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Spring 2004 - The Traveling School-ag

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					Traveling School                                                                                                                       5/8/12 11:36 AM




                                                         Spring 2004 Trip Reports
                                              The School was in South America for Spring 2004




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             Click to Link to Trip Reports Sent from South America on the following dates:
             February 14, 2004 - From the Program Director, Jennifer Royall
             February 14, 2004 - From A Student, Annie
             February 22, 2004 - From A Student, Annie
             March 7, 2004 - From the Program Director, Jennifer Royall
             March 7, 2004 - From A Student, Annie
             March 22, 2004 - Trip Report from Laura
             March 24, 2004 - From a Teacher, Lander Purvis
             March 29, 2004- Notes from the Girls!
             ---Alexandra
             ---Cari
             ---Bridget
             ---Annie
             ---Laura
             April 7 - from Spanish Teacher Anna Taft, and the Girls
             April 26, 2004 - from Program Director, Jennifer Royall
             May 18, 2004 - Final Notes From La Paz
             February 14, 2004

             Dear Parents and Friends,
             What an amazing two weeks we've had so far here in Ecuador. Casa Mojanda has been the perfect place for the
             group to get to know each other, to get used to classes and our schedule, and to gradually integrate into Ecuador's
             cultures and language. We have our own space in a big dorm-style room with an adjoining building for classes and
             meals. Four wonderful women make us yummy and healthy meals each day, including an endless variety of fresh fruit
             juices and soups. We have definitely been spoiled here at Casa Mojanda.

             Academically, we completed our first complete week of classes yesterday. The class days are long, but the girls have
             impressed me with their focus and hard work. In Andean Literature and Composition, we are reading The Alchemist
             and will have our first test next week. The girls have been writing every day, and have begun the writing process for
             their descriptive essays. We will spend the next week reading, revising, and rewriting these pieces before turning in a
             final draft.

             In the History and Government of Ecuador and Peru, we have focused our study on the pre-Incan cultures of Ecuador
             and Peru. This weekend, the girls have a mini-research project on Indigenous tribes in Ecuador. We will continue our
             study of Incas and move onto the Spanish conquest in the weeks ahead.

             The Natural Science class has been reading Savages, a non-fiction book which focuses on an indigenous rainforest
             tribe, the Huaorani, and their struggle to survive with encroaching oil development in their traditional homeland. Along
             with this book, the class is studying climate and weather of the Sierra. In the next few weeks, the focus will shift to
             rainforest ecology.

             Every day at The Traveling School we do lots of Math. There are Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Algebra Independent
             Studies, in addition to our Mathematical Applications course. In Mathematical Applications, all the girls have learned to
             create a weekly budget, and during the semester they will have opportunities to revise and readjust their figures. Next
             comes career planning and evaluating the job market.


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             The girls have had ample opportunities to practice and review their Spanish skills. Advanced Spanish students have
             reviewed customary greetings, vocabulary for bargaining at the market and interacting with students at area schools.
             They are keeping a language journal with new vocabulary they learn each day, and have completed their first quiz on
             Friday.

             In Spanish I, students are learning numbers, greetings, bargaining vocabulary, and are just beginning to be able to
             form sentences! Everyone practiced their Spanish at the market, and Alex immediately put her limited Spanish to work
             for her and demonstrated her natural talent at bargaining (and true dedication to finding a deal!)
             Every morning we wake up for a Physical Education workout before breakfast. We've been working on strength with
             plyometric exercises every other day. On the off days, we play Ultimate Frisbee or do yoga. This proves a great way to
             wake up, and the girls are getting stronger and seem to be enjoying this part of each day. We also walk quite a bit, and
             have been for hikes to an area waterfall and around the lakes. Along the way we've had the opportunity to play soccer
             and basketball with local school children. Luckily for us, the Casa Mojanda has a hot tub, and we get to soak our sore
             muscles periodically!

             The weekends, Tuesdays, and Thursdays are a chance for us to explore our surroundings. We have been busy this
             past week seeing and experiencing as much as possible. We have been lucky enough to meet a wonderful family who
             hosted Anna Taft when she lived in Ecuador. We visited them last Sunday, and they prepared a wonderful lunch for us
             and an opportunity to experience time with an Ecuadorean family prior to our home stays. On Tuesday, we visited an
             elementary school. The girls helped teach the students their English lesson. They prepared visual aids for teaching
             colors, the parts of the day, telling time, and numbers. Who could imagine that teaching Twister could be so difficult?
             We all enjoyed recess, though Bridget's arms ached from spinning so many kids around in circles. We were all dizzy
             and confusing English and Spanish by the end of the morning. That same day we hired a truck to take us to the Lagos
             Mojanda, up in the mountains nearby our lodging. There, the girls got a firsthand look at the Paramo, an unusual
             biome found at high altitude between 10 degrees north and south of the Equator. A perfect place for a science lesson!
             We also hiked down from our perch at Casa Mojanda, down a cobblestone road and across Otavalo to the
             Anthropology Museum. These girls can power walk! Carrie sets the pace as we race down the hills, warding off barking
             dogs, and greeting all we pass. We make quite a sight. Anna also set up a meeting between some of her previous
             students here, and our girls. We had a social between high school girls and a few young boys who appeared as well.
             The conversation rarely lulled. Our girls shared their photographs and stories from home, and then came the boys vs.
             girls soccer match.

             The girls decided to put on a Valentine's day fiesta tonight, so last night included a late-night baking session (sugar
             cookies and chocolate chip). Annie and Laura demonstrated dogged concentration, cutting 50 plus valentine-shaped
             cookies by hand. One of them promised to always appreciate cookie cutters in the future! The other girls delivered
             invitations to the guests and workers of Casa Mojanda, and we all tried desperately not to eat too much of the cookie
             dough!!

             Tomorrow, we plan to help out at a Minga, cleaning and refilling the water tanks of a local community. Again, Anna's
             family has helped to include us on this community service project. We're packing up our packs tonight, and will take a
             bus tomorrow afternoon to Quito. We are both reluctant, and excited to leave the comfort of Casa Mojanda. Now we're
             going to have to cook our own dinners!! Even this prospect has the girls excited. As you can see, we've been plenty
             busy since we left. Not a day goes by without talk of family and loved ones though. Know that you are here with us in
             our conversations, and in our thoughts.
             Thanks for sending your girls to Ecuador with us!
             Jennifer Royall, Program Director

             February 14, 2004
             Hi all! It's Annie. Happy Valentines!

             Well, we're back in Otavalo for the market. Tonight is our last night at Casa Mojanda in precious Mojandita. No more
             good food! But tomorrow, Quito! We're going to hit the road by bus and then stay at a hostal in Quito. The city is going
             to be such a change from the rolling farmlands of Mojandita and Otavalo. I'm excited, though.

             Classes are excellent. We're reading The Alchemist in English. For Spanish, we've been interacting with the people
             around here. It's so cool because one of my professors was an exchange student here and knows everybody so we
             had lunch with her ´family´ and met with some local kids for a game of soccer and showed them our pictures. Most of
             them had never seen snow or sand before. Imagine explaining sledding in Spanish to someone who doesn´t even
             know what snow looks like.

             My Spanish is improving a lot. Tomorrow we're going to a what's it called. Minga. It´s where the whole community
             comes together and does a project, like fix the roads, or build a school. We´re going to help clean the water tank. How
             many tourists get to clean the water tank? It´s awesome. On Tuesday, we went to the Mojandita school and taught the
             kids colors and numbers and time and body parts. Recess was the most fun, though. We taught them duck duck
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             kids colors and numbers and time and body parts. Recess was the most fun, though. We taught them duck duck
             goose and chased and tickled them.

             Last night, after classes, our muscles were hurting so badly from our daily morning workouts so we went and got into
             the woodstove heated hot tub that looks like a big wooden barrel. And then we made massive quantities of pink sugar
             cookies and we didn't have a heart shaped cookie cutter so we spent literally hours cutting out hearts in the cookie
             dough with butter knives. And we made little invitations for all of the employees and guests of Casa Mojanda, inviting
             them to our Valentine's Party. And by the end, I was covered in flour and tissue paper. It was quite a sight. And now its
             today! So Happy Valentine's and a great week! Keep me posted!

             Annie
             Student

             Trip Report - March 7, 2004
             This morning at 5:45, Anna and I waved goodbye to the group as they left for the Galapagos Islands. Each girl filed by
             to hug us, loaded down with two full backpacks, to-go coffee mugs, and leftovers in Styrofoam cartons. My emotions
             wavered between motherly protectiveness and intense pride. Nearly three weeks ago, we boarded our first bus from
             Otavalo to Quito; we were a train wreck! The packing itself was endless, the lugging and movement from point to point,
             painstaking to observe. Since then, we have traveled to Banos, an Ecuadorian tourist destination nestled below the
             active Tungurahua volcano, then onto Tena, famous for its rain forests and whitewater rafting. We've ventured deep
             into the rain forest and out again, returning to Quito via Tena on drawn out bus rides through a maze of road
             construction and dust. Three weeks and numerous bus, taxi, canoe, and truck rides later, we have become experts at
             moving Traveling School style!

