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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013


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You know what sucks is when people jump to conclusions over nothing.  This is like hitting rapids and rocks on my raft in life’s river.  The thing about rapids is that there is an end to them even though it feels like you are going to be flipped and your journey will come to an end.  One of my maxims in life is: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  I have been saying this since day one, mostly about things like bacteria and parasites.  Sometimes you come around a bend in the river and get blindsided by challenges.  At the time they are tough but at their close you emerge stronger than ever or your journey comes to an end and you can sit on the bank watching life pass you by.  I ran into my rocks and rapids today and right now I’m just trying to make sure my raft doesn’t flip and end my journey.  I’m still in the tributary of the river of life and I want to make it to the big river.  I’m still young and learning and I took the wrong turn at the fork in the tributary, which now makes my life difficult because some unforeseen challenges may be coming my way that I didn’t prepare for.  That’s life though you can’t see around the bend where danger lurks.  “Unto the breach,” I tell myself because no matter what happens I will become stronger, learn more and adapt to my changing surroundings.  I can use my past experiences to help me through my new challenges to learn and grow as a young man.  Today was just the beginning of my rocks and rapids but I want to get all the way through them.  Who knows whether I will or whether I will be dashed against the rocks so hard that I never recover.  Only time will tell at this point…

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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Rocks and Rapids

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

Description

You know what sucks is when people jump to conclusions over nothing.  This is like hitting rapids and rocks on my raft in life’s river.  The thing about rapids is that there is an end to them even though it feels like you are going to be flipped and your journey will come to an […]

Posted On

03/26/13

Author

Will Phelan

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About a week ago, we spent a few days in a very, very rural homestay in this tiny town called Katta. The most powerful part of the homestay for me was definitely buying a sheep to kill it, cut up its meat and feast on it with our host families on our last night in Katta. As an American who lives in the suburbs, and especially as a vegetarian, I am really removed from my food and where it comes from. Even though I didn´t eat the sheep´s meat, it felt really awesome to be so involved in our food and see what it actually takes to bring an animal from living to meat. I am a bit squeamish and found it difficult to watch the sheep´s throat slit, but once it was dead I really just saw it as meat and really enjoyed a lesson about all of the sheep´s organs and arteries.

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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Food

Lydia Lichtiger,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

About a week ago, we spent a few days in a very, very rural homestay in this tiny town called Katta. The most powerful part of the homestay for me was definitely buying a sheep to kill it, cut up its meat and feast on it with our host families on our last night in […]

Posted On

03/26/13

Author

Lydia Lichtiger

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After a long windy bus ride through vivid green rolling hills we came to the end of the road. We stepped out surrounded by a thick fog unable to see what was around us anymore. We walked a short distance to a little eco lodge the community had built and dropped off our belonging. We wandered off into the mountains trailing our Aymara guide to his herd of alpaca.

 

Herding alpaca can be a graceful and beautiful act, a dance of sort where even a small child is able to grasp the alpaca running by. With our group it was more like a stampede with everyone running at the alpaca at the same time and the alpaca dodging us at every corner. The small child would bring by the ones he would grab and hand them to us, without the slightest hint of a smirk of how easy it was for him, and how nearly impossible it was for us.

 

In the morning the fog had risen and the mountains emerged from the mist, the glacial peaks protruding from the background of the green hillsides. Our journey took us across and around the countryside and through unseen terrain by most travelers. We arrived in the tiny Quechua community of Kaata. We dispersed to our individual homestay families stepping into the small adobe house with the corrugated tin roof. Black soot covered the walls, from the wood burning fire. We sat attempting to speak to each other in our common second language, Spanish.

 

One evening we invited the families to a feast of sheep, potatoes and rice. We sat around the communal dinner singing, dancing, and straining to speak through awkward jokes. Once the families left, we had a traditional Kayawaya from the region (a shaman) preform a sacred ceremony for us. He held up a small guinea pig to each of our necks to suck out the negative energy, and then before our eyes sacrificed the animal with his bare hands and tore it open to read our fortunes with its intestines.

 

Nothing is the same in Bolivia, but it is starting to feel more and more natural and familiar.

