November 24, 2011



Some of the photos today are a bit blurry, I need to see what I'm doing wrong.

If you enjoy any of what you see or read, please leave me a comment on the bottom, all comments and critiques welcome :)

Also if anyone can do a better job translating into English it would be much appreciated.

I have collected quite a few videos already of people answering that question, "What makes you come alive". It has been my plan to edit the videos and put them all on one video set to background music as various people from North and South America answer that question. I have not had the intention to post individual responses on these pages but wait and release what I collect in one video. Today was an exception because the kids are so joyous and enthusiastic that I wanted to share that :) Anyone reading this is welcome to submit a video of themselves answering that and feel free to contact me at and I can give you instructions how to upload it.

Several years back there was a reunion of elders, indigenous priests and shamans from North and South America for a large event in an effort to join the two continents. They were bringing together the eagle and the condor to reunite. They greet each other with "In lak'ech, a lak'en" meaning "I am in you, and you are in me". This is a philoshophy found in other religions such as Buddhism, it is a universal truth our modern culture has forgotten but people are starting to awaken with this simple truth. Through my videos of people of North and South America people will begin to understand each other and realize we are not different. We are all one! Then someday we can begin to realize not only are we one with each other, we are one with this planet, we destroy the planet and we destroy ourselves.

I was in bed thinking about getting up, my breathing is still difficult at this altitude and it makes me sleepy a lot. Just going up and down the stairs to where I sleep makes me winded. Pilar knocked on the door and all I could make out was something to do with Ciro. I know Ciro has so much energy and enthusiasm it is difficult to keep up with him. After using google translate as well as hand signals, I figured out Ciro wanted to use Skype with me for his students. So I got up and threw on some clothes to look presentable. The audio was very difficult for them to hear because all the noise in the classroom and all he had were the speakers on his laptop. So Ciro said he was going to send Gregory to get me so I can come back to the school in person. At this point I really wanted to sleep more but I said "1 hour", that gave me time to shower and eat something.

Me talking to students via Skype

My breakfast; a farm fresh egg, rice, sausage and chocolate prepared with milk, it is a bit different than traditional US chocolate milk.

Gregory showed up and we walked to the school managing with a few words here and there and him using a small tranlsator device about the size of a calculator that we could type in single words to translate.

I have to say it is a lot of fun being around youth. They have so much energy and still have a light in their eyes with the whole world still in front of them. They talked about their dreams and what they really like about life. So much joy seen in all these faces. I was hoping to get a good example of video questions by many students but only one male student would to it. I think it must be something about this culture, the male students did not want to get in photos with me and they did not want to be on video talking about what they like and what their dreams for the future are. Maybe that is not very macho. I did get some excellent responses from the students that did participate.

Ciro at the gait waiting for my arrival to the school, security guards at locked gate

Below are the students who wanted to be on video answering that question "what makes them feel alive" and this time I added "what do you want to do in the future"

Laura states she feels alive when she shares with her family, God, and teaching the young boys in her church. Her dream for the future is to be a singer, dentist, or psychologist.

Andrea says she feels alive with her family, friends, music and dance; she states her dream for the future is to be an actress, dancer, model or work on TV.

Maribel said she feels alive with family and having people close; she wants to be a business administrator, she wants to create a foundation to help people.

Yency said she feels most alive sharing experiences with lots of people, she likes to hear the experiences of others and likes to smile to everyone to share happiness. She ended with saying "a kiss for everybody"

Jenny said she feels alive living with her family and thanks God for the experience to be here living right now, her dream fro the future is to be a pediatrician or model.

Santiago said he feel alive when he shares experiences with his freinds, he like being in the shcool because he likes to learn new things. His dream for the future is to be an architect.



So So many bright kids that it seems like a shame when only a small percentage will make it beyond high school. This year it is about 6%, I would be tempted to want sponsor one to help a child overcome these statistics that are weighted against them. How much of life is karma that another lives out and in the laws of the universe they are exactly where they need to be for their life lessons. Then I must also ask myself how much is just compassion for one human to want to help another?

After spending some time in the class room, Ciro wanted me to meet Elizabeth who is an English teacher in the school. Elizabeth really understood what I was promoting and it seemed to really touch something in her when she read the "about this ride" page on this website.

Elizabeth in her classroom

The classroom doors have a deadbolt on the inside so no one can get in unless they are let in.

Time to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, a daily routine here

Then lunch made from fresh food, the juice made from fruit bought minutes ago. All the juices here have been made from fresh fruit bought within minutes of being made into juice.

One small observation today was the price of everything, "things" are very expensive. I considered getting a spare battery for my camera and found out it costs 3 times more here. It seems as though we have it backwards in the U.S. when we can get all these things so cheap but have to pay a lot of money to eat healthy organic food. Here the healthy fresh organinc food is not only cheap but easily available everywhere and "things" are expensive.

This afternoon we went into town and while walking to the Fed Ex place so I could mail something to a friend, I noticed all the graffitti, broken windows and paint splatters all over the buildings. The buildings targeted were banks and US places like McDonalds, the students believe that corporate US is only interested in exploiting this country. Right next door to the McDonalds that was targeted was a nice local cafe' that was totally untouched. There was a very large police presence everywhere on the streets with riot gear. Their shields splattered with paint from the clashes.

There is so much happening that I neglected to mention that on the day we went to get my vaccine shot I decided to get some business cards made in Spanish that I can use to introduce myself as I travel. I thought that would be very useful along the way. We made our way to the printers and picked up the business cards.