             Academics
             In Natural Science, the girls have just finished reading Savages. After spending time in the rain forest, studying rain
             forest ecology, and meeting with people involved in its preservation, students have written letters to oil companies.
             These letters demonstrated their knowledge about the rain forest and asked informed questions about its future. While
             in the Galapagos Islands, students will study evolutionary biology, each focusing on a specific species which they will
             observe and study.
             Our Mathematical Applications students have spent the past weeks playing the "Life Game" and learning about
             budgets. Each student drew a "real life" family situation and an occupation, then had to set up a household budget.
             They researched costs of housing, transportation, and expenses in a given area of the United States. Next, they will be
             studying the banking process and a unit on economics.
             In Spanish I, Alex and I have acquired three new verbs! We are now supposed to be able to form entire sentences!
             Our study has also focused hugely on vocabulary acquisition. We have lists of new nouns and adjectives at our
             disposal. We have learned how to talk about time and are both getting better at numbers. Alex has been utilizing her
             new found Spanish skills on many occasions. She is not shy at trying to communicate and is willing to experiment with
             her new vocabulary. Her contagious laugh, easy going sense of humor, and go-for-it attitude help her communicate
             easily with all people. As a fellow beginner, I am impressed with her efforts!
             In Advanced Spanish, the girls have focused on the preterite and imperfect tenses and prepared for their upcoming
             homestays by utilizing vocabulary related to households and families. While we were in the rain forest with Quichua-
             speaking guides, students learned about the indigenous Quichua culture. Both classes took a week out of Spanish to
             study Quichua and to discuss language diversity and language extinction issues. They girls have enjoyed this mini-
             language unit immensely. In the Galapagos, the girls will create a Quichua language book for children or travelers.
             During their homestays, the students have a combined language/history oral history project. They will interview and
             observe a female family member. After their homestays, they will transcribe and translate part of their interviews and
             use this information to write an oral history based upon gender roles or issues observed.
             In the History and Government of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, class has moved quickly from ancient history through
             colonization and independence. We have focused on Ecuador, and have accentuated our text with visits to museums
             in Quito, Otavalo, the rain forest along with guest speakers. I am impressed with how positively these outside
             opportunities have been received. Annie makes special efforts to seek out information from speakers and activities.
             She asks intriguing questions that demonstrate her wide knowledge and honest interest. I am constantly impressed
             with her maturity and and commitment to understanding local issues. Students will complete their midterm examination
             during the Galapagos trip, and begin a mini-research project on an upcoming historical location or ruin. They will also
             prepare their preliminary questions for the upcoming oral history project during homestays.
             In our Literature of the Andes and Composition class, we have completed our first novel, and begun our second, Love
             in Times of Cholera. The girls will each do an in depth character study and prepare a character sketch during the
             Galapagos trip. They will continue to practice writing with weekly journal entries, and, during their homestays, they will
             try a hand at writing short stories in the style of magical realism. The girls presented their final descriptive essays in
             class on Friday. Their hard work and long nights proved successful, and we all enjoyed the final products.
             Global Studies classes are for pulling everything we do together. In class, we've focused on group dynamics by
             discussing communication and feedback skills. We've continued to learn about the culture and traditions of Ecuador. In
             the rain forest we visited an indigenous museum based on the Quichua culture and visited a traditional Quichua

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             homestead where we made chicha, a traditional Quichua drink. This past week, we began our study of tourism and its
             effects on culture and the environment. We will continue to focus on tourism during the Galapagos trip as well as
             prepare the girls for their homestays and service project.
             Cultural Activities
             Everyday is filled with cultural activities. Just riding the bus can be a cultural experience. The vendors who jump on the
             bus at each stop, selling their wares, the road construction hassles and delays, and the impromptu conversations
             struck up with seat mates make for new cultural awareness. In Quito, we visited the Museum of Culture and the
             Equatorial monument, El Mitad del Mundo. We were able to view incredible exhibits about the geography, history, and
             various cultures indigenous to Ecuador. When we went to Banos, Carneval was in full swing. Carneval is a fiesta that
             starts before Ash Wednesday. It is in some way related to the coming of Lent. They say it is a little like Mardi Gras,
             though I've never experienced Mardi Gras. In Otavalo it looked like water balloons (Bombas Aguas) and buckets of
             water cascading down from rooftops as we walked through town. In Banos, it became silly string and shaving cream
             shot at us as we conspicuously walked through town.
             We took the bus to neighboring Ambato, and watched their town's Carneval celebration -- a major parade with floats
             built with flowers and fruit!! Indigenous dancers swirled their fuschia and orange pleated skirts, and the music blared
             from speakers set up on tractors. We arrived at the end of the procession, so we decided to follow it, passing by the
             floats and dancers one by one. The crowds packed closer and closer, until at the end, it felt like we would surely be
             crushed, except we towered over the crowds and at least had breathing holes!!! Of course, we were picked on by the
             fiesta-goers and were sprayed with shaving cream more than I would like to remember. In the days following Sunday's
             fiesta, the partying didn't stop. People seemed to be set on making the fiesta last until Fat Tuesday. Our taxi driver in
             Quito told us that Ecuadorean people liked a fiesta. That was an understatement. We rode the end of Carneval into
             Tena, known for its water fights. There we were, 6 gringas perched on top of our backpacks in the back of a truck,
             sitting targets for the water ballons, squirt guns, and buckets of water launched at us from the roadsides and rooftops
             as we drove past. Somehow Anna and Lander were smart enough to ride safely inside the cab of the truck!
             The high point of our cultural activities came with our three day rain forest trip. We took a canoe taxi down the Napo
             river to Sinchi Sacci, our idyllic basecamp. Our guides, Jerson, Jaime, Tomas, and Goyo taught us the medicinal uses
             of plants, how to climb trees, Quichua-style, painted our faces with the red juices of fruit, made us Tarzan vine swings,
             and even participated in one of the longest mud fights I've ever witnessed. We went on a night hike and spent time on
             the trail, alone, absorbing the noises, smells, and spirits of the rain forest. At night, we taught each other card games,
             relaxed in hammocks around a bonfire, listening to our cook, Goyo, woo the girls with love songs in Spanish. Here, we
             watched Laura perfect tree-climbing, and first heard her beautiful voice. The guides pushed the guitar towards her and
             called, "Otro" as she finished a song. Here too, we saw Carrie fall in love with the rain forest. She enjoyed getting to
             know our guides, and became more comfortable trying out her Spanish while playing cards and helping in the kitchen.
             No wonder we had such a tough time leaving.
             Back in Quito, we toured the Peace Corps headquarters, met volunteers, heard about programs and philosophies, and
             had an amazing discussion about the current political situation of Ecuador and its neighbors. Everywhere we go, we
             learn. Everything we learn, makes Ecuador and its people more dear to us.
             Outdoor Activities
             in Quito, our P.E. classes take place in a park right in the center of the city. We are quite a spectacle running along the
             sidewalk early in the morning. The swings and jungle gyms make for wonderful obstacle course elements. People stop
             and stare while we do pushups in a circle in the center of the park.
             In Banos, we got in an interesting mountain-biking trip down the mountain in search of waterfalls. Unfortunately, the
             road construction made for a dusty adventure. The dropoff on the narrow shoulder stretched down to the angry red
             Pastazo River. Creeks careened off steep hillsides. We passed a low tech bungy jumping site . . . into a narrow, rocky
             creek below ... scary! At one point, our ten-year-old guide took us through a pitch black tunnel. At first it was fun, but as
             we entered the middle, bumping into oncoming pedestrians and feeling tentatively for the rocky walls, we were all a bit
             disconcerted. I finally stopped riding my bike, got off, and walked (I may be slow, but I'm no dummy!) We hiked down
             steep paths to swinging bridges suspended over the main river. In the end, we made it to the Rio Verde and followed a
             trail to see its magnificent falls.
             In the rain forest, we put in miles of hiking. The ancient forest canopy towered above us. We followed Jerson along
             game trails and in creek beds, hoping desperately that he wasn't as turned around as we were. We swam in the Napo
             and played games on the banks of the river. It was here that we learned about the pensiones. If you lose a game in
             Ecuador, you always get some sort of punishment. Whether in cards or tag, the losers must suffer. This element
             brought a whole new level of competition to our activities. Its is always more fun to be the punishee than the punished!
             The groups favorite outdoor activity to date was rafting the Jatunyacu. We took a paddle raft down one of the best
             class three rivers on the eastern slope of the Oriente. It was a little low, due to three months of drought, but this clear,
             clean river drains the Los Llanganates Mountains and is full of straight forward tongue drop rapids. An excellent first
             river for our girls, Bridget especially loved this experience. She paddled with determination and strength. She also
             proved adept at pushing our guides overboard and withstanding endless attempts to get tossed out herself.
             So, what's next? I know this has been a long trip report, but obviously, we've been busy. Now the group has become
             six for our Galapagos segment, then it is onto the homestays in Riobamba, and our final weeks in Ecuador. We plan to
             backpack in the Cuenca area, and there will be more bus rides and slogging heavy packs! I look forward to reuniting
             with the girls after the homestays. I know they will have grown in ways I cannot imagine. The email opportunities will be
             slim on the Galapagos, so look for contact again around the 15th during the homestays.
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             slim on the Galapagos, so look for contact again around the 15th during the homestays.
             That's all for now!
             -Jennifer Royall, Program Director

             February 22, 2004
             Today is Carnival Sunday. Happy Carnival! We were in Quito Sunday through
             Friday at this hip hostel in the center of town. It was so cool to wake up
             and hear seven different languages being spoken at breakfast. We did some
             fun touristy stuff for global studies and history. We went to a couple
             museums and saw ancient Incan jewelry and mummies. Then we went to the
             Spanish colonial part of town where the buildings were all from the 1500s.
             We went to the Catholic Church, which blew my mind even more than the Incan
             ruins! We went to the President's mansion and saw the governor of Quito
             surrounded by dozens of reporters. And, of course, because it's Carnival (a
             Catholic holiday that's just one big water fight) kids with squirt guns and
             water balloons have drenched us all week. Now we're at a hotel in Banos, a
             town that is just between the mountains and rainforest. Yesterday we rented
             bikes and went mountain biking through the Andes. Everyone was running into
             each other! We also took some hikes down to these gorgeous waterfalls and
             it started raining so we rode back to the hotel in the back of a big truck
             with about 16 people in the rain. It was so exciting. When we came back
             and we were covered in mud, and we went to this really awesome international
             restaurant that shows movies every night. Last night it was Strictly
             Ballroom and we all ate like 3 mocha shakes and these gigantic cookies...
             and today!! We took a bus to Tena for the Carnival parade, which was
             completely amazing. All of the floats were built out of food and flowers
             and there were sooooo many people. It was as crowded as a rock concert
             times 12. And I don't know how much longer we're here, but next - the
             Amazon!
             Annie
             Student


