Peru | Brisas del Titicaca

BY MIKA NAGAMOTO

Music and dancing are integral aspects of culture in Peru. Traditions have been passed on through generations that keep the culture of music and dance alive. Lima is a cultural hub in which people from all across Peru bring their unique traditions with them. In order to experience some of this rich culture, our professors brought us to “Brisas del Titicaca”. This lively center brings together traditions from all across Peru, creating a diverse performance of dance and music.

The artists here were not only extremely skilled but also expressed their passion and pride through their performance. The performers bring the audience through a journey to the various regions of Peru by portraying the folklore dance and music from each location. Every dance was energetic and bold with equally bold costumes and choreography. The audience sang along with popular songs and every dance ended with an exuberant round of applause. A mixture of colorful lights, costumes, movements, and sounds created a lively energy between the performers and audience members.

Not only were we able to enjoy this performance as spectators, we were also encouraged to participate in the dancing. Throughout the show, audience members were invited to enter the stage and dance. I was amazed to see that the majority of audience members eagerly approach the stage every time we were given the opportunity. Dancing with other audience members made the experience all the more immersive as there was no divide between the stage and the audience. This unique performance gave me a glimpse of the depth and diversity that resides within Peru and I hope to continue to learn about the traditions and culture in Peru.

Mika Nagamoto studied abroad in Lima and Iquitos, Peru, in summer 2018: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/GlobalHealth-Lima/

Peru | What to Wear in Lima

BY MIKA NAGAMOTO

Mornings in Lima during the winter are usually crisp and foggy. During the day the temperature ranges from the high 70ºF to the low 50°F. However, the humidity in Lima makes it feel a bit colder than that. For a typical day going to class or walking around Lima, I usually threw on a pair of jeans, a long sleeve shirt, a light sweater, and a warm fleece or light down-jacket. My friends and I walked almost everywhere throughout Lima so I either wore comfortable leather boots, hiking boots, or tennis shoes.

For sight-seeing or excursions, I would fill up a bottle of drinking water at the hotel (you can’t drink tap water in Lima so this helped me save money on bottled water). I brought a thin fanny pack everywhere I went and wore the fanny pack under my clothes. I may have looked like an absolute tourist but it was definitely worth it to feel like my money, passport, phone, and camera where always safe. In addition to the fanny pack, I would bring a small bag to carry things like brochures, maps, and sunglasses. During our program we also often took trips to more remote areas and healthcare centers. For these outings I found it useful to have a small drawstring backpack to carry snacks, water, and a small notebook to take jot down information and reflections. For these locations it was also important to have shoes that I didn’t mind getting dirty and had good traction for walking through muddy areas.

Mika Nagamoto studied abroad in Lima and Iquitos, Peru, in summer 2018: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/GlobalHealth-Lima/

Peru | Introduction to Peruvian Food

BY MIKA NAGAMOTO

For our first group excursion in Lima, our professors decided to take us out to a traditional Peruvian lunch. In Peru, it’s common to eat larger lunches and smaller dinners. Lunch may be a three-course meal with appetizers, a main course, and dessert. I had heard that the food in Peru was amazing but the mouth-watering, jaw dropping, taste-bud loving food that we ate far exceeded my expectations. When we sat down we were immediately served chichi morada: a common drink in Peru that is commonly served warm. Chicha is made from purple corn, lime, cinnamon, clove, pineapple, and sugar. I quickly gulped down several large glasses of this sweet drink and sense then have looked for chicha at every restaurant I go to. After we were served drinks, heaping plates of steaming food were brought out to us. What appeared to be a full meal was actually only the appetizers. Below is a list of all of the incredible appetizers we ate.

  • Anticuchos: Tender cow hearts marinated in vinegar and spices and served with Peruvian yellow corn
  • Causa Rellena de Cangrejo: Yellow potato rolls with avocado, lime, onion, and yellow chili pepper
  • Papa a la Huancaína: A common dish served cold with yellow potatoes, quail eggs, olives, and a popular Huacaína sauce made from ají amarillo paste, various white cheeses, garlic, and milk

Although the appetizers certainly satisfied my hunger, soon after we were brought more heaping plates of food for our main course. Our meal included:

  • Arroz con Pollo: Pulled chicken with cilantro rice, peas, carrots, and bell peppers
  • Lomo Saltado: Strips of steak cooked with grilled peppers and served over yellow potato fries
  • Ají de Gallina: pulled chicken serves with Huacaína sauce, and olives
  • Carapulcra: A modern version of an Incan stew made with tender pork, papa seca (dehydrated potatoes), ají panca, garlic, and cloves

