Caribbean the caribbean 1 editors in

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					the caribbean
          editors-in-chief • marianna bender (on leave) • ellen aiken • sam lee • production manager • ally gimbel
          assistant production manager • laina rosebrock • photo editors • swapna maruri • gabe sherman • webmaster
          • greg scott • copy editor • caroline diczok • staff writers • alex blum • ally gimbel • swapna maruri • laina
          rosebrock • adam roy • gabe sherman • anna simon • rebecca weinstein • contributing writers • nina bozicnik
          • nicole maria evans • melissa marsh • katelyn puishys • betsy rakocy • maggie sullivan • the timmy foundation
          club • contributing photographers • alex blum • nina bozicnik• jennifer cho • steve dyer • nicole maria evans
          • julie furbush • ally gimbel • rodela khan • swapna maruri • anjali nirmalan • adam roy • gabe sherman

      2    [      caribbean    [
cover photo by Rodela Khan, photo this page by Steve Dyer
Q&A                            4-5             Traveler Staff
Cup of Joe                     6         Rebecca Weinstein
Recycled Reads                 7                Ally Gimbel
Caribbean Dreamin’             14            Katelyn Puishys
Expedition: D.R.               15                Alex Blum
Timmy in the D.R.             16-17      Timmy Foundation
Cuban Art                     20-21      Nicole Maria Evans
Broadened Perspective          22             Melissa Marsh
A Second Revolution            23              Betsy Rakocy
Changing Perspective           24            Maggie Sullivan
Tufts-Cuban Experience         25             Nina Bozicnik
Back Roads of Baja            26-27          Gabe Sherman
Shadow of Kilimanjaro         28-30              Adam Roy
Zip-lining through Paradise    31            Swapna Maruri
FOCUS                         32-35            Julie Furbush

              Q & A
                       I have always heard about the sketchiness of hostels. Where can I get more informa-
                       tion about them?

        1         Finding accommodations can be one of the most stressful parts of traveling. Everyone
                  would like the luxuries of a private bathroom, a TV with HBO, 300 Thread Count Egyp-
                  tian bed sheets and room service. But for those who, after spending hundreds of dollars
                  on the plane tickets alone, are disinclined to fork up another $200 per night, a hostel is
                  the perfect option. Hostels are cheap alternatives to hotels that provide dorm-like ac-
commodations. Before you book your travel accommodations, here are a few things you should consider:

1. Despite some of the bad experiences you may have heard from other people or the horror movies that you
have seen, hostels are not usually sketchy at all. Hostels vary from place to place, from country to country, but
most hostels now have single to four-bedded rooms that are available. For the large rooms that accommodate
numerous people (which are now fairly rare) there are personal coin operated lockers that you can use to store
your more expensive belongings.

2. If you are traveling during peak travel season, you might have to share a room with different people. There
will be considerably less privacy, but take this opportunity to meet people from different parts of the world.
Most of the travelers staying in the hostel are just like you: young, adventurous, and on a student budget.

3. Go to Hostelling International is an international organization comprised of over 90
Youth Hostel Associations that run over 4,000 hostels internationally. From Algeria to Vietnam, there are
hostels that belong to this non-profit organization. Go to the website for general information about locations,
bookings, deals, and general hostelling guidelines and tips. Also, for more information, be sure to check out

4. Many hostels, including all of the Hostelling International hostels, offer day trips, activities, and tours led
by knowledgeable locals. Hostels can also provide invaluable information on nightlife and local excursions.

4   [      caribbean     [
                     With so many different cruise lines that sail to the Caribbean, how can I determine
                     which one is best for me?

     2                For those who want the luxuries of live entertainment, fine dining, large swimming
                      pools, dance clubs, and planned excursions, a cruise ship may be your answer. As one of
                      the fastest growing facets of the global travel industry, cruise ships offer a myriad of expe-
                      riences to people of different ages, with different tastes, styles, and interests. But with so
                      many cruise lines coupled with prices that range from $200 to $2,000, it may be difficult to
                      decide on the perfect trip that will be within your budget. In fact, the three largest cruise
lines that sail through the Caribbean seas – Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Princess – all offer very different
experiences at different costs.

Carnival Cruise Line ( Billed as “The Fun Ships,” Carnival Cruises offer a more casual
and youthful atmosphere that is illustrated by the colorful and flashy décor found throughout the ship. The
main dining rooms andlarge theatre lend to an interior style that is reminiscent of a Las Vegas resort-meets-
Disneyland ambiance. Consequently, there are times when you may feel like you are stuck in the United States
with all i of its ostentatious and over the top presentation. But despite the overly American appeal, Carnival
Cruises definitely caters to a younger demographic; and with trips lasting four to eight days long, Carnival
also provides cheaper tickets than the other cruise lines that are perfect for college students.

Princess Cruises ( Sailing the seas for almost forty years, Princess Cruises offer passen-
gers a timeless experience that is both luxurious and classy. While Carnival may have a younger target audi-
ence, Princess caters to an older crowd. But this does not mean it is less fun. If you are looking for a more
traditional, glamorous, or even extravagant time, you may want to consider Princess Cruises. The prices are
definitely more expensive than the other two cruise lines and the ships are not as new and large, but there is
that sense of elegance and reserve that makes traveling with the Princess Cruises distinctive and relaxing.

Royal Caribbean International ( With Freedom of the Seas sailing through the
Caribbean and the Genesis ships set to sail in 2009, Royal Caribbean Cruises are the largest in the world. With
over five restaurants, a Ben and Jerry ice cream parlor, a rock climbing wall, an ice rink, a mini-golf course, and
surfing simulator on all of the new ships, Royal Caribbean redefines the cruise ships experience, allowing its
passengers to enjoy not only the travels in the port of calls, but also the activities on board the ship. In many
ways, Royal Caribbean can be seen as the intermediate between Carnival and Princess.

For more information regarding these cruises, as well as the other ones, please visit where
you can find information ranging from the port of calls to the onboard cuisine and cheap deals on all of the
cruise lines. Happy sailing!

Where to go for a cup of joe?
By Rebecca Weinstein
Boston = Beans. You do not have to look hard in tourist traps such as Quincy Market or Harvard
Square to see key-chains, shirts, and other trinkets marketing the famed Bostonian Baked Beans.
However, the baked beans that Boston is famous for are not the only type of bean ruling the town.
It’s not surprising that Boston’s variety of eclectic and diverse coffee shops have mastered the art of
brewing the coffee bean (aka: the fuel of choice for many of us college students).

Whether you are craving some coffee to help brush off the winter chill, to give you that extra jolt of
caffeine, or for socializing with friends, Boston’s coffee houses can cater to your specific needs. Here
are some of the best coffee establishments right in your backyard:

Peet’s Coffee & Tea                                          True Grounds
If a potentially pretentious Harvard student is not          This little coffee shop is often overshadowed on
a personal pet-peeve, Peet’s Coffee & Tea serves as          a Sunday morning by its neighbor, the breakfast
a great place to stop and quench your thirst after           establishment extraordinaire, Sound Bites.
                              meandering       around        However, True Grounds has merits of its own; this
                              Harvard          Square.       local establishment serves up some tasty and truly
        Peet’s Coffee & Tea   Conveniently located                                    amazing coffee. A wide
      100 Mount Auburn St.,   in the heart of Harvard                                 variety of coffees and
                                                                    True Grounds
         Harvard Square,      Square, this inter-state              717 Broadway,
                                                                                      other full-bodied drinks
            Cambridge                                                                 are delivered in colorful
                              coffee chain serves                    Ball Square,
                              straightforward and                     Somerville      mugs. True Grounds coffee
                              quirk-free coffees and                                  is especially accentuated
teas. The inside may get as crowded as a Starbucks                                    when enjoyed with one of
during the morning commute and the tightly                   the delicious breakfast or lunch options available.
packed seating gives the environment a stuffy feel.          Any of the breakfast wraps or salads is a tasty way
Luckily, just one step outside Peet’s door is a little       to satisfy your hunger. Best of all, True Grounds
park that is a perfect place for enjoying the brew of        periodically showcases local musicians adding to
your choice on a beautiful day. While Peet’s doesn’t         the mom and pop coffee shop setting that is perfect
offer “real food” such as sandwiches, their small            for a leisurely brunch with friends.
selection of pastries, scones, and muffins are snacks
worth savoring.

