So far our arrival in Colombia has been very exciting. We are currently staying in the tiny village of Rocha. While it is not far from Cartagena as the crow flies, it is at the end of a long dirt road that makes it feel like hundreds of miles separate us from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
We have spent much of our time assisting in English classes and interacting with the many kind people of the town. Each day, over a hundred students come to attend these classes. While they are being offered by a youth center, word has gotten out during our time here, and people are traveling from further and further away. Some are coming with their kids. We have been covering numbers, and a few of the “youth” here had to ask how to say thirty+ when saying how old they are.
Yesterday was our first big adventure outside of the classroom. We woke up and had a 6:00 am breakfast before departing for a canoe ride with the goal of avoiding the afternoon heat. We were out for four hours enjoying the amazing scenery and stopping along the way to walk around the wetlands. At one point we stopped at one of the many farms where we had the unforgettable experience of eating coconuts cut directly from the tree. The coconut water was so refreshing on an already sweltering day, and the fatty flesh was the perfect snack. Once we got back on the water, we saw parrots, iguanas, countless birds, and the largest turtle that our guide had ever seen. At one point, it looked like birds outnumbered the leaves of the trees. Many, many photos were taken by our group. It was a great way to experience a way of life that we would have never witnessed by other means. It helped us understand the connections and differences between the lifestyles of those in the United States and those in this corner of Colombia. For example, during our canoe ride we saw so many small houses built of whatever materials were available, some smaller, some bigger. All those farmers were doing what they could to use the resources around them to make a life around agriculture and fishing. In a way, it was very refreshing seeing a simple way of living rather than everyone isolated in large houses. It was nice to be immersed in this other way of living that we are not used to experiencing.
Our journey to Colombia has brought awareness of cultural change, an appreciation for the local food, a gradual acclimatization to the hot, humid climate, and a fondness for the many interactions that are part of our lives as we do our best to communicate across cultures. I am enjoying our time here in Rocha, but I am also looking forward to exploring downtown Cartagena in a few days along with the many other adventurers that we will encounter.
karen murphy says
Thank you Coco. You did a lovely job describing your experience.
Marilyn Adams Jacobson says
Thanks so much for writing about your experience in Colombia. I lived in Colombia and attended Universidad Nacional in Bogota 1966-68. It is a lovely country with such diversity of people and environments. I hope this opportunity will spark students’ interest in learning Spanish. Duolingo.com is a free Spanish language (and other languages as well) website…but it is so much fun that it can become addictive.
I look forward to more of your reports.
charlene mills says
Just found this writing. Well done. You made me feel like I was right there. Vivid use of descriptions. Hope I can find more writings