By Annie Gibson
I am handing over my blog on the CIAPA Experience to the students participating in the program. This way you all can have a better idea of what life is like for a student at CIAPA. This blog entry is written by Currin Wallis. She is a freshman student who has begun her first semester of Tulane at CIAPA in Costa Rica 2012. Pura Vida, Professor Gibson
Saludos desde San Jose! Greetings!
Hello. I am writing this blog entry from my dorm room, room 205, which sits on the top floor of a large, hotel-like building on the joint Tulane – CIAPA campus in San Jose, Costa Rica. This building is where us Tulane students spend a lot of our time: studying for our various classes, eating, and sleeping, in that order of importance. The time as of now is 2:30 pm, on a Tuesday, October 7. Around me sits piles of essays and sketches strewn across my desk, and in front of me, pinned to a drawing board, is the schedule of my classes for the Fall 2012 Semester, which I double-check constantly out of forgetfulness. If I were to turn around and look out my open door, I would see the miniature rainforest that covers the CIAPA campus, and farther on, a towering golden “M”, for McDonald’s, back-dropped by the rolling, tropical-green hills and mountains that surround the city of San Jose. As I write this, the city is alive with a heavy rain, and thunder rumbles fiercely overhead, as it does almost every afternoon in this place. My name is Jack, and I’m one of the students studying at CIAPA in San Jose, Costa Rica.
As a student here at CIAPA, there is much and more to do, and almost everything we do is tied together with our studies. During the week my five other peers and I go about our daily business: going to class, taking the bus into San Jose, making our way to the local gym of which we have been granted membership, personal trainers, and thumb-print recognition access. Fellow gym members, most of them young, will often greet us with a “pura vida”, or “pure life”, a saying that Ticos (Costa Ricans) are fond of as both greetings and farewells.
On Mondays and Tuesdays, we visit two respective high schools in San Jose and work with English classes there. The last time we visited, we played the Spanish version of Scrabble with the class, and the next two hours saw countless conversations in Spanglish about life in general. The group that connects us with these schools is called the Youth Action Foundation, and it works with high schools all over Costa Rica to improve the quality of education for kids in primary and secondary school.
The rest of the week is spent studying and reading for our busy class schedule, which includes topics like Comparative Politics, Central American Government, and Latin American Art History. All of the classes are humanities, and I miss science, but they blend into such a cohesive study of Latin America – specifically Central America – that I often find myself forgetting which class I’m studying for. Weekends are usually a time to break free from the week’s routine and travel around the area, but occasionally we head out on organized, group weekend trips. So far these trips have led us to the cloud forests of Monteverde, white-water rafting in the mountains of Rara Avis, and, in the future, to the Caribbean beaches of the city of Limon. Again, I can’t express enough the beauty of this place.
Over the course of my stay here, I’ve made attempts to define the identity of this place called “Rich Coast”, and I have found it to be very difficult to pinpoint. Instead, flashes of inspiration will come to me in certain moments, much like the silent flashes of lightning that, late in the night, briefly illuminate the dark masses of mountains that surround CIAPA. I once watched out of a bus window as a series of young people marched on the street, banging unceremoniously and without rhythm on drums; this was Costa Rica. On one of our many weekend trips as a group, we visited the cloud forest of Monteverde, and were able to walk amidst and listen to the forest come alive with rain in the night; this was also Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s identity is hard to define, but I’ve come to the conclusion that Costa Rica is a proud country: proud of its natural splendor, proud of its history as one of the leading countries in Central America in political and economic stability, and proud of its happy people. At the same time, globalization and foreign influence have done their deeds, and Costa Rica’s identity is now attempting to cope with things like a beautiful, unique tropical bird perched on a giant, humming McDonald’s arch. Unfortunately that is only one of many examples of identity crisis. But this brings me to the National Theater.
When the United States was undergoing Industrialization, there began a large movement of appreciating and in turn depicting the vast, previously untouched nature of North America that was now being taken for granted. The United States has its Hudson River Painters, and Costa Rica has the National Theater in San Jose.
