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.
A group of students in front of a sunset. We hiked to a lookout where we could see the Amazon jungle, volcanoes and the Napo River in the background.
(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? Read More
(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.
A painting by Guayasamil. Guayasamil´s paintings were often difficult to see because they gave life to the pain present in Latin America.
Becky Reed and I on top of Mount Pichincha.
Hello all. My name is Mayeken (Maya) Irene Kehr and I am currently a junior at Bethel College (By the way, it is really difficult to explain what a threshing stone is to people outside of the midwest.). I am currently studying as an exchange student at La Universidad de San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador. I am here through Brethren Colleges Abroad, a program that partners with Bethel and many other colleges to provide students the experience of living and studying abroad. Read More
With no cell phone reception and spotty satellite internet, I’ve enjoyed being able to focus on the people we are around.On Sunday, Will and I met a woman who, after conversation during potluck lunch, invited us to join her on her running route by the ruins of an old Mennonite church atop “Third Mesa.” An amazing experience: running a gradual rise in the soft sand of a shaded valley; climbing the same steep stone paths used centuries ago by Hopi women carrying water to the nearby village perched defensively at the edge of the mesa; hearing description of the history of the struggles of this church, twice struck by lightening and burnt to the ground leaving only stone walls and arches; humbled by the view of the setting sun behind the far off San Francisco peaks; but also hearing first hand of the experience of a woman caught between Hopi and Christian tradition and beliefs. Read More
Well, talk about sand! Today is our first full day in Kykotsmovi, AZ and we are having a bad sand storm. Welcome to the Hopi Nation in the high desert in the four corners region. Read More
It is not every day that a renowned music group comes to perform at a small college such as Bethel. But yesterday as I was walking through the Fine Arts Center on campus I heard the most amazing sounds of brass instruments warming up in the wings of Krehbiel Auditorium. So I stopped what I was doing and sat down in one of the cushy theater seats towards the back of the room. Read More
Culture consists of language, ideas, beliefs, customs, taboos, codes, institutions, tools, techniques, works of art, rituals, ceremonies and symbols. One aspect that comes to my mind when thinking about culture is food. Countries have specific kinds of food, different ways of preparing meals and different eating habits. There are specific meals for different countries by names of restaurants, for example. There are Asian restaurants, Mexican food seems to be pretty popular in the U.S. and there is even a German restaurant, Imbiss, in Wichita. At the German Imbiss you can get meals called “Bratwurst,” “Kartoffelsalat,” “Sauerkraut” and “Wienerschnitzel” (a German dish, although it is named after Austria’s capital). Read More
If you have ever experienced Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, then you no doubt recall the role of the “First Priest.” The First Priest’s memorable (and only) line, “He is virtuous?” helps to set the tone for Act II, and his several other appearances as an escort for the “lead” characters and a member of the chorus of priests make the role especially important to the overall plot of the show. Fortunately, as a member of the 2008 cast of The Magic Flute at Bethel this week, I am up to the challenge. (Removes tongue from cheek.) Read More
Probably every U.S. citizen has heard a lot about Mexico, about immigration and about issues caused by illegal Mexican workers in the U.S. A lot of people in the U.S. are of the opinion that there “is a problem” with illegal Mexican workers and with Mexicans who immigrate into the U.S. But only few people know about the problems Mexicans have to face when they want to enter the U.S., either as legal or illegal immigrants. The book “Crossing Over” by Ruben Martinez gives the reader a first idea about how difficult it is to cross the border. Furthermore, the book describes a family tragedy, because it tells the story of a poor Mexican family who lost three family members who tried to travel into the U.S. as illegal workers. Read More