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


To round out the beautiful experience of our team’s three week homestay our group hosted a q’oa, a festival for the ISP teachers, the families, and our patient Spanish teachers (shout out to the one and only Vilma). Wonderful cooking pared with native Bolivian music played by Robert’s host brother and his band made the night a raving success. Hand in hand our imperfect congo line circled the gazebo, all of us tripping and laughing the entire time. Then our individual ISPs were presented: Bolivian cooking, weaving, instrument making, Andean spiritually, and Afro-Bolivia culture (RIP soccer). We all got to practice our waiter/waitress abilities when serving our host families a delicacy of tasty chicken, of which we are all now Connaisseur. To round out the evening, Valentina lead us in the q’oa, a ritual in which we offer gifts, thanks, and wishes to the Pachamama. Many tears were shed, mostly due to the campfire smoke infiltrating our sinuses (Pachamama is similar to Mother Earth in Andean spirituality). Many thanks.

Even later in the evening (past curfew) the entire gang joined the band in a soccer game. Unfortunately, we lost, but we had spirit.