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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013


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Dear Family & Friends,

 

Shortly ago we bid a bittersweet farewell to our fine group of students. Our final few days on Lake Titicaca were powerful, reflective, introspective, and full of laughter and love. After a final gratitude ceremony led by the students and a few hours sleep, we gave the students a final embrace and saw them off this morning. We will miss them dearly an are so grateful for the opportunity to spend these last months with them. We are sure they are coming home to open arms and ears keen to hear their stories.

 

In gratitude,

Emilie, Kyle, Regina, and Michael 

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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In the Air

Instructor Team,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Dear Family & Friends,   Shortly ago we bid a bittersweet farewell to our fine group of students. Our final few days on Lake Titicaca were powerful, reflective, introspective, and full of laughter and love. After a final gratitude ceremony led by the students and a few hours sleep, we gave the students a final […]

Posted On

05/12/13

Author

Instructor Team

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By now everyone should be half way up the central american coast heading towards Miami. We again wanted to thank you for sending us your amazing children. It has been an incredible 3 months. 

 

Here is the last video of the most recent section of the trip, the expedition phase where they were in charge of all aspects of the trip.

 

Some of them may have changed, some of them will struggle upon returning. Be patient with them, and give them a big hug from us!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly6IgkYh4c8&feature=youtu.be 

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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Last video….

Regina Kruglyak ,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

By now everyone should be half way up the central american coast heading towards Miami. We again wanted to thank you for sending us your amazing children. It has been an incredible 3 months.    Here is the last video of the most recent section of the trip, the expedition phase where they were in […]

Posted On

05/12/13

Author

Regina Kruglyak

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This is the end of our program, but it is not the end of our journey. Our experiences in the Andes and Amazon will carry on into our lives after Dragons. I am still unaware of the extent to which Dragons has changed my life.

I feel that many people my age should have an experience like this; an experience that puts you out of your comfort zone and allows you to grow. Maturity is what distinguishes boys from men, girls from women. It is a pivotal experience in all cultures, but it appears that our modern culture is putting it in crisis. In our society, maturity is being assumed to be an age, a number. To a growing many, it is thought that maturity is given at a certain time. Maturity is fleetingly earned. And Dragons is turning the tide. Dragons enables one to have an experience. An experience that can bring about awareness of self and others, cultural understanding, wisdom, and maturity. Maturity is earned, not given.

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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Our Journey Comes Full Circle

Scott Bobbs,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

This is the end of our program, but it is not the end of our journey. Our experiences in the Andes and Amazon will carry on into our lives after Dragons. I am still unaware of the extent to which Dragons has changed my life. I feel that many people my age should have an […]

Posted On

05/9/13

Author

Scott Bobbs

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Dear friends and families,
 
We are charging on through expedition but wanted to share some photos of recent events on the trek. Tomorrow morning we head out to the worlds highest navigable Lake Titicaca and accross to the island of the sun where we will finish off the expedition phase. From there we will cross the lake once more and spend a few days reflecting with each other near the beaches of the lake. There is sadly only one short week left together, but we have so much still in store!!!
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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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Still on expedition, but on a mild break

Instructors,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Dear friends and families,   We are charging on through expedition but wanted to share some photos of recent events on the trek. Tomorrow morning we head out to the worlds highest navigable Lake Titicaca and accross to the island of the sun where we will finish off the expedition phase. From there we will […]

Posted On

05/6/13

Author

Instructors

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We´re currently in the middle of expedition, and finally in charge! We began at Teatro Trono, learning about how the organization helps children in El Alto through theater and the performing arts, before most of us headed off for an amazing trek through the Cordilla Real. Sadly some of our group was sick for the beginning, but we all managed to hike the final day through Palca Canyon with beautiful views of Illimani in the background. And now we leave for Isla del Sol this afternoon - hasta luego!

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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expedition

Kaly and Sarah,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

We´re currently in the middle of expedition, and finally in charge! We began at Teatro Trono, learning about how the organization helps children in El Alto through theater and the performing arts, before most of us headed off for an amazing trek through the Cordilla Real. Sadly some of our group was sick for the […]

Posted On

05/6/13

Author

Kaly and Sarah

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My homestay family has a sink outside our house; it’s halfway between the bathroom and the kitchen. We use this tap to cook, wash our clothes, flush the toilet, clean the patio and the house, water the garden, fill dogs water bowl, etc. It’s our life-line in this city where, just a few years ago, people fought in the streets just for affordable and consistent flow of water. But what really strikes me is the multiple ways in which this tap is communal. It’s shared by my entire family, for the entirety of their needs.

                It seems to me that this one object might reflect a larger sentiment of communal living: of sharing space and sharing time together. We all live in relative luxury, but what does that mean? That we can put a sink in our kitchen and each one of our various bathrooms, in addition to the one in the laundry room, several taps in the back yard, a few in the front, and a washing machine? But in this situation, water is not physically shared, and our time is consequently not shared either. We each end up spending time in our own corner of the house, living separately.

                I plan to share a sink with my future family.

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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My Family’s Sinkl

Amanda Harley,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

My homestay family has a sink outside our house; it’s halfway between the bathroom and the kitchen. We use this tap to cook, wash our clothes, flush the toilet, clean the patio and the house, water the garden, fill dogs water bowl, etc. It’s our life-line in this city where, just a few years ago, […]

Posted On

05/4/13

Author

Amanda Harley

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I was asked this question probably about a 100 times on Saturday.  It was such a bittersweet day because I left my family, but I am also one day closer to seeing my family at home; so they balance each other out.  Tiquipaya was by far the most powerful experience I had.  We are separated by so much: language, culture, appearances, and so many other factors.  But, from the moment I walked into that house I was loved unconditionally by my 23 new family members and that made it a home.  They wanted me to stay so badly for my sobrina, Kallena’s, cumpleaños on Monday and I did too.  The most valuable experience I will take away from the Ramirez’s is their wealth.  They had so few physical things but, an incredible amount of love, support, and a way of incorporating me into their family.  I remember the first few days during the beginning of homestay, just being immediately welcomed into the family.  Then, upon our return to Tiquipaya, being reunited with my family and being greeted with an overwhelming sense of joy that their son had returned.  It was during this 2nd and last week of the homestay that I had one of my toughest weeks, but it only really affected me around the group.  I just couldn’t stop myself from sobbing one day.  It was possibly one of my top 5 worst days ever.  The weight of the world was crushing me and I was struggling to breath.  All these problems and questions kept bubbling up to the surface, it was so overwhelming.  There were so many uncertain and unanswered questions in my life that I feel should be answered or more certain that have been spontaneously rocked by the new perspective I have developed on this experience.  The opportunity I almost arbitrarily threw away over artificial things, like partying and being lazy.  Then, I realized that here none of that mattered because when I went home to my families they would still love me unconditionally and that filled me with happiness because I was with my brother, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces and nephews; who all knew how to make me smile and bring unending joy to my life.  I am so blessed to have had this amazing opportunity and have not one, but 2 families now that love me so much it hurts.  I can’t wait to return in 4 years and spend time with the Ramirez’s again and see the Phelan’s again.  Hasta manaña Ramirez’s, hola Phelan’s can’t wait to see you all in 3 weeks!

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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Cuando vuelves?

Will Phalen,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

I was asked this question probably about a 100 times on Saturday.  It was such a bittersweet day because I left my family, but I am also one day closer to seeing my family at home; so they balance each other out.  Tiquipaya was by far the most powerful experience I had.  We are separated […]

Posted On

05/4/13

Author

Will Phalen

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It was the small things I began to look forward to: the walks home, our yellow gate, the gauva tree. When you are on the opposite side of the equator from everything you know, you look for things that can make a place home. For me it was lunch everyday with Cirilia, my host mother.

I lived in a house about a 10 minute walk from the program house with a large garden, three turkeys, five dogs. From the kitchen, we could see all of this. I would always arrive at 12:45, or 1, something like that, and say hello to Cirilia through the window above the sink. "Como estás, como estás?" It was always the first thing out of her mouth as she pushed me into a seat at the table. Then she would fill two large bowls with soup, something with lots of potatoes and quinoa, and sit down next to me. Sometimes lunch would be in silence, the only time she spoke was to yell curses in quechua at the dogs and to ask if I liked the soup, to which I always replied, "es la sopa mas rica en Tiquipiya" and she would grin and we would keep eating. It was never an uncomfortable kind of silence, but rather a space empty of words that was filled with a soft appriciation for eachother.

There were other days when we would talk for hours over boiled apple and cinnamon drinks about religon, about my family back home, about her hopes for her children. Sometimes, I would bring my small paintings of her llama, of their old red pick up truck and she would fill an entire hour repeating, "Mi Anita, mi Anita, que talentosa eres." It wasn't that my paintings were espicially good, but that's just what mothers do. Mothers give you bags of home grown oranges to share with your spanish class, tell you to put on a "chompa" and comb your hair, make fun of you when you can't peel peaches. 

 The first time I said goodbye to Cirilia, after my first 2 weeks in her home, she shook my hand firmly and went off in her truck. I wasn't surprised; no matter how close we had felt, it didn't seem like she was one to show much emotion. But as the days moved closer to my second depature, she started telling me not to forget her, that she wouldn't forget me, that I had to come back. On my last night, when the taxi pulled up to take me to the bus terminal, I gave her a hug, expecting to hold a body uncomfortable with the motion. But she held me, hard, for a very long time, and when she pulled away, she was crying. 

What I don't understand now is how I make myself a piece of this home, this Bolivian-soup-for-lunch-home, when I return to California. What small rituals can I tie together to keep me connected to her, my other mother, standing at the kitchen sink in a small town in Bolivia, peeling tomatoes while the water boils. 