Diesel Café
Variety sets Diesel apart from the rest of the
coffee house pack. Diesel boasts a wide selection
of java-indulgences and an assortment of many
other refreshments. They also serve a variety of
                            sandwiches (try “The
           Disel Cafe       Monkey       Wrench”),
         257 Elm Street,    salads, pastries, and
          Davis Square,     snacks        (hummus
           Somerville       plate anyone?). And
                            that’s just the food.
                            Diesel provides you
with a choice of seating (everything from tables,
plush sofas, and old fashion dinner booths),
entertainment (pool tables to photo booths) and
environments; the front tends to be louder with
a constant flow of customers, while the back is
quieter and more conducive to studying). Overall,
you can’t go wrong. This Somerville hotspot is
arguably one of the best cafés in the Boston area.

6    [      caribbean
              local     [
  Recycled Reads
   By Ally Gimbel
      There’s something inherently wonderful about used books. Like portals to a magical world previously
 visited, their tattered covers and yellowed pages are the remaining footprints from someone’s long-gone
 literary voyage. Not to mention, they’re really cheap! With big chains like Borders and the ever-popular
 and impersonal book-buying experience of, intimate time spent in bookstores seems to have
 become a thing of the past. However, bumming around a used bookstore can be a really fun way to spend
 a Saturday. If cheap books and clandestine shops appeal to you, check out some of these locales in the
 Boston area.

The Brattle Book Shop
     From the moment I set foot into Brattle, I knew it was the crème de la crème of used book stores.
Bookshelves span from floor to ceiling and are double stacked (hardcover books in the back and paperbacks
in the front). I was immediately impressed with the fiction section which spans the
entire left wall of the first floor and boasts a wide variety of quality titles at a good
                                                                                              9 West Street,
price. Also notable are the history, philosophy and art sections. However, the most               Boston
attractive feature to The Brattle Book Shop is its outdoor section. Bookshelves line the around the corner from
alley next to the shop, and are filled with older books in worse condition than those      Park Street T station
inside. Totally unorganized, these books all cost $3, and if you have the patience to            Price: $
read all the spines, you can find some really interesting stuff.
     Overall impression: For the dedicated book hunter and literature fan, The Brattle
Book Shop is your best bet for finding exactly what you need. Yo are also likely to find exactly what you
wanted in a book when you never knew it even existed.

Commonwealth Books
     Underneath the historic Old South Meeting House, Commonwealth Books in Downtown Crossing is
another one of those cozy secrets of Boston’s used book scene. While its counterpart on Boylston Street specializes
in rare and expensive pieces, this one appeals more to anyone looking for good quality and low prices. The
store is small and easy to navigate, and the long wooden bookshelves are decorated with photographs and
newspaper clippings about famous writers. The prices generally reflect the quality of
the book. While the fiction section is disappointingly sparse, I found some interesting          2 Milk Street,
folklore and mythology books, and was pleasantly surprised by their crafts section,                 Boston
which has an entire shelf dedicated to needlepoint (who knew?).                                 near Downtown
     Overall impression: Quaint but stuffy and a bit pretentious. Commonwealth                 Crossing T station
Books has a very eccentric collection and is a great place to find a gift for your antique-        Price: $$
loving grandparents or philosophy professor.

Raven Used Books
    As far as used bookstores go, Raven Used Books is a dream. Like Commonwealth, Raven is small and
hidden below street level. However, their selection is top notch. The books are interesting and in very good
shape—many of them look almost new, and in fact, many of them are. Raven’s carefully-selected stock includes
                           unwanted prints and unsuccessful titles interspersed in their fantastic collection
                           of philosophy, sociology, media and art books. The media and music sections are
      52B JFK Street,      particularly great because they are newer, scholarly and in great shape. The prices
      Harvard Square       are reasonable and the friendly staff is very helpful. As a whole, the small and
          Price: $         inviting ambiance of the store along with their cogent selection of good titles at a
                           great price makes Raven Used Books a must-visit on anyone’s next book hunt.
                           Overall impression: Conveniently located in Harvard Square, affordable and well-
stocked, one could easily spend an entire week’s paycheck in one day here. Afterwards, sit down for a hot
cup-o-joe at Peet’s Coffee across the street and start reading.

      8    [
photo by Alex Blum
                     caribbean   [
                                               welcome to the

• Anguilla • Antigua and Barbuda • Aruba • Bahamas • Barbados • British
Virgin Islands • Cayman Islands • Cuba • Dominica • Grenada • Guadeloupe
• Dominican Republic • Haiti • Jamaica • Martinique • Montserrat Navassa
Island • Netherlands Antilles • Puerto Rico • Saint Barthelemy • Saint Kitts
and Nevis • Saint Lucia • Saint Martin • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines •
          Trinidad and Tobago • Turks and Caicos • US Virgin Islands •

                                         There are over

                                          7, 0 0 0
                                         islands, islets,
                                         and reefs in the

                                                                               Sir Walter Raleigh
                                                                               began his quest
                                                                               to find
                                                                                  El Dorado
                                                                               in Trinidad and

   10   [     caribbean
              caribbean   [
                       Because of the US
                         Trade Embargo,
                     Americans traveling
                   to Cuba usually travel
                  or Nassau

                    ... and you will also
                        need to obtain a


Over 8,600          At 10,800 km2,
meters deep,       Jamaica is only
the Puerto Rico     slightly smaller
Trench                         than
is the deepest
area in the
Atlantic Ocean.   Connecticut.
                                                                                                                         the Caribb

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                                       1. Walk thro
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       12    [        caribbean
                      caribbean     [snorkel or sc
                                     Islands of th
                                                    uba dive. In
                                                                     ine ecosystem
                                                                   fact, the isla
                                                                                     , Mona Island
                                                                                                     is the best pl
                                                   e Caribbe                      nd has been                       ace to
d and About:
bbean Islands                                                              Haiti iti
                   1. Ha
                            iti wil
                  the lux            l offer
                            u                  yo
                  tion in rious resorts u a complet
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                                                       , and              f
                 a trip               y
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                                    ti is o           ually n          e beac            bean e
                                             ften th           o               hes              xperie
                2. Tir                               e mos t the standa . With ove                      nce –
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               beache             floatin                            rding.             ation            of the
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                                                   e crys                                              for tou popula-
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                       a, whi               ws of            visit P ater and re
              climbs            le diff            lush fo            ic de            laxing
                        that y           icu                re               Ma                on
                                 ou wil lt to ascend sts to the s caya, the ta the warm-s
                                          l ever             (it wil          cents             llest p          anded
             3. A                                 experi             l take          of                 ea
                       marke                              ence.               2 days pine and or k in Haiti.
             March              t is th                                               ), may            ch
                     é de                                                                      be one ids, Pic de
            everyt            Fer in e best place                                                        of the
                     hing f                                to imm
            marke            rom c Port-au-Prin                      erse y
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                                              l fabri            n
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           4. Es
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                                                      with p            ilverw          d with              a
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         to ask             come               D                ed str                         kgroun            the
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            3. Proclaimed as the “world’s prettiest slum,” La Perla, just outside the city
            walls of Old San Juan, is definitely one of the locations that you may want
            to visit, if you’re looking for something different. And while the local crime
            and illegal drug trafficking rate are high, the people are welcoming and sin-
            cere. Plus, weekly concerts are held in this neighborhood with music ranging
co          from Salsa to Reggaeton.

