Hello dear Friends and Families,
We have been having so much fun in this last week being in Tiquipaya. We arrived on the 14th and have been enjoying all the activities here. This is by far the most relaxed, and paradoxically the busiest part of the trip. We have so many activities every day. We have started formal Spanish classes, students are participating in formal lessons and independent projects, we have had talks with local academics and activists, explored the city and, by coincidence, we were here to celebrate the town’s anniversary party, San Miguel.
Spanish classes are taught by Carla, Delma, Vilma and Maria. They are very experienced Spanish teachers that used to work with Peace Corp volunteers and have been teaching Dragons students for many years now. They are very sweet and knowledgeable. Students have come to appreciate them very much.
Independent Study Projects (ISP) are taught by local instructors experienced in many topics. Students on this course have decided to learn weaving, silversmithing, organic farming, cooking and baking, and musical instruments. They meet their ISP mentors three times a week and learn by doing. The relationship with mentors is one of the highlights for our students during this trip.
Our talks until now have been about development in this part of the world, water rights in Bolivia and global economics and its relation to Bolivia. We have more themes for the coming weeks, including national politics and environmental and social issues. Students have been very amazed and interested in the themes presented, and are very committed to learn about and engaging with the local context.
At the same time, we have been having so much fun. Our first weekend here was on the 21st, he same day that the town’s biggest party is held. The celebration includes a music and dance parade, in which some students were included by their homestay families. This experience was a highlight for all the people that got to participate; they are so happy that they got to experience such an incredible expression of arts and culture as insiders.
Every Thursday, the Spanish teachers take students to the city for an excursion. Students get to eat at local restaurants, order food in Spanish, visit the local market, walk around the city and see the city´s milestones. They enjoy this very much, because they can explore the city in a way that is “not too structured”.
It is hard to believe that half of our course has already passed. We notice now that we are already on the countdown of this experience. Students have been feeling this since they are already starting to organize the last part of the trip, where they get the opportunity to decide the itinerary and communicate with local contacts on their own. We call this phase Expedition.
The time in Tiquipaya feels like it’s flying, but we are definitely enjoying every moment of it! We have all of you in our minds and hope that you all are also having an amazing fall.
Sending much love from the beautiful Tiquipaya, Bolivia,