While it may be a bit of an overstatement to compare these two countries in terms of rejuvenating the appreciation for the national environment, it is certainly undeniable that both played, and are playing a part in the conservation of national identity when it comes to natural splendor. The National Theater is a huge building at the center of the Plaza of Culture in San Jose, which in turn is in the center of the city. The Plaza was originally built around the Theater, which was one of the first buildings to arise in the area, tall and majestic, dwarfing the one-story colonial homes it stood amidst at the turn of the 20th century. Now it stands as a cultural center for both locals and tourists. On the two occasions I’ve been to the theater (both of which played notable substitutions for our actual Tulane Interdisciplinary class), the shows seemed to emanate an irresistible love affair between Costa Rica and its people.
The first show was a performance by the Jazz pianist Chucho Valdez and his band, the Afro-Cuban Messengers. The performance was impossible to describe with words, but I can say that it gave me a newfound appreciation for Latin American music. When I got back to CIAPA I immediately downloaded all of Valdez’ music from “iTunes”. The performance was also unique in that involved the crowd pretty vehemently. Towards the end the band had everyone in the theater dancing, singing, and clapping. I can’t say for sure that this is a Costa Rican quality, but I can say that I would rarely see that in Seattle, Washington (where I’m from).
The second performance celebrated an anniversary of the Theater, and involved three separate acts of dance. Throughout the show we saw naked women and men running around attempting not to conform to society; a man and a woman falling in and out of love with fiery Latin flare; and a slow, ritualistic dance with big jungle cats, lots of water, and artificial steam and bird noises. All of these acts shared the same quality of attempting to celebrate Costa Rican culture, and by the end, it had succeeded at least with me. Of course, I acknowledge that these performances are filtered from real experiences with these aspects of Costa Rican culture, but when it was over I at least had the feeling that I knew Costa Rica a little better.
In conclusion, come to Costa Rica, but don’t go to college here – there are too many distractions. While you are here, please visit the National Theater.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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LATEST SITE UPDATES
- 2014 Tulane University Study Abroad Fair
- MARI Brown Bag: David Chatelain "Ay Cariba!: Changing Political Strategies at La Cariba, Guatemala"
- Human Sacrifice on the North Coast of Peru: Recent Discoveries Pose New Questions
- "Working on the Edge" A talk by Susana Chávez-Silverman
- Univeristy of New Orleans Presents: Empire and Solidarity in the Americas Conference
- Tempo Transfigurado: A talk by Graciela Speranza
- 2015 Maya Symposium Teacher Workshop
- 12th Annual Tulane Maya Symposium: Royal Chambers Unsealed: Tombs of the Classic Maya
- Mexican Filmmaker discusses his film Penumbra
- Latino Film Series at the 2014 Annual New Orleans Film Festival
- "Social Equity matters, & Greener Houses Can Help": A discussion with Manuel Antonio Aguilar
- "A NeoWeberian Political Sociology of the Venezuela Conflict" a talk by David Smilde
- "Oye Tu: A Reading of Fiction About Cubans" a talk by Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes
- Social and Environmental Safeguards, Policies and Practices in International Development: Discussion with Carlos Pérez-Brito
- Social Equity Matters & Greener Houses Can Help: talk with Manuel Antonio Aguilar
- Costa Rican president presents foreign policy objectives at event organized by CIAPA and KAS
- Guantánamo Public Memory Project Featured on School of Liberal Arts Website
- Celebración Latina Marks 10th Anniversary at Audubon Zoo
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Latino Film Series at the 2014 Annual New Orleans Film Festival
The 25th Annual New Orleans Film Festival is proud to present its Latino Film Sidebar Series at the 2014 NOFF, presented by the New Orleans Film Society.
This year two feature length films and five short films by Latino filmmakers have been selected to premiere at the New Orleans Film Festival 2014.
For the complete festival schedule, film and event info plus online tickets, please visit the New Orleans Film Festival website.