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Awakening the spirit

Los Instructores,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

After a long windy bus ride through vivid green rolling hills we came to the end of the road. We stepped out surrounded by a thick fog unable to see what was around us anymore. We walked a short distance to a little eco lodge the community had built and dropped off our belonging. We […]

Posted On

03/26/13

Author

Los Instructores

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Here we are in Cusco getting ready to go to Machu Picchu. I personally enjoy having a bit of down time after our last trek in high altitude. We got to corral and hold baby alpacas. They're so soft, I want one as a pet. After battling high altitude elements we are now at a lower altitude getting ready for the next leg of our journey. I have a feeling that I will experience a true Indiana Jones moment. After Machu Picchu we'll head to the amazon, and I'm anticipating some run ins with the local fauna (I love that kind of stuff). What wonderous adventures await us still I wonder.  

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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Welcome to Cuzco

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

Description

Here we are in Cusco getting ready to go to Machu Picchu. I personally enjoy having a bit of down time after our last trek in high altitude. We got to corral and hold baby alpacas. They’re so soft, I want one as a pet. After battling high altitude elements we are now at a […]

Posted On

03/26/13

Author

Scott bobbs

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Here are a few photos from our last hike and a link to a quick video. More yak posts and photos to come from our most recent trip in the Apolobamba region. 

 

 

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

 

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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video link and a few pics

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

Description

Here are a few photos from our last hike and a link to a quick video. More yak posts and photos to come from our most recent trip in the Apolobamba region.       

Posted On

03/23/13

Author

Regina Kruglyak

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We are lost in translation here in Caatta, when the gringos come to visit. They have strange talk and strange manner, when the come to stay. The way they talk is a whole new world compared to what we are use to here in Caatta. The speak so fast and funny its something I've never seen or heard before. They dress with bright clashing colors, and have crazy hair cuts, and the way they eat is crazy as well. They bring their own silver wear and bowls to eat, like they are afraid of a disease. they wash their hands every moment they get so crazy for our eyes to see. They eat meat like they have been starving for days and stuff it down their faces, they play wild and crazy games with each other jumping into each others arms and seeing how far they can get, or sitting in 2 circles facing each other and holding each others hands. Its just pure craziness with what these gringos do and i guess i will never understand the way of the western life but its okay, they opened our eyes to a new world, when they came to stay, in our little village called Caatta.

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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Lost In Translation

Charlie Banks Duke,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

We are lost in translation here in Caatta, when the gringos come to visit. They have strange talk and strange manner, when the come to stay. The way they talk is a whole new world compared to what we are use to here in Caatta. The speak so fast and funny its something I’ve never […]

Posted On

03/23/13

Author

Charlie Banks Duke

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At the moment, I don´t have the mental capacity to organize my thoughts on the world around and within me into a legible collection of words for you to understand. So let me justr share a very short and wonderful feeling with you.

 

This morning, the other 5 girls and I navigated our way independently through the second largest city in La Paz. We walked, we paid our way onto a mircobus, we didn´t get lost. Part of the reason I chose to come on this program was because my parent (rightfully) didn´t feel comfortable sending me, their daughter who just a month before had lost her passport while traveling independently around New Zealand (aka safest country ever,) alone to South America. And honestly, 5 weeks ago I don´t think that I could have managed at all traveling Bolivia on my own. But now, I feel as though I could go anywhere, anytime. And that is a wonderful feeling. 

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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Very Very Short

Anne Vetter,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

At the moment, I don´t have the mental capacity to organize my thoughts on the world around and within me into a legible collection of words for you to understand. So let me justr share a very short and wonderful feeling with you.   This morning, the other 5 girls and I navigated our way […]

Posted On

03/15/13

Author

Anne Vetter

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If you had asked me a month ago what luxury was, I would´ve told you all about the resorts that I was dying to stay in this coming summer in Europe, or the designer stores I passed everyday on my way to work. I would´ve given you an answer that you might´ve expected from a girl who went to private school, a materialistic, somewhat self-centered answer. But ask me that question today, and you´ll get something entirely different. 

