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

First Homestay!

On Sunday we arrived in the town of Tiquipaya in high spirits, ready to tackle our first and longest homestay. We spent the evening laughing, playing card games, and wondering how our homestay will be. After a night of camping on the farm where our Dragons home base will be for the next three weeks, we finally got to meet our homestay families on Monday.

In my  host family, I have 3 younger sisters, a dad, and a mother who is the sister of both Isaac’s and Jack’s host moms. This means that our three families live pretty close to each other and spend a good amount of time with one another. On that first night, all three host families had dinner at my house. Immediately after an early dinner, the festivities began. In Bolivia right now it is Carnival, which means no one is safe to walk the streets without getting shot at by water guns, hit by water balloons, or sprayed with white foam. Of course the many children in our host families love this festival and were running around laughing and spraying each other and anyone who happened to pass by. During Carnival, no one is safe from the imminent threat of becoming drenched with water at any point. Seeing how much fun this looked, Jack, Isaac and I joined in. I would say the best part of this holiday is that it is not just for the kids. Watching all the host moms grab water guns, giggling and sprinting around to spray one another was a really fun thing to see, and all in all that first night was very joyful and fun. We were all soaked and laughing by the end, and treated ourselves to some excellent ice cream.

I am really excited for this upcoming homestay and all the new cultural experiences it will bring. There is so much to learn, and I am really looking forward to continue to explore the beautiful cities of Tiquipaya and Cochabamba, bond with my host family, learn a ton of Spanish, and get into my ISP.