A Travellerspoint blog

Fundacion Origen

Happy Kids, Goat Cheese, and a Dead Chicken

Just when it seemed that our Chilean adventure could not get any better, it did. This morning we visited an organic farm and agricultural school, Fundacion Origen. This trade school serves children age 14-18 in its vicinity, who come mostly from lower income families, and teaches them agricultural skills. Most, if not all, of these children will not have an opportunity to attend college, so learning farming is important to their future.

Agriculture

Agriculture

Our lovely guide Gail Phillips, who has only worked for the foundation for a month, showed us the farm operation. The children at the school learn how to grow vegetables and herbs, such as pumpkins, bell peppers, oregano, and mint. We had the pleasure of smelling many samples of the farm’s herbs on our pleasant morning walk!

Onions!

Onions!

The children learn to raise and take care of animals, like goats, chickens, and horses. We enjoyed feeding the white swiss goats that were eager to take our hay. After the goats are born, they are kept with the mothers—an untraditional practice in Chile. This practice, however, increases milk output and prevents the onset of disease and sickness. The goat milk is used to make delicious goat cheese which we sampled at lunch this afternoon.

After viewing the goats, we headed over to the chicken coup. Interestingly, some of their chickens lay green and blue eggs, kind of like Easter eggs! We held some adorable, two-week old chicks, and then headed to the incubator to view the youngest chicks. These chicks were tiny and cute, very unlike what we saw next to them. Much to our surprise, a fully grown dead chicken was on the countertop by the incubator. Talk about full life cycle! We don’t know why or how this chicken died, but that’s okay, because we would rather forget about it.

baby chicken

baby chicken

One dead chicken later, we walked through the rest of the farm and past the hotel. The hotel, chicken eggs, vegetables and goat cheese are all sources of revenue for the non-profit foundation that supports the school. Seventy percent of the school is funded by the Chilean government, while the other thirty percent comes directly from the foundation.

The best part of this visit was the Chilean kids. It just so happened that our visit coincided with the once a year “Student’s Day.” The students dressed like the wanted (some outfits were clearly inspired by Lady Gaga), blasted their music over the speakers, and competed in silly games. The energy, happiness, and enthusiasm of these children were absolutely incredible. They asked us to dance with them in a traditional Chilean movement, and even though we weren’t that good, we still had fun!

Our attempts to start a massive dance party to their awesome jams were somewhat unsuccessful, but the kids had a good laugh at our American dance moves. These children treated us like celebrities, telling us hello, taking pictures, and even asking for some autographs. It’s hard to put into words, but the spirit at Fundacion Origen was incredibly lively and the students brought big smiles to all of our faces.

Sandwich!

Sandwich!

After playing with the students, we had lunch at the hotel restaurant, which was absolutely delicious. We have become pretty accustomed to eating like kings! Eating like poor college students when we get back to the states will be a fairly difficult transition.

Our experience this morning was amazing—the visit to Fundacion Origen was our favorite of the trip. Some of us plan to donate to the foundation, which receives most of its funding through American support. If we’re lucky, we may visit the farm—our favorite place in Chile—sometime in the future.

Fundacion Origen

Fundacion Origen

Posted by fellows13 16:59 Comments (0)

Codelco

Yellow hats

Our day started bright and early with a leisurely walk through the city to Codelco, a major mining corporation here in Santiago. These walks are always enjoyable, because every day there’s a new sight to take in. By now, we are veterans of Chile’s metro system—Dirrecion San Pablos, stop Universidad de Chile would lead us to our destination. Much of the city here has that “developed city feel”—in fact, much of the buildings are very reminiscent of New York. Along the way, we discovered an interesting Café known in Chile as “Café de Piernas” or Café of Legs. A blend of Starbucks and Hooters best describes it: women wear short skirts and serve coffee…interesting, to say the least. While mining isn’t the “sexiest” industry (at least not to us American students), those thoughts changed immediately once we feasted our eyes upon the interior of Codelco’s headquarters. Everything (literally) is made of copper, including the walls, some of the art, and the corporate emblem. If the interior did nothing else, at the very least it conjured a certain curiosity about this company, its operations, its processes, and the applications for the copper it extracts. Senor Crisitan Foix, a representative of Codelco, was our speaker. We were proud to hear that Senor Foix, on behalf of Codelco, considered it an honor to host us, and tell us a little bit about the past, present, and future of the company.

