I hate you so much. Ignorance is bliss. How ignorant can you be to not respect another person’s sexual orientation. Is this not America the land of liberty? Why are we still stuck in the times of bigotry harrasment of those who are different and intolerance. Human kind has progressed from intolerance of race to intolerance of sexual orientation. Will there be another civil rights movement? What is this world coming to?
I can’t say I’m tolerant. I’m intolerant to people who are ignorant and the world revolves aroun them. Consuming less is not going to give goods to the
Children of Loma pampa but there is no reason to over consume. I don’t need a juicy couture bag. If you get things on a silver platter fuck you I hope u enjoy it and think about how much ur family scarificed to give u somethig u didn’t earn. An you prob wil never appreciate it either. This is why I don’t want to have children I don’t wan them to grow up in a world with such douchey and intolerant people. As knowledge is growing people are getting dumber.
unable to sleep soundly last night.. i wondered what could have been the reason of my discomfort. Usually I fall asleep right away or after 5 minutes after closing my eyes. But this night was different. My sheets felt harsh against my skin, my pillow not soft enough my heart was pacing. And i closed my eyes and breathed, in out in out. Finally I stopped and tried to concentrate on what really was upsetting me. Yes i was stressed my physics book hasn’t arrived..i’m behind on some work now. But something else is bothering me…probably all that Activia yogurrt i had been eating, but i can’t complain about that now.. i remember when i was dying for fiber in Bolivia. And that is when it hit me like a brick to my face. I got the wind knocked out of me temporarily. It was like reliving a nightmare that i couldn’t wake up from. All i saw were the children and their faces. How dirty they were. No one understands here. At a family party at my boy friend’s house his family asked well how was Bolivia? Well what did you do? and i really had a hard time even wanting to answer it. I love my boyfriend so much, he could sense how i was feeling before the question was even done being asked. He answered for me while i gave brief summaries he filled more details in.. the details that i still have a hard time saying.
sean: there was no water, at some places no electricity and definitely no toilets.
grandma: well why were the people so poor? what did they do?
me: well they don’t have much of an economy to work in. They sell things at the market place, their children work and thats all they can really do
grandma: well why doesn’t someone help them? why doesn’t the government?
sean: the government doesn’t care about these people. A little kid died that lauren worked with and it wasn’t a big deal..it wasn’t even announced.
telling bismar’s story over and over again, i have become cold to it. I still am angry. I don’t really know how i should deal with something so cruel as this. I think it’s because i am the type of person that needs an ending.. and Bismar’s case, his suffering never ended. He will never have justice, his father will always be a drunk and his mother always suffer, his brother always guilty, his small brother who resembles him eerily will always cry and no one will respond, his baby brother always wet because no one will change his diaper and his down-syndrome sister forever neglected. Yes Bismar is done as an individual suffering, but his family.. will forever suffer. And i have never felt so sad. Is it wrong to say that death is the only way out of such a cursed life? is it better that he is dead so that his father can’t beat him and his mother doesn’t have to worry about feeding another child.
i never see Bolivia in my dreams..it is forever in my nightmares and i cannot escape. I will always be changed and I feel it. I will never take my mother for granted and when ever i get the chance i will tell her I love her more than everything because she has sacrificed for me. I love all my family for supporting me throughout my journey and always believing in me. I love my boy friend Sean, who has held my hand and listened and been there for me through everything.
I feel like i am fighting for a losing battle. Nothing I can do will ultimately save the world. Nothing will save Bolivia, i cannot do anything to save any of those children. This is the life that they were chose to led..and i just hope they know happiness..not the same as we do..bbut happiness is so different there. so simple.
Abby was happy to see me try to salsa and meringue with her as she laughed so hard she could barely even dance. The little boys who came to my art class were excited to use my camera and to be in pictures with me making all sorts of faces. Even the trouble makers had a smile on their faces when i would say “Buen Dia” and they would respond “No No Buenas Noches” and i would respond “si si buenas noches” playing along with their game. The popcorn bags we gave out and even just bread would make children so excited.
i smile thinking of my children of Loma Pampa. Who knows maybe i’ll adopt a kid out of that orphanage that they worked in this summer. That is the only way I will feel that someone is being saved.
i have to reflect and think. Is this a selfish wish of mine? To be a hero? to save a little piece of the world?
my mother always told me from a young age “lauren stop trying to save the world”. I looked at her with tears and I said i wanted to make that difference in someones life, to change their life for the better. I now understand why she said that to me, it wasn’t to discourage me; it was to protect me from the reality of it all. It’s true I can’t save the world and in my heart I know i was put on this earth to do something extraordinary to help people. It is the only thing I am passionate about.. don’t get me wrong..i love science and all. But this is what feels right to me… i mean it took me all the way to the southern hemisphere.. when i could have been dipping my toes in the Atlantic Ocean on the jersey shore, I was in Loma Pampa. And i would never trade it for anything.
it is a nightmare that i live with. The nightmare of reality. I was naive, as is everyone until they see with their own eyes. After watching all that national geographic, where they explain all the different aspects of culture and society, you never truly understand until you are there.
i now ask this question.. Is it better to be naive about the world and it’s poor, to not see the ends of the world where there are human beings just like yourself living in conditions you never could imagine? or is the truth what you need?
I guess I would say that I am mature for my age, I always have been told so since I was younger, and this truth made me feel old. It made me come home and feel like alot of the answers i had been searching for had been answered. There was no bright light.. and the Christo did not descend upon me in my sleep and whisper my fate into my ears, but slowly as i begin to set my future up..it now starts to make sense.
Bolivia. I still have the map of cochabamba hanging on a wall in my room. It is a constant reminder to me as where I have been (duh). Well i mean emotionally too! On that map it shows all the locations i have been, Loma Pampa (not listed on the map but i know where it is), the Christo, La Cancha and my classes. I survived and found my way around in a town that i wasn’t even remotely familiar with. I guess it is my motivation.. I can do anything that I set my mind to. I made it to Bolivia right! And I made it out! (only getting sick 1 time!).
I guess because I stored this in the back of my brain for months and neglecting my journal for the same amount of time that everything comes out now. I had been avoiding my journal because I didn’t want to write anymore, I didn’t want to reflect or relive many things (such as the beginning of my entry) but everything needs to be reflected over.
I guess I made up for my slacking and I feel much better..I forgot how great it feels after getting everything out there..in cyber space haha
okay so I slacked a little bit (more like 2 weeks).
Okay here goes a couple days:
Bismar’s mom approached me today holding her side in pain. She walked over to La Cede and it took her about 10 minutes to shuffle over with her hands holding her bandages from her new surgery. I grabbed her hand and shook it and came closer to her to kiss her cheeks. I asked her if she was in pain and what was going on. I learned from our broken Spanish/Quecha conversation that she had a surgery on something (I think gallbladder) and they only gave her medicine for her stomach. They gave a woman who had an open surgery wound medicine for her stomach ache.. and not antibiotics. The Cuban doctors apparently give these people free service but crappy medicine. What is this world coming to?
Tonight we went to Pimiento, a great club in Bolivia. I finally felt like I was back at home again because they played all techno music! It made me miss the US so much. It reminded me of when I was younger and I used to go out to clubs with my friends. I encountered the youth of Bolivia… and it made me grateful to have a wonderful AMERICAN boyfriend. The Bolivian boys have not been rubbing me the right way… they are quite rude and believe that whistling is the right way to attract attention
The despidida in Loma Pampa was really fun today. There were a lot of activities for the kids and socialization for the adults. We performed our Salsa and Bachata dances coordinated by Jovanna. We also did a Clean Loma Pampa campaign where we had contests of who could clean up the most garbage in 15 minutes. There were around 11 bags of recyclable garbage and 11 bags of pure garbage. In 15 minutes… and it looked like we didn’t make a dent. We had our lunch at Don Miguel’s house and I was happy to have vegetables. We finally left and I was exhausted. I just wanted to sleep. I went last minute Cancha shopping and we met up later at Casablanca for some pizza and I packed and watched a bootleg version of Toy Story 3.
August 9th - 10th
Today I woke up early with the worst stomach ache ever.. the pizza from Casablanca finally did me in… I refuse to eat anything and I have been doing a liquid diet only. We flew out to Santa Cruz and took a taxi to the hostel that Evyn, Michele and Carolyn booked for the night. We relaxed a little and then immediately decided to go over and get some ice cream =]. Bad idea! Ice cream is not good for my stomach ugh! Then we sat in the plaza and toured the cathedral. We drudged back to the hostel tired and hungry for dinner. We relaxed with everyone else in our group, who had taken a bus the night before. The bus ride for them ended up being hell and I’m happy I paid the extra money for a plane ticket. We then got into the best taxi ever. He had a minivan and subwoofers that took up his whole trunk. He blasted Daddy Yankee and other reggaeton artists like Don Omar and he looked like Big Pun. He was awesome haha. We got the to the restaurant and it was a big open restaurant with many many tables and tons of waiters (only males) taking orders in their outfits. I only had chicken soup but it was really good. Natasha and I headed out to the airport just in time because the line for AA was crazy!! We apparently were standing behind some Bolivian John Mayer or something… because everyone kept coming up to him and taking pictures and asking for autographs. Our flight was delayed an hour so we boarded at 1.30 =[. Natasha and I fell asleep multiple times in the airport and before our flight I had my last mate forever =[. I took an antibiotic before boarding so that the 7 hr flight would not be uncomfortable for my stomach. Natasha and I got to sat next to each other and we slept for 6 hours of the trip..i don’t think I ever slept so sound sitting upright. As soon as we got out of the plane we ran through security and bag check and got to the nearest ABP stand and devoured chicken Caesar salads. I don’t think lettuce ever tasted so good! We didn’t get to sit next to each other for the Newark flight but that was fine. We went to pick up bags said good bye…I got lost for like 15 minutes and then found the parking lot sean was in. I don’t think we have been happier to hug each other ever. It was nice just to have him waiting there for me.
After Bolivia.. As soon as i got home i did not want to talk about Bolivia to anyone.. no one could possibly understand what i had seen, smelled or felt. jacob was right though about what he said in reflections that life would go back to how it was when we got back… nothing would change in our lives. At first i didn’t want to believe it..but he was right.. As soon as i got home i drove my car.. i went shopping went to Dunkin donuts and it felt all the same.. it felt like bolivia was just a dream i had one night… thats how it still is. I still think about the children and the people i encountered in Bolivia. When asked if i will ever return to bolivia i say no..i’m afraid to return to something that only gets worse as time goes on..what about Bismar’s family.. i don’t even wnt to pick my brain about it.. it’s something i wanted to escape from..
i suck at this online journal thing..actually i don’t Bolivia sucks for not having internet in the houses..and the internet cafes being so slow..
Class… Slept over Michele’s house..Read and did a little work..passed out with book on face.. everytime i start doin any work it will be the first time i layed in bed all day and i automatically fall asleep… mehhh =[ thats why i have not written in my journal (online one)
No Loma Pampa this week.. we relaxed. I traveled by truffi back and forth all over the place. Went to Banana Lounge with CJ, Michele, Caleb, Naju and Richard. Good music, strong drinks fun times. The only thing that was really disheartening was that this little boy came in and sat next to me on a chair and put a flower in my face. I politely said no…but he didn’t really understand what i was saying he seemed either high or there was something wrong with him. He wouldn’t leave after like 5 minutes and i felt bad. the owner came over and shooed him out.. i was really upset about it and it reminded me that i had seen alot but there is much worse than what i have gone through and seen here… which really sucks
Michele, Evyn and I went to La Cancha to pick up a few things for Toro Toro, like head lamps..we decided to reuse them for gold digger halloween costumes.. we are too crafty hahah. We then went to the grocery store for some snacks (a kilo of animal crackers was sufficient). Then we had reflections later that night and went out to my favorite restaurant KAHBOOB !!! The best food evaaa! Then after we went to Cafe Modena and i had the world famous chocolate cake… yummy!! Then with a full stomach i went home to back my things up for Toro Toro.. it was a process not knowing what exactly to bring with me.. so i brought everything..
i was surprised the bus ride into Toro Toro did not kill us…I basically went off roading in a bus.. word to that. The road was either stone or just dirt… not much room (the bus took up the whole road so it was fun figuring out how to let other trucks or cars by) and no guard rails that was very fun! It was a 5 hour trip.. which also was interrupted by desert side of the road bathroom break.. that’s always fun. We finally arrived at toro toro and unpacked our stuff into the hostel.. when we realized 75% of the rooms do not lock..fun! so then we went to eat a late lunch at Pachamama Wasi (quecha for mother earth’s house). The food was… well i didn’t get sick so i won’t complain. But the food was cold a good majority of the time..they had a set menu and i ate things really fast so i wouldn’t have to taste it. There were a few times that it was good but not enough that i would go their voluntarily. Then we went with spider monkey man to see the dinosaur footprints of Toro Toro.. he knew everything.. he was a genius. Then we went back to my fav restaurant for dinner. After we had a “frat party” in the boys room.. deep conversations about .. everything.. usually only about food, birth control and copulation. The usual… then we carried our party onto the street and Richarrrr played his charango.