            4. Home to a diverse marine ecosystem, Mona Island is the best place to
            snorkel or scuba dive. In fact, the island has been coined as the “Galapagos
            Islands of the Caribbean.”
o (or
 itage       5. Stroll through Calle del Cristo, a popular street in Old San Juan that is
will         filled with restaurants and small stores. Filled with life, romance, and beauty,
itary        be sure to bring your camera – the intersection of Calle Critso and Calle de
             San Sebastian offers one of the most unforgettable views!
o            6. After all of this, you really, really need to El Yunque National Park where
Caribbean Dreamin’
By Katelyn Puishys

            hen most people think of the Caribbean,        in Barbados, scuba diving in Antigua, and enjoying
            spring break images of drunken parties         the local culture in the Virgin Islands. Unfortunately,
            and scantily clad women come to mind.          these were the only islands I was able to visit, but
This, however, was not the case during my trip to          because they had so much to offer I did not feel in
these beautiful and unique islands. The Caribbean is       any way shortchanged. Like many who travel, I came
a group of many islands off the southeastern coast         home to the United States with a longing to return to
of North America and encloses the warm-watered             these Caribbean islands, a place so different from my
Caribbean Sea. Its position close to the equator gives     own. Although my tan has faded and the braids have
it a year round warm climate, making it a popular          come out of my hair, I will always have pictures and
destination during the colder winter months. Since         the unforgettable memories of the Caribbean.
all the islands were once colonies of European
nations, one will encounter many languages and
great diversity when island hopping. Today, many
of the Caribbean islands are independent from their
former sovereign nations, yet their food, music
and culture are still reminiscent of their former
      Unfortunately due to time restraints, I was only
able to visit a handful of the Caribbean islands, but
those that I visited far exceeded my expectations.
What I found most striking about the Caribbean was
neither the crystal clear, azure water nor the tropical
beauty of the landscape, but rather the hospitality
of the local inhabitants. Having traveled abroad
as an American, I have experienced first hand the
preconceived notions others have about our way
of life. It is rare to find genuine friendliness when
traveling abroad, but in the Caribbean this is exactly
what I found. Whether it comes from their relaxed
lifestyle or their dependency on tourism, the people
native to the Caribbean islands were some of the
friendliest I’ve met.
      My first destination was the capital of the Baha-
mas, Nassau. The first thing that struck me, as our
cruise ship anchored and we set aboard a smaller
ship to take us to the island, was the beauty of the wa-
ter. It was as clear as a cloudless night and changed
from hues of darker blue to brilliant green, which
contrasted sharply with the fine white-sanded beach.
All I wanted to do was spend the afternoon swim-
ming and relaxing on the shore. Once I left the ship,
however, there were other activities that captured
my attention. A delightful smell from local eateries
captivated my senses, as did the uplifting Junkanoo
                                                             “Although my tan
and calypso music playing near an open-air market.           has faded and the braids
It was at this market that I found one of the treasures
of my trip: a large, semi-precious smoky topaz gem           have come out of my hair,
set in a simple gold ring that, if resold in the United
States, would almost pay for my entire trip. Special         I will always have the
finds like these make the Caribbean so unique.
      The other islands on my trip were all lovely           unforgettable memories of
and each had something different to offer. The most
memorable activities were swimming with dolphins
                                                             the Caribbean”
14   [      caribbean   [
Expedition: D.R.
By Alex Blum

      ituation: Two, what I prefer to call young men,      “bus station.” Since no formal public transportation
      looking to see a new country and have fun.           exists in the DR, entrepreneurs buy buses and arrive
      We began in the largest city and capital, Santo      at the designated spots at uncertain times to load
Domingo, Dominican Republic.                               commuters. For 100 pesos we headed 100 miles east
     Far from the dead of Boston winter, my good           to Juan Dolio.
friend, Mike, and I found ourselves with 30-pound                Juan Dolio offered a respite from the hustle and
bags strapped to our backs, sweating like obese,           bustle of the past few days. We got a lift from two
middle-aged men. We quickly found a delightfully           motoconchos (men with motorcycles willing to do
kind man, supposedly named Elvis, willing to help          just about anything for the right price), backpacks in
us find a cheap hotel. Minutes later we were staying       tow, to an Italian owned hotel adorned with Indian
at the dilapidated El Refugio Di Pirate, in the heart of   tapestries, beads, and Buddha paintings. After a
the Zona Colonial, for 660 pesos a night.                  short jaunt down the beach, watching the sun set
     After settling in, Mike and I walked five minutes     while crabs scurried about the sand, we found the
to the beach, passing hustlers, wild dogs, and an          town’s four restaurants. Eventually, we met Julie, the
array of tourist-oriented shops selling the usual array    63 year old French owner of a three bedroom hostel.
of Caribbean souvenirs on the lively streets. Drab         She made us spaghetti bolognese, for a price, and
brick buildings lined the streets - some dated back to     introduced us to her menagerie of friends.
the 16th century. One woman, offering amber jewelry,             Next stop: Bayahibe, the southeasternmost city
informed us that the DR sold the most amber in the         in the DR. Just down the beach from our shanty
world. We came upon a rocky beach. For one quarter         hotel, with a rooster often tanning on our porch, we
mile stretch, garbage covered every inch of sand.          discovered Sunscape: a tantalizingly comfortable and
     The next day we saw Tigers del Licey Santo            security guarded all-inclusive resort. Soon enough we
Domingo play baseball against the Águilas Cibaeñas,        found a way in, and for the next two days indulged
the team’s rival (like The Yankees and Red Sox) in a       in five restaurants, three bars, un discoteque, and two
crowded stadium where fans cheered or booed each           pools.
strike or hit by wildly waving blue or yellow flags.             Venturing on, we spent two days in Rio San Juan.
Their enthusiasm impassioned us and soon we were           Like most people we encountered, the townspeople
singing and shouting too, although we declined the         greeted us with “hola” and a firm thrust of the
snack of choice - pork rinds. No peanuts here.             forearm in place of a wave. The locals always seemed
     The next morning we set out for a new city, passing   relatively kind, if understandably a little desperate
a young boy driving an orange-filled cart pulled by        for money. Playa Grande presented us with our only
horse, en route to a “bus station.” While walking, the     opportunity to enjoy a beautiful beach and unwind.
sky opened and rain poured. Sopping wet, a small                 In closing, here are a few things I learned: smiling
van (a guay guay) packed with Dominicans, blasting         goes a long way; always wear sunscreen; and don’t
reggaetone appeared. A man hung out the open door          drink eight shots with Tabasco sauce the day before
and told us to get in. We eventually arrived at the        a five hour flight.

Tufts Timmy in the
Dominican Republic
Students in The Tufts Timmy Foundation Club traveled to the D.R. with a
passion for medicine and returned with a desire to share their stories.

