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Two Dragons welcome the sunrise with an improvised dance atop the Andes. Photo by Ryan Gasper.

Tiquipaya!

Greetings, all! I´m settling into my homestay here in Tiquipaya, Bolivia where my alarm clock is a baby sheep and the potatoes are plentiful. It´s been quite the change of pace from our trek in Toro Toro. There, we spent our days climbing mountains and dodging cacti, our evenings cooking quinoa and pitching ¨bomber¨ tents to stay dry through the thunder storming nights. The hiking was tough but rewarding – swimming holes motivated us to keep pushing through the throbbing desert heat.

In Tiquipaya, things are calmer. My mornings start with pan (bread) and lukewarm, fruit-infused water, which I’ve actually grown to be quite fond of. Then I begin my morning commute to Spanish class – either a 30 minute walk, 10 minute “trufi” ride, or (if I’m lucky) 5 minute adventure with Don Gregorio, fearless taxi driver and abuelo de Devan. At the program house/organic farm/Dragons HQ, we practice verb conjugations under fruit trees and share stories about our homestay families. In the afternoons, we hear from guest speakers and discuss everything from the idea of “development” to Andean Cosmovision. Some days, Doña Leti is – very patiently – teaching me how to weave. I’m hoping to stitch together a bag by the end of the homestay…I’ll keep you posted!!