Finally, our meal ended with a grand finale: dessert. Peruvian “dulces” are often very sweet and creamy.. I was overwhelmed by how incredible everything tasted. Here’s a list of some of the desserts we

  • Picarones: Fried dough made from squash and sweet potatoes
  • Leche Asada: Baked milk pudding made from eggs, milk, and vanilla
  • Pan Tres Leche: Sweet, moist, cake made with three types of milk (hence the name) evaporated mile, condensed milk, and heavy cream
  • Arroz con Leche y Mazamorra morada: Sweet, rice pudding served with thick, purple corn pudding
  • Manjar Blanco (Dulce de Leche): A sweet, carmel-like pudding made into a sticky dessert with milk, vanilla, and sugar

Mika Nagamoto studied abroad in Lima and Iquitos, Peru, in summer 2018: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/GlobalHealth-Lima/

Peru | Packing for Summer Abroad

BY MIKA NAGAMOTO

Helpful Tips:

  • Roll all of your clothing so that it fits neatly into your luggage or buy packing cubes for good organization
  • Put all of your liquids into plastic bags
  • Pack light (most students brought one larger suitcase that they checked and one carryon backpack)
    • Note: for our program we went to Iquitos for a week. It’s helpful to have one smaller duffle bag or suitcase that can be used to pack your things for a week. Bringing a large suitcase or checking a bag is a bit of a hassle for shorter trips.
  • Bring a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and a hairbrush on the plane (it’s a long flight and especially if you’re on a red-eye these items are much appreciated)
  • Don’t forget to download music onto your phone (if you use Spotify this is especially helpful to remember before you leave Wifi)
  • Keep all of your valuables and an extra pair of clothing in your carry-on (incase you loose your luggage)

Fully Disclosed Packing List: (note that I decided to stay for the entire summer in Peru instead of just the length of the program so this list is for 3 months of luggage)

  1. Clothing
    • 3 pairs of jeans
    • 3 pairs of comfortable leggings
    • 1 pair of warm sweatpants
    • 7 long sleeve shirts/light sweaters
    • Several layers of warm jackets: a fleece or light down jacket are the most common layers that students brought
    • 4 t-shirts
    • Hiking pants
    • 2 hiking/workout material tank-tops
    • 1 good layer to keep mosquitos away: a thick flannel or light jean jacket is helpful
    • 1 rain jacket
    • 1 pair of jean shorts
    • Clothing for Iquitos (includes many of the items mentioned above)

I was fortunate enough to spend one week in the Amazon area of Iquitos. During July it is summer in Iquitos which is very hot and humid. Having light linen clothes helps the most with the heat but it’s also important to try to completely cover your skin as much as possible to protect from mosquitos. Most students wore leggings or linen pants, and a long sleeve shirt or flannel when we went into the Amazon. Hats, sunglasses, and a small day-bag for excursions were also very helpful.

  1. Shoes
    • Good walking shoes with traction; the streets in Lima are all polished cement and the morning rain makes the pavement slippery (sounds a little ridiculous but I fall an average of about twice every 4 blocks)
    • Comfortable boots; for going to nicer dinners and cultural events
    • Hiking boots (there are several great hikes nearby Lima and this is especially necessary for Machu Picchu)
  2. Toiletries (a lot of these items can be bought at the stores in Lima in case you forget)
    • Mosquito repellent
    • Anti-itch cream
    • Sunscreen
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Shampoo/conditioner (the hotel has free shampoo and body soap)
    • Deodorant
    • Body/face wash
    • Medications (remember to bring enough to last the entire trip)
    • Pepto-bismol
    • Lotion
    • GermX
    • Contacts/glasses
    • Electronics
    • A small camera for videos and pictures
    • An adapter for outlets; most outlets work with phone chargers or regular two-prong plugs

When packing for me study abroad trip, I tried my best to make sure I was thinking of all possible scenarios I would be in and all of the different types of places I would need clothes for. Lima also has many shopping malls around Miraflores so if anyone forgot anything it was very easy to buy it in a nearby store. Around Parque Kennedy are several clothing and department stores that had many options for a relatively good price.

Mika Nagamoto studied abroad in Lima and Iquitos, Peru, in summer 2018: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/GlobalHealth-Lima/

Peru | Settling in to a New Home

BY MIKA NAGAMOTO

After a stressful week of finals and many goodbyes to recent graduates, it was definitely as hectic as it was exciting to finally pack my bags and head to the airport for Peru. I arrived 2 hours early for my flight and wore a UCLA t-shirt so that other students in the program could pick me out of the busy LAX crowd. At the gate I soon ran into several of the other students who were on the same flight to Lima as me. After 8 hours of flying we landed in our new home for the month. Customs went quickly and getting our luggage was simple. Just outside of the luggage area we found the desk for the Green Taxi Company that our professors suggested that we use. It was only 100 soles (about $32) to take an hour-long shuttle for 7 students.