Change. We want to ‘change’ the world and make it a ‘better place,’ but reality is efficient at halting our blind idealism.
I struggle with an idea of power, power to make change and knowing if my actions will ever have the ability to lead to
change. How much can I do? How much can we do when there’s nothing wrong with at least caring and trying? After
being gracefully welcomed back into a world I believed I was unshielded from, I know I can do more than just try….And
we ask ourselves, what is the next step? How can we make a bigger impact? How do we persevere and prevent those
seven days from becoming simply yet another fond memory? The road to change can branch off in many directions and
take many forms….Continue to care, observe, and be inspired. I was inspired by a little boy who reached out his hand
to me and smiled without judgment. I was inspired by a girl in a tattered dress who invited me to her home to eat, not
really knowing if she’d have a meal the next day. I was inspired by an older man who asked me how I was. He asked me
how I felt. I will never cease to be inspired by them. We live in a society that is so consumed in material possessions
and net worth, that when we experience a world that is not surrounded by such influences it is so hard for people
to understand how these people remain so happy with the little they have. Their world is “plagued” by an absence of
education, basic health care, infrastructure, adequate shelter, nutrition. The list could infinitely continue.Yet, they obtain

16    [      caribbean
             caribbean     [
the ability to be optimistic and happy during times of
destitution…I remember hearing about a little baby
being found wrapped up in a pile of blankets, forgot-
ten on a bed in the pediatric wing of the hospital-left
to die. Alone and helpless. When the blankets were
pulled away, an area of his stomach was missing where
his skin had been eaten away because his diaper hadn’t
been changed for days. The rest of is skin was hanging
loose on his body due to severe dehydration. Had it
not been for this accidental discovery, he would have
most certainly died. All too often these stories go un-
told. Now we must make the time to listen and not
let these children continue to be forgotten....Helping
our fellow man is what we were made to do. Nothing
has ever made me feel so alive. The barriers to change
look insurmountable, but that does not mean that we
should not try.... Incremental change is better than no
change at all. It is important to remember that we
are not miracle workers that are going to change the
world in seven days....We will see changes within our-
selves, making us more socially aware and more eager
to help those who we see need help. And hopefully we
will inspire others with this story of our experience.
This is an excerpt from a collaborative piece written
by students who traveled to the Dominican Republic
for Tufts Timmy Foundation’s fifth medical relief trip.
The passage was written for the exhibition, “Beyond
Medicine: Untold Stories.”

                This is an excerpt from a collaborative piece
                written by students who participated in the
                Timmy Foundation Club’s trip to the Dominican
                add more adbout trip and explain the passage

Opposite page: Children waiting to rinse after an anti-fungal shampoo treatment (Anjali Nirmalan).
Above: A child of Villa Ascencion (Steve Dyer); Members of town, Pancho Mateo, waiting to be seen by doctors (Anjali

    18    [    caribbean
photo by Rodela Khan
uba   19
Contemporary Cuban Art:
“Common Good” and the Global Art Market
                                                                                         by Nicole Maria Evans

            y initial motives for traveling to Cuba were     resort. Acknowledging this discrepancy in material
            to experience Cuban society as a means           wealth, Fuster made the improvement of the quality of
            to expand upon the research that I was           life in his community a priority. He argues that the work
undertaking on contemporary Cuban photography.               he creates and the proceeds he receives are given back
Travel to Cuba awarded me the opportunity to formulate       to the community by sponsoring carnivals and through
new opinions and separate myself from art historical         community improvement. Nevertheless, I began to
texts that enforced a specific agenda. As an aspiring        question the altruistic intentions of the artist after he
art historian, it was essential for me to learn directly     showed a twenty-minute film about himself. While the
from the society and the cultural institutions from          video featured Fuster’s work in the community, it was
which Cuban artists derive their artistic perspective.       still self-aggrandizing and self-promoting. I began to
The trip became more than a rigid research project — it      wonder if the myth of the spoiled Cuban artist I had
became an experience that allowed me the possibility to      read about before traveling to Cuba was in fact reality.
personally connect with artists in Cuba.                           My tentative doubts about this community-based
     After spending an evening full of dirty jokes and       partnership is rooted in the idea that Cuban artists do
fried fish at the eccentric home of Havana-based artist,     not technically function within a capitalistic system.
José Fuster, it became apparent that some Cuban artists      In a socialist society, individuality and personal
experience more economic advantages compared to              compensation are not privileged as they are in the
other Cubans. Fuster is one such artist. He is a famous      United States. In Cuba’s socialist system, as defined
Cuban multi-media artist who has dedicated himself to        by the values of Che Guevara, fame and success for a
the creation of brightly-colored ceramics and paintings      Cuban artist are achieved by creating art that serves the
that are meant to evoke the spirit of Cuba. Fuster lives     “common good” of the country, both in content and in
in a large mosaic-covered castle of color that is itself a   compensation. It is compelling, however, to consider that
work of art. In comparison with the dilapidated living       although this might be the ideal relationship between
conditions of most Cubans, Fuster’s home is a five star      artist and country in Cuba, it is evident that Cuban

20   [      caribbean    [
artists have benefited from participating
in the global-capitalist system.
      For example, contemporary Cuban
artist Noa continually participates in
global art expos such as the Havana
Biennial. Unlike most Cubans, who
would never be able to afford travel
on their fixed income, Noa travels to
Switzerland on a regular basis to meet
with the galleries that represent his work.
Cuban artists like Noa, who function in
the global art market, are faced with
a possible disconnect from the Cuban
community, and they may seemingly
betray socialist values when they
generate profits outside the country.
      Capitalism and socialism are clearly
at odds, but what is happening in
Cuba is more a convergence of the two
systems rather than one superseding the
other. Although Fuster does receive a
considerable sum from the sales of his art
work, he also provides opportunities for
community members to participate in the
creation of his mosaic masterpieces as well
as to benefit from his financial success.
Likewise, Noa may have a greater ability
to travel and sell his work abroad, but he
too gives back to and functions within
his country’s socialist system. Therefore,
the concept of the “common good” may
still be of relevance to Cuban artist today,
but the allure of the capitalist art market
is also evident in their practices. Cuba is
slowly attempting to recover from the
period of extreme scarcity in the 1990’s,
and the Cuban government has assumed
the sale of art as a way to facilitate that
economic recovery. It is thus fallacious
to conclude that Cuban artists work in an
unmediated economy; however, it is also
false to assume that Cuban artists work
within a purely socialist system. The
situation in Cuba is ultimately complex
and for that reason requires a nuanced

     Nicole Maria Evans is a Master’s
candidate in Art History with a focus in
modern and contemporary art from Latin
America. She used research conducted on the
tip to write one of her Master’s qualifying
papers, “A Look at Contemporary Cuban
Photography and Collective Memory.”
photos by Nicole Maria Evans            21
    A Broadened Perspective:
    Lessons from Cuba for a Future School Psychologist
                                                                                    By Melissa Marsh, M.A.

