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

My Update From The First Days in Tiquipaya

Bienvenidos families and friends!

Today (the 7th of October) is our third night in Tiquipaya and second night with our homestay families. As we are finally settling down from all the traveling, we are getting to know our surrounding area. Our new home base is an eco-farm that goes by the name of Granja Polen (I am pretty sure this is how it is spelled). We meet there every morning at 8:00am to check-in with everyone and have our Spanish classes. We also may return there in the afternoons and evenings for Charlas or other activities.

Otherwise we are spending most our time with our host families. We eat all our meals with them and spend most evenings getting to know. We are all living with different families, although many of our families are related. For example, Jackson and I are neighbors because he is living with doña Elsa and I am living with doña Elsas daughter, Paula. Also Annika is living with Mercedes, who is Paulas sister so all three of our families interact constantly.

Doña Elsa and Paula´s families are comprised of Gregorio and Jose (Doña Elsa and Paula´s husbands respectively) and Paulas three young children Mika, Me Me, and Maxi. Doña Elsa and Paula´s main line of work is that they are cattle raisers. Jackson and I live not only with the family, but also the pigs, cows, turkeys, sheep, ducks, chickens, roosters, dogs, and cats on our property. IT IS SO COOL. There is so much fresh priduce around us and we almost always have fresh, warm milk for meals. The families main business is chicken killing and then selling them, but they also sell the other animal products that they dont use. I haven´t killed any chickens or milked any cows yet, but I hope I have the opportunity to try soon (especially milking a cow, seems like an important life skill to know). Overall our homestay is incredible, and everyone is so nice, and it has only been 2 days!! Also a note for my mom, definitely a serious Iowa farm vibe, so message me any tips you have for working with the animals. We can swap stories once I get home ; ^)

Also I am writing from an internet Cafe in Tuiqipaya. Overall this is only my second time in the city, and it is quite cute. Yesterday they had the annual “Festival de Trucha” (festival of trout, but mostly celebrating all fish). It was crazy, the streets were packed and there was live music in the main plaza. Today is much calmer, but the city is still bustling. We have had to learn about the local public transportation methods, as that is what we will be using to get to Tiquipaya and Cochabamba from Granja Polen and our homestay houses. We start our ISPs Wednesday so I am excited about that as well.

That is all I can think to write right now, but I am so excited to get into a daily routine after all our traveling, and I can´t for all the activites we are going to be participating in. A quick love you and miss you to my parents and my sister Liv, hope everything is going well in Colorado and CC. With that also an apology to my mom and sister as I have not shaved since I have left… Sorry fam.

Will try to post another Yak at the end of this week or someime early next week. Thanks for reading!

– Owen