As we drove to our hotel we were able to catch our first glimpse of the city. Foggy white skies, sea-side cliffs blanketed in bright green vines, and crisp ocean air greeted us as we weaved through the urban roads. We arrived at our hotel about 5 hours early but they were extremely accommodating and checked us all into our rooms shortly after we arrived. The hot showers were a warm welcome after a long day of travel. Our goals for the first day settling in were to (a) exchange money (b) eat (c) buy large jugs of bottled water and (d) buy SIM cards for our phones.

(a) We immediately found a bank located just across the street from our hotel. Buuut, unfortunately we realized that it was a Sunday and all of the banks were closed. Luckily most restaurants and stores take Visa and Mastercard and we were able to easily exchange money at the ATM the next day.

(b) There were plenty of food options very close to our hotel in the neighborhood Miraflores. We decided to eat at a restaurant near Kennedy Park, about a 20-minute walk from our hotel. Kennedy Park is in the center of Mira Flores and is surrounded by an assortment of cozy coffee shops, lively sports bars, and restaurants with traditional Peruvian food.

(c) As we are Americans whose stomachs can’t handle the tap water, we immediately needed to buy a lot of bottled water. There was a grocery store just across from our hotel where we bought groceries, snacks, and toiletries.

(d) Many students in our group, including myself, decided to buy Peruvian SIM cards so that we could communicate, call Ubers, and use our google maps without Wifi. Buying a SIM card is definitely one of the cheapest options compared to some of the international plans for Verizon and AT&T. The journey to buying a SIM card was a bit of an adventure… After wandering through Lima fora an extended period of time, we finally found a Claro phone store near Kennedy Park where we could buy SIM cards. We all received our Peruvian numbers using a data package that included unlimited Facebook and Whatsapp Messaging along with 4GB of data. All of this cost no more than $10. The address for this phone store is listed below:

LIMA, Av. José Larco 652, Miraflores 18, Perú

The first couple of days in Lima were filled with a lot of wandering, getting lost, meeting new people, learning new social norms, and practicing some rusty Spanish. Despite the small hiccups in navigating a new city, I immediately felt comfortable in the beautiful neighborhood of Miraflores. With the ocean only a 15-minute walk from our hotel, surrounded by countless incredible restaurants, and accompanied by 25 adventurous UCLA students, I felt nothing but excitement for the next 4 weeks living in Lima.

Mika Nagamoto studied abroad in Lima and Iquitos, Peru, in summer 2018: https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/GlobalHealth-Lima/

Chile| Torres del Paine

BY JAZZ BROUGHTON

There is a beautiful national park in the south of Chile where you can find penguins, seals, cormorants, and a wide range of other wildlife. In the beautiful mountains and glaciers of Patagonia there are numerous opportunities to hike, take a boat tour, or fine dine in a seafood restaurant along the sea. The slow but strong impacts of climate change are prevalent as you pass the snow capped mountains and watch the wildlife hunt for food. They are having to adapt to new temperatures and climates, while adjusting to a transforming ecosystem.

I spent the first day taking a boat tour to Isla Magdalena where I spent an hour walking around an island covered in small Magellanic penguins and seagulls. Along the shore were also a flock of South American terns that reminded me of Alameda County’s local Least Tern. The penguins burrowed in little caves that they buried in the ground and I think some may have even had chicks. It was an amazing experience to see the penguins so up close, as I especially appreciated their waddle and interactions with us and each other.

After walking the island, we boarded the boat and took off towards another small island that forbids tourists to walk on it. There we watched elephant seals, seal lions, and other species lounging and climbing on the rocks. They allowed us to climb up to the roof of the boat to sit and watch from a distance. I felt so tiny sitting on this small boat in the middle of a vast ocean. The blue sky was endless and it reminded me that the only limits we have are those we put on ourselves. It is not easy to break comfort zones and put in the actions necessary to experience life for all it has to offer, but through time, patience, and discipline I found myself learning to love trying new things and exploring by myself. Spending so much time by myself has given me a new comfortability in being alone and staying focused on my personal priorities. While, this may seem outside of my trip to the south of Chile, it was through these experiences of traveling that gave me more independence and confidence in myself.

