Megan Retana ’15 recounts the stories of people she has met so far:
- Nixon is from an indigenous community three days away from the Amazonian lodge where we stayed. As we chatted on the canoe about the Amazon, the conversation transitioned to him telling me about his life. “Well… I know some Portuguese. It’s a hard language, but with effort and application, it can be easy. This is the same for anything else in life.”
- Mario is a Brazilian who now lives in Puerto Alegria, Peru. He is of short stature but with a strong build. His skin color, face features and hair all are distinct indications of his indigenous roots. He spoke to us as we all sat silently in our canoes one night. He said, “Listen to all of the noises. Try to count them. The jungle is alive at night. Take it all in and enjoy this special place…. it’s magical. The jungle is like a house. If you respect it and behave in it, it will do the same for you. Treat the jungle well and it will do the same for you.”
- Laura, Carolina and I were all discussing if Laura’s “dream guy” was attractive. The vote was two to one (my vote was with the winner): Neymar, a famous Brazilian soccer player, is indeed very attractive.
- The middle aged man looked pensively at the warm and glowing lights that surrounded the Plaza of Villa de Leyva. “Something always brings me back to Villa de Leyva. it is…magical. Don’t you feel it?”
As I write this reflection, the individuals I have spoken to are what first to come to my mind. Physically traveling throughout Colombia is one thing. I stood on top of a mountain as we trekked to Igauque. Yesterday, I canoed and swam in the Amazon River. However, without the native Colombians or the group of leaders and students here, these experiences would just serve as photos in a frame. During this trip I have spoken, but most importantly, I have listened. My memories will mainly include the distinct stories of each individual and the sounds of the Amazon that lulled me to sleep.
Deerfield, gracias por darme esta opurtunidad de viajar a este lugar tan especial. Mami y Papi, gracias por dejar a su hija ir y explorar el mundo.