1) My first ride on a chiva.
A chiva is a bus equiped with a dance floor, music, lights, and a bar, lacking windows, and colorfully painted on the outside, ready to take its passengers for a ride around the town. There are also chivas that are simply colorful old buses strictly used for transportation, but they aren´t nearly as much fun. Friday night the university rented out six of them and I hopped on with a few friends. So much fun!
2) My first trip to Pance.
Pance is a town just south of Cali that receives large amounts of visitors Saturdays and Sundays who throw on their swimsuits and plop themselves in the cold, rushing water of the river. It is a lovely and refreshing way to spend a Saturday afternoon accompanied, of course, with a beautiful view of the mountains. I woke up the next morning with some pretty nasty bug bites around my ankles, but besides that I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
3) My first time at Fundación Libertad y Paz.
Fundación Libertad y Paz is located about 30 minutes outside of downtown Cali up in the foothills of the mountains and houses and educates about two dozen boys who have been rescued form the streets. Many of their parents parents were drug addicts or altogether absent. The living accomodations are quite basic, but the view is fantastic and they boys get three meals a day and schooling in the mornings. The foundation has connectios to the Colombo-American Association by which I was able to visit, play some English pictionary, and just talk with a lot of the boys for a few hours Saturday morning. From now on I´ll be visitng them Monday afternoons with the goals of teaching them some English and also simply being a friend and hopefully somewhat of a role model and mentor. I have some cool ideas for future projects between the foundation and my university here, but I´m taking it one step at a time. Although my initial ideas concerning volunteering did not involve education, I am realizing more and more that those are the skills I have to share and I should run with that, leaving my interests in displaced peoples and politics and such to the research side of my time here, at least for now.
Hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend up in the U.S. of A!