Rise and Shine.. nice and early.. yuck! We had breakfast and then went for a hike (an adventure) to the canyon.. like a bamillion steps and Spider monkey man (Don Mario) walked without breaking a sweat..he was dressed in loafers, khakis, a button down shirt and his llama sweater… im all the way in the back huffing and puffing with Evyn. That guy showed me up big time. We climbed from rock to rock and tooo many steps and finally got to the water fall.. awesome. We swam in the water falls and then hiked back up all the god damned steps… and then we went for lunch.. had a 10 minute break and off to the caves!! We got orange helmets with pads in them and i put my head lamp on. I felt like a creepy crawly insect crawling on all fours, turinging side ways going down backward.. i fit in spaces not meant for people haha. After we walked back in the dark and the sky was lit up by the stars it was a great ride back.. we were so hungry.. we went back to our fav restaurant.. we were supposed to have another frat party but instead we sat and watched the people of Toro Toro attempt to put a t-rex in the square.. people were fighting which way to fit it in..so it ended up going back and forth for 4 hrs.. only to be left on the truck.. that is when we made the term T.I.B. This is bolivia… for example.. people fighting over which way to put a trex in the square..someone would say that ridiculous.. and the response would be.. TIB man TIB
the second cave was today.. i oppted to sleep after i woke up stiff and sore.. i woke up at 7.30 for breakfast and then went back to the room to read and stuff then we went for lunch again at pachamama wasi and packed up the bus.. The bus driver was drunk/insane and yelling at me in quecha because we were late..i tried explaining to him it wasn’t our fault but he was like insane.. then he drove like a mad man and he started packing up so that the tire of the back of the bus was almost off the edge of the road.. multiple times.. if i can live through that.. i can live through anything jesus. we got back and i was so exhausted i ate yogurt and fruit and went to bed
the feria was today. There were exhibitions of the artwork (table clothes) the women were working on from alto cochabamba and Loma Pampa. I went to the truck for food — french fries and a coke. After we hung around and left. Jovanna, Ayesha and Michele fell in love with puppies..which they are taking back to states.. they are crazyyy! after Evyn, Michele, Caleb, Jovanna and I went to Globos for the worst service ever.. TIB
Michele got her puppy today.. he is so tiny. She named him sesame but i call him peanut because he is like a little peanut.. i love him.. he is like my little child. He eats formula 4 times a day and im helping michele raise it since i have puppy 101 knowledge from dawson..the spaun of satan dog haha (just kidding i love dawson). We went out for Rosalba’s birthday dinner at Rodeos.. 15 boliviano ( 2 dollar ) steak… yummy
We went to loma pampa and no one showed up for class other than ariel bismars brother =[ we visited Prima and i set up a time for my interview. After all that we all went to language class and then met up at Casa Blanca for jazz night. I ate wayy to much
I missed a lot of days but it has been a crazy few days this week.
Tuesday July 13th
Upon arrival to la cede in Loma Pampa Bismar’s mother waited for us. I knew things something was wrong.. as soon as we got off the bus she collapsed in our arms crying that her son had been killed. I stood back in shock.. no.. it was a lie..i had just seen Bismar on Sunday and told him to make sure he came to class today.. no.. As i held his shaking mom i cried with her and we cried together. I sat at la cede for hours on the front steps (getting a sun burn in the process) running over the last times i had seen Bismar, how i could have saved him if I just had bought him out of his ice cream so he didn’t have to sell that day.. why was i so selfish.. I couldn’t escape the toughts of him , seeing that he lives across from the cede. The children from my class came up to me and pet my hair and hugged me telling me they had cried last night. They asked when i was going to see Bismar.. I had to see him.. i couldn’t i wasn’t ready. I told them i was waiting for the rest of my group to arrive so we could all go together. Then a sheep came up to me, this sheep always hangs out around the gate of a house down hill from the cede. This sheep never moves from that gate and today it came all the way up the cede looked at me as i cried and baaed at me… and baaed and baaed until i yelled at it and pet its little head..then it went back to its gate. After that natasha arrived and we went to the wake… As i walked towards the doorway of the one room house where his coffin lay i lost my breath my throat got dry my eyes swelled with tears… it couldn’t be real. I walked in and turned cold..little Bismar was in that little white coffin.. I couldn’t do this..i walked to his mother kissed her two cheeks and handed her rice and hugged her. I walked over to his coffin and kept my head down and prayed and cried for him. Natasha, Jovana, Michele, Abby, Melina and I all held hands while Jovana led a prayer for Bismar. After I felt like i couldn’t cry any more… we decided to walk to the top of Loma Pampa…hence all the pics on my facebook. It was the worst hike ever..but worth it. We got to the top and just had a great conversation and it made me feel a lot better. We walked back down for lunch and cookies and we went back to the wake again when the rest of the students came.. i stayed on the other side of the room avoiding the grief of seeing the face in the coffin again. After we sat in silence in the cede and Pamela calls on me to comment on what happened how i was feeling..she must have sensed i was going to explode with emotion… I burst into tears and I could barely speak..in front of 13 of my peers.. Pamela and my professor..i couldn’t breath all i could do was look at the ground and sob and get in a few words about how life in bolivia wasn’t fair and how this is real life for so many children and it didn’t make sense to me for such a young kid to be taken so easily.. After we went to the funeral..it was not the precession i was hoping for.. i was standing on someone else’s grave..kids were peeing in the cementary there was laughter and loudness… no one was wearing black..a man was selling ice cream.. i looked around.. it seemed the Pro Justicia members and my group where the only ones crying and at the front in front of the grave.. People were offering coca and chicha to the dead bismar.. all while i drunk “priest” slurred worst of the “bible” from a pamphlet.. all the time bismar’s brother was with us. That was my culture shock..how lightly death was taken here.. how common..it made me sick.. after Bismar’s funeral i was exhausted but was in need of something to cheer me up .. Casa Blanca with the group was the solution ..they have great cappuccinos for only 7 bolivianos ($1).
Wed July 14th
The Christo statue that is always in my pictures..i finally climbed every step to it. it was over 1000 steps.. of agony haha But worth it in the end. Of few of my group members and I went up and were accompanied the whole time by a dog we dubbed Anti-CoCo (my neighbors dog coco walked us to the christo and anti-coco walked us there —anti coco had opposite colors as coco so he was dubbed anti coco). We walked around the Christo a while and tried to take AC (anti-coco) on the teleferico with us but he wasnt allowed… it was like a sad movie.. he waited on the edge and jumped 6 feet trying to run through the brush to catch us.. then we saw him start running down the stairs.. oh AC =[ I’m going back to find him! Goldstein made an interesting point about AC.. it was only 1 day after Bismar died.. and the dog went all the way to the Christo with us and we had to part ways.. we only knew him for a little while and then we had to leave him.. hmm interesting
Thursday July 15th
Paper mache with the kids proved excellent..we had flowers, buckets, balls and hearts created. The kids loved it and got very dirty. That same sheep who had baaed at me at Bismar’s death came back to bother me and try to eat my projects.. get get get i said to the sheep… but just like Bismar did, he antagonized me coming back every 5 minutes to try to eat the paper mache… Bismar is still at my classes..in sheep form.
Friday july 16th
Today was a scramble! We went from fundacion to discuss our projects for the big presentation of la cede next sunday to La Cancha. Last minute shopping and packing for Chapare! The bus ride was long (4.5 hrs) and as we got off the bus for the first time we realized we all had packed the wrong clothes… it was 40 degrees not an expected 80 with humidity… uh oh.. it was raining non stop and cold =[. We arrived at the hotel late, and had dinner. We all hung out until the wee hours of the night (2 am lol) and then we all (Carolyn, Evyn, Michele and I) grabbed a room and slept under the covers since there was no heat.. =[ meh. No hot water either.. oh well.
Saturday july 17th
Our Chapare trip was ruined by the rain..but that didn’t stop us! We went to la Jungla where we climbed up all sort of slippery rickety wood ladders and bridges..straight out of an indian jones movie haha. We did jumps (not really jumps its a platform that you are sitting on a wooden swing and fall and the swing catches you as you fall and you swing really far and high) from 4 Meters, 12 Meters and 18 meters.. We had criers, hyper ventalters, everyone was a screamer (including Guery) and then there was Guery and I who were laughing the whole time. We were standing together on the platform for the 18 Meter fall in the pouring rain laughing about how crazy it was that we were doing this and how cold it was..then i told him i wanted to go down on a bungee cord like a free fall or go sky diving. We were always the ones to jump up and down on the bridges and platforms like stupid people and die of laughter at everyone else lol. After we went to a restaurant…with no walls so that it was equally freezing.. yum haha. The food was good some sort of fish.. the bus ride back (5 hrs) was a lot of fun.. dancing, singing and laughing .. and CJ falling into a ravine mid pee on the side of the road.. sorry CJ it was hillarious hahaha especially because after Evyn got back on the bus and announced it and Rich and Chris ran out to “save” her and all the girls started screaming because they were mid pee .. CJ came back fine just a little shook up from completely falling in the dark..mid pee… hilarious.