             March 7, 2004
             Hi all! (Another Trip Report from Annie)
             OK... lets see. I last updated in... Banos! Wow, it seems that was nearly
             a year ago! Well, if I give you every detail you may be at your computer
             till you're 80 years old - so we'll try a condensed version. After Banos we
             took a bus to Tena, a small town on the edge of the rainforest. The bus
             rides here are insane!! We had a pretty mellow time there for a couple days
             and then... SINCHI SACHA (strong forest in Quichua)! We took canoes made of
             balsa wood to our hostel on the Napo River. There were so many cool plants!
             First thing, we took a moment to relax on the hammocks that were strung
             overlooking the river and the rainforest canopy. Later, we had a mud fight
             in the Napo with our guides and took a night hike. That was the coolest.
             We sat in the dark; spread out separately along the trail so all I could see
             was the light of the moon shining on the trees 50 ft above. The shamans
             used to come to those places for days and drink a tea made of hallucinogenic
             plants and meet the spirits of the forest. At first it was kind of scary.
             I could hear bugs and birds and monkeys and something flew past me and
             brushed my arm. The first 2 or 3 minutes I wore my hood over my ears and
             neck and jumped when I heard something near me. Then I realized that there
             were poisonous plants and bugs, but weren't they there in the light too?
             It's human instinct to fear the unknown, but once you accept that it's
             there, it wasn't so scary. I slowly let loose and my eyes adjusted to the
             dark and then I heard the same animal flying towards me that had touched my
             arm a few minutes ago. But this time I didn't flinch. It was such a cool
             night. The next day we visited the home of a Quechua family and made
             chicha, a drink made out of yuca plant. Our last night, we lay in the
             hammocks around a fire and passed around the guitar. It was sooo relaxing;
             at least I imagine it was for everyone else... I must've had the hammock
             with the perfect combination of heat and light because the insects loved it.
             I was laying there, looking into our huge fire and everyone's glowing faces,
             drinking hot lemonade, wondering how on earth life could get any better when

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             I felt something tickle my ear. I slowly turned my head to the side, and
             then froze. It was the biggest cockroach I've ever seen in my life. Make a
             fist. It was bigger. So, trying not to make a scene, I slid off my hammock
             and shook it off. Climbing back on, I was a little paranoid but I figured
             that was probably just a one-time thing and decided not to worry. Well not
             30 seconds later, a huge beetle made its way across my leg and in another
             five minutes a gargantuan spider crawled over my stomach. The rest of the
             night followed suit. You can imagine getting to sleep that night. haha.
             It made it more fun though, except everyone was wondering why I kept jumping
             up and shaking like a wet dog. OK, I know this is already really long, but
             the next day, we went rafting down the Jatun Yacu River (big waters). Oh my
             gosh, that was the absolute neatest. Green walls protruded vertically on
             each side. We stopped at this cave-like place, except without a ceiling.
             It was really narrow and a stream trickled through it. I can't even explain
             its beauty in words. Imagine Ferngully (that kid's movie from the 90s).
             You would swear that a fairy was going to jump out at any moment. You'll
             have to see pictures when I get back. Que mas? We're back in Quito and
             it's raining and it feels so good to be at elevation 10,000 ft again! We
             were actually wearing down jackets yesterday! Of course, in the rainforest
             I only wanted to be there and now I want to be here and tomorrow at 5am...
             Galapagos Islands!!!!!! I'm going snorkeling every single day, I do
             declare. Heehee. OK, I know this is long. Hopefully, you're not 80 years
             old yet. Have a super rest-of-the-weekend. Ta ta for now, as Tigger says.
             Annie, student

             March 22, 2004 - Trip Report from Laura
             Hey everyone!!
             I’ve been having a great time here and all is well. Monday was the last day of my homestay and since then we’ve been
             doing lots of stuff so I have lots to catch up on. First, I’ll introduce you to my family.
             My Host mom, Genoveva, is a nutritionist. She serves food to some of the children in elementary school, kindergarten,
             and preschool. Every morning she had to get up around 5 in order to get all of the food made. Not only that, but she
             also has an office where she works as a nutritional consultant. On the first day that I was at their home, I went with her
             to deliver the food to the kids. It was so cute because when I got to the preschool, all of the children were singing a
             song in English and practicing it on me. They were so adorable.
             My host dad, Washington, is the owner of what I would call a “nuts and bolts” shop. It was called Mundi Pernos (totally
             screws) He also helped my host mom with her deliveries because she doesn’t drive.
             I had a brother, Alberto, and his eighteenth birthday is actually today. He’s in his last year of high school and I swear
             he has the most nicknames of any person I’ve ever met. Last year there was a girl with The Traveling School who
             stayed with their family and at first she thought his name was Alfredo, but then realized it’s Alberto, so she called him
             that last year. His friends call him Javier, and Bubu, and Punker, and I don’t know what else.
             My host sister, Christina, is thirteen and is super nice, she plays basketball, but we never really had a chance to play.
             We played cards a few times though, “ocho loco” (crazy eights) she beat me every single time. I don’t know what
             happened to me. It was still fun - and finally, the very last time that we played, I won. I was pretty psyched.
             Let’s see, what did we do while I was at my homestay? Well, the first night
             I was there I got to meet their grandparents. They were super sweet, but I had a hard time communicating because I
             couldn’t speak Spanish worth a darn.
             It was even harder that night however, when some of Alberto´s friends came to their house. They talk so much faster
             and mumble way more and have so much slang that I couldn’t understand anything. I showed them all of my pictures
             from home. They especially liked the picture of all the volleyball players, so I gave the picture to my brother for his
             birthday. Then they started going through all the family albums that they had, and were trying to explain things to me,
             and one of Alberto’s friends was trying to practice some of his English while explaining. I think it just caused more
             confusion because there were times when he was talking in English and I thought it was Spanish and oh wow.
             Then, on Wednesday, we started our service project at CACHA, a group of Indigenous communities outside of
             Riobamba. We took a truck up the mountain to a small school. (I’m so used to driving in the back of trucks that when I
             get home I’m going to feel like I’m in prison with a seat belt on.) We were to start painting, but first, we had to do a little
             clean up work. I swear, Mom, I’ve dusted more dirt in one week from that school than I have from my room in my whole
             life. It was really fun to work with the people and comical at times too. The little kids at the school would run up to us
             and ask us “what’s this in English?” so many times I don’t think that I could count them. Then they tried to help by
             painting the floor. One kid was running around with this dinky little paintbrush and would go up to the wall, paint a little
             stripe and then giggle. It was so cute. They even fed us up there. The food was so good, but then there was this drink
             called jugo de platano (a banana drink) it was warm and kind of slimy in texture, and by the second day I just couldn’t
             handle it anymore. I usually don’t have a problem with food, but that was not my fav.
             Anyway, we did the service activity for four days from approximately 9-3 in the afternoon. (It varied greatly from day to
             day. One day we finished super early and needed to leave before a truck was scheduled to pick us up) Definitely a
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             day. One day we finished super early and needed to leave before a truck was scheduled to pick us up) Definitely a
             memorable experience.
             Ok, let’s see what else I did with my host family...On Friday evening my sister tried to teach me how to dance the
             salsa, but my stiff-limbed Norwegian heritage would not allow me to succeed. It just wasn’t working, but it was tons of
             fun all the same. Then on Sunday, we all went to watch my host dad’s soccer team play. It was really fun; it was just
             like being back at a basketball game at home, just different, because there were mountains in the background, and
             because, we, not to brag, but it’s actually warm here. It was a really important game and it went right down to the wire.
             The winner was determined by penalty shots at the end, but my dad’s team lost and I think that he was sad about that.
             The next day I said goodbye to my host family and boarded a bus for a six-hour bus ride to Cuenca, in the south of
             Ecuador. The bus ride was long, but relaxing, and Cuenca is such a nice town. It’s very clean and has a sort of antique
             feel. Yesterday we went to Inga Pirca, an ancient Incan ruin that is sort of a prelude to Macchu Picchu. Last night was
             one of the girls´ sixteenth birthday so we had a special celebration. Tomorrow we take off for our backpacking trip
             (three days) I think it will be tons of fun!
             Have fun at home
             Laura


             March 24, 2004
             Dear Friends and Family,

             The past two weeks have taken us from the Galapagos Islands, isolated 650 miles off the coast of Ecuador to
             traditional cities in the heights of the Andes. During our week in the Galapagos, we lived on a small yacht that motored
             between islands while we slept which allowed us to view many of the islands’ unique land and aquatic species. Upon
             our return to Quito from the Galapagos, we exchanged our flip-flops and bathing suits for long pants and fleece hats as
             we hopped on a bus headed south to Riobamba where the girls lived with families for 8 days and work on a community
             service project in nearby communities. After nearly two months in this amazingly diverse country, we are still in awe of
             its beautiful natural places and the warm, welcoming people we continue to encounter.

             In Natural Science, the students have been concentrating on the natural history, geology and climate of the Galapagos
             Islands. While traveling on the yacht, the class read excerpts from Jonathan Weiner’s book, The Beak of the Finch,
             which chronicles famous Galapagos finch research and the methods scientists have used to study natural selection.
             Students also “adopted” a Galapagos species into their field journals by making careful field observations of her
             chosen species, its food, habitat and behavior including detailed sketches and facts she learned from our naturalist
             guide, Hensel. After the trip, each student compiled these observations with outside research into a paper that she
             presented in class.

             Mathematical Applications students have recently completed a unit on banking and are beginning to study
             Microeconomics. The students will study the topics of resources, scarcity, unemployment, and inflation, and they will
             analyze current economic trends in South America as well as the United States.