The screening schedule for these films is as follows:
Of Kites and Borders
Follows four children living in Tijuana as they help their families to make ends meet, capturing what the U.S.-Mexico border looks like from the other side. The everyday routines and encounters collected here demonstrate how the border’s very existence — the possibility of crossing, the of America — shapes the lives of those who live alongside it, whether or not they ever leave Tijuana. Director: Yolanda Pividal. View a trailer here.
Saturday, October 18: 3:15pm at Canal Place Cinema
Thursday, October 23: 12:00pm at Canal Place Cinema
Triples (Trillizos) – documentary short screens just prior to each screening of Of Kites and Borders
Lorenzo, Leonel, and Luis are gifted 16-year-old triplets who live with their family in a two-room informal house in Tijuana, Mexico. Through discipline and resolve, they find alternatives to the limited opportunities available in conditions of structural poverty. Director: Itzel Martinez del Canizo
A rural Mexican couple — poor and decades past their prime — carry about their ritualistic, day- to-day lives, awaiting the inevitable, in this pensive film. Penumbra appreciates stillness and likes to linger — oftentimes at length — on beautiful imagery. Shot almost exclusively during the magic hour, right before the sun settles into night, the film examines the quiet twilight of one couple’s life and finds the beauty in that transitional period from life to death. Director: Eduardo Villanueva. View a trailer.
Sunday, October 19: 3:45pm at Canal Place Cinema
Monday, October 20: 6:00pm at Canal Place Cinema
Tuesday, October 21: 6:30pm at New Orleans Mexican Consulate (901 Convention Center Blvd. Suite #119 — 504.528.3722) — Special reception and talk with the Director of the film and the Mexican Consulate (Free and open to the public)
Mirza the Miraculous
This lo-fi, sci-fi tale of outer space, mystics and carnivals centers around a fraudulent shaman known as The Great Bazandini and his daughter, Mirza, who really does have special powers. Originally shot in 1999 along the Mexican border, this is a film 15 years in the making. Featuring Paul Soileau (Christeene) and an original score and sound effects by New Orleans’ own Quintron. Director: Brent Joseph
Sunday, October 19: 9:00pm at Prytania Theater (uptown)
A servant obsesses over the daughter of his recently deceased boss. Turns out the dead boss’ relationship with his daughter had an obsessive side as well. Director: David Figueroa Garcia
Saturday, October 18: 1:30pm at Canal Place Cinema
Tuesday, October 21: 2:00pm at Canal Place Cinema (FREE)
The Great Adventure (La Gran Aventura)
A thesis film from Cuban documentary film students, this short profiles the loneliness of a radio soap script writer. As her life is projected onto the character she is creating and sharing with a listener, she connects two different worlds which seek, through fiction, to make sense of the daily adventure of life. Director: Cassandra Oliveira
Sunday, October 19: 4:00pm at Canal Place Cinema
Thursday, October 23: 3:30pm at Canal Place Cinema (FREE)
A portrait of the last Puerto Rican social club in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC. The 30-year- old Caribbean sports club has witnessed the transformation of South Williamsburg from a Hispanic neighborhood ravaged by gang violence and drugs into one of the hippest and most luxurious places in New York City. Director: Beyza Boyacioglu, Sebastian Diaz
Sunday, October 19: 4:00pm at Canal Place Cinema
Thursday, October 21: 3:30pm at Canal Place Cinema (FREE)
Tickets for all screenings may be purchased online and/or at any of each film’s theater box office, as well as in person at the NOFF HQ Box Office inside the main lobby/atrium of the Contemporary Arts Center located at 900 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA, 70130.
Connecting Day of the Dead Traditions Across the Americas: Haiti
Learn about Day of the Dead traditions in Haiti in this teacher workshop. The teacher workshop will be followed by an optional class on Traditional Haitian Folkloric Dance. Monique Moss, adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Theater and Dance at Tulane University, will lead a teacher workshop about Day of the Dead traditions in Haiti. Day of the Dead traditions in Haiti have their roots in Haitian Vodoo and hence show both similarities and differences to Day of the Dead traditions in other areas of Latin America. The workshop will focus on the performance of Day of the Dead as well as connect the tradition through to New Orleans.