Sun July 18th
So we went to Loma Pampa and sanded/painted. I had an interview with Prima (a young woman of Loma Pampa) and her “husband” (they are living together on the terms of marriage but are not legally married). They were really nice people and i am planning on seeing Prima again on Tuesday morning. No kids showed up for my class today except for my Abi =[ so i did the mentos and diet coke explosion for her to satisfy her science craving of the day (i know everyone has those). She really loved it alot! I promised to try for bottle rockets for Tuesday morning. We left Loma Pampa and i went home cleaned up and went to Brazilian Coffee for some great Sushi and a milkshake with Jovana, Natasha and Carolyn. After (Now ) i am at Casa Blanca (again) with Michele and Evyn. Today i realized how much i hate being different than everyone in Cochabamba. I’m happy im different and im mad at the same time… the next person that glares, stares, whistles are yells at me is gonna get smacked … not kidding! It makes me so self conscience i dont know why but it’s irritating.. i’m a human being.. not an alien! But that’s what i feel like in Bolivia everywhere i go, Loma Pampa, Chapare, Cochabamba Santa Cruz… everyone looks at me like im soooo different. The people of Loma Pampa are probably the nicest about it haha.. They just ask where i’m from and that’s it .. no stares no glares.. just smiles, hugs, Buenos Dias, Adios. The city people are so rude!
you finally escaped the barrio but not in the way i had wished for you. You sprouted wings and flew off into oblivion and i didn’t get to say bye. I had wished that you were going to come to class on tuesday morning so that we could teach you arts and crafts but instead of making origami stars, you were touching the stars. I wish the world wasn’t so cruel to you Bismar, but I hope where you do go that you are able to have clean clothes and running water. I hope that they have food for miles for that empty stomach of yours. Dear Bismar, it’s not fair that you’re gone but that’s how life is in Bolivia. At your funeral there was no silence like i had wished and the whole day i felt so lost..how is it possible such a little innocent being as yourself can be taken so easily? I just tell myself it was for the better, your suffering is now over Bismar.
today was only the 100th time i hit my head getting in/out of the truffi. They are made for short people , i’m convinced. The thing that pisses me off more than anything in bolivia is that people constantly stare… like do i have a third eye or something haha. There isn’t much diversity here so i understand but jesus it’s like people don’t glance they hard core stare..i walk past a restaurant and every single person sitting outside follows me with their eyes until i disappear.. annoying hahaha. it also could be because i belt my llama sweater haha i dont see anyone wearing those things except me lol ohh well!
casa Blanca’s internet is so in and out! mehhhh!
ATTENTION: MY FACE BOOK WILL BE PUBLIC WHILE IN BOLIVIA SO ANYONE/ EVERYONE CAN LOOK AT MY PICTURES. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A FACEBOOK MEMBER TO LOOK THROUGH MY PICTURES JUST SEARCH LAUREN GIANNETTI AND I SHOULD BE UNDER RUTGERS OR VERONA HIGH SCHOOL NET WORK.
Michele and I went to La Cancha to bought 300 Bolivianos worth of artesian stuff! How fun! haah then we had language class =[ boring day. Will try to send stuff via UPS home.
Today I took an adventure by accident..i took a truffi to an OTB (a barrio). I needed to go to the Catholic University but I guess i took the truffi on the wrong side of the road so it had started at the university rather than going there. Opps! It was very similar to Loma Pampa but it had more buildings and the houses aren’t as small.. so i ended up at Fundacion Ipeno on time for Loma Pampa (Thank God). It was my first day working individuality with the kids. We got to do a picture contest about keeping the environment clean. Then Michele starting doing origami so everyone wanted stars and cisnes (cranes). Then after Loma Pampa Michele, Jovana, Melina and Rocia went in search of paper for origami and supplies for volcanos. We stopped and had empanadas at Cha Chas!! The one thing you learn in Bolivia is that when you say you’re hungry people respond right away and insist you eat immediately haha. The people here are really great especially the women and men of Pro Justicia. I love working with Melina and Etel, they are the nicest women ever and they are always asking how we are. So after I went back to my house to get ready to go out for Evyn’s birthday with Jovanna. Jovanna, my mom, her friend and I all sat down for tea and talked forever it was fun. Then we went to amadeus for Evyn’s birthday and we had a blast!
Our second day at Loma Pampa was fun! before loma pampa Michele and I took the truffi to my moms sister’s house for lunch, then we walked to Fundacion ipeno for Loma Pampa. We orginally tried to teach the kids origami but it ended up being really hard so we made stars and then we did paper snow flakes. Then Jovanna did her dance class which was really fun! After we went to La Cancha to get some more supplies for the volcano experiment. After we went to michele’s house to practice our volcanos.. Michele ended up making a huge paper mache volcano for a model for the kids. Evyn and I ate at Michele’s house and this ended up being one of the best nights ever.. Why? Because I found the taxista of my dreams. Usually the taxi drivers near la cancha (where Michele lives) are like the worst! But this guy was really cheap and really nice.
I woke up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night and my stomach hurt so so bad. This sucks =[ I took the truffi to Fundacion Ipeno (the right truffi) and we met up to discuss our human rights projects with Pro Justicia. I am doing my research on marriage in Bolivian, what are the laws, the standards, what rights do you have while being married etc. Then we got our Bolivia Pro Justicia t shirts and were off to do whatever. Michele and I caught the truffi back to my house where we had lunch with my mom and relaxed. We later left again to catch the truffi to go for some chocolate cake with Jacobo and go to reflections. Reflections were intensely emotional but I still enjoyed it. After we caught a cab back to Michele’s house so that she could shower and do some home work… I met the taxista of my dreams again. He was from the same company and he was the greatest! He was cheap and he was very talkative.. I really like him a lot ! So he gave me his cell number so I could call him directly rather than the company so I used him for the rest of the night when Michele and I went out to Amedus again. It sucked because it was like legit karoke and a bunch of old people.. =[ no salsa.
Woke up this morning with stomach pains again =[ meh! Relaxed a lot and did my map with Michele for our map assignment. Then we walked to Casa Blanca to use the internet and type of some of our stuff. Had pasta guacamole and fresh peach juice. This shoe shine kid came up to the window on the inside of the casa blanca and make a signal towards me.. and I couldn’t understand him.. finally he came over and said “Tengo hambre”. I told him I would give him what was left when I was done eating. So a few minutes later I basically gave him my whole plate of food, he thanked me and returned the plate when he was done. I don’t mind giving food because I know that they are getting fed but I don’t wanna give money because I don’t know what that is going to.. hmm.. he def knew I was an easy target! Haha After Michele came back to my house and we had soup because our stomachs were feeling weird and we were planning on going out but ended up not because we were sick =[. Michele, Evyn and I all bought matching white converse… Evyn just needs to get a llama back pack and we will all match ahaha.. we are so weird.
Today I have come to a conclusion… I am in Bolivia.
