Friday, July 16, 2010

Rhythms

After a difficult few days, things have stabilized in Cochabamba for the Rutgers contingent. The first couple of weeks are always challenging, as students find their way in a new culture, adjust to host families, communicate in new languages, and discover the difficulties of doing anthropology and providing service to others. I have been especially swamped with coordinating the details of 12 people's experiences, and smoothing over the rough edges of cross-cultural contact. This year, things were infinitely complicated by the tragedy in Loma Pampa, which propelled us deeply and unexpectedly into the harsh realities of Bolivian life.

But now things are finally on a more even keel. The students are well-ensconced in their service projects and language classes. Their work seems to be going well, and all of them seem to be thriving. Things have found their rhythm, as I knew they would. If this paragraph can bear another metaphor, it is this: after running through the rapids, we are now in calmer waters.

Tonight the "kids" left for an overnight in the lowland Chapare region, where they will hang with monkeys, swing through the jungle, and enjoy the humidity of the Bolivian tropics. Dad has the night off. 'Bout time.

2 comments:

Amrita said...

Well deserved too! Thank you for all that you are doing for our children.

Locojhon said...

Dan--"This year, things were infinitely complicated by the tragedy in Loma Pampa, which propelled us deeply and unexpectedly into the harsh realities of Bolivian life."

I'd suspect the harsh realities of not just Bolivian life, but life in much of the world outside the USA. (Take heart--at least it's not Iraq or Afghanistan, for example.) I'm guessing that for many of your students, it's their first real flight away from the "mommy-state" USA-nest...and oh what a ride it can be!

I'd suggest the above tragic Loma Pampa lesson is only one of the many valuable lessons your student volunteers will receive in their time in Bolivia.

I'm hoping that the other lessons aren't harsh--but empowering and uplifting,,,and as enlightening as the harsh lesson was.
locoto