Hi everyone! My name is Aimee Siebert. I’m a junior at Bethel, and one of your new bloggers here at “Beyond the Green.”
As one of the millions of people coming up for air (or falling down for sleep) after the Beijing Olympics, I think I have some bloggable thoughts for this entry that have made it past the sleep-deprived hysteria.
Since they only come around every four years–I’m talking summer Olympics for now–The Olympics catch you at different points in your life every time they come around. I like to think I’m a pretty different person at 20 almost 21 than I was at 16 or 12 or 8. I know that I’m a much bigger and eclectic sports fan than I was before, so I think I enjoyed this Olympics more than all of the ones that came before.
In an age where even Wal-Mart is trying to sell cloth bags and organic fruit, U.S. society advertises that it is “going green.”
Unfortunately, we continue to find new places to drill in the Amazon.
My last essay, “Entre dulces y amargos” or, essentially, bittersweet focused on my recent trip to Yachana Lodge in the oriente/Amazon Jungle of Ecuador. I saw the sweetness and beauty of the Amazon, but also experienced the bitter fact that we are destroying it.
Right now I have probably 60 or so exotic bug bites (Amazonian bug bites!) and not a lot of time to write a detailed blog entry. HOWEVER, I will upload some photographs of my trip and write more about my wonderful experience at the environmentally sustainable Yachana Lodge soon.
(Written 9/10 de agosto)
I know that it’s only been two days since my last blog/journal, but today was so eventful that I feel it’s important to write something.
Tonight Ecuador began its celebration of el día de independencia–10 de agosto. The country comes together to remember the batalla de Pinchincha and the events that led to its independence from Spain. There were some 250,000 people in El Centro Histórico de Quito to participate in the festivities which included: free tours into the various cathedrals and musems, free baile, music, dance performances and a firework display among other things. But this blog is more about myself than the festivities–pretty egotistical, right?
(Written 7 de agosto 2008)
As of about 11:00 tonight, I will have been in Ecuador for two weeks. As boring and factual as that may seem, to me it is an incredibly surreal statement. I have done so much in such a sort expanse of time that it feels as though I have been here for months. I have seen gorgeous mountains, volcanoes and lakes. I hiked to and waded in a sacred “cascarada” (small waterfall) that the indigenous still flock to for certain festivals in Ecuador. I’ve learned to bargain with vendors in Otavalo, an indigenous market where there are so many hand made crafts that it is difficult not to be overwhelmed–you got ripped off if you bought an Alpaca sweater for more than $15 or $20. I have been to the center of the world and straddled two hemispheres. I have tasted naranjía, guanabana, tomate de árbol, yuca, ahí, empanadas and platanos. I have seen a cathedral rumored to be built by demons. I have learned of a proposed constitution and evolving governments in Ecuador. I have created friendships with a great group of students who are experiencing some of the same joys and struggles that I am.
There are challenges. I know that I still have much to learn, but I already feel as though I am being forced to examine my own culture and the role of the United States in Latin America. Yesterday we attended the Foundación Guayasamil and viewed the artwork of the famous painter (see photos). He truly captured some of the anguish and struggles throughout the history of Latin America. It is not easy to see this pain when you know that your country played a role in bringing it about.
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