             In Andean Literature and Composition, students are reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez´s book, Love in the Time of
             Cholera and exploring the literary genre of magical realism found in the writing of many Latin American authors. Each
             student created a character sketch of one personality in the book and tried her hand at writing a magical realism short
             story.

             The Spanish Language course recently took a short hiatus from Spanish in order to study Quichua, the language
             spoken by a majority of indigenous groups in Ecuador. Students practiced greetings, thank-yous, numbers, and basic
             phrases - allowing them to communicate with people in the countryside and at our community service projects. To
             culminate the Quichua unit, each student created a Quichua-English phrasebook for use in bilingual education of
             children or as a traveler’s guide. These fantastic, colorful creations teach the reader about Quichua culture as well as
             language and emphasize the importance of preserving the world’s languages.

             In History and Government of Ecuador and Peru, students are creating an oral history of one female member of their
             host family in Riobamba. The students prepared interview questions (in Spanish, of course!) in order to learn about a
             woman’s experience in Ecuador. They interviewed their host mother or Grandmother using a tape recorder. They will
             transcribe and translate the interview this week and will combine the information with observations from their homestay
             into a final paper.

             In Global Studies, students are completing a unit on tourism and ecotourism. Students designed their own ecotourism
             project proposals, which involved attracting tourists to a locale in order to preserve a natural resource or indigenous
             culture, and presented them for approval by their classmates who posed at the Ecuadorian government.

             Our recent weeks have provided ample opportunity for positive cultural experiences. It was quite a surprise when we
             discovered that the other passengers on our 16-person yacht in the Galapagos included German families, a British-

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             American couple, and a family Massachusetts with two teenage girls, Gina and Rose. During that week, we discussed
             tourism with our guide and crew in Spanish, learned German phrases (Annie and Laura perfected “I do not speak
             German”), and caught up on all the haps in the teenage world at home. We even dubbed Gina and Rose honorary
             Traveling School students for the week!

             In Riobamba, the students lived singly or in pairs with families for 8 days. All of the families had children or teenagers
             and took our girls under their wings as they became fully immersed in Ecuadorian culture and language. Students
             learned how to prepare Ecuadorian food, shared some American recipes with their families, visited parks and local
             attractions, all the wile absorbing the experience with all of their senses. Alex, in her second month of Spanish studies,
             came away from her homestay with a slight look of bewilderment but a wonderfully flexible attitude and tons of new
             Spanish phrases. During four days of the homestay, we met as a group and traveled to two different indigenous
             communities near Riobamba. In each, we brought materials to clean and paint the small elementary schools and had
             some exciting afternoon soccer and volleyball games with the school children. Carrie’s favorite game was one the kids
             invented. We all stood in a circle and batted the soccer ball around volleyball-style. The last to touch the ball before it
             hit the ground got out, and everybody yelled “Ciao! Ciao!” (good-bye) at the top of their lungs when that happened.

             Our P.E. activities lately have included snorkeling alongside baby sea lions and white-tipped sharks and hiking through
             forests of cactus trees to the tops of cinder cones in the Galapagos Islands. We also played spirited games of soccer
             with school children during our service project outside of Riobamba. These games, as Bridget found out, involve the
             extra workout of chasing the soccer ball when it gets booted off the edge of the field and rolls down the steep Andean
             hillsides! We are gearing up for our first backpacking expedition, a three-day trip to Laguna Lluspa located in Parque
             Nacional Cajas. We’ll let you know how it goes!

             Finally, we’d like to wish an official happy birthday to Bridget, who’s turning sweet sixteen today! This morning we did
             16 repetitions of each strength exercise during P.E. and tonight we’re planning to cook a meal of pizza with pineapple
             and ham (her favorite) and to top it off with vanilla cake decorated with skittles (a precious commodity down here)!

             Lander Purvis
             Science and Math Teacher

             March 29, 2004
             Notes from the Girls!
             “Whitewater Rafting in the Jungle”
             From Alexandra, sophomore, Vermont:
             “So far this trip has been great. It is so much better than regular school. I have been having such a great time, and the
             people here are now like my sisters. Just to think that I probably would have never met these people if I hadn’t entered
             into this school. The semester is going by really fast. So far my favorite part of this trip was river rafting in Tena. "Do
             you hear that? The river is calling our names,” Lander said to us as we slowly headed towards the rapids. The rapids
             were huge, bigger than I had expected. "Just keep paddling,” Lander said. So we did. We worked together like a team
             of sled dogs. Several times I had almost fell out. The river tossed us around as a child does an old toy. I was having a
             blast. The river became still. We had finished our first set of rapids. We all smacked our paddles against the water then
             victoriously raised them in the air. Our rafting guide started talking to Anna and Lander in Spanish. Lander translated
             for us, "The next rapids that are coming up are small, so if you guys want you could swim them, but you must swim
             with your feet in front of you and on your back". We all jumped in except for Annie. Annie was pushed in by our guide.
             We floated down into the rapids holding hands, grinning like Cheshire cats. It was so much fun. When the water had
             become still again we were pulled back into the raft. Many more rapids lay ahead of us, this was only the beginning.”

             “This Trip is the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done”
             From Cari, junior, Montana:
             “Wowzer!!! Two whole months have gone by! I can’t believe I have to go home in 48 days. Tear. This trip has been the
             best thing I’ve ever done – plus, I get high school credit for it! It is unexplainable how much the other girls and I have
             bonded. But living together for 2 months will do that to ya. Nothing ever stands still here. One minute we are sitting on
             a bus stuck in the mud, the next we are being pulled up the road by a bulldozer like we were on the way to Quito. Life
             here is... well... awesome, incredible, super, and every other positive adjective. We seriously have no down time
             because there is sooooo much to see and do. And trust me, I am not complaining. But it's "what happens that is not on
             the itinerary that makes a trip great." When my science teacher, Lander, said that as we boarded the airplane in Miami
             I had no clue how right she was. It is the people you meet and experiences shared that make everything soooo
             awesome. I wish I could effectively tell all of things we have gone through, but I doubt anyone else would find them
             quite as entertaining as us (our teachers don't even get half of our jokes) I have yet to regret signing up for this trip.”

             “Favorite Memories … so far!”
             From Bridget, sophomore, Vermont:
             “Mid-Semester already. Wow! I have seen so many things, met so many people, and learned so much more than I
             thought I would. It seems like yesterday we were all sitting awkwardly in the top floor of our Comfort Inn Suite in Miami,
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             thought I would. It seems like yesterday we were all sitting awkwardly in the top floor of our Comfort Inn Suite in Miami,
             not knowing what to say next. Boy did that ever change! We are anything but afraid to say or do anything now. "We
             have reached the final stage on Cogg's Ladder" as some in our group might say. There is rarely a day spent apart.
             During our homestays in Riobamba, we acted as if we hadn’t seen each other in weeks when we met each day to
             volunteer in Cacha and paint schools. I can’t even begin to summarize our experience so far. My personal highlights
             include our Rainforest Trek, the Galapagos cruise, our homestays, Lander serenading me with "Total Eclipse of the
             Heart", and my sweet sixteen. During our time in the rainforest we "learned" how to climb trees, ate "mucus" seeds,
             and fell asleep by the fire in our hammocks, listening to our cook, Goyo, play the guitar. I will forever remember going
             to Incapirca on my sweet 16. Also, I will never forget the Barney piñata and the Barbie B-day hat they all so lovingly
             picked out for me. The homemade chifles and Hawaiian pizza was a nice touch too. All in all, it has been a great first
             half of the semester!

             “Crazed Awards Ceremonies”
             From Annie, sophomore, Idaho:

             “Miami. February 1st. About 7:30pm. I walk into the hotel room, the last girl to arrive. I get my first glimpse of the girls I
             would spend the next 3-1/2 months with. As we would later learn in Global Studies class, we were at Step One on
             Cog's Ladder: The Polite Stage. We asked each other what kind of music we liked, what our hobbies were and made
             other such small talk. Those days are long gone. I think somewhere in the middle of the second week the incessant
             laughter began... and it never stopped. It's been one 58-day-long slumber party complete with lights out at 10 o'clock,
             morning workouts at 6:45, and Award Ceremonies every Monday night. Oh, Award Ceremonies. I just have to tell you.
             So the first Monday we're at
             Casa Mojanda near Otavalo, Ecuador and the five estudiantes were sitting quietly at a table when suddenly the three
             stooges (that would be Anna, Lander and Jennifer) walk in -- backwards with sunglasses, clothes, everything
             backwards and we could hear a very distinct squeaking. "Welcome to the 1st Annual Traveling School Awards
             Ceremony!" We were in tears just from the sight of them! But then came the Academic Award: a groovy pair of reading
             glasses given to the most academic-est of persons that week. Next the Athletic Award: a neon orange, child-sized pair
             of swimming goggles that suction-cupped to Carrie's face when she won them the first night. Then the Happy Traveler,
             a stuffed tiger that Laura named Jasper. And lastly and most desirable, THE (squeaking) BONEHEAD (which Laura
             will tell you all about). The profesoras always give out the Academic Award and give us very detailed hints about the
             recipient. "OK... it's a Traveling School student. And... she's a girl!" (Gasps of astonishment) "And she is here right
             now!" In Quito, they filed into our room although we had heard them rapping down the hallway. "Boom boom, ch, boom
             boom, ch." The gangstas had arrived "Ya ya!" for the "2nd Annual Traveling School Awards Ceremony." Other such
             silliness followed at the presuming "annual" awards ceremonies. They're taken extremely seriously. No flashbacks to
             Laura and Alex's (muffled cough) err... bathroom predicaments (See Laura's). Absolutely no giggling allowed. Not.
             With this group, that would be an impossibility.”