         n the United States, “special education” is                  Later in the trip, I had the opportunity to meet
         essentially a funding category supported by             with a special education teacher. When a teacher
         federal legislation that mandates schools to            suspects a child of having either a learning, behavioral,
    provide services to students identified as having            or developmental disability, the teacher must first
    learning, emotional, and/or behavioral needs that            try different methods of instruction. If problems
    cannot be met by general classroom instruction and           persist, the student is brought to the attention of a
    practices. School psychologists evaluate students for        team of specialists at the Centro de Diagnostico y
    disabilities, consult with parents and teachers, create      Orientación (Center for Diagnosis and Orientation
    educational and behavioral interventions, and work           or CDO). The CDO officially assesses the student
    in teams to determine which students need special            and if it is determined that the child has a disability,
    education services. Since school psychologists work          an Adaptación Curricular is created. When I later got
    with an increasingly diverse population of students,         the opportunity to meet with a woman from the CDO
    learning about, and attempting to understand various         in Havana, I learned that there is a strong emphasis
    perspectives and methods, is essential.                      on mitigating any early signs of disability with early
          There is a current effort in the U.S. to identify      intervention. She described a team of professionals
    children with disabilities earlier and with more             that works with families and schools beginning
    accuracy. Children who exhibit learning or behavioral        when mothers give birth. Unlike in the U.S., where
    difficulties are provided interventions within the           evaluating a student for disability can take from a few
    classroom and their responses to those interventions         weeks to a couple of months, the evaluation process in
    are measured before they are tested for disability.          Cuban schools takes from 8-10 months beginning with
    This multi-tiered model of screening, intervention,          classroom interventions. It is only when a child does
    and evaluation emphasizes prevention and early               not improve based on classroom efforts that testing
    identification. Since Cuba’s social service systems          begins.
    differ from those in the U.S., along with the fact that           Among my many observations, one of the most
    Cuba has an international reputation for having a            important was that the Cuban model of assessment
    “successful” education system as measured primarily          and special education is what U.S. legislators and
    by literacy rates and school completion, traveling to        educators aim to achieve. In Cuba, there is a heavy
    Cuba provided an unparalleled opportunity to learn           emphasis on early intervention, preparing teachers to
    how children with special needs are identified and           effectively instruct students of various learning levels
    educated in this seemingly very different system.            and with different abilities, and integrating students
          My initial research in Cuba began by talking to        with learning disabilities into regular schools. As
    teachers and observing students in a primary school for      the U.S. continues to debate the best ways to give
    deaf and hearing-impaired students. The curriculum           all children equal educational opportunities, the
    used at this particular school is the same as in general     processes of early identification, teacher preparation,
    education schools in Cuba, with the goal for some            family involvement, and classroom intervention that
    children to be integrated into a regular school with         are ingrained into the Cuban education system are
    supports such as hearing implants. From talking with         exemplary models.
    faculty and staff, I learned that research is ongoing
    within the school and parent/family involvement is           Melissa Marsh earned her Master’s degree in School
    strongly supported. I later visited a junior high school,    Psychology and is currently working towards her Certificate
    and learned that students are divided into three levels      of Advanced Graduate Study in School Psychology. More
    so that instruction is geared towards each student’s         information about her research in Cuba can be found in the
    ability. In this school, there are no separate classrooms    Student Connections column of the upcoming June 2008
    for children with learning disabilities. Instead, there is   issue of the National Association of School Psychologist’s
    an emphasis on training teachers to gear instruction to      publication, Communiqué.
    all types of learners.

   22   [       caribbean
photos by Rodela Khan
                             A Second Revolution:
     Organic Farming and Environmental Sustainability
By Betsy Rakocy

     went to Cuba to learn about agriculture and food
     systems. I had read about its organic farming revolution
     in the mid-1990s, which dramatically improved the state
of its environment and also virtually eliminated malnutrition
through affordable local foods. In 2006, the World Wildlife
Fund even named Cuba the only country approaching
sustainable development. I hoped to see this wonder                learned the most from the Special Period —how to value
firsthand.                                                         things. Before, you would just discard things and not worry
       It quickly became clear that the innovation of modern-      about it. Now … we’re efficient.”
day food production in Cuba reflects its revolutionary spirit.             Indeed, Cuba’s isolation from its former Soviet partner
This spirit was embodied by Miguel Salcines, manager of            seems to have provoked some positive changes. Still, it is not
the Vivero Alamar organic urban garden in eastern Havana.          immune to global influences. During a visit to La Concepción,
The cooperative’s experiments ranged from novel to bizarre,        a rural community on Havana’s outskirts, Alpidio Segundino
investigating everything from the use of worm droppings as         Alonzo Hernández told me about being a banana farmer. At
high-nutrient fertilizer to ethereal new-age energies to help      76, he was living history: he co-founded the local agricultural
plant growth. Their sophisticated system involved almost           cooperative, a radical new idea after the Revolution. For the
exclusively natural compounds. Freshly-cut shoots of trees         first time, he and other farmers controlled their land and
were grafted for new plants, and copper paint protected their      profits. As we stood in the hot sun and surveyed his trees,
surfaces from pests. Marigolds grew at the ends of crop rows       Hernandez gestured to the dry grass and noted that rising
to attract beneficial insects – those that attack harmful bugs,    global temperatures are having serious local impacts. Indeed,
acting as a natural pesticide. “We’ll try any possible technique   the hotter and drier weather may mean that the rain is not
to increase our production,” said Salcides, underlining the        enough to nourish crops, which could result in expensive
imagination that fosters continuous improvement.                   irrigation systems.
       A combination of similar creative thinking, respect for             Just as Cuba cannot protect itself from global warming,
nature, and sound research led to successful agricultural          it cannot single-handedly finance its rural economy. The U.S.
production nationwide. Soon after the fall of the USSR in          embargo has far-reaching implications for trade, making
1989, Cuba found itself without the petroleum needed to            it difficult to sell Cuban crops abroad. Even once-lucrative
fuel its irrigation and pesticide-dependent farms. Thanks          sugar exports have essentially ceased. No one could really
to Soviet gas, it had developed a vastly productive, but           tell me what industries were economically successful. If Cuba
environmentally disastrous farming system. Without it,             had achieved agricultural sustainability without financial
agricultural output waned, and malnutrition-induced                stability, how would it survive?
diseases, such as blindness caused by vitamin deficiencies,                Questions and contradictions like this kept me from
returned. The situation seemed hopeless. “Our mental               reaching any hard conclusions. Despite all the improvements,
blockade was our gravest impediment,” said Salcines,               I still saw crops burning as we drove through the countryside
“because we couldn’t think about how to farm without our           – a technique that destroys nutrients and increases the
agricultural chemicals, tractors, and gas.”                        erosion of fragile tropical soil. When I asked people about
       During the mid-1990s, or the “Special Period” crisis,       any complaints they had or changes they desired, I often
Cuba turned its problem into an opportunity. Farmers               got the same proud response – that things were functioning
switched to sustainable techniques that are well adapted to        very well, and they could not be improved. I’m inherently
their environment. I saw the fruits of this labor when I met       skeptical of such an answer, but it was quite clear that Cuba
with Frank Piñon López, the administrative manager of the          has implemented innovative systems for growing food. As
Plaza de Cerro agricultural market. One of seventeen large,        one person put it, “things may not be perfect here, but in
state-run markets in Havana, the Plaza de Cerro was the            Cuba, you will never starve.” For a developing country, that
picture of organization and efficiency. Piñon talked about         is quite an achievement.
these changes as he showed me around the fruit and vegetable
stands. “I’m grateful for everything that the Soviets did for      Betsy Rakocy is a candidate for a Master of Science the Agriculture,
us,” he said. “They gave us all kinds of assistance. Everything    Food and Environment program at the Friedman School of Nutrition
just appeared. You didn’t think about it. And that’s what we       and Science Policy.
A Changing Perspective
By Maggie Sullivan

