Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mapuche Trip, Day 1

Well, I'm back from my trip down south to work with the Mapuches, a native tribe here in Chile. It was definitely an amazing trip, and I learned a lot--about cultures, about God, about Spanish. I'm going to try to post all about it, but since it was about a 10 day trip, I'm really going to have to abbreviate some things!
It all started on a Friday, January 18th. Melissa and I lugged my bag to the bus station downtown to meet the other girl that I would be traveling with. I was so self conscious about my bag. It was huge, but it wasn't packed full. But still, I looked sooo high maintenance! It didn't help that so many people made comments about it along the trip. Haha. So Whitney and I get on the bus and start our 8 hour bus ride to a town called Victoria where we would be meeting the rest of the people. About 45 minutes into our trip our bus broke down. So we had to wait about an hour and a half for a replacement to come along. That was fun! :o) The rest of the trip went relatively smoothly, except I banged my eye on the chair in front of me at one point, and was surprised that I didn't get a black eye. Also, when we left the bus at the end of the day, I found that my purse was drenched in juice. Someone behind me must've spilled. It was not pleasant. Whitney and I had a great time talking and getting to know each other. It was funny because neither of us really had any idea of what was going on in the trip!
So we got to Victoria around 8:30pm (about 2 hrs later than scheduled) and headed to the house where we'd all be staying that night. Since we were the first ones there, the hosts gave us the bedroom with beds. Nice! Then we walked around the town and got some dinner as we waited for the rest of the team. They eventually straggled in from different directions starting around 11pm. They had all been at a camp that week, so they all knew each other. I was a little worried how I was going to fit it, especially not speaking much Spanish. It took awhile for me to find out any details about what would be going on. I finally found out what group I'd be with. There were 26 of us altogether, and we'd be splitting up into 3 groups. There were 3 Americans (including me), 3 Germans (all of whom spoke English), and the rest were Spanish speakers (mostly Chilean, although there was at least one Mexican...a few of these people spoke English to varying degrees). One one team was all three of the Germans and the American who was in charge of the whole thing, Whitney was on another team, and I was on the third. They were joking about having to have one foreigner per team. So that was interesting. I did find out that the leader of my team, a girl named Cote (pronounced Coat-AY) spoke English fluently, and later not too much later I discovered that one or two of my team members spoke very basic English. So I wasn't completely lost!
After finding out at least a little bit about my team assignments, I decided it was a good idea to go to bed. So I did. And that was it for day 1.

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