Today, my definition of luxury has more to do with a hot shower and a toilet with a seat than the fanciest 5-star hotel or designer shoes. Living in Bolivia for a month, I´ve learned the value of things we take for granted at home in the States. Yesterday we visited the US Embassy in La Paz, and I actually experienced some reverse culture shock just from stepping foot on the US soil with its manicured gardens, the water fountain you didn´t have to purify before drinking, the toilets that could actually flush toilet paper. 

And yet it´s more than just the physical as well. What about the luxury of being able to choose the food you eat, of being able to import it from across the world to satisfy my craving for Korean Chap Chae noodles, instead of using what can be grown in the town over. Or the luxury of being able to experience Bolivian life, with all of its squat toilets and Giardia, knowing at the back of my head that I get to return to my cushy life back home in the States. But most of all, the luxury of being able to travel around Bolivia with an incredible group of people and of bringing everything I learn back to the US and my college experience with me. I don´t know exactly what I´m trying to say here, but I do know that Bolivia has changed me, in ways I can´t quite comprehend yet, and right now, that seems like luxury to me.

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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Luxury

Kaly Moot,Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

Description

If you had asked me a month ago what luxury was, I would´ve told you all about the resorts that I was dying to stay in this coming summer in Europe, or the designer stores I passed everyday on my way to work. I would´ve given you an answer that you might´ve expected from a […]

Posted On

03/15/13

Author

Kaly Moot

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So here we are in La Paz adjusting to the higher altitude to get ready for our next trek, which I have heard we get to use pack llamas. Last night for dinner I ate a llama steak which was delicious. Apparently I am in good fortune as this next leg of the journey will consist of a lot of llama meat (and llama wool sweaters). Our last trek went very well, despite my realization that I have some difficulty moving up mountains. Being from Indiana I find mountain climbing to be a bit of a challenge. Anyways on the trek we encountered some waterfalls to bathe under and more dinosaur footprints. On one part of the trek I felt the need to drink chocolate syrup in order to boost my energy. It worked unsurprisingly well when combined with coca leaves. I´m not too sure what to expect from this next hike other than a lot of llama meat based on what I´ve heard so far. As of now that sounds awesome to me. 

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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The Story So Far

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

Description

So here we are in La Paz adjusting to the higher altitude to get ready for our next trek, which I have heard we get to use pack llamas. Last night for dinner I ate a llama steak which was delicious. Apparently I am in good fortune as this next leg of the journey will […]

Posted On

03/15/13

Author

Scott Bobbs

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During our orienttion at Samay Wasi, a debate about language came up. Some argued it would be easier to make everyone learn the same language. Others thought a universal language would cause many cultural aspects to be lost.

 

After this, many questions arose.  "If a universl language were to be required, what language would it be?" "What cultural aspects would be lost in translations?" We decided that too many important but tiny cultural aspects would be lost and this outweighs the potential importance of a universal language.

 

As I pondered this more and gained more exerience in a cultural where I do not speak the language very well, I began to realize there is much more to language than just speaking.  During my homestay, I was able to have some very interesting conversations with my family about politics, culture, and Bolivia through minimal Spanish, drawing pictures, looking at maps, and hand gestures. Being an animated talker has never been my strong point but I have been trying to force myself to do so in order to have these converstions.

 

Another form of communication that has really allowed me to bond with my host siblings is futbol. Almost every night, my "siblings," "cousins," and I walk a few minutes down the road, across a bumpy field, to a hard court with lights, goals, and basketball hoops. Some times other local kids join in as well but usually play 3 v 3 for a minimum of an hour and a half. It is so much fun and a really interesting and great evironment to learn spanish slang. Over the hours I have spent playing futbol with my siblings, we laugh the entire time and bond in a way that would not be possible just around the house.

 

There is so much to language and communication that is beyond speaking. I have started to discover this but I still notice new ways to do this every day.

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Andes & Amazon "B" Semester, Spring 2013

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What is Language?

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

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During our orienttion at Samay Wasi, a debate about language came up. Some argued it would be easier to make everyone learn the same language. Others thought a universal language would cause many cultural aspects to be lost.   After this, many questions arose.  "If a universl language were to be required, what language would […]

Posted On

03/15/13

Author

Margaret Chandler

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