    n 2001, my high school Spanish teacher was
    granted a license issued by the Department of
    the Treasury to bring her students to the island
nation of Cuba. Although I had graduated two
years earlier, I desperately wanted to go on the trip
and, luckily, she was happy to have me along.
      During this first visit, I was completely
captivated by Cuba. It was like stepping back in
time: the American cars from the 1950s and the
façades of dilapidated buildings were somehow
still beautiful. The Literacy Museum was inspiring.
In 1961, Cuba developed a program to completely
eliminate illiteracy. The museum preserves this
story, and on exhibition are testimonies of 90 year-
old men and women learning to read and write.
      After this experience, I left Cuba disillusioned
and frustrated with the United States. How
could my government suffocate such a small,
seemingly peaceful island? The U.S. Government
had intervened in Cuban politics since Cuba’s war
                                                         Rodela Khan
against Spain in the late 1800s. Most well known
is the U.S. supported dictator, Batista, who was         inspired my current Master’s thesis research to
overthrown in 1959 by Fidel Castro. With the start of    understand the true reasons for Cuba’s current
the Cold War and the Soviet Union/Cuba alliance,         socio-economic status.       Is the U.S. the sole
the U.S. viewed Cuba as a threat to democracy,           responsible party for Cuba’s poverty? What role
specifically as a result of the Cuban-missile crisis.    did Fidel Castro and Cuban economic policies play
      When I returned to Cuba in May of 2007, I          in Cuba’s situation? Although the United States
was surprised by just how much my idealism had           has not technically had diplomatic relations with
disintegrated, lost in my years of teaching in Puerto    Cuba since 1960, the U.S. is Cuba’s third largest
Rico and working in the slums of Lima. Cuba was          trading partner. Cuba also has trade relations with
still fascinating, but I now saw shades of grey in       over 160 countries. If the U.S. lifts the embargo,
its beauty. My travel experiences and research had       what would be the result for the Cuban economy,
translated into a critical eye; I was now more aware     and more importantly, the Cuban people?
and skeptical of Cuba’s system.                               While this question remains to be answered,
      As part of the Cuba Experience organized           there is no doubt that the relationship between
through Tufts, I participated in many same               Cuba and the U.S. has become increasingly
activities as on my previous visit. Only this time,      restrictive under the Bush Administration. High
each of these places and experiences was different.      schools are no longer eligible for Cuba licenses,
I learned that the success of the literacy campaign      and undergraduate and graduate trips must be
was determined solely by the ability to read and         strictly “research only.”
write one’s name. As I strolled the streets of Old            I do not know what the future holds for U.S./
Havana, people took me into their homes and              Cuban relations. From my research, however, I
asked if I could leave shampoo, soap, anything, as       anticipate a change in the dynamic with a change
these goods were too expensive for purchase by the       in administration, both Cuban and U.S. Whether or
average Cuban. In multiple conversations, I learned      not the embargo is lifted, it is important to realize
that the education system lacks teachers because         that firsthand research is crucial to understanding
more and more Cubans are turning to tourism for          and developing one’s own critical perspective.
employment. Cuba’s world-renowned doctors are
often shipped to Venezuela as part of the “oil for       Maggie Sullivan is a Master’s candidate at the
doctors” exchange. In a conversation at his home,        Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy with a focus on
Fusser told me that the U.S. was responsible for         Development Economics and International Monetary
the starvation of the Cuban people. While the            Theory and Policy. She is using her research from the
embargo clearly plays a critical role, I wondered:       trip to write her Master’s thesis, “The U.S. Embargo
Is this really true?                                     and Cuban Economic Policies: Who is responsible for
      My recent trip and this particular conversation    Cuba’s poverty?”

24   [       cuba      [
                       2007 Tufts-Cuban Experience Program:
   An Interview with Claudia Kaiser-Lenoir & Rubén Salinas-Stern
                                                                                               By Nina Bozicnik

        laudia Kaiser-Lenoir is an Associate Professor        program alive?
        of Spanish at Tufts, and Rubén Salinas-Stern is       CKL: We are inspired to keep the program alive
        the Director of the Tufts Latino Center. Both         because it is a tremendously exciting and enriching
have been active in the Tufts-Cuban Experience                experience academically and professionally for the
program since its early beginnings in 2002-2003.              participants. The academic licenses for Cuba travel
Although originally conceived as a program for both           granted by the U.S. government are fewer and
undergraduate and graduate students, U.S. policy since        fewer. Tufts is one of the very few institutions which
2004 has forced the program to accept only graduate           still receives renewal of the license every round of
students for participation in its bi-annual trips to Cuba.    application. Deans, faculty, and students have always
Claudia and Rubén have great conviction about the             expressed enormous interest and support, and so it
value of cultural exchange between Cuba and the U.S.,         is the individual commitment on the part of some of
and they work tirelessly to facilitate student research       Tufts’ faculty and staff that continues to make these
that can further the dialog.                                  academic trips possible. It is out of sheer intellectual
Nina Bozicnik: Approximately how many applications            excitement that we keep on working at this.
do you receive for each trip? How do you choose the           NB: Why is it important for students to travel to
final participants?                                           Cuba?
Rubén Salinas-Stern: It is difficult to say how many          CKL: Cuba has been for some time a real laboratory
students actually apply, but I can tell you that we get       of innovative practices in all spheres of crucial
around 100 students who come to our informational             relevance for humanity: from sustainability in food
sessions. We look for research proposals that are             security, health, education, and culture, to urban
thorough, that demonstrate the students’ interest in          planning, the environment, and governance.
Cuba and that are feasible based on the topic.                RSS: Cuba is a unique country that unfortunately
NB: What has been the most rewarding aspect of                we know too little about because it is not taught in
leading the program?                                          our educational institutions. We provide students
RSS: The most rewarding thing to me is seeing the             with the opportunity to learn from a poor country
learning that goes on while in Cuba. It definitely            that is involved in many innovative and exciting
makes students think not only about their research,           projects. Their work on health care and education
but also about what type of society they want to live in      can definitely provide lessons to us all.
and create here in the United States.
NB: How has the Tufts-Cuban Experience program                Nina Bozicnik is a Master’s candidate in Art History. She
changed since its original inception?                         was a participant in the May 2007 Tufts-Cuban Experience
Claudia Kaiser-Lenoir: The program has been forced            Program and used research conducted on the trip to write
to always configure itself according to the restrictions      one of her Master’s qualifying papers titled “Unveiling the
that the U.S. State Department imposes on U.S.-               Present, Looking Through the Past: Los Carpinteros and
Cuba exchange. The restrictions keep on shifting.             the Social/Aesthetic Dialectic in the Early 1990s.”
For instance, in 2003, undergraduates were only
permitted academic travel if their work in Cuba was
connected to a regular course at their U.S. institution,
so we taught courses in which the trip was the field-
work component. However, since 2004 until now, if
undergraduates want to travel to Cuba they have to
complete a full semester of study in Cuba. At the very
same time, the regulations changed so that setting
up full-semester programs in Cuba became nearly
impossible. Restrictions applying to graduate research
were less harsh. We then oriented the program to
(graduate students).
RSS: We also do not receive as much funding for
scholarships from Tufts as we did in the first few
years. This has made it more difficult for students
from diverse backgrounds to participate.
NB: It seems that the program has had a history full
of challenges. Can you explain your fight to keep the        Nina Bozicnik

