It has been just under a month since we said our bittersweet goodbyes to friends and family, and embarking on this incredible journey. We have just finished our first homestay experience in Tikipaya, and are now in the process of returning to El Alto. Our days in the warm eternal spring weather of the Cochabamba region were filled with intensive Spanish classes in the mornings, lunch with our families at home, and the occasional activities both at the Program House and in the city of Cochabamba. In between our independent study projects, we still found time to cook a delicious dinner, hold Monday movie night, and, most important of all, beat a rival Dragons group in a friendly soccer match. Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, we welcomed local speakers to teach us about different topics related to Bolivia. This weeks lectures consisted of the general history of Bolivia, cosmovisión, and La Guerra del Agua.
In Bolivia, the first Friday of every month is celebrated with a K’oa, which is a time to reflect and express gratitude through the burning of local herbs, tobacco, and symbolic sweets. On our last night in Tikipaya, we held our own K’oa with the help of Luis, another Dragons Instructor. We also used our ceremony as a means to signify the transition from one component of our trip to the next, which will challenge us further. Our next phase, the practicing phase, will test our ability to work effectively as a group as our instructors give us more freedom and room to grow.
As we drive through the arid lands between Cochabamba and La Paz on our eight hour bus ride, we look forward to being greeted by our homestay families, and spending the next four days doing multiple theatre workshops with Anna and Teatro Trono. Based in El Alto, Teatro Trono is an organization that works with young local artists and actors to preform, paint, sculpt, and create, to raise awareness to current social issues in Bolivia. Our experiences so far have only added to our excitement that awaits us.
Con amor y abrazos,
— Group B xoxo