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Showing posts from February, 2011

English Is Not a Dead Language Anymore

It started out as a simple idea: provide English classes to the community. After all, it is part of my job as a volunteer. The teacher I work with Gabriel was very excited and has always wanted to start a community based program. He loves English, understands its value in the workplace, academia, and travel, and has been promoting the language for more than 16 years. Now with the help of a Peace Corps Volunteer, he has the support to get the job done. However, he got more than he bargained for by underestimating the community's desire to learn. Word spread about my nightly English classes for adults in the neighborhood. The first class 5 people came, the next 17, then 35, 55, and finally 75! There I was, the Gringa, trying to teach the numbers from 1- 100 to 75 people in 1 hot classroom. There was a mixture of housewives, college students, teachers, and local thugs eyeing my laptop. The kids warned me about the unsavory characters and offered to walk me home in order to avoid any …

La Buseta: Cartagena's Original Roller Coaster Ride

Cartagena has a fun and hectic bus culture with a surprisingly civil etiquette. The buses are called busetas because they are much smaller than most public buses in the world. Many of the Cartagena`s barrio streets are narrow and curvy which makes turning difficult. Anyone over 5'4" is normally uncomfortable with their knees jammed in the back of the seat in front of them. My friends over 6 feet have to stoop when standing on a crowded bus. Their heads hit the ceiling with every bump. It can also be quite hot since, temperatures are normally in the high 80s 10:00AM to 3:00PM every day of the year.

There are a few air-conditioned buses for a few pesos more. However, they do not have what makes most Latin American buses truly fun and festive: music and decorations. In Cartagena, the buses blare all sorts of rhythms: Salsa, Vallenato (Colombia's Country music), Champeta (Afro-Colombian music from Cartagena), and many others that I am still learning. I've never heard any …