Having the opportunity to tour through the extraordinary lands of Torres del Paine the following morning was also a life changing experience. The mountains were covered in snow and the water of the lakes were a beautiful turquoise blue. We visited a cave that was once inhabited by the indigenous people of Patagonia, the Selk’nam and Aonikenk. After walking over a swinging bridge and through a small valley covered in sand we were met with beautiful glaciers. The sand and small rocks hit us hard as the wind blew strong. Once again I was met with feelings of being so powerful, but so small. I let the wind blow me around as I danced along the water and stared into the cloudless sky. It was during this tour that I saw an armadillo in person for my first time, he was super cute! There was also a beautiful eagle that landed right next to where we were resting. After months of spending time within the city and university, it was great to get away to nature and sit alone with the sounds of wildlife and land practically untouched.

I cannot wait to return to Chile and Argentina in the future to explore more of the beautiful lands and regions. There are so many hidden gems within the North and South of both countries, it is impossible to see everything within such little time, especially while staying on top of school.

Chile | Spaces for Memory

BY JAZZ BROUGHTON

Memorials and memory spaces are popular ways that the lives of the disappeared go remembered. Often the memory sites have lists of names, photographs, or other artifacts that remind us of the lives that were lost during the brutal dictatorships of the seventies and eighties. Chile’s dictatorship under Pinochet began in 1973. Thousands of people were tortured and exiled and a small percentage of them were killed aka disappeared.

Memorials such as the one at Villa Grimaldi, where many of these photos were taken, are examples of how spaces once filled with torture, violence, and state terrorism can be transformed into spaces for healing, education, reflection, and community. Villa Grimaldi was a torture center during the dictatorship in Chile that began in 1973 and ended in 1990. Today, Villa Grimaldi has trees, fountains, a pool, and other parts of the memorial that are remainders of the dictatorship, but most of the site was destroyed. There is a rose garden that gives memory to the women who disappeared and a fountain to represent cleansing and recognition of those who were killed by death flights.

One thing that is common in nearly all of the memorials I visited is a section of the memorial or memory site to be designated to informing visitors on a brief history of the dictatorship and why there are names, testimonies, and photographs that represent something so much larger than I could understand. My classes often questioned who should create the memorials and who they should be made for. Some of the memorials/ memory sites we went to were Chile’s National Stadium,The Museum of Human Rights and Memory, and The General Cemetery.

The museum was very informative and shed light on connections between the violation of human rights in Chile to violation of human rights around the world. They had audios, videos, and other artifacts that brought me back in time and gave me a look into the horrors that took place during the dictatorship. Newspaper clips, coloring books, and life size images of people on the wall gave us something to hold on to, connect with, and feel. The difference between the museum and other sites for memory is that the museum was curated and has galleries that change throughout the year.

The cemetery on the other hand holds its memories and information like a box with a thousand keys. It cannot move nor can it be replaced. The cemetery provides us with a much more personal interaction with those who had been lost. It is not just seeing their names or watching interviews, it is being in the presence of their spirit and their area of rest.

While some may try their best to forget the past, the past lives through our present. It defines our today, but we get to write the definition. How do we heal from trauma and connect to our past while creating a sustainable foundation for our future? Memories provide us with context, hope, and a point of reference as we move forward.

We often discussed: how do we learn from memory? What do we do with the archives of our past? Does public symbology provide spaces for healing or reinstitute trauma?

Obstacles regarding memory and space are universal and can be seen throughout the world. We fight for representation of the Tongan people, the people of the land in which UCLA rests, and the people of South America fight for advocacy of the Mapuche people as well as other groups. Our memories of trauma and historical events vary depending on our community and time in life. We can utilize our memories as a community for social justice, art, and so much more.

Chile | Spaces for Reflection, Healing, and Education

BY JAZZ BROUGHTON

Nov 23, 2018

Throughout Santiago you can find spaces for reflection, healing, and education. These spaces provide resources for occupational training, information on human rights and legal policies, as well as opportunities to organize and build solidarity. Organizations such as ​INFOCAP: Instituto de Formacion y Capacitacion Popular: La Universidad del Trabajador ​work vigorously to tackle the alleviation of poverty in Chile. INFOCAP in particular focuses on providing classes and training in a variety of occupations to people with the highest need in the low income communities of Santiago. There is also a beautiful space with peacocks, rabbits, chickens, and other animals where people can sit, relax, work, and take a breathe outside of the concrete jungle.

Chile is also known for its street art which can be found in Valparaiso, the South, and in the bustling capital streets of Santiago. One of many examples is the Cultural Arts Center, GAM. It is a free space that has a variety of different artifacts, art exhibits, and spaces to sit. Their book store was also quite nice.

I think it is important that there are free spaces available for people to engage with art, books, and education. Art makes space for expression, healing, and reflection. It can be a form of education that brings people together and challenges us to engage with trauma, politics, and other subjects that we may not always be as receptive to in everyday conversation.

