CPF Hosts 25th Anniversary Tour

CPF Executive Director Hugh Smeltekop led a special tour to the College in Carmen Pampa July 28 - August 3. The tour was part of the College's special 25th anniversary celebration.

Fourteen people--ranging from former volunteers and past visitors to travelers coming to South America for the very first time--participated in a variety of activities, including:  processing coffee at the College's coffee plant; participating in a native tubers and root crop workshop; hiking to the Puerta del Viento for a view of the valley; zip lining over the World's Most Dangerous Road; and lots more.

Despite all their adventures, participants overwhelming agreed that the best part of their visit was meeting with UAC-CP students and hearing their stories of determination to become college educated professionals and their commitment to serving their families and communities in Bolivia's rural area.

"The transformation that takes place in UAC-CP students throughout their studies is truly astounding," Hugh said. "They arrive with a vague sense of wanting to do something important for their communities, and by the time they graduate, they have discovered their gifts and developed some real skills to use those gifts. It's impossible to describe; you have to see it first-hand to really understand."

The tour in Carmen Pampa cumulated with the Día del Campesino on August 2. The annual celebration in Bolivia's countryside honors the agrarian reform of 1953 which, sparked by revolutions demanding equality for the oppressed indigenous people, resulted in the dismantling of the traditional haciendas (plantations), the end of formalized indentured servitude, the redistribution of land among sharecropping peasants, and a restructuring of the education system in Bolivia's rural area--essentially paving the way for the UAC-CP to exist.

The final day of the tour was spent exploring Bolivia's capital city of La Paz.

Extra special thanks to Sarah Berman, a former PiLA fellow in Carmen Pampa (2014-15), who returned to the UAC-CP to help host the anniversary tour.