After volcanoes and chaos in Loma Pampa (All the kids loved making the volcanoes explode.) while waiting for my pizza in the pizza place a few blocks from my house I all of a sudden was overcome by a wave of anger and desperation. Two children walked in after their father. Their clothes crisp and new, their faces clean toys in hand. These were the first completely clean children I had seen all day.. and I was out raged… how dare they have such nice things when the children in Loma Pampa don’t even have running water. I wanted to go up to them and tell them that Bismar and Ismael had only a few outfits to wear, none of which were clean or new. I then turned away from them outraged… and it hit me.. I once was that little girl with the doll and the new clothes.. I never knew of the children of the barrio or dirty faces. I only had learned of the children of the barrio a few years ago, I had only met the children of Loma Pampa a week ago. But I felt like I had known them for such a long time. I immediately got angry when people had no idea about Loma Pampa.. Que es Loma Pampa? Donde esta? Many question my work in Loma Pampa, laughing at the fact that I was doing work with children of the barrio. I looked at a group of boys coming in, and I wondered if one day Ismael or Bismar would be able to enjoy clean clothes or the streets of the city or even a pizza place. As I walked down the street with my pizza back to my house I wondered how my life would be if I never went to Loma Pampa. As I got back and sat down at the table and looked out as the sun was setting I thought to myself.. what am I doing? I’m not changing anyone’s life..What the hell difference am I making. When I leave Bismar will be the same.. He will still have to work on Sundays selling ice cream even though he is only 6 (I believe). For the past couple days I sit in bed after my alarm and just wonder..what difference am I making? I go to my room then to get my notebook and a paper falls out of my backpack. It’s a note from one of the girls from Loma Pampa, Abi. She wrote me a note saying she loves me and she always wanted to be my friend since we met. Granted she wrote notes to a lot of the girls.. that didn’t matter to me.. that little piece of paper made me gasp for air as I tried to wipe away tears.. this is why I’m here. This is the difference that I’m making. And as I bring my laptop out the table and set up my work station I look out into the night.. and see two dogs mating in the street… I’m in Bolivia alright.
The BBQ was a lot of fun! I got to meet Ale’s sister and her sister’s husband, they are really nice and are ridiculously involved in soccer games hahaha. Every time Germany got a goal her husband would scream “GOOOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL ALEMANIAAAAAA!” They gave me this awesome sand which—it was thin meat covered (fried) in egg with potato, onion, and this really spicy salsa (not like the salsa at home this was like chopped up tomatoes and hot peppers.. my mouth is watering thinking about it! Ale told me that if you eat too much of the sandwich I will go back to the united states huge ahhaah ! Of course I love the most unhealthy things ever! I finally got on the internet and on facebook, but at the fundacion ipeno (where I take my classes and meet for community service to go to Loma Pampa) the internet refuses to let me on facebook… oh well so anyone who writes on my facebook it may be a while until I get back to you =[ sorry! After the BBQ I met up with some members of my group to go to La Cancha!! It was soooo crowded and a little bit overwhelming but I really liked it a lot! We met a woman there who was a friend of professor Goldstein’s I think..or she knew of him because Jovanna, Natasha and Carolyn had went to her stand previous years. I bought my first Bolivian artesian product.. a llama sweater!!! It’s the best thing ever!! It’s so so warm!!! After La cancha we went to La Casa Blanca for dinner..i’m not too much of a fan of La Casa Blanca because the service is really really slow and they forgot our Guacamole!!!! I really want guacamole and no one has it anywhere! I guess I will make some myself! Maybe on Saturday?? I told my mom I wanted to make her dinner but I’m not sure what I will make because they don’t have a lot of the stuff I need here =[ (no sauces—I need my hot sauce) So I am going to go to the supermarket and see if they have anything! Tomorrow will be my first time in Loma Pampa and I’m curious as to what it will be like..I know it’s supposed to be very poor with limited resources such as water and electricity but I still don’t know what to expect..and as for the labor part… hmmmm hahah..well I’m very exhausted from all this walking and I am definitely going to lose weight because I walk everywhere hahah. Tonight the dog was waiting for me at the gate again haha he is like my own pet because he waits for me every night at the gate and then I pet him for 5 minutes and he gets mad when I walk away hahaha oh well!
Today was really fun! We arrived in Loma Pampa at around 9.00 to start work but none of the people of Loma Pampa were there! They say in Bolivia that you tell them 9.00 and they come at 9.30 haha they are on Bolivian time haha. It has a lot to do with the fact that Bolivians in general to my understanding are very relaxed and never really rush. My mom is always late! And she tells me oh don’t worry about it relax you can leave in 10 minutes but I always tell her I have to leave now bla bla bla..the technique is to tell her 15-20 min before I actually have to leave that I have to leave haha. So while we were waiting I met some of the cholas of the village and the children..they were all very nice! Finally everyone gathered and did their speeches of how grateful they were that we were able to be here with them especially on the day of our independence. Don Miguel (the leader of the village) introduced us to the people of his village and spoke in both Quecha and Spanish and a little English haha. So then we started the labor, which wasn’t terrible (until the next morning, when I woke up). There was a huge pile of rocks they wanted to level out and make into a rock wall near the community center so everyone together, the men, women, children and our group all moved rocks together. Shoveling into wheel barrows, or into tarps or just passing rocks along. In my entire life I never once thought I would be working next to a chola in Loma Pampa; these were the cholas and men that I had been so fond of from books in Latin American Anthro..and now to see them in front of me and to buy from them and work with them..no words can really describe that feeling. When what you have learned so much about and read about in the US comes alive in front of you and you finally observe it in nature and it’s natural setting..it’s breath taking. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I look around and think to myself.. “Holy crap..I’m in Bolivia”. Now I’m so used to it that I forgot how it feels to have my own car or go to McDonalds.. I’m so used to the way of life and customs here which is a good thing. Being in Bolivia is very relaxing because I have a lot of time to myself, time to reflect and to take in everything. There is no rush and most of the people here are really down to earth and nice. So in the middle of our work Don Miguel announces that we are going to have a celebration in honor of July 4th because we shouldn’t work on the day of our country. So we stopped for Saltenas and Coca-Cola. Saltena to my understanding is very similar to an empanada but 1. They always have only 1 olive with a pit in it inside, 2. The ridiculous amount of juice ALWAYS spills on you no matter how much you drink out, 3. I love them more than empanadas!! It really meant a lot to me to see these people who did not have much willing to give us a saltena feast. It just goes to show you how generous people are in Loma Pampa they will give you even if they have nothing for themselves. During the feast the people of Loma Pampa didn’t eat and so my mom had packed me 2 sandwiches and I gave away a sandwich to one of the Cholas. I felt that because they had given me these great saltenas that I had to repay and show my thanks..even just with a little sandwhich. Afterwards I joined the music group because we have not gotten our science supplies yet. I cannot describe in words the joy it brought to my heart to see these kids smile. They were so excited and happy to be involved with the music class and later duck duck goose. At first the older girls (Abby and Maribel) were a little stand off ish to the games (not to me or Michele, they greeted us first with many questions haha). Abby and Maribel are around 11 or 12 and they are very smart and very curious about us. Abby talks so fast I can’t understand her a lot and I told her my Spanish wasn’t perfect so she would have to articulate a little more and speak slower..she agreed only if I would help her learn English. In the music class we learned Arroz Con Leche a famous song about someone getting married and rice pudding (arroz con leche) is traditionally served at weddings. We then taught them twinkle twinkle little star. I was nervous about my service learning in Loma Pampa at first because I wasn’t sure if the children would like me.. I am some white girl who speaks terrible Spanish and I’m trying to get them to do stuff with me..but they really enjoyed the time we had together. We left Loma Pampa and promised Maribel and Abby that we would see them at dance class on Wednesday. We then went out for the 4th of July with Don Miguel, his family and the entire group. We went to a place where they cook the meat on stones in the ground I believe..it was great! I had lapping y lechon (cow and pork). It’s hard to get your daily serving of vegetables in Bolivia because the core of the Bolivian diet is rice/potatoes/pasta and beef/meat but I’m pushing my mom to get greens and prepare me more things with tomato. We had our own fireworks in the basketball court near the restaurant and then I went home and passed out!