Other things that are important to acknowledge when considering human rights and social organizing in Chile and many regions of South America, is the history of dictatorship and state terrorism. People lived in fear and repression for decades with little to no opportunity to express themselves or speak out against the military or anyone in power. Today, there continues to be a complicated relationship between the people, politics, and police. People are still sprayed with water and the streets can be filled with tear gas as people unite against the injustice that is taking place on a national and international level. The land, water, and other natural resources are being stolen from the people of Chile by Transnational Corporations, primarily ran by the United States. This particularly hurts the Mapuche people living in the North and the South. There is a global trend of violence and exclusion against indigenous people and other people of color. After learning a bit of the history of Argentina and Chile I hope to continue to expand my knowledge in this subject, Spanish, international relations, and a variety of histories and socioeconomic research.

Education, whether through art, school, or experiences, provides opportunities to grow and shed light on possibilities and realities that are beyond us. It gives us a gateway to explore and question. Education leads to better understanding and through better understanding we find compassion. Art and activism give people a feeling of purpose and hope. What is happening throughout the world is difficult to comprehend and we may not always find the best solutions. Yet, the consistent desire to be better as an individual, as a people, and as a world gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the problems at hand and work towards cultivating a world filled with peace, love, equity, and freedom.

Chile | Day Trips to Valparaiso and Reñaca

BY JAZZ BROUGHTON

November 15, 2018

I spent a day trip going to Valparaiso and Reñaca, which are two towns North of Santiago. In Valparaiso, we walked through the streets looking at the street art strewn about every alley, wall, and window pane. The color and precision amazed me. I have so much admiration for those who do this kind of work, because it takes so much practice, confidence, and skill. An amazing thing about art is everyone interprets it differently and everyone notices different things. The art on these homes and stores is different than going to a museum or any other visual art, because it is everywhere in this little town and it is so easy to miss something that could have been small, but powerful. Everywhere around you is a canvas. Most of the art had a lot of symbolism that varied in genre. There was a lot of political symbology critiquing gender, labor, education, and class relations, as well as a lot of advocacy and recognition of the indigenous people who once ruled this land.

In Reñaca, I was met with a relaxing time at the beach and a spectacular sunset. It would be my first and last time at a beach in South America, because there wasn’t any in Buenos Aires and the closest one to Santiago is Viña del Mar, around two hours away. The sandy beach was warm and the waves were cool. We ate gelato and enjoyed once with the family of a friend who I went with. Once is a meal that is very popular in Chile. There is a small breakfast consisting of tea, bread, fruit, and occasionally eggs. The lunch is relatively large, around 2:00pm. Instead of dinner, may people have what is called once. Which often consists of bread, avocado spread, egg scrambles, ham, cheese, tea, coffee, and other little finger foods. I must admit that I did not have much variety in my diet during my time in Chile, but that the woman I lived with in Argentina was better at diversifying our meal plan.

It was a beautiful day trip spent exploring a variety of different sceneries. I enjoyed taking public transportation and walk along the busy avenues. The buses in Valpo were also very special, because they were colorful and played music. It was overall such a warm, light experience that had me rekindle my love for murals and street art in ways that I had forgotten. It gave me time to step out of the streets of Santiago and school and focus on what’s really important to me: art, activism, and nature.

Argentina | A Wonder of the World

BY JAZZ BROUGHTON

Oct 16, 2018

I spent a weekend in Uruguay exploring the small town of Colonia. It was a much needed break from the bustling streets of Buenos Aires and reminded me of the simple things I appreciate in life. The best way to get to Uruguay is on a ferry, which takes less than two hours to get there, and is really affordable considering you are going to another country. Many people in my program only went for the day, but my friend and I chose to stay the night there and I am very glad we did. The second day was the funnest for me, because our Air BnB host showed us around the streets of Colonia and introduced us to some great new friends and connections that we would not have met if we did not have such great help from him.

Colonia is a small, boat town with a good vibe, overpriced food, and an opportunity to sit by the water and lose track of time. The street art in South America is beautiful and very popular overall, often it speaks politically or socially to issues regarding the country/ community. I had a great time & definitely recommend as a weekend getaway to anyone looking for some mid-evil, small town architecture and fun!

Oct 20, 2018

I also spent a life changing weekend in Iguazu Falls where I encountered one of the seven wonders of the world. It truly was indescribably wonderful. Las cataratas (waterfalls) cover a portion of the border between Brazil & Argentina and cover the lands of the national park on both sides. The experience was indescribable, so I am just going to post some photos here and leave it at that. If you ever have the opportunity to go, DO IT!