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

Updates From Tiquipaya!

Hey everyone,

Apologies for the lack of yaks so far! It’s not because we’ve forgotten; it’s instead because we’ve been very busy taking in a variety of experiences!

Pat described earlier how last week, we went hiking in Toro Toro with our guide, Don Mario, who was just as great a storyteller as he was a hiker. The last couple of days were difficult for everyone, as we hiked about 10 miles each day at an altitude of over 12,000 feet, but we were able to pull through while taking in (and taking pictures of!) the beautiful intersections of the desert, forest and canyon ecosystems,

Since this past Sunday (2-18), we’ve been staying in Tiquipaya, a town about 10 miles northwest of Cochabamba, one of the largest cities in Bolivia. On Sunday, we met our homestay families, who have all been very kind, caring and welcoming, and who make delicious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On Monday, we started our formal Spanish classes, which when combined with speaking with our families have helped us improve our Spanish significantly in a matter of days. Some of us are even taking classes in Quechua, one of the many indigenous languages of the Andes.

Tomorrow, we start our independent study projects (ISPs), which we work on in addition to our Spanish classes and homework. There were lots of choices for ISPs, including weaving, agriculture, cooking traditional Bolivian dishes, and playing the charango, a ten-string instrument similar to a miniature guitar. I chose to study guitar because I took lessons when I was a kid but haven’t actively played in many years. All of us are super excited for what’s to come!

Stay tuned for more yaks on our homestays in Tiquipaya!