                                Back Roads of

                                            By Gabe Sherman
        or a year or two, I had been harboring thoughts     racing culture, with the town hosting the Baja 250 and
        of a Baja Adventure - probably in my twenties       the San Felipe 250. Dirt bikes and quads are a common
        and preferably on a Harley. However, my             sight in and around town. We had intended to rent
family decided that Baja would make a good car trip         quads, but were prevented from doing so by the dust
so, come winter break, we piled into a rented 4x4 Ford      clouds kicked up by the wind, a theme throughout the
Explorer and set off.                                       trip.
     The Baja peninsula is divided into two Mexican               We happened to stay there over Christmas and
states: Baja California to the north and Baja California    were treated to a parade, in which both Mexican and
Sur to the south. Most of the peninsula’s population        American locals drove through town, in vehicles
is concentrated in Tijuana and Mexicali, both large         festively decorated with Christmas lights, honking and
border cities. Much of the rest of Baja is sparsely         blaring music, all escorted by the police.
populated. Also, if you are not flying into the tourist           Our next scheduled destination was Puertocitos,
mecca of Cabo, travel is largely on poorly maintained       another interesting mix of locals and expats, where we
roads through expanses of unpopulated desert.               had expected to get gas and stop for lunch. However,
     We began our trip heading south from Mexicali on       it was doubtful the government-owned Pemex station
Highway 5. After pausing briefly for lunch at a family-     was still in operation, and we had to press on without
run, highway-side taco stand, we reached San Felipe,        filling up.
an old fishing town that now relies largely on tourism            South of Puertocitos (which received a decidedly
to support its economy. There is a sizeable expatriate      larger dot on the map than it deserved), the paved road
community in San Felipe year-round due to its low           is replaced by a rough, single-lane dirt road. Thankfully,
cost-of-living. Large American-style developments on        there is not too much traffic aside from a few adventurous
the outskirts of the city provide a stark contrast to the   Europeans on motorcycles and a collection of Americans
small, run-down houses in the town itself where much        and Mexicans in pickups. Travel is slow going, due the
of the Mexican population lives. Adding to this strange     rockiness and steepness of the road, deemed the worst
amalgam of cultures is the pervasiveness of off-road        in Baja, but the solitude and natural beauty more than

26   [       abroad      [
make up for the primitive conditions. The landscape,
like the people, is one of contrast. Huge stands of Cardón
cacti (the largest cactus species in the world) edge the
clear, blue water of the Gulf of California.
      That night we experienced another Baja rite of
passage. Daylight was fading and the first rule of Baja is
to avoid, at all costs, driving at night. Given the locals’
propensity to consume tequila and cerveza before driving
(as evidenced by the hundreds of roadside crosses
marking auto fatalities), this is sound advice. There are
no hotels on this stretch of the road, so after scoping out
some potential campsites (one which had a dirt airstrip
not a hundred feet from where we would have set up our        the world. Acres upon acres of evaporating ponds dot
tents), we settled on nice strip of beach at Bahía Gonzaga,   the marshy landscape. American presence in Guerrero
where a long row of palapas (primitive, palm frond            Negro is minimal, but tourists do come for the ecological
shelters) stood. After witnessing a beautiful sunset, the     offerings, such as whale watching and migratory bird
stars came out in a way I had never seen before. With         refuges. Every year an estimated 1,500 California Gray
no light pollution to spoil the view, we joined a handful     Whales gather to calve in the nearby lagoons.
of other campers and meandered about the beach and                  Guerrero Negro marked our southernmost
gazed at the Milky Way. Unfortunately, we had not             destination and, after a fascinating side trip to remote
anticipated dealing with powerful winds, and after the        Misíon San Borja, we headed north on the paved, though
tents blew away for a second time, we abandoned them          frightfully narrow, highway back to the US, passing
to the buffeting gusts and stinging sand and sought           through the tiny town of Cataviña (the only place to get
shelter in our car. Wind is a constant presence in Baja,      gasoline for a hundred miles). It is a good idea to fill
complete with its own folklore and superstitions. We          up at any gas station you can find in Baja because the
woke up to discover that our cooler had been raided by        alternative is vendors on the side of the highway, who
coyotes and filled with sand overnight, and decided we        pump gas by hand out of barrels in the backs of their
would stay in hotels the rest of the trip.                    pickups and charge upwards of five or six dollars per
      It was now time to leave the east coast of the          gallon.
peninsula and cross the interior. The road took us                  We finally made it to Ensenada, the third largest
through stunning cactus forests, filled with Dr. Seuss-       city in Baja. After the peace and quiet of the Baja desert
like Boojum trees, ending at Mexico 1. Here we crossed        and small towns, it was a change of pace. The Norteño
into Baja California Sur at the 28th parallel, through one    music blasting from the bar across the street from our
of the many agricultural/military/police/customs              hotel didn’t stop until four or five in the morning, and at
check points. After some questioning, we were waved           six a.m., the last stragglers stumbled out into the dawn.
through and told to roll up our windows. A small spray        After yet another night of Baja insomnia, we were ready
of chemicals shot onto one of our tires, splattering the      to head back to El Norte. Maybe that Harley trip can
driver’s window, and we proceeded on to Guerrero              wait a few more years.
Negro, home to the largest salt production operation in

                         In the Shadow of
                          A Visit to Amboseli National Park
                                             By Adam Roy

28   [   caribbean   [
                ere we say there are two professions           For all its meager flora, however, Amboseli
                that are not very good,” our guide        supports a stunning collection of animal life too
                remarked as our car shuddered over        diverse to list. Every year, huge herds of wildebeest
one of the many sizable potholes that pockmark            and zebra migrate through Amboseli en route to
Kenya’s highways. “The first are the lawyers.” The        feeding grounds in Tanzania. Other grazers abound
car hit another pothole, prompting a metallic screech     as well, including groups of tawny Grant’s gazelles
from the suspension and a deep, belly chuckle from        and their miniature cousin, the dog-sized Thompson’s
our guide. He shook his head. “The second are the         gazelle. Amboseli is particularly renowned for its
civil engineers.”                                         large elephant population, which we often spotted
     Two hours and as many tire changes later, we         taking refuge from the heat in the park’s swamps as
had all begun to share his disdain for whoever            the resident hippos eyed them cautiously.
designed Kenya’s roads. After hours of pavement                Tracking down the carnivores is a slightly more
punishment, it was almost a relief when we turned         difficult task, but a rewarding one as well. The park
onto the solid dirt road that led into Amboseli           plays host to groups of lions and cheetahs, as well
National Park. As exhausted as we had been,               as other meat-eaters that prey on the migrating
however, the awesome landscape that greeted us left       wildebeest. The big cats tend to remain inactive in
us all raptly at attention. We found ourselves in one     the midday heat, which often makes them easier to
of the most stunning landscapes on earth.                 spot. Amboseli’s lions seem particularly well-aware
     Located at the very southern end of Kenya,           of their position at the top of the food chain and are so
Amboseli is made up of sweeping grasslands,               confident that they regularly flop down in the shade
speckled with scattered swamps and clumps of              of parked safari vehicles. Most predators conduct
acacia trees. At the southern edge of the park, Mt.       their hunts in the hours between late afternoon and
Kilimanjaro juts into the shifting cloud cover, a         early morning, becoming more active as the sun sets.
single dramatic counterpoint to the surrounding           Every night as we lay inside our tents, we could hear
plains. By the height of the dry summer months,           the bellows of lions and the cackling of hyena packs,
migrating herds of grazers and Maasai cattle strip        often from uncomfortably close by.
large patches of Amboseli’s ground bare, leaving a             For those of us accustomed to relatively
layer of fine red soil that swirls into towering dust     temperate climates, a trip to Amboseli can be a
devils at the slightest breeze. The sight of these dust   real shock. Temperatures in southern Kenya vary
devils, whirling across the savanna like miniature        drastically by time of day, with the searing heat of
tornadoes before dissipating in a puff of dust, is        midday gradually slipping into a nighttime chill. We
truly surreal.                                            got into the habit of carrying our jackets with us in

                                                                              “Every night as we lay
                                                                          inside our tents, we could
                                                                            hear the bellows of lions
                                                                               and the cackling of
                                                                            hyena packs, often from
                                                                            uncomfortably close by.”

     anticipation of falling afternoon temperatures.            probably roll up your windows). Without his expertise,
     It was our guide, though, who really made our trip.        we would have been lost, confused, and quite possibly
As our driver, he successfully negotiated the nightmares        eaten by some large mammal.
of driving in Kenya, including several blown tires and,              In the end, the dramatic and memorable landscape
on one notable occasion, a gas tanker that had capsized         of Amboseli was more than worth the few hours of
and started leaking on the road. Once we arrived at our         road-induced nausea that we endured to get there. The
destination, he not only helped us find and photograph          vistas of the park were like pictures ripped out of an
all sorts of animals, but taught us a wide range of wildlife    IMAX documentary, surreal and stark in their beauty.
facts (there are actually two different species of zebras in    As someone who had never known lions or giraffes as
Kenya), geographical information (the Great Rift Valley is      anything more than entries in textbooks, I discovered in
located at the intersection of multiple tectonic plates), and   Amboseli National Park an amazing natural world for
practical advice (if a lion is sniffing your car, you should    which there is no substitute.

