Mari Mari means "hello" in Mapuzungun, and Mapuzungun, the Mapuche language, means "the language of the earth." Che means "people," and kaflu is "blue." Mapuches, meaning "the people of the earth," said if we learn Spanish while we are in Argentina, we need to learn Mapuzungun while in Bariloche. Now, four days is pretty short to learn a new language, but I promise I'll remember the few words that I learned!
One of the five classes I am taking this semester is “The Making of Patagonia” and the class includes a four-day field trip to Bariloche. From the start of the semester, I was looking forward to this trip and right now, I am on a plane going back to Buenos Aires from Bariloche… It was an amazing trip and I could tell my professor and other IES Abroad staff worked hard to plan it.
I knew I definitely wanted to go to Patagonia way before I arrived in Argentina, but I thought I’d go with friends instead of with a class. But the class was so interesting and the cultural activities we would do in Bariloche relating to the class sounded like unique experiences that wouldn’t be possible if I were to plan a trip myself. Therefore, I signed up for the class and my countdown for Bariloche had started.
The class is an anthropology class in which we talk about the indigenous people in Argentina, specifically Mapuches, and learn about the history and struggles that they have been through. It is a very interesting class and gives you a perspective on the relationship between the indigenous people and the government in a lot of different territories. Although Mapuches have been subjugated and alienated from the Argentine history and society, they recently started to reoccupy their culture and embrace the beauties of it, instead of being embarrassed to be a Mapuche.
Therefore, we visited different organizations and communities to understand the Mapuche culture, the ways that Mapuches adopt their culture and introduce it to others. We also talked to different organizations about environmental and social justice issues pertaining to Bariloche. We had a knitting and a music class, we watched a series of videos in Mapuzungun, we went to a Mapuche community to talk to a speak person… Through our chats and discussions, we didn't only learn about a unique and disctinct culture, but we also got to talk about the conflicts that exist on the territory and the effects of government’s economic interests on the region.
Every conversation we had was super interesting and people were so dedicated to what they do. We have been reading and talking about the conflicts in Patagonia throughout the semester, but going there and talking to people who live through them, turned all the information we learned in class into an experience. It was really hard at times, because we talk about these problems that are very rooted and the only thing I can do is share my experience and try to raise awareness on the issue. Solving the problems completely, however, is up to the government and policies that prefer to focus on economic interests rather than the people they should be serving to...
Although the purpose of the trip was learning about Patagonia and the Mapuche community in person, it would be a shame if we skipped the beautiful landscapes of Bariloche. We went hiking in Llao Llao, had a boat tour in Lake Nahuel Huapi, went to a rain forest very close to the Chilean side of the Andes and went up to Cerro Campanario on ski lifts.
The prettiest sunrise, the cleanest air and beautiful, beautiful sceneries all over. The mountains with snow on top, the lake that changes color as the sun rises, the casual sceneries that blow your mind… The moment we stepped out of the airport and I saw mountains holding hands, I was upset that I’d be there for only four days. But I will come back for sure and then, I’ll remember what this land and its people have been through and appreciate the beauty that lives on.
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<p>Hello hello! I am Idil and I am a junior at Lafayette College studying Economics and Anthropology & Sociology. I am from Istanbul, Turkey and I am studying abroad in Buenos Aires this semester. I am an adventurous person who loves trying new things and meeting new people. I love spending time with locals and learning more about a city from their perspective. I cannot wait to take on this experience and bring you all with me!</p>