             “Winning the Bonehead Award”
             From Laura, senior, North Dakota:
             "At The Traveling School, we make goals and do them...and we learn to read good too." Ok, for those of you who
             aren’t on the South American trip this semester, this sentence, constructed with terrible grammar, may not make a lot
             of sense, but for Carrie, Alex, Bridget, Annie, Lander, Anna, Jen and me, this idiotic phrase signifies a small portion of
             all the boneheaded stunts we have pulled this semester. Although The Traveling School strives for excellence, what
             most people don’t know is that it actually has a weekly award for people who do the most "un-academic" things: the
             coveted Bonehead Award. Just so you have an idea of what it takes to "make the grade" and receive this prestigious
             prize, I’ll share some of the legends of former Bonehead Award recipients.
             The first week Bridget stunned us (especially Lander) with her childhood stories of chocolate fondue on her face. Then,
             in a fit of laughter, could not control her steps and fell "up" the stairs. Next, Annie attempted to dazzle us with her
             movie-star potential when she performed the infamous "Superstar" move, but merely succeeded in tumbling to her
             knees and creating an earthquake on the table. (What a Superstar!)
             In the following weeks, we had people spilling their drinks and teachers trying to talk to each other with earplugs in
             their ears, but on the day of our plane ride to the Galapagos, Alex and I showed everyone at The Traveling School, the
             true definition of Bonehead.
             We arose early that morning to catch our flight to the Galapagos. We still had sleep in our eyes as we went through the
             security checkpoint, but soon our excitement to see the Galapagos rose when the first rays of the sun peeked over the
             horizon. As usual, Alex and I were last in line to go through the final passport check, and it was at this point I realized I
             should use the restroom before boarding the plane. Alex also needed to go so we sauntered over to the sign reading,
             "Banos." We walked unobservantly into the bathroom, but as I entered the stall, I noticed that the seat was up. "Oh,
             they must have been cleaning," I told myself. Meanwhile, Alex and I chatted, I washed my hands, and then, when I
             was just about to leave, I glanced to my right and saw urinals out of the corner of my eye. At the same moment, I saw
             the little man picture next to the door and a guy walking through the entry of the bathroom with a grin spread across his
             face. I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe that I had just walked into a Men’s restroom, gone to the bathroom, and
             washed my hands without realizing it until I was leaving. However, I didn’t feel quite as bad when Alex told me later, "I
             actually saw the Men’s sign, but I thought you knew what you were doing."

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             If you are appalled by our utter stupidity, I apologize, but at the least, you now have a little more understanding of what
             it takes to be a bonehead.
             I’m loving all the funny moments.”

             April 7, 2004
             From Anna Taft, Spanish Teacher
             Dear Parents and Friends,
             We’ve had some adventures since we last reported and have transitioned across international boundaries, moving into
             the Peruvian phase of our semester. We had a great week in the lovely colonial city of Cuenca, stopped briefly in Loja,
             and then began our odyssey into Peru. We are now in Huaraz, a gorgeous, high-mountain setting for our first classes
             and activities south of Ecuador, and are preparing for a six-night trek among some of the highest peaks in the Andes.
             The girls have grown so much in their travel and communication skills, not to mention becoming close friends. They
             inquire in Spanish about menu items and directions and even chose to have two museum tours given in Spanish rather
             than English. They pack their packs quickly, easily hefting them up to be stored on top of buses, and know how to
             prepare for a long travel day with snacks, warm clothes, and music. And beyond that, they are becoming leaders in the
             group, facilitating our daily activities, and getting to know themselves and each other on ever-deeper levels.
             Academically, we’ve been busy throughout our travels:
             In Andean Literature and Composition, the girls finished Love in the Time of Cholera and are writing critical reviews of
             the novel. They have also read short narrative pieces by Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and others, gleaning
             techniques that they are already putting to use in their own personal narrative essays.
             The History and Government of Ecuador and Peru students are completing their study of Ecuador and moving on to an
             examination of modern-day Peru. In Cuenca, we all had an opportunity to complement our historical readings with the
             story of Fabi Palacios, whose parents owned a hacienda when she was a child and who has experienced land reform
             and other socio-economic changes firsthand. She shared wonderful insights as well as personal anecdotes and
             answered many questions in the lively discussion on Ecuadorian history and politics that followed her talk. As always,
             Annie asked many insightful questions that clarified our understanding and introduced more fascinating topics.
             In Natural Science, students have moved into a geology unit, learning about principles of geology, mountain-building
             forces, and the powerful glaciers that shaped the terrain we are exploring.
             Mathematical Applications, meanwhile, has focused on an introduction to the study of economics and the nature of
             investing. Soon, the girls will prepare their mock portfolios of stocks and bonds to test their investment savvy.
             In Spanish Language class, students worked painstakingly to transcribe and translate the interviews that they
             completed during their homestays, clarifying the interesting observations of their host mothers and grandmothers. They
             have also practiced the complicated uses of direct object, indirect object, and reflexive pronouns; food and restaurant
             vocabulary; and the future tense. In Beginning Spanish, Alex and Jennifer have mastered –ar verbs and are writing
             sentences of great variety. They have also been studying food and restaurant vocabulary and created an original
             breakfast-restaurant dialogue. Alex also worked hard to transcribe and translate her interview of her host mother, a
             formidable task considering the range of vocabulary involved that she had never before been exposed to.
             Global Studies has been an exciting and varied forum recently, as we have delved into the theme of leadership,
             introduced ourselves to Peruvian culture, and prepared for our first backpacking trip. The girls have written about
             leaders they know as well as their own leadership qualities, and created from these reflections an excellent schema of
             leadership styles. Now, they are putting their leadership skills to work, taking on roles such as scheduler, navigator,
             workout coordinator, and meal coordinators. They have all done an admirable job with these tasks, and Carrie is
             especially shining as our scheduler, helping us fit our huge number of activities into a short day.
             Many cultural activities have complemented our classroom study. In Cuenca, we traveled to Ingapirca, an Incan ruin,
             where we learned about Cañari culture, the Incan conquest, and the spot’s importance as a cultural and ceremonial
             center. We also visited a museum that showed the various stages of the process involved in making the famous
             Panama Hat, an art museum, and several of the city’s beautiful churches. In the hat museum, all of the girls opted to
             have the explanations given in Spanish rather than in English. Laura showed once again her nuanced command of the
             language, translating for Jennifer and the others when necessary. Our journey from Loja, Ecuador to Huaraz, Peru
             was quite a cultural experience in itself, and I will let the girls describe that adventure to you below. They have grown
             so much in their comfort with unfamiliar situations and the tiring, hot, cold, or smelly moments that are inevitable in
             overland travel in the Andes. Their attitudes throughout the trip were amazing; rather than complaining, they found
             excitement in the adventure and humor in the unexpected occurrences. Seasoned travelers now, they are fazed by
             nothing. Bridget proved to be an especially adept traveler, finding ways to stretch out in the back of a bus and
             maneuvering our library bag so that two local girls could find a place to sit when our last bus filled to the gills. Here in
             Huaraz, we have toured an archaeological museum, learning about many of the ancient cultures of this region, and
             experienced the local enclosed market.
             Unfortunately, our first scheduled backpacking trip was cancelled due to colds in the group, but those who were
             healthy still had a chance make a daytrip to Cajas National Park, where we were to camp. There, they learned how to
             stay warm and dry in the midst of an incessant deluge, a skill that will be tremendously important this week on our trek.
             Luckily, Carrie loves the rain and her enthusiasm brightens everyone’s spirits in what could be an uncomfortable, wet
             situation. The girls also practiced pitching their tents and learned about Leave No Trace camping principles, in addition
             to taking in the extreme paramo scenery. In Physical Education classes, we have been keeping up with strength, yoga,
             and cardiovascular workouts in preparation for our hike. In Loja we ran uphill to a statue, while in Cuenca we did calf-
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             and cardiovascular workouts in preparation for our hike. In Loja we ran uphill to a statue, while in Cuenca we did calf-
             raises and crunches as a young girl looked on, tempted to join us. The girls have begun to lead these morning
             workouts and are challenging us all with their long sets of arm, leg, and stomach exercises.
             Tomorrow we leave for our Santa Cruz backpacking trip. We will be hiking among angulated, snow-covered peaks,
             gazing on turquoise lakes, and cooking up delicious one-pot meals to warm ourselves after the day’s walk. After the
             trek, we will return to Huaraz, send our clothes to the laundry, and prepare to move on to Lima and Cusco. None of us
             can believe how quickly the semester is flying by! We hope you enjoy the description below of our epic journey into
             Peru and will keep you posted on our upcoming adventures.
             Anna Taft, Spanish Teacher
             The Outrageous Overland Journey from Ecuador to Peru – in the Girl’s Own Words
             From Annie:
             "It´s a good omen," said Lander. Our "15-hour" bus ride to Peru was looking bright. We began the night at a restaurant
             that served delicious, typical food, trying to soak up the last drop of Ecuador before we moved onto another country.
             Then we went out for ice-cream and headed back to the hostel, packing up our last minute items. It was 8 P.M. and
             had long been dark outside. I had my pajamas, wool socks, and down jacket on. Cookies, crackers, fruits, and
             sandwiches filled my backpack to the rim. We were all so excited to spend the night on a bus and to wake up in Peru
             in the morning.
             We lugged our heavy packs (stuffed with last-chance Ecuadorian souvenirs) to the street corner and hopped into the
             bed of our truck, waving goodbye to the streets of Loja as we sped to the bus terminal. We had unusually good
             service. Our driver parallel parked right next to the bus we were to load and helped us with our numerous, overstuffed
             bags.
             Stepping on to the bus we were taken aback by the luxury of our transportation. It was so new and clean! There were
             TVs and the seats smelled like, why, absolutely nothing at all! We quickly made ourselves comfortable in our new
             quarters. Yep, it was going to be happy travels to Peru. The lights dimmed and I was slumbering before my head could
             hit the pillow, cradled to sleep by the steady hum of the engine.
             Well, next thing I knew we were being herded off our beloved bus at midnight. I think I was delirious because I had no
             idea what was happening. I just followed everyone off and loaded myself onto the next bus and zonked out again.
             I later asked Laura what had happened. "Was that planned?" She looked at me as though I had just asked how to spell
             cat.

