Chapare: A Trip to the Jungle

After our first week of classes, we took a weekend trip out of the Cochabamba valley and into the jungle. We traded in the dry, high altitude Cochabamba for the humid lower lands of Villa Tunari in the province of Chapare. As we left Cochabamba, the road began climbing the mountains, but everything was still brown and dry like the city. Little towns and farms lined the road, which with the mountains and hills provided for a beautiful landscape.

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Cell Phones, Classes, and Trufis

Today, Monday Sept. 12, was another beautiful day in Cochabamba. It was also an important day; today was the first day of classes. The four of us from Amizade met at 9 AM to meet our new Spanish instructor, Toni. I had heard very good things about her from many people, so I was excited to meet and work with her. We met at her beautiful house where our class will be.

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Cochabamba

Sept. 10, 2011 On our first full day in Cochabamba, the four of us in the group decided to meet up in the afternoon at a park to walk around some of the city. As I walked to the park, I passed a lot of houses. Walls to protect from robberies surround most of the houses in the northern part of the city. This is a bit upsetting because the houses are very beautiful, but the five-foot walls that are topped with electric wire, barbed wire, or even broken glass mask the view of them. A lot of people have dogs, and there are also a lot of stray dogs on the streets. Most of the time though, these dogs are calm and harmless and don’t even lift their head as people walk by.

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Bienvenidos a Bolivia!

All four of us from Amizade were on the same plane to La Paz, and we ended up meeting each other in line for immigration and customs. All of us were unsure about what to expect while actually entering into Bolivia. Even though my Spanish is pretty good, I was really hoping the immigration and customs officers spoke English; they never spoke a word of English to me. I had to use my Spanish skills right from the beginning.

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