It’s about time for me to start this thing! The internet situation has been a little crazy… along with everything else, for that matter, so it has taken some time. Unfortunately, since much has happened in the 16 days I’ve spent in Chile, I don’t think I have time to elaborate much on the Tufts-in-Chile orientation experience.
The 20 students in the Tufts-in-Chile program stayed at a hostel with 2-6 students in each room (needless to say, I became eager for some alone time and space!). We left the hostel before nine on most mornings to get an early start on our packed schedules, which contained at least one charla* of some sort every day. I enjoyed waking up early many mornings to go running with “Equipo A,” as we named ourselves. Soooo here are some highlights:
Welcome to Chile: you’ve committed a federal offense.
I guess they didn’t want me to bring honey into the country. I started off my stay with an hour-long chat with officials. Then I signed a paper saying it was fine that they incinerate my beautiful Vermont honey. Then I paid a multa. A multa of over two hundred dollars. Look, you just learned a Spanish vocabulary word. When I finally boarded the bus where the Tufts group was waiting, Charles commented casually, “They didn’t take my honey.” Thanks, Charles. They also didn’t care that you had wrapped packages. Maine wins this one.
Poblaciones: We visited several poblaciones (como La Legua), low-resource areas of the city, and listened to many people teach about some of the social, economic, and political history of these areas. We learned some of the strategies that have helped improve the situation.
Lunch and tour at the Santa Rita Vineyard. Delicious food. I wonder how many people take the tour that don’t drink? Probably about two: my cool friend Emily and me… It’s ok, though, because I saw CACTI for the first time EVR!!!!1!!1111
Human Rights Tour: A man who is now a professor and the director of another abroad program to UChile gave us a tour of Villa Grimaldi where he was tortured for nearly a year at the hands of the Chilean government. We also toured a huge cemetery where you could clearly see the separation in class. Very powerful and emotionally exhausting day.
We toured la Moneda, which is comparable to the White House. Tufts professor, program director, and Chilean historian, Peter Winn, shared his first-hand account of the military coup on September 11, 1973 in which the Air Force bombed la Moneda. Coincidentally, he was also in New York City on September 11, 2001. Lucky historian, I would say.
Salsa night! After our last meal with the group, Charles, Ben, Aspen, and I went to a salsoteca to dance. It was a crowded Friday night, and we discovered that Charles takes up a lot of space. Ben is much less violent.
That was orientation! If you have Facebook, most of the pictures I have up are from this time period, so check them out!
*Charla means chat in Spanish, so what this translates to is a 1-3-hour lecture on Chilean history, literature, politics, social structure, human rights, gender relations, culture, and anything else I may have forgotten. Note that this is distinct from Charles, a friend on the trip, as he will most frequently be referred to as Charles, Chaz, Carlitos, or Charlie Brown.