October 2011

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

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!

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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Volunteering Abroad at Such Great Heights

Volunteering Abroad at Such Great Heights

When Amizade volunteers travel to Bolivia, they are welcomed by the stunning landscape that is the Bolivian Andes. High and magnificent snow-capped mountains surround, offering breathtaking views in every direction. Amizade volunteers have the thrilling opportunity to ascend these lofty elevations as they journey to the heights of Cochabamba and the even more elevated La Paz during programs in Bolivia.

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Amizade Welcomes a Delegation from Santarém, Brazil

On August 31, 2011, Amizade will welcome for the first time a delegation of 6 individuals from Santarém. From Amizade’s point of view, the delegation represents a powerful advance in the hope for bilateral exchange. West Virginia University is a central player in the realization of this vision. In May of 2010, Amizade’s site director in Brazil, Nathan Darity, hosted Mike Lastinger, Associate Provost for International Academic Affairs and George Lies, Grants Administrator for the Office of International Programs both of West Virginia University, for a three-day visit composed of meeting with local universities. The visit opened doors to negations about university-level exchange of students and professors. Now, 15 months later, members of the academic community in Santarém are traveling to the US in the hopes of clarifying a mechanism for exchange as well as exploring opportunities for international research and collaboration.

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Puerto Morelos: A Town Divided

Puerto Morelos: A Town Divided

Puerto Morelos is a quaint little town, but one that is truly divided. A major four-lane highway that stretches North to South paralleling the sandy shoreline and connecting the famous tourist destinations along the Mayan Rivera also separates the town into two distinct sections.

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A Trip Down the Amazon and Tapajós Rivers

A Trip Down the Amazon and Tapajós Rivers

Taking a boat from the confluence of the Amazon and Tapajós Rivers, winding through a thick rainforest canopy, there are multitudes of wildlife in all directions. Primates dangle from trees, colorful birds take flight, and vibrant tropical vegetation surrounds. There is the buzzing of insects, murmur of the river, and rustling of leaves, all sounds that make up the unique symphony of the rainforest.

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Coal Mine Canyon: A Hidden Wonder in the Navajo Nation

Coal Mine Canyon: A Hidden Wonder in the Navajo Nation

The narrow and desolate Highway 264, on the edge of…

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