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Andean priest and spiritual leader, Don Fabian Champi Apaza. Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.


we are finding our routines in tiquipaya- when to wake up, how early to get to the program house to have enough time to make coffee, and which trufis to take to get into town (lots of trial and error and waiting at wrong esquinas). i live the farthest from the program house, but i am already sure my commute will be the best part of my day. i leave the house when two of my hermanitas leave for school (secretly, so the baby doesn’t get sad), then i hop on my borrowed bright pink, butterfly-covered, wide seated bike and bounce along the edge of our cobblestone street. this morning, the light was beautiful- like morning golden hour- and it highlighted the huge hills surrounding our town, the women planting the nearby fields, the rose fields, and the splotchy cows munching on grass. i listened to my hermanita’s advice and followed the water (a small street canal lining the road) until it runs into la casa de Doña Elsa, her grandmother. I ride through their compound, this morning disruspting a flock of pigeons up into the air, nodding bueños dias to the cows, sheep, pigs, and turkeys that live there. here i meet up with jackson and owen, and together we hop on a trufi (120, or, as we learned this morning 127) to take us the length of our long road (passing reeve and gabrielle), picking up school children and people headed to work along the way. at the corner, we hop off, pay our bolivianos, and walk the rest of the way to la granja polen. today, we got off our trufi just as izzy and isabel walked by, so we all met up and walked together, catching up on last night’s dinner and funny stories from our family. this commute really makes me happy- it fulfills some childhood dream of living in a small town where my friends are always a bike ride away, or waiting for me at the corner. looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow.