Fellows' Blog Archives

Cultural Exploration: All Posts


by | April 1, 2015

Sickness Day 1 – Started From the Bottom
I awoke with a jolt during my first night living in San Pedro de Aucaparte. My cloth window had been blown across my bedroom allowing steady gusts of wind and rain make their way into my room. The pitch black was emphasized when the lightning hit, illuminating every corner of my room and shaking my mosquito net. I awoke the next morning from what little sleep I did get, with a cold sweat beading down my forehead, and pain like needles in my stomach. My mosquito net was my force-field; it kept…Read the rest »

Saying Goodbye
by | March 31, 2015

I’m going to miss the strawberries, because they are sweet and organic and cheap, and I will miss the carrots because one is almost enough to be a complete meal. I will miss getting on my bus on my way to Ambato and feeling the wave of relief that it actually showed up. Even though it always does. I will miss the hawkers, confidently touting the necessity of their products. And I will miss watching elderly Ecuadorian women, with their colorful clothes and beautiful, long, dark hair, carrying loads of grass on their backs down the road or making yarn…Read the rest »

With Love, Ex Vegetarian
by | March 27, 2015

I should have saved you earlier, but we were coming for you and there was nothing I could do at that point. You might wonder, why should “I” have been the one to save you if “we”, including “I”, were the ones coming for you. Well, I’ll get to that later. I watched you being held by your feet, being swung around with blood coming from your eyes and mouth. You were trying to reach for your last few bits of air for about 7 minutes before I gave the call to end you off, I couldn’t bear to watch you.…Read the rest »

by | March 26, 2015

In Sénégal, there’s no shortage of national traditions, customs, and other symbolic representations of “Senegalness”. These include the national custom of hospitality, Teranga, and even the national dress, the Boubou (a monk-like robe made of a special fabric called wax). Even in everyday activities, touting of Ceeb bu Jenn (“rice fish”), the national dish, rallies citizens of Sénégal, be they Wolof, Sereer, Pulaar, or of any other ethnic group, together as they work towards the common good of their nation-state. The Senegalese custom of pouring ataya (tea) after lunch is a rite of Senegalese passage in and of itself.…Read the rest »

Forever A Little Bit
by | March 26, 2015

When I first got here I was extremely reluctant to dance, actually I was extremely reluctant, hesitant, and/or scared to do much of anything. But I’m going to focus on dancing, as it can easily be extrapolated out to represent more broadly my immersion. When I first attended any kind of get together there always came a point where drums drew near and I was in some way invited to dance. At first I cowered, self conscious and embarrassed, I went for the tactic of, maybe if I don’t make any sudden movements I will be forgotten and left alone.…Read the rest »

A Leaf in our World Book
by | March 26, 2015

“In the course of telling our tales, we can discover ourselves by becoming curious about the other struggling human beings with whom we live in the world.”
– Sheldon B. Kopp, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!
  With each passing second, the clouds are tinted a little more pink and the light flickering on the surface of the water becomes a little more speckled, the sun’s rays now being filtered through the trees at a thin angle. La loma se acuesta y empieza a soñar del día siguiente – the fields are submitting to sleep,…Read the rest »
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It Often Rains In November
by | March 20, 2015

The rainy season is now officially underway and for the last several weeks all across the sierra the water is falling. Since the rains have begun to fall in droves on almost a daily basis, I occasionally wonder how our little community Chunazana, located in the heart of Nabon valley in the southeastern end of Azuay province in Southern Ecuador, is not washed downstream to the Amazon. These life-giving waters will make the maize, an essential ingredient for making moteMote is a food prepared by boiling maize kernels for hours in a giant cauldron atop a wood fireplace…Read the rest »

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