A church and school in downtown Bogota

The revolution is justified

To study and fight for the national liberation

Ciro is very proud of his country and the people here, I don't blame him it is a wonderful place, but I am not going to only take photos and talk about the pretty stuff. They want me to see only what is good so I can show the world how great this place is, I am showing what I see and I'm not blind to the fact that they have problems here too. Every culture must embrace all of it, not try to ignore or deny parts of it. In a way, to me it is like ignoring those parts of your own self you do not like. For the most part even the "poor" here seem to be well taken care of and all basic needs met.

A woman stopped to give this man a drink who has no arms or legs, his feet are at the bottom of his torso. A few moments later a woman stopped by and kissed him on the cheek. Today is thanksgiving in the U.S. What are you grateful for?

The students have been protesting for educational reform, and have clashed with police in riot gear.

broken windows in a shop

S.W.A.T. vehicle

a homeless cat

Pay for 15 years and study 5 years. The symbol of the agency that gives credit to pay for school.

These signs were on the floor leading all they way up to a bank which also had these signs posted on it. "Imminent strike in Popular Bank"

State and Religion are the same; Resistance

All of the paint splatters are created by putting pain in small plastic balls and throwing them by hand.

Police motorcycles and a S.W.A.T. vehicle in the background

Education is not a business
Coca Cola = Death
More education
Less guns
in the red letters: to be in debt is terrorism

A small can of confiscated yellow paint to the right, one police was busy cleaning paint off his helmet.

We only fight for Health, Education, and Food


After Fed Ex we went to pick up my business cards I ordered then walked to the center of town. It was luck that a famous musician was there that is a favorite of Pilar and Ciro's. His name was Jorge Velosa and was here playing in support of the protesters. We immersed ourselves in the crowd of protesters with the smell of marijuana all around, something I do not do myself and think it had medicianl uses like many things in nature, but some people ruin their lives through drugs. As my friend in college always said "moderation" is the key. I don't know what Jorge said to the crowd but he got loud cheers. Everyone was happy, dancing, singing, and yelling out.


Resistance and Revolution

M 19 flag placed on the statue of Simon Bolivar (the father of the independence, US equivalent to George Washington). The flag represents a political guerrila movement.

Jorge Velosa speaks to the protesters

Jorge gave 3 tributes:
1. to the music of Colombia
2. to the farmers
3. to the students of this movement

He commended the students on being peaceful and how all students have come together as one. No student is studying, all are protesting which are forcing the universities to close.

The headline for today was: "Free education was the slogan on the continent"
"About 8,000 students marched through the streets of Bogotá to join the continental up for free education, a movement that developed in parallel in several Latin American countries and Europe.

For more than three hours the students walked up to the Plaza de Bolivar in Bogota, where despite the rain, the groups partied livened up with rock and rap, and even the king of the music of Jorge Velosa carranga."

The above is an attempted translation from Spanish to English.

Many buildings have this mesh surrounding them to protect them from the protesters

It seems as though that when people get oppressed enough they must stand up and resist. But the anger that fuels that always comes at a cost, maybe someday we will all learn what Buddha said long ago: “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” Something I too hope to fully embrace someday, but we all struggle to "fight" our demons.

Having said all of that, I would much rather be in the middle of a protest here than in the U.S. there does not seem to be the same physical aggression and violence towards the protesters.

On the way home we rode on the most crowded bus yet. Just when you knew no one else could possibly fit in here, he stops to let someone else one. People were hanging out the door of the bus, the three of us were near the front being squeezed so tight I could lift my feet up and not move. No one seems to mind the closeness and being pressed together, no one is really complaining but rather a sense of amusement as we try to squeeze on another. Again today several people were let on by the back door and since they could not make their way to the front to pay, they passed money up which passed many hands going to the front and the change was passed back to someone that could not be seen in this mass of bodies squeezed together. When we were getting near our stop we had to try to squeeze through the mass to be able to push the button at the rear exit which lets the driver know to stop. So I grabbed the bars hanging from the ceiling which serve as handholds for everyone standing. I lifted my body upwards so my hips were higher than everyone else and forced my way through. I did not think it was possible as I felt the compression of my body squeezing through everyone else but all of us made it. Again no on complained about all that squeezing through, it is just part of it and a but humurous.

I still think this is a wonderful place even with its problems, so far there is nothing I've seen quite as bad as what can be found in any big city in the U.S. The main difference here is that everyone is always friendly. Strangers on the bus will listen in to your conversation, not because they are nosey but it is just a part of the culture here. Today when Ciro was talking about something on the bus a man across the aisle who had been listening started engaging Ciro in the conversation. He was pleasant and I've seen this happen many times already, people are open and friendly I don't see many uptight people and I never see people whispering. It feels like a very open culture here without many of the fears I've seen in the U.S. (I'm trying to stop say America or American, today while walking down the street I was told "this is the largest library in America" as we walked past a very large building)

So far what people seem to desire most and what makes them feel alive is not money, trying to get ahead or many of those other things loosley defined in the American Dream. What they seem to desire most is family, music and dancing. Those things are very important to life here.

I would not advise anyone to ever visit Bogota, Colombia unless they wanted to experience a love of life, beautiful people, and a culture that can crack open some of the hardest of hearts.

Bonita Colombia!

Colombia is beautiful!


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