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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.

¡Saludos desde Potosí!

¡Hola familia, amigos y compañeros dragones!

This is Rebecca checking in from Potosí! As my fellow group members are out experiencing different types of work that teens in potosi have, I am restricted to my hostel room which I usually share with 6 other students. Yesterday, after we had spent the morning baking bread and chocolate chip cookies with local community members, Itza and I walked a couple blocks from our hostel to a clinic. I woke up and was having some trouble taking deep breaths. I was pretty sure I had a classic case of altitude sickness and when I got there the doctor confirmed. I didn’t get to experience the Cerro Rico mine tour but I did get to enjoy a shot in my left butt cheek (It will be a good story to bring home about my time in Bolivia but OW!!) and some vanilla ice cream with crushed Oreos. Make sure to take your Diamox!

Overall, Potosí has been a wonderful experience so far and I can’t wait to continue exploring one of the highest and most historic cities in the world! On Thursday we visited the National Mint of Bolivia, better known as, Casa Nacional de la Moneda. The mine in Cerro Rico has been active for over 4 centuries and it is said that the amount of silver extracted from the mountain by the Spanish, could have constructed a silver bridge to Spain and still had silver left to carry across it. Over 8 million people have died while mining the Cerro Rico which gives it the nickname, “The Mountain That Eats Men.”

I’m sure my fellow group members will have lots to share and post about within the next few days of our stay in Potosí. After lunch we plan to visit the Tarapaya Hot Springs. The site has been used as a thermal baths since the times of the Inca and even has the name ‘El Ojo del Inca’ (‘Eye of the Inca’).

¡Nos hablamos pronto!
Rebecca