Bogotá’s La Candelaria district, where we’re staying while in the city, seems to be made up of a series of narrow cobblestoned streets lined with hostels and dotted with museums of various sorts. It’s walking distance from Plaza de Bolívar, the center of the old part of the city, which we discovered on our first excursion of the day. We’re not exactly sure what was going on when we happened upon it, but it was rather packed with street vendors, demonstrators, a man with his face painted white speaking rapidly into a blow horn, a couple alpacas, a number of people feeding the pigeons, and some others who, like us, were just wandering. The air was filled with bubbles, I’m still not exactly sure where they were coming from, and there was music playing not too distantly. Perhaps it was our lack of sleep, or our hunger, or some combination of the two, but the whole thing seemed rather surreal. We wandered along its northern edge, and found ourselves in a packed cafe eating rice and yucca and watching the rain hit the streets outside, turning the old buses more vibrant shades of orange and green.
My first impression of Bogotá is that it is surprisingly smiley for a city that feels so much like a city. Of course these smiling strangers might be smiling at us because we look so out of place. Or maybe they’re just responding to my smile, I’ve found it hard to stop since I got here. Or maybe they actually just are this smiley? Whatever the reason, I appreciate it. And I am thoroughly appreciating being here. It’s so refreshing to be somewhere new, and so exciting to know that I have the next two and a half months to get to know this country more thoroughly.
My goodness it’s been a long time since I’ve wandered back to this page! I (Jessica) am currently en route to Bogotá, and I figured that meant it was a good time to start this thing back up. I’m back waiting in an airport, that strangest of limbos, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Did you know that in Fort Lauderdale they make their carpet look like tile? Well they do. And the only thing open at the airport between midnight and 6 am is the Dunkin Donuts. So that means I have about 7 hours to update you on what Travis and I have been up to for the past two years. I’ll give you the summary version.
After the UK, which is where we left you, we headed back to California. Travis started a musical duo, recorded an EP, and worked as an audio engineer for a studio in San Diego. I spent most of my time on a sustainable farm near the border teaching kids about compost and hanging out with goats. I was also applying to grad school. After our year of travel, it became clear to me that to really understand what was happening in the international food system, I would have to understand international policy on a much deeper level. But I also wanted to learn about creating change in that policy from the ground up, community development and citizen empowerment and all that. So, I started applying to a wide range of masters programs that I thought would help me achieve both of those things. Eventually I settled on the New School’s International Development program, and in July of 2012 we moved back to the old ‘hood in Brooklyn.
Once back in New York, Travis started working for a tech start-up— a youtube network that helps out independent musicians— started a band (their first EP is set to be released sometime this summer, keep your ears open!), and I dove into my first year of grad school. I ended up applying for a summer field program in Colombia, which leads me to where I am now— alone in an empty airport in Florida on my way to Bogotá. Eventually I’ll make it to Pácora, a smallish town in Caldas, in the coffee growing region of the country, where my team for the summer— a fellow New School student named Alix and a Colombian student I haven’t met yet— will spend the next 9 weeks working with a group of internally displaced women from farming families who are setting up a coop on an avocado farm. We don’t really know what we’ll be doing yet, but at the very least we’ll be able to offer an outside perspective on the organization, and that fresh point of view might be what they need to figure out the ways to overcome some of the obstacles they’re struggling with at this point in the process. We hope, at least. And no matter what happens, I’m sure we’ll learn a ton, which is probably the main goal, seeing as we’re all students.
Whatever we end up doing, I’ll do my best to document it here. If you’re interested, feel free to check back in every so often. Expect some pretty pictures, I hear Pácora is beautiful, and probably quite a few of me eating avocados, because I plan on doing that a lot. Also, Rachel is wandering down in early July and Travis is meeting up with us at the end of July and I’m sure many adventures will ensue, which we will also do our best to document. Hope you enjoy! And thanks for tuning in to Let’s Go Daddyo, season two.