             "Was that planned!?! Uhh, no." I don't remember, but apparently I also asked Lander whether our predicted bus
             transfer had changed to the middle of the night rather than sometime in early morning. And I only found out much later
             that our prized, new, clean-smelling, reclining-chair autobus had betrayed us and broken down. We should have seen
             it as an omen (though not necessarily the good one that Lander foresaw) for this was to be the first in a long line of
             mishaps in our adventurous "15-hour" turned-out-to-be "48-hour" bus ride.

             From Laura:
             Although Annie was apparently oblivious to the fact that anything out of the ordinary was occuring, the rest of us were
             fully aware that our big, beautiful bus had left us in a lurch. We were left waiting while Anna tried to get us on a bus to
             Piura, which would take us well across the border into Peru. When all was said and done we couldn't fit on the bus
             becuase as the driver told Anna, "Eight 'personas' is one thing, but eight 'mochilas' (backpacks) is another." (Acually
             there were ten, not including the eight
             carry-ons that we toted. Our bags seem to take up more space than we do, and that's "light packing.")
             Continuing on, we boarded another bus bound for Macara, just few miles from the border. Surprisingly, the ride was
             uneventful, although the song "Amor prohibido" (Prohibited Love), played repeatedly, prevented many of us from
             resting on the bus, and unfortunately, was running through some of our minds for the rest of the journey.
             Finally, we arrived in Macara at around 3 AM, piled into a small, white Toyota pickup truck and headed for the border.
             At first we were a little groggy, but soon our second wind kicked in, and we were giggling about our crazy journey, little
             did we know what lay ahead. Upon our arrival at the border, we had our passports stamped and then began our trek
             across a bridge to Peru. (Don't worry Moms and Dads. We didn't have to walk far, and that´s the way everyone
             crosses the international border, on foot.)
             On the Peruvian side, as if waiting for us, mosquitoes were gathered under the yellow streetlights where we received
             stamps on our passports for entering Peru. By this time it was four, but it wasn't too hard to stay awake because we
             were all performing the traditional mosquito dance, and Annie was becoming delirious with her visions of being a mad
             scientist.
             It wasn't long, however, until it was time to continue the adventure. Two station wagon taxis pulled up, we loaded our
             stuff, and we said "Goodbye" to Ecuador and "Hello" to Peru.
             From Cari:
             The beater station wagons zoomed wildly along the winding Peruvian highway. Lander, Alex, and Annie were in one
             station wagon while Jennifer, Anna, Bridget, Laura, and I were in the other. It was a tight fit in our station wagon with
             four people stuffed in the back. When we loaded our stuff, we assumed the ride would take five minutes. Not so,
             throughout the hour and a half drive we drifted in and out of sleep cycles. More than once I found myself almost
             drooling on Laura´s shoulder.
             As we sighted the town relief flowed through our sleep deprived bodies. Until we had the misfortune of running over a

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             small dog in our station wagon´s path of destruction. When we finally reached the center of Sullana we ended up
             playing taxi tag with the other station wagon, containing the rest of our group. Taxi tag roughly consisted of driving
             between bus terminals repeatedly for twenty minutes. Finally we located the other taxi and were reunited with our
             comrades.
             Then, we set up camp on the sidewalk of a bus station. That consisted of 8 large backpacks stacked on top of each
             other along with our group gear bags and 8 other "smaller" carry-on packs (it is not a pretty sight). Jennifer and Anna
             left to locate another bus to our destination, and to try to convince the bus company we deserved ticket refunds. We
             sat and watched buggy bikes ( yamaha dirt bikes with little trailers attached to the ends)drive by. As we watched we
             began to pick husbands for each other, let me tell ya mine was a hottie in a pink spandex belly shirt.
             After a couple of hours of this, Jennifer and Anna returned with grim faces. They informed us we had to go to another
             bus station and catch a bus which was being sent especially for us, but it had no clear estimated arival time. So, we
             piled with all our stuff into three buggy bikes and drove another bus station.
             During the period of waiting we decided to go grubb on some tipico food. At the restaurant we ordered fried fish. My
             mouth watered as I pictured a succulent breaded filet of halibut. Imagine my surprise when the fish came to the table
             whole, complete with eyeballs and fins.
             Then we headed back to the bus station and sprawled out on the dirt floor for a quick nap. Only to be awakened by the
             sound of our next bus entering the terminal.
             From Bridget:
             It was 1:30 in the afternoon and the blistering sun beat down on us as we waited, quietly, too exhausted to complain,
             to board our final fancy business-class bus. The cool air blasted out of the AC, delivering us a cool greeting.
             The 8 of us spread out, one person to a seat, each sprawled in the most interesting of positions. Annie burrowed into
             her down jacket and as time passed, her head slid all the way off the seat, still submerged in her jacket. Cari shifted
             positions restlessly, searching for comfort, while Laura and Alex, just sat there staring out at the barren landscape,
             wearing dazed expressions. I on the other hand, headed to the 3 seater at the back of the bus, located next to the
             bathroom. I figured the smell was worth it
             if I could get some rest. I set up camp back there. I would fall asleep for a bit, wake up, gorge myself with crackers,
             Pringles, and Gatorade, and then fall asleep again. Once I awoke to see the end of some strange movie where Arnold
             Schwartzeneger has a baby. Yes, that’s right, HAS A BABY.
             At about 10 P.M., we stopped at a restaurant located in the middle of nowhere. Driven by hunger, we all shuffled in a
             disorderly manner off the bus. It was a large, warehouse-like building, with harsh florescent lighting, and tables and
             chairs scattered about. We made our way to the counter, and stared stupidly up at the menu above us. I ordered the
             only thing I could decipher: carne a la plancha, which is a grilled steak type of dish. My flip-flops shuffled across the
             floor to the nearest table. I pulled out a chair and glanced down. There, nestled on my chair was a cockroach the size
             of a prune. I whimpered, this was just too much.
             “L-Laura,” I whispered urgently, “Look!” She came over, looked down and glanced at me and we both began to laugh
             nervously, as we finally noticed that the floor around us were covered with them: both dead and alive.
             We slowly made our way to an area of tables containing a lesser concentration of them, and waited for our food. The
             food was good, but greasy. All of the sudden, a cockroach plummeted down from the ceiling and landed in Lander’s
             fries. Her reaction was priceless: her eyes went wide as she slammed her fist down on her fork, which sent the fries,
             fork, and cockroach flying, and she screamed. Everyone was in fits of laughter, especially the people who were
             working there.
             We arrived in Chimbote around 11:30, after about 10 hrs on the bus that day. Our noses immediately wrinkled in
             disgust as we stepped off the bus. The air held a heavy scent of sea lion, only magnified 100 times. For those of you
             who have never smelled sea lion, it is possibly the most putrid odor you will ever encounter.
             The teachers then presented us with a ray of hope. Instead of catching our overnight bus to Huaraz, they decided to
             hire a cab to find a hostel, so we could get a decent night’s sleep. The hostel didn’t turn out to be so picturesque. It
             was sweltering hot in Annie and Alex’s room. They soon discovered why. Annie stepped onto the bed and slowly
             opened thewindow, looking forward to the “fresh” Chimbote air, only to discover a rather large nest of wasps. She
             quickly slammed the window and decided they would have to tough it up. Laura and I were paranoid after our
             encounter at the “cockroach café”. The bathroom was another case entirely. Laura and I were in fits of laughter over
             our “shower” which was a pipe sticking out of the wall and the drain was a hole in the floor.
             The next morning we awoke and upheld a slightly more alert manner that day. We walked around Chimbote, searching
             for a place to eat breakfast. We finally settled on a Chinese Hotel/Restaurant where we were served “The American
             Breakfast.” Yes that’s right we had an American, Chinese, Peruvian Breakfast!
             We arrived at the bus station, ready for another interesting day at The
             Traveling School. We carried our bags to the terminal and that is when we
             saw it.
             From Alex:
             "NO FEAR" was boldly written across the buses windshield. The windshield was cracked and the brown seats were
             worn. Bridget lifted her feet up to the small window that separated the passengers from the bus driver. Immediately,
             part of the plastic window frame popped out. "Of all of the buses we could have gotten, we got this one, the crap-
             mobile," I said hysterically.
             "Ya know what, bring it on," Lander said. Our trust in fancy, luxury buses had disappeared, and our options to Huaraz
             from Chimbote were limited. Annie and Lander started singing, "Can´t touch this" by MC Hammer. The bus engine
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             from Chimbote were limited. Annie and Lander started singing, "Can´t touch this" by MC Hammer. The bus engine
             roared to life, and we were off.
             The bus ride was beautiful. We drove across an ocean of sand dunes and passed many
             rocky slopes. Then the crap-mobile made its way slowly up into the mountains. Along the way, something fell from the
             roof of the bus, hitting its side, creating a loud thud. Later we learned from Anna that the unknownthing was a sheep.
             The sheep´s owner cried, "Stop!" from the back of the bus, and the sheep had to be caught and tied back more
             securely to the roof of the bus, alongside the chickens, guinea pigs, and of course, all our bags!
             Finally, the bus stopped at a remote town in the mountains and we were able to use the bathroom. We boarded back
             onto the crap-mobile and continued our never ending journey. Bridget and Carrie started singing "100 jugs of milk on
             the wall", "The song that never ends", and "I know a song that gets on everybody´s nerves", while Annie and I rocked
             out to AC/DC. Before we knew it, we reached our destination -- Huaraz.

             The crap-mobile had actually made it.