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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Cirilia

Anne Vetter (Anita),Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

It was the small things I began to look forward to: the walks home, our yellow gate, the gauva tree. When you are on the opposite side of the equator from everything you know, you look for things that can make a place home. For me it was lunch everyday with Cirilia, my host mother. […]

Posted On

05/2/13

Author

Anne Vetter (Anita)

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What is money? And why is it so important in our society? We had a discussion this evening, kicking off the start of our expedition phase, on the pros and cons of money and why we put such a high value on it. The discussion went in many different directions--  from social issues to food,  professions to need vs. want. Throughout the discussion, I  couldn't help but let my mind wander to thoughts of my home stay family and my experience in Tiquipaya.

February 18--  I walked into my home stay compound  with my big back pack and a day pack, wearing shorts, sneakers, and a down jacket. I felt quite out of place at first, but my family welcomed me with open arms.
 During those first two weeks, I was able to get settled into a routine before starting the traveling portion of the semester. I began to get to know my family and their way of life, but the group was also just beginning to get to know each other. Finding the right balance between family and group time was a little difficult in those first two weeks. However, I grew to really enjoy the routines of tea time with bread around 6 - 6:30 every night, followed by on-going games of futsal,  long walks to the hole (bathroom), and interesting conversations with my parents, aunts, and uncles.
During our time traveling, there were moments when all I wanted was to be back in Tiquipaya. I envisioned the long walk to the Program House; passed all the scary dogs and rushing taxi-trufis. I thought of the cancha (field) and of playing soccer. I longed for the constant state of happiness, laughter, and love I felt when I was with my family.
I will look back on this semester, as a whole, with fondness. However, I never expected the home stay part of the trip would be the most beneficial and highlight of the course for me. Throughout the four weeks, I was able to take the largest strides in terms of my Spanish. I made friends with local kids, as well as learned and challenged myself and my ideals. 
My family was one of the poorest home stay families in terms of money, but I'd argue they are some of the richest people I have ever met. 23 family members live in a single compound. Yes, they share a hole for a toilet, but it makes sense economically. My mom told me they could probably build a bathroom but it was not worth it money and water wise. Overall, my family was and is incredible. To sustain themselves, they share everything. My uncle works with cows and brings in some money. My Dad makes instruments and travels around selling them; also bringing in some money. The women do a lot of the yard work. In addition to cows, they have lots of other animals and plants as well-- goats, ducks, geese, chickens, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, and a large garden. They get some food from their resources and they buy what they can't grow themselves. A few times a week they make fresh bread and all pitch in to help. It truly is a small community which cares for and loves each other very much. 
I learned so much about the meaning of wealth. My family had little money but were so wealthy in my eyes. Nothing is more important to me than family and it is the same for them. Watching and observing their family dynamics was so incredible. They were so supportive, loving and kind. They also reinforced my feelings that as long as I am passionate about what I do and surround myself with amazing and loving family and friends, it makes no difference how much money I make. I can and will be happy no matter what, just like my home stay family.
I never thought saying goodbye to my life and family in Tiquipaya would be harder than saying goodbye to my real life and family in Vermont.

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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My New Home

Margaret Chandler,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

What is money? And why is it so important in our society? We had a discussion this evening, kicking off the start of our expedition phase, on the pros and cons of money and why we put such a high value on it. The discussion went in many different directions–  from social issues to food, […]

Posted On

05/2/13

Author

Margaret Chandler

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After 2 weeks in Tiquipaya with our homestay families, it´s finally time to move onto the last part of our Andean adventure. Expedition is a time for all students to step up and organize a trip amongst ourselves with very little help from the instructors. Although we are moving onto the last part of our trip, we will never forget the amazing experiences we have lived in the last two and a half months.

 

In Tiquipaya there are many awesome things we did. A large part of our time there was devoted to our ISP´s (Independent study projects). I discovered a form of martial arts I had only ever heard of, Capeoira. Capeoira is a form of self defense that is disguised by dance. It comes from Angolan slaves in Brazil that wanted to break free, and in order to train self defense to overthrow their owners they incorporated dance. Zane and I trained 5 times or so, significant progress was made, and even more than that, lots of curiosity was sparked. I would love to continue this in college.

 

After two weeks of routine, Tiquipaya started to feel like home. Everyday I would get home to a prepared meal and much love from my local family. Home can be wherever you make it, this was home for some time, and now it´s almost time for me to go back to my actual home. I believe that when you go to a place, that place in one way or another becomes a part of you. I have breathed Bolivian air, eaten Bolivian food, lived with Bolivians, and had many great experiences in Bolivia. Bolivia is a part of me that I am going to take home with me. Bolivia is also a part of me that I hope to get back in touch with in the future.

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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Onto expedition

Philip Beardsley,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

After 2 weeks in Tiquipaya with our homestay families, it´s finally time to move onto the last part of our Andean adventure. Expedition is a time for all students to step up and organize a trip amongst ourselves with very little help from the instructors. Although we are moving onto the last part of our […]

Posted On

05/1/13

Author

Philip Beardsley

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