Global Insights Opens with Bolivia

    Elyse Smilnak ’19, Cait Torrico ’19 and Susannah Ilseman ’19
    September 4, 2018

    Landlocked in central South America, Bolivia is home to the highest navigable lake on earth at almost 12,500 feet, tropical rainforests in the Amazon, and sixty-three volcanoes both active and dormant. Home to over 11 million, Bolivia holds a large indigenous population, many of whom have no contact with the outside world.

    Three University of Scranton students will present the country of Bolivia at the first Global Insights luncheon on Friday, September 14, 2018, in the Rose Room, Brennan Hall Room 509, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Cait Torrico ’19, Exercise Science/Spanish major, is a first generation American from New Jersey.  Her father’s side of the family originated in Bolivia many of whom still live there. During a University study abroad trip in 2016, she was able to connect with many of her family as well as explore the countryside. Torrico says she really enjoys their local transportation system in Cochabamba. “You would stand out on the side of the road and wave and they would stop to pick you up. They made you feel like a local.” Elyse Smilnak ’19, Neuroscience major and Spanish minor, recalled how generous the people were. “They had nothing but would give us a seed from their pot. They had no problem sharing.” Smilnak spoke of the beautiful ornate churches built by Jesuit priests who worked with indigenous peoples to create wonders for worship. Susannah Ilseman ’19, Occupational Therapy major and Spanish minor, so loved the experience that she had a book made to memorialize the trip. She noted how some native cultures practice a firm connection with Pachamama – Mother Earth. Every first Friday, they would hold ‘challas’ where they would burn a symbol of something important for protection with aromatic Koa, like a model house to protect their home, as an offering of reciprocity to the divinity. Ilseman also remarked that she enjoyed their religious connection to the earth and ancestors. “It was very cool to be part of a ceremony that honors people when they have crossed over.”

    This program is being offered by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, the Cross Cultural Centers, Residence Life and the Office of Equity and Diversity. A light lunch featuring cuisine from the highlighted country will be served. Registration for this event is required. Click here to register. For more information, please contact Huey Shi Chew by email or call 570-941-7575.

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