So it has been a while since I blogged, but mostly due to travel. Here is a quick wrap up on the last few weeks.
After Christmas, I left on 2 weeks of vacation in which I spend the first week (all of vacation was with Erika and almost all with Stacie) in Arequipa, which is in the south of the country. E and I went to a little nothing of a town and saw some petroglyphs and a really pretty valley. Then we met up with S and the rest of the YAVs and hung out in the city itself for a few days. There was a beautiful convent there and it was relaxing. We then went to the Cocla Canyon, which is the second deepest canyon in the world. We hiked for 3 straight days of 6 hrs+ per day of hiking and spent new years in the bottom of it. New Years eve we swam in this natural hot spring made where a geyser and the river met and by the time we got to the hostel, we were so tired that we went to be at 8:30 and woke up at 11:50 to say "happy new year" before going back to sleep. Then began the 2 day trek back to Lima and then on to a city called Tingo Maria which is the entry to the Amazon. There Erika got sick and so Stacie and I just cruised around and saw everything we could. It was really fun, but sad to not have E out.
Then we went back to Lima with a quick stop in another town first. We then had 2 days with all of us before the girls went off to some other town for a few days before they headed off to Argentina. I had a day of meetings and then left for Bolivia.
Travel to Bolivia took about 32 hours and included 2 taxis, 1 plane, 1 van, 1 collectivo (rented car), and 1 overnight bus. Kinda ridiculous. The conference in Bolivia was really good. It was attended by us, the Red Uniendo Manos of Bolivia, the Bolivian Mennonites, and some people from the US. There were in total 16 presentations on topics ranging from water as a human right to a people´s movement against climate change. They were mostly pretty interesting. We had a fair on the differing topics in the city of Sucre, and in our closing meeting formed a network of young environmentalists. There is one international coordinator (who is my coworker at CENCA) and 2 national coordinators in each country (of which i am 1). That meeting was so long and boring. We argued about what to call ourselves for over an hour. It was really great because at the conference, 2 of my friends from Whitworth were there along with my fellow whitworth YAV. so it was pretty incredible to have 4 people from such a small school meeting up at a conference in Bolivia (3 of us went to Central America too). It was so good just to catch up and talk about the "good old days."
Then we went to Puno (Lake Titicaca on the Peru side) and went out tho the floating islands and did some shopping. For more on the congress, check out the podcast, Kuzka. We did an edition specifically on it. (click this link or just search "kuzka" on the itunes music store). Note: the podcast has been such a success that we need to upgrade our account, and that is being more difficult than expected. If the podcast isn't there now, check back soon, it will be!
In all, I have basically been on the road for 3 and a half weeks straight and will be gone all week next week too so i´m enjoying being at home for 6 days.
I am very excited and motivated to be involved this year. I´m happy with my life and really want to find ways to become even more involved. That may be a little difficult because I will be on the road for basically half the time until Easter (and then still lots more after that). But in all, I feel really good about where I´m at.