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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

Hola Amigos

Hola amigos,

My name is Jackson, and I’m from a small town north of San Francisco called Mill Valley. I graduated high school in the spring of this year and deferred my acceptance at Oberlin College to take a gap year. As for interests, I’m an avid martial artist and proud to say that I just earned my black belt in MMA over the summer. I have a major love of the outdoors, specifically fishing, hiking, and skiing. I also like reading (epic fantasy), spending time with friends, listening to music and watching action movies. I just watched the movie Tambien la Lluvia, which focuses on the water wars in Cochabamba and colonialism; it was fantastic

While I was looking for connections to the places we are going, I found that the bananas in our fruit basket were from Peru. When I was younger I collected coins passionately, to the point where I went to some small local coin shows. Looking back at my collection I saw that I had a Spanish coin from one of the places we are going. Amazingly the coin that I have was minted in 1770 at the Potosi mint with silver mined from the Potosi mines. That coin meant a lot to me for a number of years, it was the jewel of my small collection. While I can appreciate the artistry of the coin it now has a double edged meaning for me after I really thought about the conditions of the Indigenous laborers that mined the metal.

Home is more than just where I eat and sleep, it’s where I feel safe and there is a measure of familiarity with the physical space. The memories of the place and the experiences that made up time spent there usually make a place feel like home.

I’m super excited to meet you all and to experience the landscapes and cultures of Bolivia and Peru with you guys.

Sinceramente,

Jackson

P.S. Ned, I was in the Alps in Jungfrau region three years ago and stayed at the Faulhorn lodge, it was breathtakingly beautiful!