             April 26, 2004
             from Program Director, Jennifer Royall

             Hello everyone!
             We are back from a wonderful week of backpacking in the Corderilla Blanca on the Santa Cruz Trek! The girls amazed
             us! They quickly figured out how to pace themselves, and hiked with nary a wimper every day. The miles weren´t long,
             but the elevation did take its toll. We started at almost 10,000 feet in elevation, and the first day gained 2,000 feet! That
             night, we treated the girls to Kraft mac & cheese (Huaraz is set up for mountaineers) and then heated marshmellows
             on the Whisperlite stoves for s´mores. Just like that, the first hard day of hiking aches and pains melted away. We had
             a birthday party for Anna´s 25th complete with brownies iced with Nutella and Anna´s favorite: macaroni, cheese, and
             plenty of tuna.
             The girls attended classes and in glorious natural amphitheaters, learned to cook and enjoy one pot meals, and
             became pros at the rest step. Alex quickly understood the importance of pacing herself, and became everyone´s
             favorite hiker to follow. We spent two days directly below 18,000 foot Tualliraju peak, and watched the clouds form and
             dissipate along its glacial ridge, bringing showers, then glorious afternoon sunshine and glimpses of nearby Alpamayo
             ´s 20,000 foot peak. Here, at nearly 14,000+ feet, we cooked in sometimes freezing rain conditions and woke to snow
             covering our tents. On Easter Sunday, our rest day, there was an Easter egg hunt and time to reflect in our natural
             sanctuary.
             Ultimately, we crossed a 15,700 ft. pass. Laura, climbed up and over like a seasoned mountaineer. Cari expressed
             amazement at her accomplishments confiding to Lander, "I never thought I´d make it, but I did it!!" Annie reflected in
             her journal at the pass and happily announced, "I did my best writing of my life up there!" The girls totally dug the entire
             experience, and even began to sneer at passing burros lugging loads for the other hikers we came upon.
             As we climbed out of the canyon, Briget setting the perfect pace, we passed cholo women who marveled at the 8
             gringas hiking without any burros or men to aid them. We walked by, backs a bit straighter, proud of our
             accomplishments. After a long ride back to Huaraz, we pigged out on pizza, took warm showers, had study hall, and
             fell into bed.
             The night bus to Lima went off without a hitch, though I did wake up one time to the bus pulled off the road with the
             motor turned off. It was a quick scare, but we were off and running again before I had time to fully wake up.
             Unfortunately, it was a quick trip to the capital city. There was only time to check out the Plaza de Armas with the
             Presidential palace, the splendor of the cathedrals, and Spanish colonial government buildings. While in Lima, Laura
             provided us with the opportunity to visit a missionary school supported by her church in North Dakota. We were also
             fortunate to meet Emmanuel and Nils, friends of Briget and Anna, who shared dinner and conversation in Spanish
             during our last night in the capital. On the 18th, we flew out of Lima for Cusco, and have begun our preparations for the
             Machu Picchu trek!
             The city is a wonderful place to acclimatize for the trek, and there are endless stairs and hills to simulate the thousands
             of steps we´ll plod up and down as we hike to Machu Picchu. Bridget´s mom comes tomorrow, and we´re all excited to
             have a mom around, even for a short time! Meanwhile, there are museums, ruins, and lots of shopping opportunities in
             and around Cusco.
             Academics
             Andean Literature and Composition: We have begun reading Isabel Allende´s House of Spirits— a Latin American
             novel written in the Magical Realism style. Though set in Chile, its post-colonial political realities mesh well with the
             tumultuous nature of politics in Peru. The girls are typing up their personal narrative essays today, and I cannot believe
             how they continue to grow as thoughtful writers and readers of their peers´and their own work. Coming up, the girls will
             write a travel article to submit to a local publication upon their return home.
             History and Government of Ecuador and Peru: Annie, Laura, and Cari have worked hard to master the historical essay
             format as we finished our study of Ecuador. While backpacking, we read firsthand accounts from survivors of the
             1970s tragic earthquake and resulting avalanche that devastated the Yungay province, including the town of Huaraz.
             The girls have begun to make comparisons between the governments, histories, and cultures of Ecuador and Peru
             and gobble up any material I send their way. They have begun to compile their oral history final projects, and will be
             presenting them to their classmates in the near future.

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             Beginning Spanish: Alex and I are learning verbs and vocabulary like crazy! We write dialogues that relate to real life
             and even formulated a coherent paragraph last week. Each day our pronunciation improves, and we make more and
             more attempts to communicate in the world outside the classroom. We feel especially comfortable in the restaurant
             setting, though our expertise is growing in other avenues as well.
             Conversational Spanish: The advanced Spanish students have studied the conditional tense as they learn to give and
             receive directions. They put their understanding of written Spanish to work, reading an Inca story, "El hombre y la
             vibora". Lately, the girls have been practicing with the subjunctive tense. For a fun way to practice the subjunctive
             tense, they are about to learn "Caraluna", a song by the popular Latin band Los Bacilos.
             Natural Science: Students just finished a geology unit which consisted of field explorations of the glaciers on the Santa
             Cruz Trek. They started their final unit on sustainable development this week. Beginning with a discussion of
             population growth, students then calculated each person´s "fair earth share" of ecologically productive land.
             Math Applications: Annie and Laura continue to keep track of their investments on the internet mock portfolio program.
             They´re currently studying the advantages and disadvantages of credit and investigating credit cards, loans, interest
             rates, and the pitfalls of debt.
             Global Studies: In global studies, each student has completed a rotation of leadership tasks. They´ve had time to be in
             charge of the daily schedule, planning meals and organizing cook crews, orchestrating morning workouts, and being
             our group´s navigator and communicator. Now, each student will put all those tasks together to become the "chief" of
             the day. We have begun our study of the effects of globalization on the Third World. We will finish up with the study of
             poverty and each student will plan an aid project.
             That´s it for now. We leave on Saturday for a four day hike to Machu Picchu. We´ll be heading back to Cusco on the
             train on the 27th of April and then on to Puno, Lake Titicaca, and eventually, Bolivia. Time flies by, but we continue to
             make the most of each experience and look forward to all the surprises awaiting us in the last few weeks we have
             together. We´ll keep you posted.
             Cheers,
             Jennifer Royall
             Program Director

             Final Trip Notes from La Paz
             Well, this is the final trip report. None of us can believe how fast this semester has passed! We’re in La Paz, Bolivia,
             enjoying our last week together. Classes and final examinations are finished. All we have left is last minute shopping
             and a mountaineering trip before we fly back to the States. Today, after the last exam, we went to a soccer game.
             Every activity becomes a sort of celebration of our achievements and the friendships we’ve developed. I cannot begin
             to explain what a special semester this has become. The girls have been a "go for it" group from the start, and I’m sure
             the last week of the semester will be no exception.
             Andean Literature and Composition
             The girls loved reading our final novel, The House of Spirits. Set in Chile, this Magical Realism novel follows three
             generations of the Trueba family and their country’s political turbulence. Our rich literary discussions demonstrated not
             only how much the girls have learned about regional politics, but also their growth as critical readers. I’m also
             impressed with their diligence and improvement as writers. With each new essay, I watched as the girls learned to give
             and receive feedback critically. The net result has been impressive personal narratives, which I hope they share at
             home, and their final travel articles. Annie and Laura delve into the crazy forms of transportation we employed
             throughout Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia; Bridget uncovers realizations during her home stay; Alex describes our trek
             into the Ecuadorian rainforest; and Cari tells of a scenic bike ride riddled with surprises. Once the girls have made their
             finishing touches, their final travel articles are slated for submission to local and school publications. Look for their
             pieces in a newspaper near you and possibly on this web site!
             The History and Government of Ecuador and Peru
             While traveling through Peru and Bolivia, history classes focused on comparisons. The girls were especially interested
             in understanding Peru’s revolutionary past, and we spent considerable time learning about how Peru continues to
             grapple with the wounds inflicted by two decades of violence between the Sendero Luminoso, Tupac Amaru, and the
             Fujimori government. Our study was accentuated by visits to Inca ruins in Cusco, the ancient Inca capital, and
             ultimately, Machu Picchu. The girls also benefited from our knowledgeable guides and discussions with locals we
             encountered along the way. The girls finalized and presented their oral histories, making comparisons between gender
             roles in Ecuadorian host families and their own experiences in the United States.

             Trip Report Briefs:
             Math Applications
             Students have been investigating the costs associated with buying a new car including loan fees and insurance costs.
             They have also researched the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, discovering the international lending
             organizations' missions in developing Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. We completed the semester on the topic of taxes.
             Students read through sample tax returns and enjoyed a guest speaker, our Executive Director Gennifre Hartman, who
             explained non-profit organizations and discussed charitable giving.
             Natural Science
             Science students have finished this semester by combining an understanding of natural environments and their threats
             into a global perspective on sustainable development. They have discussed ways to appraise the worth of biodiversity,
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             into a global perspective on sustainable development. They have discussed ways to appraise the worth of biodiversity,
             researched environmental non-profits, and analyzed the economic value of a 5-hectare plot of Amazon rainforest from
             the perspectives of a traditional farmer, logger, and environmentalist. Finally, they have brainstormed ways they can
             become a part of a sustainable solution to environmental problems upon their return home.
             Beginning Spanish
             Alex and Jennifer cemented their ability to use –ar, -er, and –ir verbs and added some more irregular verbs to their
             vocabulary. With the verb to go, they could explain not only all sorts of places they were going to, but also use the near
             future tense, expressing what they were going to do. They also learned to use months, days, and seasons and to
             describe the weather. They have learned so much during this semester!
             Conversational Spanish
             We learned the popular song Caraluna by Los Bacilos and impressed the staff at our hostels with our singing. We also
             took a break from Spanish to learn some Aymara, the language of a large indigenous group in the Peruvian and
             Bolivian altiplano. After studying basic vocabulary on the train from Cusco, we ventured into the Puno market and
             convinced the amused potato-sellers to teach us more useful phrases. Returning to our study of Spanish, we solidified
             our understanding of the subjunctive and reviewed the many tenses, grammatical concepts, and vocabulary words we
             have acquired throughout the semester.
             Physical Education
             The girls designed their own creative workouts to challenge us and teach us new skills. Bridget and Alex taught us
             graceful dance steps, while Annie and Cari led Tae Bo exercises. Laura and Cari then infused workout with fun,
             leading a rousing game of Simon Says. Challenging our conditioning, Annie and Bridget led again with a quick
             cardiovascular and strength combination. Finally, Laura and Alex taught us a whole new set of stretches and strength
             exercises. All of us have gotten in great shape during this semester and learned a host of new physical skills. All of our
             workouts really paid off when we went mountaineering and were all able to reach a pass over 17,000 feet.

             Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
             by Jennifer Royall, literature & history teacher/program director
             We made it back from Machu Picchu with sore muscles and incredible memories. The four-day trip was lower in
             elevation than our experience in the Cordillera Blanca, but the steep grade differentials following the contours of
             mountainous terrain made for grueling conditions. The girls hiked like pros, reaching near-celebrity status as they
             lugged all their own gear unassisted while most other hikers required porters to carry their loads and aid their ascent.
             Some would say the second day was the toughest, requiring us to endure cold and rainy conditions over a steep pass
             followed by a treacherous descent down thousands of stone steps. Ribbons of blue snaked along the ancient Inca
             highway, as everyone else’s porters hunched by heavy loads attempted to keep precious tents and gear dry beneath
             makeshift plastic raingear. We learned the importance of allowing porters to pass us on the outside to avoid
             inadvertent collisions, which might result in unfortunate plunges over steep drop-offs.
             The strenuous hikes were offset with stops at Inca ruins. Our guide, Wilbert (whose hotel in La Paz was our final place
             of lodging) gave us insights into the organization of Inca society and lives of the people. We were also entertained at
             rest stops by Wilbert’s walkie-talkie antics, as he tormented other guides with inane requests in a high-pitched voice.
             After each day of hiking, we’d pull into camp, heat up water for hot drinks, pitch our tents, and settle into classes.
             We woke the last morning at 4:00 with nary a whimper, and were off and hiking for the sun gate by 5:15. Though at
             times the trek felt more like a circus or a cattle drive than anything else, our group found beauty all along the way.
             Whether it was in the fine craftsmanship of Inca construction, in the generosity of our much-to-close neighboring cook
             tent on the last night, or in the mystery and splendor revealed when Wilbert blew away the clouds draped over Machu
             Picchu.
             I continue to be amazed at the girls’ fortitude, spirit, and enthusiasm for every adventure they undertake.

             On Lake Titicaca
             by Gennifre Hartman, executive director/principal
             In looking around the open deck of the boat, I saw the girls´smiling and laughing faces. The sky was bright blue, and
             seemed to melt into the horizon of the bright blue Lake Titicaca. On our way to Isla Amantani for a home stay, the girls
             looked out into the clear lake and told stories.
             They told stories about the past 3 months - chaotic bus rides, close friendships, challenging exams, and mistakes in
             Spanish. Their comfort with themselves and with each other was apparent. They were as comfortable sailing across
             the seas of Lake Titicaca to an unknown island as they were going to the mall back home.
             The boat stopped on Isla Uros, a series of islands made entirely from reeds. The Reed Islands are several feet thick,
             and the bottom constantly rots away. The Uros people work to consistently replace the top layers of reeds, and the
             feeling when you walk on the Reed Islands is dry, but disturbingly soft.
             The girls jumped off the boat on to the Reed Islands and learned about the reeds, the fish, and the traditional ways of
             life of the Uros people. Annie’s mom, Steffanie, had joined us for this part of he adventure, and Annie quietly walked
             from one vendor to another with her mother, helping her bargain and buy small reed ornaments for home.
             After a ride on a huge reed boat from one island to the next, the girls loaded back on to the boat across the lake. Israeli
             tourists sang songs in the sun, German tourists argued loudly about the intrinsic value of tourism to a local economy,
             and the locals from Isla Amantani carefully steered the boat and squinted into the bright sun. The girls just laughed and
             argued with each other about whether chocolate or vanilla ice cream was better.

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             We arrived at Isla Amantani after several hours and were placed with our host families. Bearing gifts of fruit from the
             mainland, we ate a simple lunch, and sat in the sun with the families. We spent the afternoon learning Spanish and
             Aymara words for various objects, and being quietly introduced to any visitor who stopped by. Isla Amantani is a slow-
             paced island with gentle people and a steep landscape. The women wear broad, colorful skirts and dark blankets over
             their heads to protect them from the bright sun and brisk wind. The men wear formal hats and ponchos, and the entire
             island is looped with criss-crossing paths and well-tended gardens.
             We spent the evening walking up to the temple of Father Earth (slightly lower than the temple of Mother Earth) and
             watching the dramatic sunset illuminate the dark lake. When we returned to our host families´homes, the women of the
             house appeared with piles of traditional clothing, and began to dress us in layers and layers of colors and wool. We
             looked at each other and laughed to see the transformation from American to Amantani-an within a few layers of
             dresses.
             We walked up to the community center where a boisterous band was playing music. Local children grabbed our hands
             and spun us in huge circles. We danced and laughed - and quickly ran out of breath at the high altitude.
             On our way back home, Laura said to me, ¨I love this, every single day is better than the next, and I never know how to
             explain it to people back home.¨ I know exactly how she feels.
             La Paz, Bolivia
             by Lander Purvis, science teacher/logistics whiz
             In order to spice up the Saturday night that fell between our two days of final exams, we planned to cook a typical
             Andean meal of guinea pig. While Anna has become accustomed to eating, and even cooking the delicacy of cuy
             (which it is called in Northern Ecuador), we found that the same process in Bolivia offers certain challenges. Anna hit
             the streets Saturday afternoon, wandering through the market area surrounding our hotel, to purchase two guinea pigs
             and soon found out that in Bolivia, they are called conejos (the Spanish word for rabbits) even though they don’t have
             those long ears…. We never were able to find out what long-eared rabbits are called in Bolivia. Upon her return to the
             kitchen at Hotel Milton, Anna’s loyal cook crew of Annie (who hardly eats any meat) and Laura helped her remove the
             hair of the little animals and gut them for cooking. The three took turns manning the handle-less fry pan that was
             loaded with guinea pigs, peppers, and onions frying in spitting oil. The results of their stressful and somewhat crazed
             cooking techniques turned out a meal of two beautifully golden-browned cuyes (they tasted like chicken!), spaghetti
             and salad. What a dinner! Just a note, no one in the group opted to try their heads.

             Mountaineering in the Cordillera Real, Bolivia
             by Anna Taft, Spanish teacher/communications expert
             After finishing our final exams, we headed for the high mountains of the Cordillera Real for an amazing capstone to our
             semester. With our guides Yupanqui and Nolberto, we set up a base camp above 15,000 feet, looking up at Condoriri,
             a gorgeous 5,600-meter peak. We spent the next day on a glacier, learning to use crampons and ice axes to scramble
             easily up and down icy slopes. The next morning we started hiking at 4 a.m., soon reached the glacier, and roped
             together to ascend in two teams. All of the girls had amazing attitudes and demonstrated the impressive endurance
             they had acquired during the long climb up to the 17,200 foot pass near El Diente peak. We reached the pass just after
             the sun had risen enough to shine on its snow and we were astounded with a breathtaking view of the cordillera. Cari,
             Alex, and Bridget decided that the pass was high enough and headed down with Nolberto and me, while Laura, Annie,
             Jennifer, and Lander continued up the last steep slope to the peak, reaching the summit at 9 a.m. All of the girls were
             excellent team-members, working together to climb safely and showing their outstanding strength and determination.
             Descending again to our camp, we basked in the Andean sun, enjoying each other’s company and then talking about
             our upcoming re-entry to our home lives. We returned to La Paz on the fourth day, satisfied with our accomplishments
             and serenaded repeatedly with the dog-barking and “Ellos no saben que es el amor” songs on Yupanqui’s tape. On
             our last full day together, we ventured out of the city to the Valley of the Moon, its dry spires quite a contrast to the high
             glacier we had just experienced. After we had a chance to share what we mean to each other, Yupanqui invited us to
             his home for a special feast. His wife and others from his tour agency had cooked delicious potatoes, ocas, chicken,
             and beef in a pachamanca, a traditional earthen oven, and welcomed us incredibly graciously to partake with them. In
             the afternoon there was time for a mad shopping dash, during which all of the girls doubled the size of their
             belongings, and then our last dinner out and graduation ceremony.
             In Miami we said tearful goodbyes, sad to part but so grateful for the wonderful relationships we have developed and
             the incredible experiences we have shared. Each member of our group grew so much individually and we formed such
             a strong team, it’s hard to believe all of it happened in just three and a half months.
             Hopefully we can all keep in touch and continue to share our adventures, thoughts, and love for this world.
             Final Note
             We are all home now. The girls are preparing their Global Studies presentations for their home high schools. Laura
             graduates next week in Leeds, ND; she’s decided to attend the University of Iowa next fall. Bridget and Alex are back
             at Woodstock High School, finishing the last few weeks of classes. Cari and Annie have officially begun their summer
             vacations. Anna is resting up for a summer on southwestern rivers, deserts, and mountains with Deer Hill in Colorado.
             Lander prepares to become a student again, continuing with her Master’s in Education degree program. And I have
             begun a reluctant search for odd jobs to tide me over until the 2004/2005 school year begins in Bozeman. For me, I
             feel a bit lost without my seven constant traveling companions of 3 and a half months. But back we go to our families
             and friends at home. Thanks to all of you out there for your interest and support during our adventures. May the
             wonderful memories of the semester slowly be shared with you all. I know I have enough stories to keep me going for
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Traveling School                                                                                                                      5/8/12 11:36 AM


             wonderful memories of the semester slowly be shared with you all. I know I have enough stories to keep me going for
             a while!
             I miss you already girls!
             Jennifer Royall
             Program Director

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