Today was my first day of class with Pamela! I enjoy class in Bolivia because we always have coca or trimate tea during class and it is situated outside the fundacion ipeno (in the garden). Pamela is a great teacher because she really knows what she is talking about in terms of neroliberalism in Bolivia because she lived in Bolivia during and up to that time. Pamela is really such a caring person and she tries to make sure everyone is understanding every point she makes. She also approached discussions different because it’s not a lecture its more like a interactive seminar, which I really like. We took a break during class for Coca-Cola and Saltenas!! (YES!) and then we finished class. Then Evyn, Michele and I walked over to café Ecla for some great fried American food!! YUMMM! After Michele and I walked around el 25 de May (a street with many shops and vendors) and even went into el 25 de mayo market. I ended up buying a Bebe sweatshirt with fur on the inside..I couldn’t wear my llama sweater every day! Oh and today I wore my llama sweater belted..oh yes I did. Brought some New York Style to Bolivia!!! After shopping I went to my first language class which was really fun! Martha , my teacher, is really nice and patient! After I walked home (without getting lost) and had a quick dinner and met up with the group at a bar for the strongest and biggest margarita I’ve ever had (yes I can legally drink in Bolivia)..wow..and then I realized it was made from all ice.. and I was probably going to get sick.. hmmm well we shall see if I really do get sick! After I got home my mom and I watched her favorite novella (soap opera) and we laughed about the clothing and hair styles and how dramatic they are haha. I am so glad that my mom and I have such a close bond! I don’t feel as home sick because she reminds me a lot of my mom at home and the relationship we had.. Ale is like my best friend I tell her all about my day and about everyone in the group..come one who else has a conversation about love the first night they meet..only Ale hahaah.
Well I will start from the beginning! Ok so by day:
June 30th: Newark airport at 11 AM flight to Miami from 2.05 to 6.00 (mad delayed!)
Miami airport from 6.00 to 10.45 lay over (ay dios mio)
In the airport I met up with my classmates and I ended up eating Chinese food (bad decision haha). And we didn’t end up leaving the airport until ummm 12.00 pm. I sat next to a really cute old guy and a 13 yr old chatty Kathy haha. She wanted to tell me everything about Bolivia and had so many questions and she even made fun of my “new York accent”. Many people of Latin America ask personal questions and say things that in america would be “offensive” but they are just curious and very very honest which isn’t terrible!
July 1st- The old man was on my 9 hr trip but the girl got off the plane at La Paz which was only a 6 hr flight.. La Paz’s altitude is so different that I immediately started getting altitude sickness..it was horrible! So then we flew over many mountains (Cochabamba is in a valley setting) and finally arrived in Santa Cruz. We went through customs where the man joked with me that my Spanish was better than the police officer working security and the airports are so different!!! First of all basically the airport is terminals and baggage claim and then you walk out the doors and its like a waiting area and the check in counters..but you can sit there even if you don’t have a plane ticket..alll the food is outside the terminals and they don’t care if you bring food on the airplanes. The second plane in Bolivia that we took from Santa Cruz to Cochabamba was AeroSur. 1st of all Aero Sur is the nicest plane I have ever been on the regular coach seats are huge and exactly the same as first class seats in American airlines…. Yess. I flew with the whole Bolivian youth soccer team and of course they all were interested in what I was doing because I am ridiculously white and the flight attendant insisted on translating everything to English for me… but he was talking really really fast…I would have understood..i was on 2 other planes I know the deal! SO FINALY we land in Cochabamba! And the group we work with for service learning—Pro Justica Bolivia greeted us with a huge banner..it was soo nice and everyone hugged and kissed and said hello. After we took a huge bus (mind you that all the cars and buses are from the 80s and early 90s) to the Bolivia Cultura (the place that is in charge of my homestay and language classes). There we were prepped for our first nights alone in Bolivia and how to live and traditions..
Tradition (in Spanish Costumbre) 1: it is rude to stretch and yawn in public (uh oh)
2: because of tradition of the country most toilets are not meant for toilet paper.. so you must throw your toilet paper and sanitary napkins/ items in the garbage.. I am finally used to this after 2 days but I catch myself
3. it is rude to arrive at home later than you had said, not call your home stay mom to tell her what time you will be home or especially to miss a meal.
In Bolivia lunch is the big meal but my mom lives solo so she doesn’t cook a 5 course meal or anything extravagant. We both get along perfect because we enjoy simple things…simple meals, no tv, no telephones. Any way enough digression!
So Bolivia cultura told us what to expect and how to behave and then we were picked up by our parents… I was sooo nervous! But I am so so happy that I am staying with Alejandra! She is very young and single and we live in a 3 bedroom apartment. It is on la pasaje Michel (Passage way Michel). It is called a passage way because you can only enter and exit from one side of the street and the other part is blocked off..this keeps it private and quiet most of the time. There is two locks..the huge gate with barbed wire which this little mini sheep dog waits for me every night to come home and then the apartment door. And by the way the sheep dog is not Alejandras haha it’s her neighbors but in Bolivia the dogs run free in the apartments because there is a fence.. there are many many dogs on the streets I couldn’t even count on 2 hands.. and it makes me so sad I want to feed them all and hug them but they are dirty and they don’t look starving but some are very cute and just lay in the street and smell you others bark at you and today one dog chased my taxi for a block hahah. Alej has a little tiny poodle mix dog and she is very cute! She always greets me at the door or even sleeps under my bed when I am in my room. Alej always waits on me and I try to help her like clearing the table or putting out glasses and she just tells me to relax… Well if she wants to take care of me I’m not going to say no! The first day we spoke a lot (only in Spanish) and she asked what kinds of foods and drinks I liked.i of course said I loved coca cola..this was the night she took me to the market and I couldn’t figure out my international phone and it was a mess! So she knew I was upset and so she especially bought coke for us to drink with dinner.. It meant so much to me that she went out of her way to do that. We took the bus together from the market and my first shower was ice burg cold because I didn’t turn on the power for the hot water—hot water is heated electrically .the water pressure is extremely terrible but its not a big deal I just wont use as much soap haha..So I went to bed very upset due to my phone, my cold shower and just no sleep from the planes.