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    30   [      abroad      [
          Zip-lining through Paradise
                                                                                By Swapna Maruri

            hen our plane first touched down, my                                                put my hands, how to
            sister and I immediately wanted to explore                                          use the carabineers that
            San Jose. Using the limited Spanish we                                              would hold me 100 feet
knew, we tried to get a feel for the city. We were met                                          above the ground, and
with much disappointment, as it was Sunday night                                                how to brake so I didn’t
and the city was dead. I began to think that the rest of                                        slam into a tree. Since I
our adventures would not come to fruition.                                                      was too bullheaded to
     San Jose isn’t really that great of a city, to be quite                                    admit that my Spanish
frank. But as we headed out to the more ecological                                              was rusty and I was
and tropic areas of the country, we found that we had                                           an American tourist
quite a journey ahead of us. The ride from San Jose            in need of some English explanation, I refrained
to other destinations near the coastline is a bumpy            from asking any questions or requesting the English-
and windy one. Though one unaccustomed to such a               speaking guide.
ride may get nauseous, the amazing views of the hills,              About fifteen minutes later, I found myself
valleys, and small towns make it worthwhile. For               climbing ladder after ladder, leaving me at least 75
us, our journey took us south of San Jose to a small           feet above the ground. The platform was small and
“hotel” (we essentially stayed in bungalows) nestled           everyone was excited to zip-line through the jungle.
in the middle of the jungle.                                   The view, just like all the others in Costa Rica, was
     If there is one thing that any Costa Rican visitor        breathtaking; here we were graced with the presence
must do, it is take advantage of the plants and animals        of a black-jacketed aardvark below and howler
that inhabit the country. Though I could probably              monkeys resting in the tree tops with their young. It
ramble about the wildlife in the country as many visitors      was as surreal as it sounds. However, what really kept
have done before, our adventure vacation included a            my adrenaline rushing was gliding on a seemingly
much more exhilarating feature. On our third day in            thin metal rope and a small pulley system through the
the area, I found myself trying very hard to keep up           treetops. As each platform passed, every zip-liner was
with the quick Spanish dialogue, explaining where to           getting better and better at controlling themselves…
                                                               everyone except for me. For some reason, I just
                                                               kept getting worse and worse at controlling myself
                                                               and eventually went flying through each leg of the
                                                                    Though I failed at conquering the intricacies
                                                               of zip-lining, I still sailed through, admiring (and
                                                               fearing) the nearby monkeys, watching exotic birds
                                                               perch on branches, and once in a while glancing down
                                                               and noting the enormity and immenseness of the trees
                                                               surrounding me. No matter the level of skill of the
                                                               zip-liner, the unique experience allows a Costa Rican
                                                               visitor to enjoy the environment in a hands-on, close,
                                                               and fun way. In addition, the kind and friendly guides
                                                               will assist zip liners, point out cool animals, plants,
                                                               and sites to see, and serve as a safety net. While most
                                                               tourists have the ecological experience of Costa Rica,
                                                               zip-lining does more than expose one to nature. As one
                                                               feels their hair fly back from wind, a wooden platform
                                                               approaching ever so quickly, and the sounds of the
                                                               jungle around them, zip-lining proves to be extremely
                                                               exhilarating and fun. There is only one down to the
                                                               zip lining experience: the last platform.
Last year, Julie Furbush traveled to Madagascar to          the picture with the children climbing the tree, even
study abroad. During her semester, she stayed for a         though they are staring at me, it is still very candid.
week in Malrobe, a small isolated village in Fouxpap,       Their faces are somewhat covered. They’re in a tree!
Madagascar, with a homestay family. Passionate              TT: So in this village, did you face any technological
about photography and travel, Julie sits down with          or cultural resistance? For example, did people refuse
Traveler to describe her inspirational journey away         to have their picture taken?
from modernity; the amazing people she stayed               JF: I went up north later in my study abroad to this
with; and how she produced the most spectacular             town that was predominantly Muslim. There were
pictures with only one day’s worth of batteries.            some people who completely avoided the camera.
                                                            Also, in Tanzania, people frequently put their hands
Tufts Traveler: Can you tell us about your experience       over their faces as I was taking pictures. But this
in the village and how you incorporated photography         was unusual. I was surprised. People were pretty
into your stay?                                             fine with me taking pictures elsewhere. In Malrobe,
Julie Furbush: I had just dropped my Eos Rebel              everyone seemed fine with my camera. In fact, many
Canon camera on a concrete floor and I had only my          people loved it. For example, I once pointed my
point and shoot digital camera – I was so glad that I       camera directed at my host grandmother’s face and
had my point and shoot. And to make things worse,           she would just blink right back at me.
I only had one battery left. So I didn’t really take             Also, my host dad and his first wife had just had
pictures during my trip until the last day.                 a baby so she had to stay in her hut for three months;
      I was in this rural village for seven days. There     she wasn’t allowed to leave. And when she did
were no plugs in this village; it was the type of place     leave, she had to be covered in a blanket. Remember,
where you had to walk half an hour to get water. This       the weather there is very hot, so I could always see
is Malrobe in Fouxpap, Madagascar. It was this tiny         beads of sweat pouring out. This is done so that the
village with 16 huts; the huts were only 7 feet tall. If    evil spirits would leave her and that they don’t attack
you go to the bathroom, you just went over there.           her when she needs to leave. But, my dad brought
But despite this, the people were extremely nice. [For      me into the hut so that I could take a picture of his
example,] we found out that our host dad had stayed         baby. It was just the most generous gift to me – I was
up the entire night to watch us. There was just this        given the chance to take pictures of this special baby.
sense of generosity and care. It was incredible. We         It was just one of those moments that will be with me
ate in his house every night. We ate beans and rice         even today. The moment was so special.
by candle light every night. He didn’t speak English        TT: That sounds really amazing. So how connected
or French, so we had to communicate with a third            did the village seem to the modern parts of the
language.                                                   world?
TT: In terms of your pictures, what are usually your        JF: There was this one girl who had just come back
objectives and focus?                                       from the capital. It takes 3 days just to travel to the
JF: I love composition, color, and space – I love these     capital. You need to take this bus, the Tata bus. But
so much. So, on this goat picture, for example, I           otherwise, everyone else is completely disconnected.
suppose it’s not the way this picture should look. I        This is the type of village where zebu, which is their
should have the kids eyes; you should sense that he         form of cattle, is their definition of wealth. It turns
is a little scared or see his belly a bit more because of   out that my host dad had three zebu and two calves;
how malnourished he is. Yet, to me, this seems almost       he was rich. So this picture with the little boy and the
more vivacious, like how it is the goat’s eyes that we      zebu is very interesting to me. Here you have the boy
see and not that of the boy. So for me, photography         wearing German-American, 1980s hand-me-downs,
is not about documenting, but rather it is about            taking care of his entire family’s wealth. This just
slipping in and catching something that no one else         illustrates the poverty that these people face every
would have seen, even if they were there. And in            day. It made me grateful for what I have.
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              focus      [

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Photographs by Julie Furbush
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                                please recycle.

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