The Odyssey

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Kavitha Dispatch

Reunited and It Feels So Good...

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The Team - together at last!
After spending most of our time spread out visiting different regions and meeting different people in Peru and South America, the entire World Trek Team finally reunited in Bolivia a couple days ago. Monica arrived first and told the rest of us where she was by e-mail. After 3 straight days of bus rides from Peru the rest of us arrived on Sunday morning. We found Monica right in the hotel room she said she'd be waiting. We all piled on the beds and laughed. After almost two months, it was so good to see the whole team together again!

This meeting was somehow different from the ones we'd had in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, and then at the beginning of our Peru stay. We had just completed the first semester of The Odyssey World Trek, the Latin America stage! Now, we had less than 2 weeks before we would be on our way to begin the second stage: Africa!

Woah... Africa. It seems so far away and different from the cultures we have become accustomed to in Latin America. Although we've gone this far over land and water, we still felt somewhat connected to our homes in the United States because we didn't really ever use a plane. To get to Africa, however, we're going to have to fly. (We tried for months to arrange for a freighter to take us, but none of them were swayed by our passionate pleas! So we're going to fly to Cape Town, South Africa. Do you forgive us?)

And now after almost five months of traveling through Latin America, we're all finally able to have conversations in Spanish. In Africa, what languages will we need to learn? I'm expecting my French will help, and English can probably get me pretty far. I'm not counting on my Nepalese to help much!

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In five months we have traveled by land and by sea from San Francisco to Buenos Aires
Gosh, our time in Guatemala seems so far away. We were working with different Mayan groups, living with Mayan families, visiting ancient Mayan ruins... Kevin wasn't a part of our team yet, but we had Jamila! (Hi, Jamila!)

Then, we had to say good-bye to Jamila as she returned to the L.A. classroom where her students were waiting for their favorite teacher. The Team seemed a bit empty, but not for long because Kevin soon came to join us! (Yay!) From Guatemala we went through Central America very quickly, splitting up, and then we met up again for what turned out to be a long stay in Panama, trying to figure out how to cross the roadless Darien Gap between Panama and Columbia. Oh, what a huge challenge the Darien Gap was! While Kevin and Abeja took the Caribbean coast, Monica, Shawn and I waited 11 long days on cargo boats and small Pacific towns with no phones, as our families and friends thought we had disappeared. We sure scared them! (Sorry...)

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Cool sign, but how did they know we were coming?
Then, on a whole new continent, we were lured in by the South American sounds and styles of Colombia and Ecuador- until we reached Peru and learned of a whole new ancient indigenous culture, the mighty Incas. And now, once again, we are moving over land through new countries en route to Argentina! Then, in just a couple days, (maybe exactly as you are reading this!) we'll be flying to a new continent on the other side of the world... Africa.

We'll see you there!


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