I was supposed to be up for breakfast at 8 but my phone is in 24 hr time and I had set the wrong time so instead of saying 8 am my phone said 20…and my alarm was set for 8 not 20 so I ended up waking up in fear of being late at 8.30 which I was kind of later because I left my house at 9 passed the Fundacion Ipeno (a?) and realized I had passed a minute later and ended up near the Catholic University where I found Michele, Natasha and Carolyn who were lost. I passed the Fundacion (also a university of dentistry haha) so I remembered the way from the Catholic University. This building is in the middle of a residential area so it was weird to be there haha. It was on Fidel Anze y la Esquina de General Galindo cerca de la parquet de Anze. My first taxi knew exactly where it was and I was only a few minutes late due to a detour but my second driver who picked me up after lunch… had no idea and I had to give him directions. In Bolivia there is a lot of traffic and cars are first then people…crossing the roads is a nightmare.. there are no traffic laws..taxis go both ways down one ways, go through red lights, speed and there are no seat belts and the doors are never locked… jesus hahah. In Bolivia there are many taxis and many are private. It is not recommended to take a private one since they can like murder you or something haha so we are only allowed to take taxis that on the side of the door say radio taxi. I have become a master at flagging them down and negotiating prices! I need to learn the buses because a taxi ride is 7 bs (equivalent to 1$) but I take a taxi some days 4 or more times. And a bus is only a few cents so I need to learn the bus route. So we arrived at la Fundacion and they have computers with internet and printers so I don’t have to go to internet cafes… what I don’t like about these places is that it’s crowded and you are charged by the minute and the doors (usually take up the whole wall) are completely open so anyone can walk in. Alej’s sister has a computer with internet as well. We had an academic orientation and a service learning orientation and this is my schedule:
Mon: 9.30-12.00 Anthropology (Law justice and rights in Bolivia) at Fundacion
4.30-6.00 Spanish class at Bolivia Cultura
Tue: 4.30 – 6.00 Spanish class
Wed: 2.30-6.00 service-learning in Loma Pampa
Thurs: 2.30-6.00 service learning in Loma Pampa
Fri: 9.00 class
Sun: service-learning at Loma Pampa 8.30 am – (?)
My service learning on wed and thurs is geared towards teaching about human rights and laws in Bolivia to children in various ways such as dances, theatre, puppet shows, etc. this is with a group of girls.
Service-learning on Sunday is first off all construction/panting – labor for a while and then from 12-2 is my own project. My project is going to be science experiments and I need a lot of ideas a pack up plans and I talked to Pro Justica and they said that my options are unlimited… I would love to dissect or even use a microscope to look at cheek cells or grow a plant..etc.
Loma Pampa is an area about 30 minutes from Cochabamba that is poor in resources. They have no electricity or running water and only 1 outhouse…which is a hole. I have been told that many of these students have never done science or anything of that nature so I’m so excited to make things explode with them! Hahah The children of Loma Pampa have good hearts and I hope they will accept me and help me learn as I teach them and of course have fun!
So after this a group of about 11 of us decided to go out to eat dinner and coffee and karoke. We decided on this Iranian restaurant and I had this sheesh kabob with lettuce, tomato, sauce and pork in not a wrap but kind of like it…its like the middle eastern version..similar to naan but thiner..it was amazing and only 15 bs (approx 2$). Then we had coffee at a nearby expensive place that was 10 bs for my cappuccino and it was huge!! It took forever to flag down a cab because we weren’t in such a urban area but more of an “upscale” area where the professor Hotel is located this was off of Avenue America where everything is! (The Catholic University and Fundacion are close to Ave. America) After coffee it seemed so late so I didn’t do karoke but definitely another time!
When I got home Alej and I embarked on a 4 hour conversation (in only Spanish, yes my head hurts a little) about so many things. We spoke of Goni the ex-president and how he was a bad president. I found our her uncle was the past owner of the Southern Bank.. (I think that’s what it’s called) and Aero Sur for a while until Goni shut his bank branch down. He wrote a book about it and she showed me the book, it was really interesting. We spoke about coca and the controversy and I told her the united states doesn’t understand the traditional or everyday practical usage of this plant only the bad of it. We spoke of hwo the solution is not in destroying the plants but rather controlling it on a domestic level in the US. Then we spoke about Evo Morales (the current president and first indigenous president) she likes him but Evo apparently hates Americans and her sister hates Evo haah. Her uncle and Evo are good friends! Alej has many connections! She lives very simple and we agreed that material means nothing. Then we spoke of the American dream and what exactly it means and how it’s a romantic view of looking at it because the US is corrupt. I told her that my family had not all agreed that I go to Bolivia but I insisted because I wanted to gain an intimate relationship with the country in order to completely understand the culture and the people. I also told her I picked this program and not one to a more “romantic” country because those countries are only portraying what tourists want.. I wanted to live like an everyday Bolivian, no special treatment. I want to get to know the culture, “la cultura realmente” (the real culture) of the Bolivian peoples..not of the tourist areas like Lake Titicaca or El Cristo (which I can see from my room clearly). I want to explore the real Bolivia and become as professor Goldstein says “a global citizen”. It’s hard living in Bolivia and adjusting but I like the simplicity and chaos at the same time. We also talked of music and art work because we both like dali and what museums we should go to. It’s amazing that I as able to hold a deep conversation in Spanish only after my second day.. I love not having technology because it allows me to connect with Alej much more..we bond over conversation and deep and critical thinking not over laughing about a show or just dinner conversation. I am really already attached to Alej and I feel extremely comfortable with her. She is not traditional and since it’s just us I can leave my bedroom door open, walk in my pjs around the house, come out of the bathroom with a towel on..in other families that is unheard of… Even speaking of coca and international politics is touchy for many but Alej has such a open mind on these matters..
So anyway Alej invited me tomorrow at 10 am to go to her sisters house for a BBQ to meet her family because they keep asking about me haha and then I am heading off to La Cancha (huge market). I hope to buy a zip up sweat shirt.. and possible ugg boots. They aren’t really ugg but I think they are alpaca or llama or something..idk but my feet are really really cold at night and during the day. It gets down to 35 degrees at night and I didn’t pack my sweat pants…duh lauren..so I will probably buy some..i’m not dying it’s just a little chilly I have on 3 comforters though (they are a lot thinner in Bolivia than in the US) and in the morning its warmer. In the shade from 9-12 is comfortable in short sleves but from 3 on in the shade it’s cold like sweat shirt..it’s weird in the sun its hot hot but in the shade is really cold..its quite a change and at night its like winter.welll technically it is winter here but the weather is 70s. NO HUMIDITY! My eye are very dry but I’m not complaining! Well now its 2.36 AM and I need to be up at 7 and still write rosh and sean emails… ay dios!
wow after tons and tons of hours on the plane we finally made it to bolivia yestersday..it´s very pretty and very different. My host mother is soo soo nice and I really enjoy her and her dog haha. we live in a cute little apartment. We went to the market place together last night and myabe today i will go with a friend… cold showers and minimal technology are a few differences but i am getting used to it. i will write more later on but internet time is limited because many houses have no internet. there is so much to say but i cant even begin. when we landed in la paz the altitude difference got me so i just dozed off but cochabamba is pretty much the same as the us in altitude. i have been taking taxis everywhere which is nice because they are onlly 7 bolivianos (1 dollar). I sat next to the nicest old man ever on the plane and he explained everything to me..the customs papers the landscape the mountains. it was a nice beginning to my trip. my brain is exploding because everything is spanish and i have to think so hard about tenses and grammar but my host mother says that i have very good spanish (she is probably trying to make me feel better hahaha). <i need to learn the buses for cochabamba since they are so cheap and i need to limit my international calls..i went through a card already…ay dios!