Codelco

Codelco

Codelco is huge, in every sense of the word. To say that the company’s market position is dominant would be an understatement. In terms of profit, global reach, GDP contribution, and many other metrics, Codelco is a leader. But the advent of rising cost, lower grade ores (which requires extraction of more minerals to obtain the same quality of copper), aging mines, and increased investment expenses to open new mines, Codleco faces many threats to its longevity. Their solution? Codelco hopes that as these costs rise, they will be able to find cheaper alternatives—inputs—to production to counter the effect on profit margins. They’ve also invested heavily in new projects (new mining locations); in fact, the company over the next few years will take on more investments than at any other point of its history. An example of these investments includes digging deeper into the earth at one of the locations located in the Andes Mountains—about 300 meters deeper to be precise, where over 415,000 tons of copper lie waiting to be exploited. Codelco estimates to have on hand about 70 years worth of reserves in terms of mineral resources. The average life of most mines is about 15-20 years. But Codelco holds fast to its license to exist—its mission—to be a global industry leader. And that mission fuels them to best the environmental impacts and financial threats that lie before them.

Team at Codelco

Team at Codelco

Our day ended with two highlights.1) A trip to the end of town where we were given the opportunity to see some of the most antique and unique, hand-made Chilean souvenirs at Pueblos los Dominicos—a small shopping district; and 2) a chance to indulge in some Gelato treats at a local shop about 5 blocks from our hotel—a sense of home. Life lesson: “el cono simple” is quite enough ice cream for one person…no necesito doble!
Until next time…Buenas noches!

Posted by fellows13 01:44 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Culture in Chile

Art and Artisan

Centro Cultural Palacio de la Moneda

One of the most interesting parts of our day was actually the walk to the museum. Chilean guards were everywhere in preparation for the students protest at the Moneda Palace. Having previously learned about the educational reform riots that have occurred in Chile recently, seeing it first hand showed the importance of this movement in Chile. Being American students, we cannot fully understand what it is like to feel your education system is unjust. High school students far younger than ourselves are actively involved in a political movement, while we sometimes don't even take the time to vote for our president. It was actually inspiring to see students so passionate about their rights.

After looking at the traveling exhibits at the museum and enjoying Chilean sea bass (and french fries...I mean we are still American) we headed to our next stop, at the outskirts of Chile and the last stop on the Metro.

Museum

Museum


Indian royalty

Indian royalty


Technology room

Technology room

Pueblo Los Dominicos

While visiting this small artisan village, we saw everything from peacocks and guinea pigs (which Dr. White referred to as a delicacy called "cuy" and has eaten!!) to artwork and jewelry. Between the "love meter" that you held in your hand and if it started bubbling you had "lots of love" (embarrassing if it didn't!) and the strangely disturbing and inappropriate figurines depicting medical murders, we mostly stuck to purchasing the basic items of jewelry. However, everything was interesting to look at and gave us a greater insight into Chile's culture. Many of the items were actually hand made on site! It was very impressive that some Chileans make a living by selling these goods. Overall, we had a fun experience walking the maze that is Pueblo Los Dominicos in search of unique souvenirs to take home!

Posted by fellows13 17:11 Comments (0)

Our adventures thus far!

New blog post coming soon!

Click to view our latest pictures!

Posted by fellows13 15:52 Comments (0)

La Taverna

Dinner in a Different Language

We just got back from having dinner at La Taverna, a quaint Italian bistro. The language barrier became evident quickly when we could not even figure out what kind of pizza to order because all the ingredients were in Spanish. After many hand gestures and an additional waiter who spoke a little English coming to our rescue, we eventually enjoyed a meal of calamari, pizza and beer! We faced another challenge at the end of the meal- apparently splitting checks can be quite complicated when you can't communicate who had what. Overall, our "quick dinner" turned into nearly four hours at the restaurant but we learned a lot about Chilean pizza... mostly that they do not have pepperoni.

Posted by fellows13 21:52 Comments (0)

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