have met on my homestay have done, but I am gonna try darn hard to get close.

 
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Best Notes From The Field, Peru 4-week, Survey of Development Issues, Rugged Travel

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An Aching Peace

Vu Mather,Best Notes From The Field, Peru 4-week, Survey of Development Issues, Rugged Travel

Description

I slowly take in my next breath, the freezing air burning every part of my lungs. My legs ache with every movement, but I force myself to take one more step forward, one more step towards the top. With one more breath, I look up and take in the view. Below me was the entire […]

Posted On

07/16/14

Author

Vu Mather

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-14 08:53:54
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    [post_content] => 
Simplicity:
I find simplicity profound. Effective. Necessary. Asian cultures adore the concept of simplicity. It is second nature to them. American culture is way too complex. Too stressful. There is no need. It is not necessary or effective. In fact it is putting our country down the drain and always has been. More mental disorders and illnesses have appeared in the past decade there have in the last hundred or so years of human history. Why do we persistently run around. why can't we slow down and take a step back for once? We are so divided in so many ways that it has come to a point where we cannot unite as one. We are divided by race, wealth, and cliques. Why can't we all join as one and put our differences behind us? Our country was created for that purpose yet it has not been fulfilled. We as the American people have yet to fulfill what our founding fathers started. This country of Laos P.D.R. and its people understand these destroy the human well-being. There is so much we can learn from these people.
Belief:
I believe in beauty. And the creation of beauty. It is not something that is given to you. It is something that is earned. Hard work is the process towards beauty. Satisfaction and awe are the result. Patience, hard work, and dedication. A movie I saw helped open my eyes to true beauty. It inspired me. A goal was created and it was beautiful. It didn't simply appear out of thin air, it came from inspiration, satisfaction and awe. I was awe-inspired. I want to create this beauty, humans love beauty. I want to create beauty to others and have them enjoy and appreciate what it really means to live. Now I want to become a director, a filmmaker, a visionary. I want to show and express to the world how I feel and see and perceive. I want to create beauty out of my own suffering. It gives me a drive because I understand the power of beauty is great. I felt it and experienced it, and I want to make something great. Magnificent.
UXO:
I felt compassion. Sadness. Grateful to still be alive. I felt pity for those afflicted. A mixture of fear and pity that most call catharsis. This situation seems out of my control. What can I do? I wish to know. Spreading awareness seems suitable because I never knew this was occurring or ever happening until just recently this past year. Justin is right in believing that blame and hate should not be thrust at the USA, but we should be critical of their decisions. That was the past and now we must look towards the future.
COPE:
I cannot imagine the effect these bombs could have on individuals and their families. I can understand for them. It seems impossible, something so unknown to me and my life. How am I supposed to feel? How would I feel if I lost a limb? How would my family deal with the medical care? How could they adjust to my sudden disability? How could I for that matter? These questions run through my mind and yet I feel grateful. I feel grateful to have my hands, arms, feet, legs and so on. In fact, I feel grateful to have my life. Grateful to be alive and privileged to have the life I live. To have a family that loves me deeply. To have such friends that are so rare to find that care about me. To have the wealth I have, and be privileged to have it. To live where I live, in a neighborhood as safe as mine. To be able to share my love with my mom, dad, brothers, sisters, and my friends. and my dogs lucy and sallee of course. After being in such dark places and feeling those dark places I realize how worthwhile and beautiful life truly is even though it does not always feel that way. Once you get past and through the suffering, happiness floods the system, mind, and soul.
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Train of Thoughts

Garner McAshan,Best Notes From The Field, Laos 4-week, Survey of Development Issues

Description

Simplicity: I find simplicity profound. Effective. Necessary. Asian cultures adore the concept of simplicity. It is second nature to them. American culture is way too complex. Too stressful. There is no need. It is not necessary or effective. In fact it is putting our country down the drain and always has been. More mental disorders […]

Posted On

07/14/14

Author

Garner McAshan

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