Excitement, thrilled, nerve-racked, anxious, sweaty and paranoid..that’s about everything I’m feeling summed up into a few words.. Last minute packing details are being worked out currently.. I bought a few skirts last minute… so cute so cute haha! I am really at a loss of words today.. I slept 4 to 5 hours last night just because I could not really sleep..laying in bed tonight will be interesting! =/ sad to say goodbye to all my friends today and yesterday but I’m glad I fit almost everyone in. Well I’ve got to go finish packing and stuff like that…
Ah! I forgot here are the specifics as to what i will be doing in Bolivia!! (Copied from my professors journal!)
"This year for the first time, our students will be doing service work directly through a project run by the Fundación Pro Justicia, a non-governmental organization that I helped to found in 2007, and which has helped to run the summer program each of the past two years. Pro Justicia is now operating two human rights and access-to-justice centers in two Cochabamba neighborhoods. These centers are called the EJEs, or Espacios de Justicia Equitativa (Spaces of Equal Justice). The project, funded by the Inter-American Foundation, aims to teach barrio residents about human rights, provides counseling and legal services, offers training in non-violent conflict resolution, and helps to create new understanding and opportunities in the barrios.
The EJEs will be the site of our students’ community service and anthropological research this summer. Students will be assigned to one of the two barrio sites, and will work with groups of men, women and children to design activities, prepare materials, and help lead workshops and trainings. At the same, the students themselves will learn alongside barrio residents about the nature of human rights and HR defense. Some students may work to develop curricula for teaching about HR in schools; others will help the trainers work with kids to discover the importance of non-violence through, somewhat paradoxically, martial arts; others will work with women’s groups to help develop new income-generating opportunities.”- Daniel Goldstein from his online journal:
so I am attempting to relax for the next 2 days..is that possible? NO since waking up with chest pains is not too relaxing! I am going shopping later with Erica to ease myself and seeing Sean a little later. It just feels so surreal… I don’t feel like I’m leaving or that I’ll be away for long but I’m sure once I get there my “Cocha-mama” (My mother from Cochabamba) will have to listen to me being home sick. I’m not one to really be homesick though..but 6 weeks is a long time..hmmm. I’m very excited to meet my family!!! I had a great time with my real family this weekend!! I’m so happy I got to see them for 2 days in a row before I left! It stinks I will miss my other sides reunion..that would have been nice to see my entire family.. but that’s ok!
Hello! It is coming down to the wire now! Only three days left… and i’m basically packed =] so that means i can relax…not haha. Relax is not a word in my vocabulary!!! My lack of sleep continues to day 3, hey sleep is for the weary!! God help my caffeine addiction ! I hope Bolivia has good coffee..or none so i cant drink any and get rid of this addiction. Yesterday I told my whole dad’s side of the family that I was going to Bolivia… since my Dad was so nice as to not tell them! I think he doesn’t want me to go haha neither does Sean though so I can’t be mad. I’m starting to get nervous and excited and stressed… Basically extremely on edge and emotional.. and my lack of sleep ay ay you definitely do not want to make me mad in the next 3 days because I’ll probably just cry.
But I am excited to get away from the States for a while and especially Verona! I forgot how much I LOVE being in a town where everyone is in my business (sarcasm). And the drama factor of my life is being cut out as soon as I leave thank god!! I’m just relieved to leave for so many reasons. AND I finally get to be with cultured people again! Verona’s population is about 90% white Roman Catholic conservative 50% are Italian (diversity is unheard of) and 100% of Verona is too worried about their selves to focus on anything other than the latest gossip of the town. YUCK!
=] on a much much lighter note my camera came in..it’s purple and so so cute! I will be posting 10000000 pics and on facebook =]
Hello Hello friends!! Why am I up this late? because i was figuring out how to use my new purple camera!!! and downloading music for Danny. I really should have done some more note taking on my book for class but i barely sat down today! I promise to get up early… hopefully and do it! and definitely all Sunday will be dedicated to work.. i still will be up late tonight packing things together. I have my cousins graduation party to attend.. which includes an hr and a half drive… fun but I need to say buy to my whole family before I leave! Sean is getting anxious about the international phone buisness.. 21 questions..when do you get it when can you call can you text! ay dios mio! I’m getting a lot more anxious and nervous..hence i sleep a lot less haha. I’m sporting a new hair cut for Bolivia.. I must have cut a minimum of 3 inches =[ i miss it!! OH! exciting! I bought those silly bands bracelet things for the kids in Bolivia like I know I’m gonna want to buy them all stuff so I’m just bringing little things to give I still have to buy gifts for my family… any suggestions??
Wow the time has gone by so fast! The past few days has been a whirlwind of rushing and busy adventure! I decided last minute to get vaccinated for Typhoid because there is a good chance I would get it with my luck! This shot hurt more than Tetanus.. very thick needle and i felt it being dispersed throughout my body… Side effects were terrible i couldn’t move my arm to even hug sean =[ he was not too happy! I was drowsy and had chills and then hot flashes and my arm still felt like it was being injected into =/. Mom did give me 2 bowls of ice cream to make me feel better and the cool ice cream helped me mid hotflash to cool down. This morning my arm is a little sore but I can move it!! So today i have to do last minutes things like put money in my new bank account and drop of prescriptions at CVS and look at what i packed haha. I also have to start writing in a journal.. so i probably will print this journal out and attach it to my other! I haven’t been able to eat much lately because my nerves are getting the best of me!
Everyone asks are you afraid to go to Bolivia? You might get kidnapped and your organs will be stolen or you will become a sex slave in the sex trafficing sandals.. What people don’t understand is that even though we are a “1st world country” and Bolivia is a 3rd doesn’t mean that I’m going to die haha it just means that the entire countries GDP is extremely low..too low to pay off their foreign debt that is accumulating. There are areas in the United States that are just as bad as Bolivia in the means of crime and drug usage. Actually drug usage here is worse than in Bolivia where cocaine is readily available.
So now it’s a little more than a week until I leave… have i packed yet… um well i guess throwing things in a suit case counts? Last minute packing and shopping seems to work the best for me..probably occuring on the 27th (this sunday). I’m trying to pack things that i dont really like / care about so i can just donate them after but then i am like.. well maybe i will need this… I NEED TO LET GO OF CLOTHES FROM 8TH GRADE!! Hopped on the scale this morning…. God help me i think i gained! This is the biggest I have been in my entire life and I am not liking it! I blame sean for taking me out for ice cream haha or it could have been my 3 times a week Mcdonalds in the beginning of the summer… hahah
i still need skirts which Brit is making me.. and maybe boots? i am planning on just wearin my work out shoes most often and old navy flip flops.. and i have to switch banks ay ay ay… i have my work cut out for me..
and did i mention im only on chapter 6 of 8 for my book that i need to read…
So I only have 15 days left to pack, say goodbye and make sure everything is together. I met the diplomat of Bolivia and got my visa last week!! So now I am all set… I have to conquer Newark Airport before i can dream of conquering Bolivia!!
so this site is wayyyy cooler than live journal!! THANKS TO MATTY WARD i now have a tumblr.. he is so technologically advanced it kills me haha! love that kid!so this is my first post and this will basically be my journey up to and in Bolivia =].