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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

Don Alfredo and Jewlery Making

Don Alfredo. A master jewler, an avid basketball fan, a caring father and son, and an owner of two overweight but adorable dogs. When I walked into my ISP on the first day and met Don Alfredo, I thought it was just going to be learning the art of jewlery making. To my suprise, I have learned so much more. Yes, I could now show you how to press silver, cut it, soder it, brighten it, and add cool designs. But I could also tell you about Bolivia´s TIPNIS policy, Evo Morales, his families history, and so much more. My experience at my ISP has been more than I could have every hoped. The only thing I wish I could change is budgeting  in more time in our crazy schedules to spend with our mentors.

Everyday after our ISP´s I walk into the program house with new “bling” of what I just made by hand. I feel accomplished and inspired to continue learning the art of jewelry and crafting my own jewelry when I return home. My first lesson, I made a ring. My second I made earrings, then a necklace pendant, then a bracelet, and now we are working on another ring and pair earrings. I feel so content with this ISP and my work. At home, I am typically always wearing every piece of jewelry one can think of. Here, I haven´t had that opportunity until last week when I met Don Alfredo. I feel comfortable in his presence and confident in my work. Last week I was sodering what felt like a million pieces of silver. I was in my own world. He turned to me and said, ¨”When you´re sodering it feels as if the whole world falls away, doesn´t it?” Yes, it really does.

Our instructors are always telling us that they want us to be a part of the cultures we are in. They want us to experience life as one would living in Bolivia. Everytime I am learning how to make a new piece of jewelry and am chatting with Don Alfredo about life I really do feel apart of the culture, like I am fitting into life in Bolivia.


Until next time,