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Traditional Haitian Folkloric Dance Master Class
Taught by Menahem Laurent
For a more detailed schedule, please visit the workshop website.
Registration Fee is $10 and includes lunch, teaching materials, and admission to afternoon Haitian dance class.
Univeristy of New Orleans Presents: Empire and Solidarity in the Americas Conference
Empire and Solidarity in the Americas Conference
UNO – Latin American Studies
Friday, October 24, 2014: 3:30-6:00 PM
Saturday, October 25, 2014: 9:15 AM-3:15 PM
Milneburg Hall 351 – UNO Campus
The 2014 Empire and Solidarity in the Americas Conference explores the meanings, forms, histories, and futures of North-South solidarity in the Americas. What kinds of transnational ties have groups from both sides of the North-South divide established with each other? What kinds of strategies have they used, and toward what ends? How have these political projects varied across time and space? In what ways have cross-border solidarities shaped and been shaped by imperial power?
Conference Program is attached to this email. This conference is open and free to the public. This is a workshop: papers are circulated and read before the conference. If you would like to access the papers, please send an email to: email@example.com
INVITED PARTICIPANTS INCLUDE:
Marc Becker, Professor of History, Truman State University, and author of Indians and Leftists in the Making of Ecuador's Modern Indigenous
Jonathan C. Brown is Professor of History at the University of Texas and is completing a book on how the Cuban Revolution changed the world.
Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American Studies, Salem State University, and author of Linked Labor Histories: New
England, Colombia, and the Making of the Global Working Class.
Lesley Gill, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, and author of The School of the Americas: Military Training and Political
Violence in the Americas.
Eric Larson, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and author of Jobs With Justice: 25 Years, 25 Voices
Elizabeth Manley is Assistant Professor of History at Xavier University where she is completing a book, The Paradox of Paternalism: Women,
Transnational Activism, and the Politics of Authoritarianism in the Dominican Republic, 1928-1978.
Teresa Meade, Florence B. Sherwood Professor of History and Culture, Union College, and author of A History of Modern Latin America.
William Schmidli, Assistant Professor, Bucknell University, and author of The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere: Human Rights in U.S. Cold War Policy Toward
Megan Strom is a PhD Candidate in Latin American History at the University of California, San Diego and will defend her dissertation on Uruguayan
5th Annual South Central Conference on Mesoamerica
5th Annual South-Central Conference on Mesoamerica is a conference which provides a venue for scholars, students, and the interested public from across the south-central U.S. to share ideas, information, and interpretations. The conference is free and open to the public, and we hope you will join us. Although the conference is free, if you plan to attend please register so we have an idea of how many people will attend.
The conference will be held October 24-26th on Tulane’s Campus.
Please visit the conference website for more information and be sure to check back for updates in the near future!
"Oye Tu: A Reading of Fiction About Cubans" a talk by Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes
The lecture title is "Oye Tú: A Reading of Fiction about Cubans." The talk is open to the public as well as the Tulane community. The lecture, which will discuss the Cuban diaspora in the United States, was timed to coincide with the general interest that the Guantánamo Public Memory Project:, currently at Tulane, has generated. The time and location has been confirmed for Tuesday, October 28, 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the Greenleaf Conference Room, Jones Hall 100A. Refreshments will be provided.
Social and Environmental Safeguards, Policies and Practices in International Development: Discussion with Carlos Pérez-Brito
Currently a social specialist from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Carlos Pérez-Brito is responsible for managing social and environmental safeguards in the public and private sectors projects. Before joining the IDB, Mr. Pérez-Brito was a human development specialist for the World Bank and USAID. He has a bachelor degree from Loyola University, New Orleans and a Masters in Latin American Studies from Tulane University with emphasis in international development. He was also a visiting scholar for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Mr. Pérez-Brito’s talk will describe the evolving practice of using social and environmental review criteria as conditions for bank-related projects.
Co-Sponsored with the Tulane Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR).
Event flyer can be found here.